WatchSonoma Watch

Occupiers settle in at Santa Rosa City Hall


Occupy Santa Rosa demonstrators put up a tent outside City Hall on Saturday. KENT PORTER/PD

The flashlights of about 40 campers and visitors flickered on the Santa Rosa City Hall lawn Sunday as dusk settled over Occupy Santa Rosa’s new camp.

Protesters cleaned up dishes from a donated dinner, pulled tarps over a table of political fliers and prepared for a second night camping at City Hall.

Sleeping on city property keeps protesters and the public focused on the issues of corporate greed that are central to the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in New York, said Karyll Averill, who has been at City Hall each day since Oct. 15.

“If we go home, we’re afraid we’ll go back to sleep,” said Averill, 34, of Santa Rosa.

Saturday night was the first night the city allowed protesters to sleep on the city property, a major deviation from the city’s initial stance on the protest.

Protester Jesse Brown called Saturday night very cold but successful, with about 100 people participating.

Santa Rosa police “shied away. We’re quite happy about that,” Brown said.

Sgt. Mike Neumanville on Sunday morning said there were no problems during the night at the City Hall camp and officers weren’t planning to be there unless issues arose.

Occupy Santa Rosa has been operating since Oct. 15, following a protest that began Sept. 17 in New York when demonstrators began camping in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park.

The protests that have spread across the country as well as worldwide have centered around inequality, in particular the outsized political influence of large banks and other corporations.

In Santa Rosa, the effort had begun tapering off in part because the city would not allow protesters to sleep during the night at City Hall in violation of city law.

That was leading to exhaustion on the part of many participants, Brown said.

The effort ramped up with a march Saturday and plans to set up a tent encampment, whether the city liked it or not. City officials announced Saturday they would let the tents stay, for now.

City officials stressed that the prohibition against camping remains. However they’ve instructed Police Department officials to hold off arresting protesters who violate the city’s ordinance against camping until the City Council on Tuesday discusses the matter.

The march drew an estimated 600 people downtown. They’re angry about corporate greed and its stranglehold on the country, said protester Dana Bellwether.

“We’re here until the corporations are no longer running the government,” Bellwether said.

She was enjoying waffles and syrup Sunday morning at the City Hall site.

Coffee and waffles, yoga on the lawn, and dozens of people sitting in the sunshine marked a peaceful morning. At least some of the food and coffee had been donated to the cause by individuals and groups such as Food Not Bombs.

Bellwether appreciated the city’s allowing them to spend the night.

“It was wonderful to go to sleep and not be awakened by a nightstick,” she said, referring to incidents at other Occupy protests around the nation.


The Watch Sonoma County Poll

Should the city allow Occupy Santa Rosa protesters to camp at City Hall?
  • Yes (72%, 1,285 Votes)
  • No (28%, 506 Votes)

Total Votes: 1,791
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Take a tour of the Occupy Santa Rosa tent camp

YouTube video uploaded Oct. 31, 2011, by Occupy Santa Rosa protester “psychohuman.”

28 Responses to “Occupiers settle in at Santa Rosa City Hall”

  1. Terry says:

    @Western Cluebird….Where do we turn on the sprinklers? Sure sounds like a good idea, they might need a bath so water the lawn and take a bath. A twofer!

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  2. brown act Jack says:

    Let us be reasonable. Can you name a single country in the world that operates as a true democracy?

    I can’t!

    But there are a lot of countrys that are oligarchys where the country is run by a leader with the support of the people who have the money.

    In 450 bc, Plato examined the systems of government, and proposed that a democracy will operate until a majority starts to spend the money of a minority to placate the needs of the majority.

    this leads to demands for change of the government with threats of overturn, riots, and tanks in the street , and the response is the rise of a savior of the wealthy, the suppression of the minority, and loss of freedoms to all.

    what you are seeing now is the exact demands of the Nazi party in 1920 which was demanding changes to the financial and political systems with the idea of enforcing the planks of the Nazi party, all of which are similar to the USA Progressive party.

    I ask you to examine the planks of the 1920 Nazi party, and find any you disagee with today.

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  3. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Brown act – “If you allow the government to be able to take from one and give to the other you wind up with something like the NAZI government.”
    I’m sorry, but that is just a bunch of bunk. The one has nothing to do with the other.

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  4. Joyce Garcia says:

    @ so called Non Violent

    “Keep your video cams and cameras at the ready to record illegal police activity.”

    Yeah…keep the cameras rolling, this is evidence that will clear the cops from any false claims of brutality. It will show the crowds participation in any real criminal activity.

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  5. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Commonsense – homeless folks can get food at the various kitchens around town, and there is no shortage. The food for OSR is just that – food donated to support a cause. If the homeless were to come and actually become part of the OSR movement, then I bet they would be given food as well. Frankly, though, many of the homeless are mentally ill, or just plain dislike following rules, so they would likely have a hard time following the rules that the OSR folks have set up.

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  6. brown act jack says:

    Some might wonder why I posted the plank of the Nazi party of 1920 without understanding that this was the start of the great progressive movement for social justice.

    You may disagree with that statement, but if you read the points set forth you will find it is the progressive agenda, set forth is some detail.

    that does not make it evil, or bad, just makes it contrary to the basic of a Republic government. Not Republican, but a “Republic” where the government is controlled by the constitution of the government.

    If you allow the government to be able to take from one and give to the other you wind up with something like the NAZI government.

    And then you have the majority able to over-ride the rights of the minority, as the government is in the hands of the majority with no limitations on their power.

    That appears to be what the people involved want to happen, according to their verbiage and signs.

    You will note that they do not want the laws to apply to them, but they want the laws to apply to the police. unless, of course, the police are supporting their position.

    Where they derive their beliefs from I have no idea, but I do know that the prospect of free stuff always brings out enthusiatic crowds, does it not?

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  7. Non Violent says:

    News not mentioned by the Press Democrat:

    Occupy Oakland is set for a general strike TOMORROW and seeks support.

    Tennessee: Occupy movement requests Federal Judge intervention via restraining order against the police. Police response: immediate cease of arrests.

    Keep your video cams and cameras at the ready to record illegal police activity. A Federal Judge has just ruled that police can NOT arrest you for videotaping them. A San Francisco police officer was fired recently for an illegal arrest of a bystander in just such a case. See SF Chron of yesterday.

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  8. Michael Sheehan says:

    @ David Spencer

    Which was my point – the article is highly biased, and so is the PD, at least in this case. A more even-handed perspective might have made this story less of a fuzzy puff-piece.

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  9. Commonsense says:

    Again, speech and our freedom to it, isn’t unlimited and camping isn’t a necessary element of this movement, but it is a way they can further divide people within the community. They were more effective in my opinion when they weren’t seeking any special treatment. And they were obviously protesting just fine without the camping.
    SCOTUS has limited speech frequently, Roth v. U.S. (1957)and Cuffley v. Mickes (1999) are but a very few of the decisions the Court has made that affect free speech.
    County ordinances restricting camping on public property have been in place for lengthy periods of time and are based in public health, safety and liability amd are constitutional. In my opinion there is something wrong with people expecting that the city should allow them the ability to camp, while denying the same ability to others. And it’s disingenious of this group to exclude the already present homeless population from sharing in the donated food (look at the sign expousing sharing in the youtube post, just not with the already transient community that was there long before OSR).
    Everyone has a right to free speech, just not unlimited, and everyone has a right to refuse to share what they have earned or been given, but it’s hyprocritical to be expousing community sharing and responsibility while at the same time refusing to share with those around you.
    OSR has a right to protest in a lawful way (w/o camping), but they don’t have a right to have the rest of us support or back their behavior, which at this point I don’t.

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  10. Jim says:

    Why aren’t these people protesting government waste? The General Manager of SMART is making $246,000+/year for doing nothing for SMART WHILE AT THE SAME TIME collecting $150,000/year from his “retirement” from Marin Public Works.

    Why is the outrage focused on “Wall Street”? That outrageous salary and ridiculous pension puts him in the 1%, where is the outrage??

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  11. Dogs Rule says:

    I don’t know the protesters and I’ve not been to OWS in Santa Rosa so I think calling them names and presuming they’re just a bunch of losers would be as unfair as presuming the commenters on this thread are huge fans of Fox News. It’s easy to be harsh and superior when you drive by in your BMW and call other people in our community losers.

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  12. John bly says:

    1800 businesses granted exemption from Obamacare and 20% are in Pelosi’s district. If the occupiers want to make a constructive difference, how about protesting the current administration forcing this health care program down our throats while granting special favors to their buddies. If it is so great, why would anybody be exempted?

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  13. Lets be Reasonable says:

    Brown act – interesting, but what is your point?

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  14. Graeme Wellington says:

    What about the 14th amendment, i.e, equal protection under the laws?

    Why am I denied the use of a public park? Why do I have to get a permit and pay fees and insurance and so on to stage a public event?

    Your rights don’t exist in isolation. More indications that the occupiers are selfish takers. They want their “rights” but you can’t have yours.

    You can’t pursue happiness. You can’t own property. You’re not entitled to the quiet peace and enjoyment. You’re not entitled to see your tax dollars paying police to protect you.

    YOU don’t get that because WE have free speech rights even when we have nothing to say.

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  15. Joyce Garcia says:

    @Lets be Reasonable

    “Folks who complain about this current little public demonstration would probably have been Tories back during the original Tea Party in 1773.”

    Well,folks who dismiss and/or diminish the Tea Party in 2009 – 2011 are sympathetic to the occupy movement, regardless of the hateful signs, disregard for laws in place, taunting police…and I can go on.

    There is a double standard and in that double standard you will find injustice.

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  16. Western Cluebird says:

    The grass in this picture looks very dry-I think it’s time to turn on the sprinklers.

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  17. ron norton says:

    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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  18. David J. Spencer says:

    Michael Sheehan: When I took Journalism 1A at SRJC in 1960 (I later went on to earn an A.B. in English Literature at U.C., Berkeley) these are some of the aspects of Journalism that I remember:

    1. Unbylined articles are unbiased–facts only, no opinions.

    2. Bylined articles–those with the names of the people who
    wrote the article–can be biased; either the writer’s, the
    paper’s, or both

    Looks like this P.D. article meets that standard.

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  19. Demands says:

    We the residents and taxpayers have a few demands ourselves.

    -Shutup and go home.

    -Get off the public grass and go pitch your tent in the back of your parents house or in the creek.

    -Stop pretending you have a point. You don’t.

    -Get a life or get a job, your choice.

    -Stop costing us police overtime and ruining public property by squatting on it.

    Who do you think you represent? The unemployed, the serious are out looking for a job. Its hard work, something most of you are totally unfamiliar with.

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  20. Frank says:

    OWS campers should be looking out for their future

    Suspect Silvano Garcia, 26, also was carrying several forged Social Security cards.
    or maybe this

    The UN’s cultural organisation has admitted Palestine as a member state with a strong majority, despite US and Israeli protests.

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  21. brown act Jack says:

    Why are you so upset. Are these not grand goals for society?
    Therefore, we demand:

    an end to the power of the financial interests .

    We demand profit sharing in big business.

    We demand a broad extension of care for the aged.

    We demand. . . the greatest possible consideration of small business in the purchases of the national, state, and municipal governments.

    In order to make possible to every capable and industrious [citizen] the attainment of higher education and thus the achievement of a post of leadership, the government must provide an all-around enlargement of our system of public education. . . .

    We demand the education at government expense of gifted children of poor parents. . . .

    The government must undertake the improvement of public health — by protecting mother and child, by prohibiting child labor — by the greatest possible support for all clubs concerned with the physical education of youth.

    Don’t you support those things in your mind at least.

    But where did they come from, really?

    Don’t you know?

    How about here:

    the planks of the National socialist (Nazi) Party of Germany, adopted in Munich on February 24, 1920:

    that doesn’t seem to logical , does it?

    How about this statement?

    Workers of all lands, unite — to smash the rule of English capitalism! You young upward-striving nations of the earth, combine to annihilate the old English dragon who blocks the treasures of the earth and withholds from you the riches of the world.

    -Robert Ley, German Labor Front leader (Hitler’s Trumpka)

    Oh, I suppose the excuses will be made!

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  22. Western Cluebird says:

    Years ago, the city of Santa Cruz did nothing when the “homeless” camped out on the city hall lawn to protest the enforcement of regulations prohibiting them from sleeping wherever they wanted to.
    Now downtown Santa Cruz is crawling with aggressive panhandlers, drug addicts and the mentally ill. When one of them tried to steal my two year old, I decided it was time to leave.
    If you want to destroy every business in the downtown area this is a good way to do it.

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  23. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Joyce – “The evidence for my conclusion, the Tea Party.”
    Folks who complain about this current little public demonstration would probably have been Tories back during the original Tea Party in 1773.

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  24. Anderson says:

    If the OWS crowd wanted to do some good instead of simply creating a mess, they should protest the fact that Obama is using some of the $535 million that taxpayers lost on the Solyndra scandal to pay off billionaire George Kaiser and other investors.

    Obama is paying off his friends while taxpayers lose. This is criminal and in violation of a 2005 energy law. But that seems okay with these crybaby hypocrites.

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  25. Joyce Garcia says:

    Wow! This is like rewarding children for disobeying because it’s easier to prevent the temper tantrum you know is coming because they can’t get their way. And isn’t this the result for the social acceptance of how to discipline children? Reason with them? Telling them to sit and think about it while giving them a snack while they do so?

    WTHheck?!!! Spare the rod, spoil the child. PERIOD! No means no, not I’ll think about it or ask me over and over and till you break me down and no will = yes. Parent’s, teach your children well.

    Here we have the City and law enforcement giving in to a MINORITY of people, who in my opinion have no cohesive message besides blaming the rich for having more than them and being used by the behind the scene people who’s agenda is beyond evil and ANTI AMERICAN and PRO the fundamental change of American values, and turning their backs on their duty to uphold the laws put in place for the greater good of ALL citizens.

    The City of Santa Rosa and the Police Dept should be taking a cue from Oakland’s Mayor for her back and forth handling of the Occupy Oakland movement that ended up in violence. They should be taking a look at the videos in Oakland and elsewhere and see what is really happening….they are taunting police as they are doing their jobs and pushing them to the brink to where they have to take action….once action is taken these FOOLS cry “police brutality”?!

    The media is propping this movement up when they carry sign after sign of intolerance and hate towards who they claim is responsible for the financial downturn of our country, not all are bad, but enough that should and need to get the attention of the media and our local officials. Is this social justice and equality for all? I argue NO, it is NOT. The evidence for my conclusion, the Tea Party.

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  26. Clown Act says:

    I drove by in my BMW yesterday. LMAO. What a bunch of clowns. No life, no brains, nothing positive to add to society so they camp out and do yoga on the lawn while keeping the homeless on the other side of the street so they don’t drink the free coffee or eat the free food. The hypocrisy is the best part of this circus.

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  27. Michael Sheehan says:

    As someone with a master’s degree in science journalism from a major university, I found this puff piece a biased, unprofessional and simply pathetic excuse for a news story. Not one mention of government greed, union influence on elections, any ACORN connections to the OWS movement or any kind of balance whatsoever.

    Not sure where Johnson and Rossmann received their degrees, but did the word “objective” ever come up?

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  28. Non Violent says:

    The people who scream and snivel the loudest against the protestors are the very same people who attempted to HIDE THEIR CRIMINALLY EXCESSIVE PUBLIC PENSIONS FROM PUBLIC SCRUTINY.

    The criminals in government absolutely FEAR that their cozy lifestyle at the expense of minimum wage workers will begin to unravel.

    Be fearful.

    Because we plan to cancel your criminally excessive public pensions. You can look forward to a wobbly, uncertain, unfunded social security like the rest of us.

    And you can look forward to the minimal amount in social security like the rest of us instead of your $100,000 cop and firemen public pensions.

    Say goodbye to public pensions. You criminals are going to lose your ability to steal from us to line your own pockets.

    Government THEFT = criminal theft just the same as bank robbery or rape.

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