By BOB NORBERG
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sebastopol is bracing for an Occupy Sebastopol event on Saturday, when demonstrators plan to take over the town plaza.
The event was announced on fliers distributed around the city and at online social media sites.
The City Council is holding a special meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. today to discuss the demonstration and the potential impacts on public safety, health and welfare.
“In other communities there have been issues, and it was the city manager’s desire to get the council input should it be more than a Saturday afternoon gathering,” said Police Chief Jeff Weaver.
He is not expecting violence, but it would be a problem if the demonstrators stayed overnight, which would interfere with the Sunday farmers market when vendors and merchants begin arriving at 2 a.m.
“It is my hope they realize that if they choose to camp overnight, it will be a resource drain on a town that doesn’t have the resources and it would affect our farm market, which is as non-corporate as it gets,” Weaver said.
The fliers indicate that there will be an initial gathering in the Sebastopol plaza at 1 p.m. and a second gathering at 3 p.m.
Councilwoman Kathleen Shaffer, who had attended Occupy Santa Rosa, said she is leaning toward joining in.
“The main thing is I want it to be peaceful and orderly,” Shaffer said. “I understand their viewpoint really well. It is much better to make your point legally and that carries much more weight.”
Occupy Santa Rosa organizers have also planned a day of protests on Saturday.
Events include an 8:30 a.m. picket line in front of Bank of America, Chase, Wells Fargo and Citibank, a 10 a.m. rally at City Hall, and a convergence of the bank picket lines at Wells Fargo at 2 p.m.