Occupy LA: “Oh No! We Won’t Go!” Mayor Says “11/28 at 12:01am Park Will Be Shut Down”

In their official statement below, Occupy Los Angeles has declared they will not leave City Hall. And they state:

All forms of weaponry used by multiple law enforcement officials – including, but not limited, to rubber bullets, pepper spray, verbal abuse, arrest, foam batons, tear gas, long-range acoustic devices and more – are not to be used on those exercising their First Amendment Rights to petition our government for redress of grievances.

At a press conference this afternoon broadcast live on ABC 7 (a truncated version here), Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said:

The Occupy encampments have changed the one-sided conversation, the movement has awakened the country’s conscience…After this initial success the movement is now at cross roads. It is time for Occupy LA to movement from this piece of parkland.

He cited public health, public safety and the security of encampment, emphasizing:

It is time to close the park and restore this to a public park.

Responding to a mic check reading of a portion of the statement below, Villaraigosa pointed out that he gave nine acres of city land in Watts as a community garden when the South Central Garden was shut down. He then announced that

at 12:01 Monday morning, November 28 the law would be enforced,

and that the police are prepared to make arrests, but that is not the intent, as the city is providing time and advance notice, as well as fifty beds for the homeless. Villaraigosa went on to say that workers from general services would be passing out bilingual fliers and that social workers are working with the Occupiers to fill the shelter beds for homeless, while nearby parking would be available for those who are moving. He said the city wants to

Honor the spirit of free expression and keep Spring Street steps open during the park rehab for free speech so participants of Occupy and all other Angelenos will have access to this vital free speech spot.

He praised Occupy, urging peace and and praising the social justice of Occupy hoping that the movement will create an environment so

all fellow residents can use their God given right to achieve.

Chief Beck then spoke:

Occupy protestors have been law abiding, respectful by and large for 56 days.

He said that the police had not enforced city laws regarding the park and now it was time to go, adding that it was not sustainable in terms of public safety and health

This doesn’t mean the Occupy message will end. The steps are available. It’s time to grow the message in different medium.

Beck says the order doesn’t mean the LAPD will necessarily physically remove people, but they will enforce the law. He said they are giving ample time for people to move their stuff, clear tents and take property off lawn. The homeless will get every opportunity to take advantage of fifty beds, followed by fifty more later in the week. He stated:

If we make arrests it will be the people who won’t go, not the people who haven’t had time to go.

Villaraigos spoke again, stating:

The goal is to make this as peaceably as possible and to honor the experience we have had here. We are going to this is a way that is respectful.

When asked by a reporter why the protesters had been allow to stay so long, Chief Beck responded:

This is a national movement which the City of Los Angeles wanted to accommodate. They have had fifty-six days to put forth messages in a public park, which by the way, no one else has been able to use.

Villaraigosa then said

This is a collective decision, a decision I made talking with the Chief, General Services and others…I take full responsibility.

A representative of the OLA Kids’ Camp expressed concern that it might take them longer to get all their toys, supplies and other items together, so they may not be able to get out at 12:01 am, that it might take them 72 hours, and that they didn’t want to be involved in any violence because there were children in the camp. Beck replied that he understood and if officers saw a reasonable amount of effort to move, things would be fine:

This has been a peaceful movement. That has been mutual, it is important that we show that the City of LA knows how to do this, and realizes importance of the First Amendment.

Beck refused to to rise to the bait of some reporters who wanted to know what exactly the police would do. Both officials were mic checked and portions of the GA statement read.

Here’s the full text of Occupy Los Angeles’ statement:

Assembly-authored City response

Written on 11/24/2011 by in Past, Proposal

MODIFIED, CONSENTED TO VERSION

Type: Public Statement

Proposed by: The Los Angeles General Assembly

History: passed with full consensus at GA on Wednesday 11/23/2011. The language, ideas and grievances contained herein were culled from the minutes of 2 special City Liaison Committee Meetings, 2 General Assemblies devoted to the issue, one meeting with the Demands & Objectives Committee, consultation with Media and PR, and widely circulated and amended by the online community of occupiers, and adapted into its current form by the General Assembly on 11/23/2011.

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S RESPONSE TO THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES

Para Todos Todo, Para Nosotros Nada: For Everyone, Everything, For Us, Nothing

(This group-authored response to be read tonight at General Assembly by The Occupiers. If consented upon, this response is to be disseminated as a press release, and ‘mic-checked’, in person, by the Occupiers themselves, on Tuesday 29th November 2011 [wrongly read as Monday 28th November at GA] in the City Council Meeting of that date)

As a collective, Occupy Los Angeles would like to express their rejection of the City of Los Angeles’ alleged proposal that we leave City Hall by November 28th, 2011, in exchange for an apparently now rescinded offer of a 10,000 square foot building, farmland and 100 SRO beds for the homeless.

Occupy Los Angeles believes that as part of a global movement advocating direct, participatory democracy, and challenging economic and social injustices, our position is such that we cannot, in all good faith, accept further material benefit from City Hall at the taxpayer’s expense without seriously compromising our beliefs, our desire for global change, and our commitment to our inherent human rights to free speech and assembly protected in this country by First Amendment Rights. The 1 percent should be paying for any services used by the Occupy Movement, not taxpayers.

In the spirit of inclusivity and transparency which is so dear to our movement, Occupy Los Angeles extends an invitation to Mayor Villaraigosa and the City Council to attend our General Assemblies at the City Hall Occupation if he wishes to discuss these and other matters in a direct, democratic and horizontal way. Mayor Villaraigosa must speak out against the violent actions towards our brothers and sisters, declare the actions of other cities to be unjust, and stand before us equally at a General Assembly. Occupy Los Angeles believes that until this happens, we should have no more closed-door discussions regarding our continuing occupation of City Hall.

The City Council – in line with government in general – is an authority which is more accountable to developers and corporations than the public. The very act of the Los Angeles City Council requesting the physical removal of Los Angeles Occupiers without redressing the grievances which were specifically referenced in the inclusion of our adopted ‘Declaration of the Occupation of New York City’, and in the City Council’s ’1st Amendment Rights / Occupy Los Angeles / Responsible Banking Resolution’ — is in effect supporting the removal of all Occupations from public space by any means. We cannot negotiate with such an institution without undermining our sister occupations across the globe who are suffering from oppressive force and attacks upon their inherent human rights to free speech and assembly, protected in this country under the First Amendment. We refer here to episodes in Oakland, Boston, New York, Portland, UC Davis and San Francisco, to name but a few. We refer to those further afield, in Tahrir Square in Egypt, in Madrid, Greece, London and more. Teargas, pepper spray, beatings, jail, suppression and intimidation have been used as a coercive method of silencing our movement and our desire for global change.

We reject outright the City’s attempts to lure us out of City Hall and into negotiations by offering us nebulous, non-transparent and unconfirmed offers which fail to even begin to address our local grievances. We will continue to occupy this space, in solidarity with our global movement, until the forces of the few are forced to capitulate to the power of the people.

When the following grievances have been addressed – grievances which we have agreed upon as a movement through our General Assembly as advancing our cause and providing for the people of Los Angeles – we as a movement will be happy to initiate dialogue with the Mayor and Los Angeles City Council. An office space of 10,000 square feet would not have addressed these grievances. While the grievances listed below are localized, we believe that they promote the underlying foundations and principles of our movement, which include, but are not limited to: providing for basic, fundamental and inalienable human rights such as shelter, food, healthcare, freedom of choice, sexual orientation, gender equality and education — and the right most paramount to a free and democratic society — the right to self-govern. Detailed demands which encompass our greater world view will be released at a later date by our Demands and Objectives Committee through the General Assembly.

GRIEVANCES NOT ADDRESSED

  1. A moratorium on all foreclosures in the City of Los Angeles. The City of Los Angeles to divest from all major banks, and money to be removed from politics.

  1. A citywide effort undertaken to solve the homelessness problem which has led to 18,000 homeless people sleeping on Skid Row every night. Rehabilitation and housing must be provided for all homeless people.

  1. South Central Farm to be returned to the same LA community from which it was taken, and all other vacant and distressed land be open for the community use, and money to the tune of 1 million dollars – taken from Skid Row and given to a multi-million dollar NFL firm – to be returned to Skid Row.

  2. Los Angeles to be declared a sanctuary city for the undocumented, deportations to be discontinued and cooperation with immigration authorities be ended – including the turning in of arrestees’ names to immigration authorities.

  3. All forms of weaponry used by multiple law enforcement officials – including, but not limited, to rubber bullets, pepper spray, verbal abuse, arrest, foam batons, tear gas, long-range acoustic devices and more – are not to be used on those exercising their First Amendment Rights to petition our government for redress of grievances. We do not accept interference with freedom of the press and the public to document police actions in public spaces. We will not tolerate brutality.

  4. We assert our right to an open plaza on the South Side of City Hall for people to peacefully assemble, voice grievances, speak freely, hold our General Assembly and come to the people’s consensus 24 hours a day if needed.

  5. The City of Los Angeles to pressure the State to start a convention, as provided for in the Constitution, to remove corporate personhood and money from politics at a national level.

  6. The City of Los Angeles to begin a dialogue at the State and Federal level on the issues of student debt and tuition hikes.

  7. No cutbacks in city services or attacks on the wages, work conditions and pensions of city employees.

  8. A world class transit system which addresses our debilitating traffic problem and restores the quality of life in Los Angeles.

We conclude, as a General Assembly, by hereby renaming City Hall Park -

SOLIDARITY PARK

—————————————————————————-

Mayor’s statement here.

Occupy LA: Mayor Villaraigosa Says “Out By Next Week!”

An aide to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa confirmed that the city will order Occupy LA to leave City Hall Park sometime next week after informing Occupy LA representatives and also Jim Lafferty of the National Lawyer’s Guild for Occupiers at City Hall that the order was coming down. Lafferty and the Occupiers walked out of the meeting with city officials when they were told that Occupy would be forced to move. Lafferty told the LA Times they:

walked out of the meeting in anger after the announcement and told city officials they “have not been operating with good faith.”…

Lafferty said the city had not given the liaisons enough time to discuss the offer with the protesters.”They are not willing to give us time to have that discussion,” Lafferty told the protesters. “”I said, ‘The democratic practice here may be slow but it is beautiful and it works.”"

Yesterday the Times reported that the city had offered to lease offices to Occupy LA for $1 and allow them to farm unused city land, an offer the city later wavered on. The offer would have had to have been approved by Occupy LA’s general assembly which could be a long process since many Occupiers are opposed to leaving the lawns around City Hall.

The city cites the need to water the huge, decades-old trees and re-seed the lawn as the reason for Occupy’s eviction. The trees have not been watered in weeks and are legitimately at risk.

Notes taken during the meeting between OLA, city officals and the LAPD show, Matt Szabo, a spokesperson for Villaraigosa saying:

Just came from meeting w/ boss, clear difficulties. We cannot refer to these as negotiations. This is a new situation. We’re trying to work together to best manage this for the city. We are working to secure your first amendment rights, but acknowledge that city hall park is an unsustainable situation

The decision-making and governing process is cumbersome

The mayor WILL CLOSE THE PARK NEXT WEEK

I do not know when that will be, but you will receive notice

The mayor will announce today that we will be making available at least 50, but as many will be required, homeless shelter beds

We’ll continue to be as open and honest as we can possibly be

Difficulty: we wanted to move this forward in a productive way… the issue of whether or not the park is open or closed is NOT A NEGOTIATION

The city has a right to close the park

Some would argue there is a responsibility to enforce the closing

All the issues we’ve been discussing are still on the table, but the closing of the park WILL HAPPEN

An OLA representatives responded that the SEIU will not be happy if Occupy is evicted:

Talked w/ SEIU, their message is that an injury to OLA is an injury to SEIU. If something happens to us, something will happen in the streets.

City officials say they will give 72 hours warning to Occupy to vacate. The Los Angeles Police Department will enforce the order.

The live feed from the General Assembly was down Wednesday night, but I will post the archive when it is available.

Occupy LA Day 26: Presidential Candidate Visits, Mayor Wants a Relocation, Unity is Achieved


(video continued below)

Fred Karger, GOP candidate for president–you know, the gay, Jewish, pro-choice, pro-medical marijuana Republican candidate (aka a  real live unicorn!)–dropped by Occupy LA today. He’s already visited Occupy New Hampshire and Occupy Wall Street where he’s been listening to what people are saying and asking questions.  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 to move, but the Los Angeles police said they could stay. And so they did!

Meanwhile,  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the protestors have to eventually move from City Hall, only he hasn’t figured when. Or how. ):

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.

But he has launched a committee to find another place for them. I’m thinking MacArthur Park or “The Cornfield.” No, that’s not a reference to the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life,” starring Billy Mumy as the mean kid who would put people “in the cornfield” by wishing them gone when they displeased him, but rather to the California State Park in the heart of downtown, though that would technically require state approval.

Villaraigosa also instructed city officials to begin drafting restrictions limiting when people are allowed at City Hall, though currently no one is supposed to be sleeping there between 10:30pm and 5am anyway.

LA City Attorney Carmen Trutinich said:

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.

The LAPD has not been enforcing the  get-off-the-lawn law. They have been really cool.

Tonight the General Assembly was split when a group calling themselves “People’s Forum”  began dancing and chanting and holding an open mic sharing where several people plugged their websites and one woman rambled about her daughter’s bad relationship, her own free master’s degree from Cornell and how she’s a celebrity. Sharing about why they’re there and what they hope to achieve, problems they are having is needed, though maybe with a time limit and less self-promotion: People do need to know each other and their stories, to hear encouragement and ideas; however at the GA, issues like  security and actions, plus the state of other Occupys are brought up and discussed, along with committee reports, finances, etc.   Granted nightly GA can be occasionally tedious, but they are needed and are an immediate democratic process. While the share-bear People’s Forum went on, the GA met on the other lawn.

After an hour, the GA joined the open mic folks and unity was achieved. Issues like maintaining the cleanliness of the park, sexual harassment, drug and alcohol use were discussed. People expressed that it was necessary to have unity and focus, and that pot and booze dull the latter, while having an environment where women don’t feel safe fractures unity.  And picking up trash and not making a mess shows respect for the environment/land. There was no voting, just ideas brought forth.

I think having open mic assemblies at night on Saturday and/or Sunday where people just share could help foster unity as well as giving people ideas that could later be voted on in GA during the week.   You can watch the recorded livestreams of the General Assemblies at  www.livestream.com/owslosangeles

There is some reasonable concern about police action, given the ongoing  situations Oakland, Atlanta and  in others citys where  police force is being used to remove Occupys; but again, so far the Los Angeles police have been reasonable, helpful, friendly and kind. Let’s hope that Villaraigosa doesn’t drop the banhammer on Occupy LA, but if he does, the LAPD acts like Albany, NY where they police refused to move on protestors and not like the law enforcement in Oakland, CA.

Tomorrow, thanks to FDL’s #Occupy Supply program, I am bringing down cases of peanut butter, loaves of bread  and other packaged foodstuffs to distribute through the camp, as they are really hungry and, per the Health Department can only have food that is prepackaged or prepared by Health Department-permitted kitchens. So thank you, FDL members and readers for helping the 1,000+ Occupiers of Los Angeles in 495 tents at City Hall have food in their bellies as they move forward.

 

Occupy LA Day 5: It’s a Gift!

It poured most of today in Los Angeles, and unlike Day 4, the rain did not spare the nearly 300 people camped out on the north lawn of City Hall. But thanks to gifts of tarps and other waterproof gear, everyone stayed pretty dry, though clean socks would be very welcome! The skies were clear and the sun warm again by 5pm.

Today seven City Councilmembers voted to support the

peaceful and vibrant exercise in First Amendment Rights carried out by Occupy Los Angeles.

and Mayor Villaraigosa delivered 100 rain ponchos to the encampment. The council approved a resolution to vote later this month on a measure requiring the city to divest from financial institutions that have not cooperated with measures to prevent foreclosures.

Councilman Rill Rosendahl said:

There was an Arab Spring. You’re seeing an American Autumn. And it’s connecting all over America. And if Washington can appreciate that, they’ll withdraw the troops from these crazy wars. They will make the rich pay their fair share and reinvest in education, health care, infrastructure and the American people.

Every night at 10pm the camp moves all tents onto the sidewalk to comply with local laws. Earlier this week around move time, a guy and his girlfriend showed up and asked what they could do to help.

What are you good at?

asked Media Lisa (who volunteers her webcasting, media and producing skills and has been involved in planning and coordination since September 24). The guy responded

Do you need trash hauled? I could do that!

Media Lisa pressed further:

Yes, but what would you like to do? What can you do?

The guy replied:

I’m an actor.

He then helped lug tents, signs and equipment from the lawn to sidewalk. As the couple were leaving, they stopped by the finance department’s table where he wrote a check for $5,000. Until then, no one knew the helpful guy was Lucas Neff from the Emmy-nominated series Raising Hope.

Nice guy Neff

Neff is the first celebrity to stop by, but he’s not the only generous donor. Today a woman who was visiting learned that Occupy LA was paying $3,000 a week to rent porta-potties, made a couple calls, and voila! Sir Reel–privy provider to the stars–is now donating the vital resource, with an upgrade from the smaller, two-seater that OccupyLA had been renting. And Sir Reel is providing a shower trailer, too!

While I was there, Media Lisa put out on LiveChat that the camp really needed pallets. Within minutes, a stack of them arrived on a handcart, a volunteer shouted:

Hey, if you can, we could use some help!

and the pallets were offloaded, then placed to make walkways over the mud.

Visitors I saw today included noted photographer Gary Leonard snapping away; and Du Mien and some of the staff from Orange County’s VietNam-American Television (VNA-TV), who spent nearly an hour taking photos and chatting with the media department and Occupiers. Enthused by the energy, they are bringing a busload from their community on Saturday for the big 5pm rally, planning on attending the General Assembly and even camping out overnight. The promised to bring bahn mi, those awesome Vietnamese sandwiches.

General Assembly is held nightly at 7:30 and livestreamed. This lady came by at 6 to see what Occupy LA was all about, and decided to stay and watch the GA.

If you are interested in contributing to Occupy LA, reading the minutes of the GA, seeing what’s planned for the next day and more, here’s their home page.

Occupy LA Day 4: “Stay as Long as You Need, We’re Here to Support You”

 

Watch live streaming video from owslosangeles at livestream.com

 

The Occupy LA Livestream is up and running. When the mods are sleeping, there are re-runs of the past days: General Assemblies, marches interviews. And a live chat as well.

The LAPD has been cordial and all is well. Tuesday’s rain passed over downtown, but now on Wednesday, it’s definitely coming down everywhere. Heavy duty trash bags  are ready for the rain to cover signs; tarps are needed.

Yesterday, City Council president Eric Garcetti and fellow Council members Bill Rosendahl and Ed Reyes showed up to talk to protestors, along with Dennis Zine, a former registered Republican who told the Los Angeles Times:

It’s the right thing to do. We could just drive by them, or we could go talk to them.

Garcetti, who announced his run for mayor last month, told the protesters:

Stay as long as you need, we’re here to support you.

This morning Council Member Rosendahl will introduce a City Council resolution supporting the protesters.

SEIU leadership paid a visit, as did the janitors union. Both unions expressed support. Today Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa is supposed to drop by, but no time has been set. News crews were present again yesterday, and KFI640 AM talk show hosts John & Ken aired  a positive (for them) interview with an Occupier; they teased the piece by saying

Wall Street, something needs to be done about those goons.

Conservative-ish John & Ken are under fire for giving out the  business phone numbers of an immigration reform activist on air; the phone numbers were listed on a press release. Jorge-Mario Cabrera received  over 400 calls from angry, nasty and at times violence-proposing listeners  opposed to the DREAM Act, and there are demands for advertiser boycotts and for John & Ken’s firing.

Volunteers have secured a commercial kitchen and are preparing three meals a day. Donations of food are gladly accepted. The medic tent said toothbrushes would be very welcome!    Showers are becoming a necessity, with solar showers being discussed as an option. Handicapped porta-potties are coming on site, but donations are needed maintain the porta-potties; they cost approximately $3,000 a week. Recycling has been set up.

A hairdresser has offered to come down and give haircuts. An on-site silkscreen studio has been set up and is printing up tee-shirts, kerchiefs and patches. The items are made from donated fabric and tee shirts (turned inside out to obscure logos) and are given away. The guy manning the screens was wearing a hat printed with

1/21/2010 Never Forget

the date of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

I asked some office workers waiting for the bus at City Hall what they felt about Occupy LA. One man replied:

Freedom of speech.

Another responded:

Wall Street is a problem.

The woman in the group said:

This is good. We need something to change.

Painter Alex Schaefer was also there, completing a plein-air work featuring the buildings of Los Angeles in flames. Up in the corner on bare canvas was scrawled

Symbolism

Schaefer, whose painting of a burning bank caused some upset, sold the work for over $25,000 to an anonymous European collector via eBay. Two weeks ago Schaefer was outside the Federal Reserve building completing a painting of the building aflame, when he was questioned by the Department of Homeland Security, who like the police in the prior incident took down his information, hence the written note on his work in progress. Laughed Schaefer:

They are art fans!

My last conversation was with Michael who lives in South Central and spent 14 years in and out of jail and prison.

My mother is my guiding light. She never gave up on me . . .

he told me, as we transitioned from a discussion about the names of the four guardian angels of the elements. (Yeah, it’s LA which explains soooo much about why this is a mellow, proactive scene).

While I was locked up, I read and studied, I got my AA degree. I come here to Occupy LA every day and sit and listen. And I have been talking to people and on they want me to lead a teaching.

Occupy Santa Barbara has not experienced the same cooperation with the police that Los Angeles is enjoying. Last night two Occupiers in de la Guerra Plaza, a city park, chained themselves to a flagpole and were removed by the fire department after the police had informed the crowd earlier in the day that protesting/camping in the park at night was against city code. Eight people, including the legal observer were arrested, while others stood on the sidewalks and cheered.

Meanwhile, this from the Washington Post:

QUESTION: Have the “Occupy Wall Street” protests reached a level of the President’s engaged awareness? Is he sympathizing with the protestors? Is he concerned about the protests at all?

CARNEY: I haven’t discussed it with him. I’m sure he’s aware of it because he follows the news. I would simply say that, to the extent that people are frustrated with the economic situation, we understand. And that’s why we’re so urgently trying to focus Congress’s attention on the need to take action on the economy and job creation.


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