#OccupySanJose squabbles publicly - settles down, establishes order #Occupysj
"For a tense 30 minutes on Sunday morning, the Occupy movement in downtown San Jose got to see what too much democracy looks like.
A weekly general assembly of Occupy San Jose began with a drum circle by a Native-American group decrying racial oppression. But as chants and sage smoke wafted outside City Hall, some veterans of the loose-limbed, 5-week-old encampment began to loudly protest that the drummers were pushing a radical Chicano agenda.
"We all come out of Africa!" one woman yelled repeatedly. "You’re dividing us!" Others in the crowd, however, scolded her for trying to silence diverse voices and argued that everyone should be heard.
Nearly half the assemblage of 100-plus broke off to gripe about the drum circle while a tall man in New York Yankees garb implored them not to splinter the group. After much recrimination and repeated apologies by the organizers of Sunday’s session, the assorted activists managed to vote on a set of job descriptions for their various committees, including Media, Health & Safety and Sanitation.
After all the verbal jousting, the votes represented major progress, said Mark Barton, an arborist who said he’s been among the group’s planners from the start. “It’s kind of like an accordion,” he said. “It’s not always pretty music, but it’s music.”
Order from chaos
Even before Sunday’s unpleasantness, Occupy San Jose has been troubled that the public might
think of the movement as an unfocused, come-one-come-all protest. Yes, the corner of Fourth and Santa Clara streets is a venue to voice outrage about poverty, unemployment, hunger, health care, militarism, global warming and, of course, corporate greed.
But some say it’s not a place for the homeless to plop down a sleeping bag, for a drunk to sleep off last night’s binge or for those with nothing better to do to just hang out. “If you want to stay here, you have to work,” said Shaunn Courtwright, 41, who seems more like a dorm-mom photographing kids blowing bubbles — as she was doing at City Hall plaza Saturday — than the night watchperson she’s become.
When Courtwright says work, she means advancing Occupy’s mission: cleaning up the encampment, helping keep order and waving signs like, “The overlords of Wall Street are the real vampires.”
With its seven tents, one inflatable queen mattress and one protester perched atop a plaza wall, Occupy San Jose may be a pesky and costly nuisance to City Hall, but it hasn’t devolved into the in-your-face confrontations of its sister movements in New York City and Oakland. That’s due both to a more restrained official response and to its smaller core of five to 15 campers.
But a large part of Occupy San Jose’s order comes from the discipline, energy and no-nonsense approach of Courtwright and the others at the core of the group that calls the City Hall plaza home.
Now, the nonorganization that professes no leaders and no hierarchy is struggling to fashion the framework that will sustain itself, get out the message, keep away the cops and still preserve its democratic ideals.
In fact, the local Occupy group has settled into a de facto detente with police. Protesters wave signs and sit in their tents by day. But around 10 p.m., they send their perishables to a friendly kitchen, pack up their backpacking tents, scamper across East Santa Clara Street and settle in for the night on a four-and-a-half-foot-wide parking strip in front of a vacant lot. That way they don’t violate City Hall’s overnight camping ban.
Councilman Ash Kalra, the only city official on hand at Sunday’s assembly, credited cops for being polite in dealing with the protesters. But as an attorney, he said he’s uncomfortable with the legality of the camping ban as it’s directed toward political speech. He briefly took the bullhorn Sunday to tell the crowd he hopes to find a way for the Occupy movement to set up a permanent presence on the plaza without fear of being run off.
Just how permanent is permanent? “We’ll be here until we’ve raised public awareness of the problem,” said one youthful organizer, who gave his name only as Nate.
Yet another of the Occupy leaders — Sean O’Kelly, who scaled a three-story plaza wall last week and has been ensconced there ever since — on Sunday vowed to remain for 99 days. As part of his protest, the activist nicknamed “Cracker” said he’d plant a garden on top of the wall, including maize and “industrial hemp.”
O’Kelly told the assemblage that he was renouncing his affiliation with Occupy, but the group voted to support him anyway. He separated from the group, he explained, so it wouldn’t get in trouble for his illegal hemp-growing.
To his announcement, the assembled responded with hearty cries of, “Viva Cracker!”~Mercury News
#OccupySanFrancisco: #OccupySF the teenager who was refused cancer treatment
"Occupy San Francisco protester Miran Istina stands outside the US Bank building on Market Street, San Francisco. Photograph: Martin Lacey"
" As Miran Istina puts it, she has been living on borrowed time since she was 14. Diagnosed with cancer, she was given just months to live after her health insurer refused to provide her with life-saving surgery.
Now 18, Istina, from the city of Sisters in Oregon, has spent the past three weeks living in a tent at the Occupy San Francisco protest and says she will stay there indefinitely, despite her illness.
She was inspired to take part in the protest by the refusal of her insurance company to pay for treatment for her chronic myelogenous leukaemia.
She said: “They denied me on the terms of a pre-existing condition. Seeing as I had only had that insurance for a few months, and I was in early stage two which meant I had to have had it for at least a year, they determined it was a pre-existing condition and denied me healthcare.”
Treatment would require a bone marrow transplant and extensive radiation therapy and chemotherapy, at a cost of several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Coming from an ordinary middle-class background, her family has no way of paying for the surgery that would save her life.
Following her insurer’s refusal, she spent three years travelling the US looking for a healthcare provider who would give her a chance at life.
Istina said: “I went all over the place, looking for someone to give a damn, really, someone to care enough to treat me. Because we were middle class, we couldn’t afford to treat my disease. We’d be in debt for the rest of our family life.”
After repeated refusals to offer her treatment, she said: “I decided I was going to spend the rest of my life doing whatever my heart wants.”
The Occupy movement attracted Istina as she ties the corporate influence on American politics to the decision that has sentenced her to death.
She said: “The corporate influence on politics influences just about anything that happens, seeing as politicians write the plans that healthcare has to follow. It directly links the fact that insurers only pick and choose those who are actually worth it [financially]. I just happen to not be one of the ones they wanted to be around much longer.
"The decision was absolutely influenced by some corporation or some bank saying, ‘we can’t afford her. She’s not worth our money.’ In end terms, corporate greed is going to cost me my life.
"I used to be really upset about it. I’m not as much any more. I’m angry, for sure, but I think me being here might help it never happen again. That’s why I’m here. It’s that there are other people this is going to happen to if this movement doesn’t succeed and that’s not healthy. I’m done being the victim. However long I have left is dedicated heart and soul to this movement, no matter what it takes."
She has immersed herself in the movement, becoming the chief media relations officer for Occupy SF and organising fundraising events around the city. On Thursday afternoon she led a CNN television crew on a walk through the camp, to show how they were living, explain their motives and refute claims that the living conditions are unsanitary.
She said of her new life: “My heart is finally satisfied.”
The Occupy San Francisco movement has seen up to 300 protesters take over the Justin Herman Plaza, at the Embarcadero in the downtown district since October 5.
The occupiers are given food by local restaurants and have received donations from supporters to provide supplies.
Health professionals from the San Francisco General Hospital are providing round-the-clock care for Istina, who needs strong pain killers and constant monitoring of her condition. Earlier in the month she suffered a kidney malfunction which required urgent hospital treatment.
Throughout the afternoon four police officers kept a watchful eye over the groups of tents and makeshift shelters but the atmosphere was relaxed. When the officers staged a walk-through some of the occupiers shared jokes with them. One said: “Please leave the automatic weapons outside the camp. This is a peaceful protest.”
Another said: “We’re not doing any harm. We’re just a bunch of peace-loving hippies.”
But a raid on the camp is possible at any time. San Francisco mayor Ed Lee has repeatedly insisted that the camp is illegal and all tents should be removed but so far little has been done to enforce the law.
He has threatened a raid and on Wednesday night occupiers expected police to move in, sparking a larger than normal demonstration. Two candidates for the upcoming mayoral election joined with the protesters but despite the presence nearby of riot police, the raid did not go ahead.”~Guardian.co.uk
About 50 people were arrested Friday morning as San Diego police in riot gear moved to clear the civic plaza behind City Hall of both the Occupy San Diego protesters and their tents and other property.
As the sweep began about 2 a.m., an officer using a bullhorn warned protesters “to disperse immediately or you will be arrested.” The protesters presence in the plaza been declared “an illegal gathering,” he said.
Police had repeatedly warned the protesters that while they could stay, their tents, tarps, chairs, tables and other property had to be removed. But when the sweep began, protesters were told to move and their belongings were confiscated.
Police removed numerous tents Oct. 14 and arrested two young men for allegedly resisting their efforts. But in the last few days, more tents were erected and protesters refused to remove them.
Frank Gormlie, a journalist with the OB Rag website, said more than 100 police officers and San Diego County Sheriff’s Department deputies arrived at the civic plaza shortly before 2 a.m.
Police confiscated supplies and food, Gormlie said. He put the number of arrests at 44; Assistant Chief Boyd Long said the number was about 50.
Police Chief Bill Lansdowne, in civilian attire, made an unannounced visit to the plaza in the predawn hours of Thursday, indicating official patience was wearing thin with the protesters, who have been at the civic plaza since Oct. 8.
Early Friday, police erected water-filled barriers around the civic plaza and stood guard to keep protesters from returning.
Occupy San Diego organizers called for a march in downtown San Diego on Friday morning to protest the police actions.
A message on the Occupy San Diego Facebook page said: “The Occupy movement is only growing stronger. Occupy SD will not be moved, we will not be dispersed, our voices will not be stifled by Chief Lansdowne and Mayor Sanders.”~LATimes
Mayor Villaraigosa, City Officials, and #OccupyLA Seek Mutual Resolution
"City officials are worried about public property but maintain amicable relations with Occupy L.A.
City of Los Angeles officials are beginning to stress about Occupy Los Angeles and express concern about the damage the protest is causing to city property. They hope to find an alternate location so the movement can continue.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined Los Angeles city council member Bill Rosendahl in raising concerns about the protesters’ lengthy occupation of the Los Angeles City Hall.
At a public event in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Senator Dianne Feinstein observed it was difficult to discern the movement’s goals. She said, I don’t think people, for example, can sleep in a square for weeks on end. You have to have some order to it. The Times also quoted the senator, who said the Occupy Wall Street protesters do not have the right to “occupy forever.”
At this time, Senator Barbara Boxer has issued no statement.
In a separate interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mayor Villaraigosa thinks that the encampment “cannot continue indefinitely.”
I respect the protesters’ right to peacefully assemble and express their views. City officials have been in a continuous and open dialogue with the organizers of Occupy L.A. However, the protesters must respect city laws and regulations, and while they have been allowed to camp on City Hall lawns, that cannot continue indefinitely.
In his Wednesday interview, the mayor also said county health inspectors recently visited the encampment and expressed concerns over the camp’s cleanliness of the camp. The demonstration is damaging the city’s lawn and trees. The lawn is dead, our sprinklers aren’t working, our trees are without water.
Rosendahl expressed also expressed his concern for the health of the lawn and the trees outside City Hall. The city council member told ABC 7 on Tuesday, the trees are in the process of being impacted. The grass is being impacted. Other activities that we need to do on the lawns are being put on the back burner.
The mayor instructed city officials to begin drafting restrictions limiting when people are allowed at City Hall. That could lay the groundwork for the city to force protesters to abandon the Occupy LA tent city surrounding City Hall where they’ve been camped for nearly a month.
There is no word as to whether city officials will consider moving the Occupy LA movement to the Los Angeles financial district.
In an interview Wednesday, the mayor said county health inspectors recently visited the encampment and expressed concerns over the cleanliness of the camp. In addition, the demonstration is damaging the city’s lawn and trees.
Police have adopted a largely hands-off policy with the protest—they made only a handful of arrests mostly disorderly conduct type offenses.
On Thursday morning at 3:00 a.m., the police paid a visit to the camp after receive calls about a violent threat. LAPD spokesperson, Richard French told the Huffington Post that Two people in the encampment were having a confrontation of some kind. One of them had a knife. The person [with the knife ] was taken into custody, as was his weapon..
According to a Firedog Lake article, President Obama didn’t even drive by when he was visiting Los Angeles, though some Occupiers put up their tents along his route. The Secret Service wanted them to move, but the Los Angeles police said they could stay.
It was not clear how the city council would change the current law barring people from camping in city parks after 10:30 p.m. The LAPD has not yet enforced the law and allow approximately 350 protesters to camp in the park across the street from city hall overnight.
In response to Mayor Villaraigosa’s and other California officials’ comments, Occupy Los Angeles PR & Media Relations issued the following statement:
We have enjoyed a very good relationship with the City of Los Angeles, whose council two weeks ago announced their support for Occupy LA. As recently as this morning, Councilman Rosendahl reconfirmed his support of the occupiers. We sincerely hope that a positive working relationship between city officials and the LAPD continues. We appreciate Mayor Villaraigosa’s statement of respect and Senator Feinstein for acknowledging our First Amendment rights.
As for a time stamp on our departure, there is none. Regarding the perceived lack of focus, our actions are governed by a democratic process and we go through process to gain consensus. This can sometimes be lengthy, but we are determined that, as representatives of the 99%, all voices are heard and considered. All city and state officials, as well as interested general public, are openly invited to these General Assembly meetings held nightly. We are resolved to continue our peaceful occupation.
Occupiers across America are bravely and against great odds and obstacles exercising the right to have their voices heard in a public forum, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters around this nation and around the globe.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said police should impose the park law.
To protect the public health and safety of all residents, the LAPD and General Services Police can and should enforce the law in a fair, consistent, and even-handed manner. The law addresses conduct. Enforcement may not be based on the content of any political or personal opinion or message
Local Fox News affiliate interviewed LA City Council Member, Dennis Zine (Rep.), said Occupy LA demonstrators have a right to protest, but adds they’ve made their point about wealthy and lack of social program funding. He says that demonstrators should be targeting the federal government, not the local government, because it’s the feds that control the banking industry and Wall Street.
Zine adds the Occupy LA folks have been very good about being orderly and policing themselves. He said he expects no confrontations like the ones in Oakland or New York. The council member also stated the city council is willing to negotiate rather than have the LAPD use force.
The City of Los Angeles and the LAPD demonstrate good will in negotiations with Occupy Wall Street participants. As yet, discussions are civil. All parties are working together to arrive at an amicable solution.”