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Sebastopol calls for community meeting with Occupy protesters

By SAM SCOTT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Sebastopol City Council will hold a special meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday to discuss a cluster of protesters camping in the city’s plaza.

On Saturday upwards of 100 people convened downtown for Occupy Sebastopol, the latest local manifestation of the nationwide protest movement.

Since then a half-dozen demonstrators have remained at night, camping in tents despite a city ordinance banning overnight stays in parks without a permit.

So far Sebastopol officials have been hands-off in their response, refraining from issuing citations and opting to keep the plaza bathrooms open at all hours.

But Mayor Guy Wilson said the city needs a longer-term approach. He’s invited all parties, ranging from the protesters to business people, to attend Wednesday’s meeting.

“We are a small town and we have a small plaza,” he said. “We literally do not have the size to handle an occupation.”

The protesters say they’ll be there. They have been eager to demonstrate they are good neighbors, working to clean up the plaza and bathroom.

“We want to support the community,” said Tim Ryan, a student, dishwasher and line cook who said he’s against the country’s devolution from democracy to “corporate-ocracy.” “We really want to open a dialogue.”

The council convened a similar meeting last week after finding fliers calling for the protest. No protesters attended, leaving officials guessing as to their intentions.

Now, several days after the establishment of the camp, city officials have a better sense of the nature of the protest, Sebastopol Police Chief Jeff Weaver said, though he added the city’s information is limited.

“We still have had no one contact the city directly or indirectly to identify themselves as the leader or as part of a leadership team or to seek a permit,” he said. “We still don’t know if they’re leaving Saturday or Saturday in 2013.”

Exactly how long the protesters plan to stay hasn’t been determined yet, though few people seem to mind their presence, Ryan said. So far they’ve received mostly positive feedback from passersby, he said.





6 Responses to “Sebastopol calls for community meeting with Occupy protesters”

  1. Western Cluebird says:

    Council directs City manager to instruct Police Chief to put enforcement in abeyance (ignore the law) for this special group.
    Council members repeatedly state sympathetic feelings with occupy message.

    City could be held liable for any injuries incurred by Invaders or residents, due to restricting enforcement of the law.

    Council members plead with mob to apply for special use permit. Fee for permit would normally be $350.00 per day for private parties, $65.00 per day for non profit.No one seems to expect that it will materialize.
    City manager explains that fee for waiver is generally not granted where there will be demands on city services.

    John Jenkel loudly accuses Larry Robinson and Kathleen Schaeffer of allowing occupation.

    Some comments from invaders:

    Chris: “My tongue is thick so you may not be able to understand me.” If you are going to try to stop us “we will have to use other means”.

    Anna, senior citizen :(giggling)”Are the police going to hassle us”?

    Sheppard: “I’m thinking of taking a year off to travel to different occupy sites”.

    Anonymous: “Yes it’s breaking the law, but there are many grey areas in the law”.

    Ross:” I heard (police) Chief Weaver say he supports free speech- I believe he supports free speech from a police perspective…”

    Linda: “I admit I came into town for a shrink appointment. I’m one of those people that is kind of crazy. I’ve had some mental health issues “.

    Eight year old child: “Occupy means to go higher”. (Isn’t this school time?)

    Andrew: “We are on the forefront of a new system, a revolution”.

    The resourceful fashion award goes to the man with a “taste of the wild” plastic dog food bag as a shirt and a dog collar around his neck who claims to be a recluse and walked all the way from Burnside rd.

    In a surprise twist, Mayor Wilson asks if occupation is sustainable and attempts to stand on principle concerning the welfare of all of the Sebastopol community, not just occupiers.

    Council to follow the lead of hapless Santa Rosa Council and drag out their decision until Tuesday, hoping invaders will apply for a permit.

    Occupiers wave fingers in unison like creepy anemones in a trancelike state, signaling agreement (called twinkles) with each other.
    Has all the hallmarks of a cult following, without the persuasiveness or charm.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  2. Lenny says:

    I agree in principle, something is wrong with the gov’t. If they are not escorted out of town, this will prove something IS wrong with gov’t. I like the idea of not sending our kids to school, nor doing business in town. After living all these years we know what talks and walks. A dozen people are going to stop the flow in this town? Hope not!

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. bats555 says:

    Why they occupy, here’s the latest. When will it stop!!!

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/francinemckenna/2011/11/09/mf-global-assets-have-left-the-building-how-when-where/2/

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-rt-us-mfglobal-genslertre7a4096-20111104,0,6200594.story

    Senator Grassley called on Gary Gensler (Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission) to recuse himself of matter related to MF GLobal. Why, Gary Gensler and Jon Corzine, who recently resigned as MF Global’s chief executive, worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc at the same time and held prominent positions. They both left the investment bank in the late 1990s.
    They cannot ask the Treasury to do the investigation as Geitner is another ex Goldman Sach’s executive. Why are there so many ex Goldman Sach’s employee’s as head of commissions and even the treasury. Goldman Sach’s is one of the major reasons we are in the economic mess!!!

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  4. Western Cluebird says:

    “So far Sebastopol officials have been hands-off in their response, refraining from issuing citations and opting to keep the plaza bathrooms open at all hours”

    Exactly why are we catering to these invaders who have no respect for the rule of law or consideration of the farmers market sellers or patrons?
    They are not Sebastopol residents- they came here from the Santa Rosa City Hall and were boasting about how easy it was to take over our town and how many tents they now have in Santa Rosa.
    Do you know who is supporting these mobs financially and otherwise?
    Have you seen the progression of crime and chaos in other occupied sites?

    “Exactly how long the protesters plan to stay hasn’t been determined yet, though few people seem to mind their presence, Ryan said. So far they’ve received mostly positive feedback from passersby, he said.”
    The business owners I spoke to were not “mostly positive” about the invasion of our downtown square by squatters. Now they must worry about the safety as well as the viability of their businesses from the lawless hoard camping nearby.
    Maybe the local panhandlers or homeless population approve of them.
    Any shopkeeper in their right mind knows that this will be really bad for business, especially coming into the holiday season.
    Do the invaders care? NO!
    Does the City Council care?

    In Santa Cruz, it seemed like no big deal that the homeless population set up camp at City Hall to protest camping regulations enforcement.
    Within ten years, the city of Santa Cruz was crawling with the deranged, drug addicted and dangerous and the business owners and residents had to put up with the protected professional homeless passed out in doorways and swearing at you or worse if you didn’t give them money.
    We are now seeing the degradation of our cities in full bloom, and the City Councils seem to be enabling the lawless mobs, even catering to them.

    The leaders or organizers of these mobs refuse to identify themselves or state their purpose- how do I know that my child is safe in school nearby, or other children that walk home from school? Should I ignore my intuition when I see a young student among the mob looking confused and surrounded?
    Maybe we should take our kids out of school until the mob decides it is ready to vacate our town.
    This has created a very unstable and dangerous situation, even if the Council does not recognize it yet, or doesn’t want to acknowledge it.
    Council members, you gave them an inch, then a mile, and your codependence will be partly responsible for whatever harm they bring to our businesses or residents.
    They begin their “occupation” in a fairly benign manner, and then get belligerent when any official dares to try to impose any laws that they don’t wish to comply with, or when they just want more attention.
    If my dog digs out of a fenced yard, it is a misdemeanor and I have to pay a heavy fine, but these people do whatever they want to with no consequences!
    Where is the fairness in that?
    I see a police officer with his radar gun a block away waiting for someone to exceed the speed limit while the mob settles in to camp wherever they want to, and disrupt commerce.

    I did not leave a town I saw destroyed to swap it for another one where the radical degenerates have more rights and protections than taxpaying residents.
    The tents and trashy cardboard signs littering the town square are the worst manifestations of blight that I have seen. Why waste money on redevelopment if you are going to allow squatters to take over?
    Are we going to hold our tree lighting ceremony around the new tent city or will we ask the occupiers if it is O.K. with them to use our town square?
    Council members-
    Close and lock the bathroom at night-we don’t want to encourage anyone with drug addictions to use it in comfort and privacy all night long, do we?
    Remove the tents and anyone sleeping in the town square, and do the job you were elected to do.
    Don’t keep wringing your hands and worrying about offending the mob-they certainly have no respect for or consideration of you or anyone else in our town!
    Delaying the inevitable will only make it worse.

    Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

  5. Greg Karraker says:

    Which Council member has been assigned to bring the S’mores?

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  6. Comments From The Street says:

    The Sebastopol City Council waffles and continues to let the trolls to camp in at the plaza. They want the trolls to tell them what to do.

    Sorry to say the city council was elected to enforce the city ordinances and regulations and the council took an oath to uphold the law.

    The city council is suppose to be in charge, not the other way round.

    Get on with it and throw the protesters off the plaza. Let them protest on the street corner with their signs and masks.

    Do the job you were elected to do and enforce the laws of Sebastopol and California.

    Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

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