I left the Parks Dept. after Parks Betsy Commissioner Betsy Gotbaum, who refused to meet with me or reply to phone calls or letters, tried to quash the most successful environmental education program in the history of NYC. After weeks of harassment and abuse from her underlings, I had more than I could digest.
Notifying the press during the Memorial Day weekend, when the Parks Dept. upper echelon is incommunicado (this was long before the Internet and e-mail), and quitting the morning after the weekend, reporters caught an unprepared Gotbaum by surprise.
This strategy worked: one of the objections to foraging she repeatedly blustered to the press was carbon monoxide contamination. Most people know that carbon monoxide is the toxic gas that suffocates people running car engines in confined spaces, not by settling on dandelions!
Avoiding further bad PR, she never carried her threats to go after me for the duration of her regime.