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Ear to the Ground

L.A. Has a Change of Heart, Decides to Evict Occupiers

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Posted on Oct 26, 2011
Truthdig / Peter Z. Scheer

Unlike other occupations around the country where sanitation has been used as an excuse to harass protesters, Occupy L.A. has been provided with bathroom facilities (shown here) and trash bins. Still, city officials are now citing concerns for public health and safety in threatening to evict the occupiers.

Despite showing support early on for the protesters occupying their lawn, the people who run L.A. City Hall have decided the occupation “cannot continue indefinitely.” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa complained to the Los Angeles Times, “The lawn is dead, our sprinklers aren’t working … our trees are without water.”

Some of the occupiers have nowhere else to go. One of them told the L.A. Times that “it will be violent” if police attempt to clear the park.

This week we were treated to a horror show in Oakland when police there fired tear gas and what appeared to be concussion grenades of some kind into the crowd of occupiers.

The Times reports that officials are looking for an alternative location for the encampment (maybe somewhere in the Mojave Desert?).

As we reported on this site, the L.A. City Council voted unanimously two weeks ago to support the protesters. Apparently the honeymoon is over.

Maybe this will help Occupy L.A. address that “identity problem,” as local observer Kevin Roderick put it, caused by the fact that protesters in L.A. had been so warmly received by the object of their encampment.

Below is a statement in response from OccupyLosAngeles.org—PZS

In response to Mayor Villaraigosa’s and other CA officials comments made earlier today regarding Occupy LA:

We have enjoyed a very good relationship with the City of Los Angeles, whose council 2 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.

~PR & Media Relations

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By trust in reason, October 28, 2011 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ironic that corporations can pollute our gulfs, bays, rivers, streams, fields
and air but when people want to exercise their First Amendment rights they
can’t because the grass will be ruined!

Report this

By DonFromFairfax, October 27, 2011 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Regarding an anti-war protest march and rally planned for NYC’s Central Park circa 2004 or 2005, New York State’s highest court determined that the cost of repairing the grass in Central Park was not as high as the cost to the nation of using that excuse to abridge freedom of speech and restrict freedom of assembly.

Will California’s highest court be as faithful to the Bill of Rights?

Isn’t there an opportunity to file a lawsuit for an injunction preventing the Mayor from evicting the protesters?

Report this

By Donna Fritz, October 27, 2011 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

The mayor didn’t have a “change of heart” - he
incorrectly calculated that Occupy L.A. would be a
short-lived event that would peter out in a couple of
weeks, and that if he feigned support for the
occupation and allowed the movement to fizzle out on
its own it would be a win-win for him.

Many mayors across the country made the same
miscalculation. That’s why were seeing this backlash
now rather than when the occupations began.

I’ve visited Occupy L.A. seven times. All the trees
surrounding City Hall are old and very large; they
don’t require irrigation. And the grass was killed
after the first week of the occupation; there’s no
more grass to kill.

The mayor’s comments smack of someone looking for any
excuse he can drum up to justify getting rid of the
encampment.

Report this

By Sasquatch, October 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

The grass and the trees will survive the occupation and
the sprinkler system can be repaired but human survival
is in question and the rest of the earth’s ecosystem is
in danger also. We need systems that nurture our planet
and ourselves to bring out the best in us instead of
the dog-eat-dog environment we exist in that requires
most of us to be phony panderers to the elite who got
to the top because they have no conscience.

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By gerard, October 27, 2011 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

It is hard to believe that the entire country of politicians, professors, talking heads, economists, leaders of one kind and another, preachers and priests,editors and reporters, find no creative ways to meet this vast non-violent congregation of young citizens enthusiastic for change, and join in their efforts to build a liveable future.
  So far Wall Street itself is powerless to suggest anything constructive, and is therefore self-consciously mum. The government is holding its breath. Media are scratching their heads. Messages from authority either disperse a viral undemocratic gas of violent suppression or trickle out in the form of irrelevant whimpers about not being able to water the lawns!
  Longterm and deliberate isolation from both reality and opportunity has ushered in a callous official “knownothing-ness” as profound as the ignorance of naked kings.

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By socalsek, October 27, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

This is not going to end well.

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By shadesofgrey, October 27, 2011 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Typical response for another corporatized Democrat. “Liberal” adults let the kids have a party, but the weekends’over, back to business now. The mayor knows money is more important than popularity votes, for those can always be bought.

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By GaiaLogic, October 27, 2011 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Oh the poor grass!
Good to see they have their priorities right isn’t it?
I mean, who cares about massive unemployment, the widening gap between incredible wealth and complete poverty, the massive police brutality we’re witnessing across the USA, the massive propaganda campaign being waged by the retarded right and the profitable press…

We can’t have the grass becoming unsightly!

Sickening people who shouldn’t be in office.

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, October 27, 2011 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

Whining about the f__ing grass! Talk about your disconnect with the plight of the (unemployed) working class. The right to assemble is meaningless without the right to ‘occupy’ a public venue.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, October 26, 2011 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment

Not surprising. Villaraigosa has always been an empty suit. Just a lesson well learned in why you simply cannot trust the capitalist state.

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ghostofwatergate's avatar

By ghostofwatergate, October 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment

“The lawn is dead, our sprinklers aren’t working … our trees are without
water.”

Another illustration of the sad fact that even well-meaning “liberals” still don’t get it: people are more important than good-looking lawns.

The grass lawn at LA’s city hall is an ornamentation to cover the fact that Los Angeles is actually a desert. But it does speak volumes when a bunch of a domesticated weeds has higher priority than the First Amendment.

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mrfreeze's avatar

By mrfreeze, October 26, 2011 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

Wildeye - I think there has been a long, quiet growth of “permitting” and “ordinance” restrictions in this country. Naomi Wolf mentioned this last week. I think those “free speech zones” are very real and, frankly as unAmerican as it gets.

But of course, everyone in the U.S. is so pumped full of high-fructose-syrup and Fox News that the vast majority couldn’t pick up their lard asses to protest anything.

Report this

By Lawrence Vasquez, October 26, 2011 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The first amendment of the Constitution states that all of the United States is a
free speech zone. But there is more than one way to protest just as there is more
than one way to fire workers. We could learn something from masi coal company
(spelling?) who just closed their mines and moved somewhere else. What about a
day where we create our own slow moving traffic jam for four or five hours
through every street going east/west, example Wilshire blvd, or a day/week where
we do not buy gas from a certain company’s gas station or we move all our money
to credit unions closing our bank acoounts. Those without houses, stop paying on
any revolving credit cards. Those that are forclosed upon, reclaim your houses. I
am sure that others out there in internet and text land can think of some other
ways to protest non-violent ways. And remember—-Do not give law enforcement
a reason to arrest you!

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cpb's avatar

By cpb, October 26, 2011 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment

G20, Toronto, June2011

After the popo coneniently discovered their own cars on fire just where they’d left them they over-ran the declared “free speech zone” with a full onslaught of riot cops, including many on horseback.  The way the whole thing was inevitably spun was pretty impressive PR.

The way in which the MSM is now reporting the clearing out of Occupy Oakland is quite telling.

And typical.

Unfortunately.

Report this

By Wildeye, October 26, 2011 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment

“The Times reports that officials are looking for an alternative location for the
encampment (maybe somewhere in the Mojave Desert?).”

Yes, I’m just waiting for cities to setup free speech zones where you can peacefully
gather and not be heard.

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