This is the city. This is Los Angeles. Occupy LA has moved to the smaller north lawn of City Hall because a movie is shooting on the south lawn.
I don’t know the title, but I know that Ryan Gosling is hot!
exclaims an Occupy LA volunteer at the media tent. Gosling didn’t stop over to say hi to the Occupiers, but the coordinator, multi-tasking at a computer, pack of Pall Malls and pad of paper as people ask her heaps of questions, said that she took a few extra breaks to catch a look at the Drive star.
The movie is Gangster Squad, a true tale about the Los Angeles Police Department’s efforts in the late 1940s and 50s to keep the mob out of Los Angeles. Sean Penn co-stars as the notorious Mickey Cohen.
City Councilman Richard Alarcon had dropped by earlier in the day. And Rocket Pizza delivered pizza! NBC, ABC, and both CBS stations had broadcast trucks parked and reporters scouring for interviews. There is no media blackout, but the media might get bored.
During General Assembly the announcer thanked the LAPD and the city council for allowing the Occupy LA to continue to assemble without permits, which are in the works. A huge round of applause went up and continued as the speaker introduced Vincent from Occupy Wall Street. Vincent informed the crowd of almost 200 that the Occupy Movement was now in 70 cities.
Vincent said he was amazed at how organized Occupy LA was in only three days.
There are more people here tonight than we had in three days. You have a microphone, we didn’t have a microphone.
Tall, with a shaved head and full sleeve tattoos, Vincent said he is a anarchist and after he started doing Occupy WS, he saw how true leaderless government worked. After much hand-waving and applause from the Occupiers, Vincent stepped back , Rose from La Puenta stepped up the mic with her story. A single mom, Rose was late on a mortgage payment and the bank began foreclosure. She has decided to stay in her house and invited any Occupiers who would like to join her.
Come on down. There are fliers with my address.
La Puenta is twenty miles east of City Hall.
Next up, Brian from the International Workers of the World who began to explain how the consensus process works (basically if you like it or can live with it, don’t block it) which is designed to give everyone an equal voice and avoid power dynamics.
To keep groups from getting shut out, women of color. Queers.
Much applause and cheers from the LGBTQ in the crowd.
Then I overhead
How cute! A mom and her daughter just came with sandwiches they made!
My friends, Teresa the voter registration lady and her daughter Ava had arrived with a tin of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a huge stack of voter registration forms, which were very hard to find; there were none at three post offices, but luckily the post office at by the Grove, a celeb-studded outdoor mall had a huge stack.
I walked around with Teresa and her eight-year old as they asked people if they were registered to vote. The majority said yes, but those that weren’t happily took forms. Voting is important says Teresa because:
The three branches of the government are bought and sold, but the people can’t be. It’s not just electing officials, there are lots of propositions on ballots. And judges.
Theresa also dropped off a stack of the forms at volunteer tables. One volunteer, who I had spoken to yesterday, asked her if she thought he should tell his boss–he works in finance and having just come from the office, was wearing a button down shirt and tie–that he is spending his evenings and weekends at Occupy LA.
Ava and I ate bacon wrapped hotdogs–her first!–to celebrate her first time at a political event and we finished strolling around the camps.
This mornng I woke up and the rain had started. Occupy LA needs tarps, blankets, socks and toilet paper. They would also like reusable bowls, drinking glasses and flatwear which will be passed out to campers and washed to cut down on waste. There’s a PayPal donation button here, along with more info about what is needed.