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Sebastopol council waits for Occupy action

By SAM SCOTT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Sebastopol City Council met Thursday to discuss how to respond to protesters if they begin camping in the town’s plaza this weekend.

City officials have been left guessing about the intent of Occupy Sebastopol organizers since finding fliers earlier this week calling for protesters to convene at the plaza Saturday with signs, food and tents.

The fliers — along with similar posts online — have raised worries of an encampment developing similar to Occupy Santa Rosa, in a central part of the city’s downtown.

“No one has stepped up from the Occupy Sebastopol movement so we don’t have direct information,” Mayor Guy Wilson said. “There’s a lot of speculation.”

So far protesters in Sonoma County have appeared only in Santa Rosa and Petaluma.

Camping in Sebastopol’s downtown could cause an immediate conflict with the Farmers Market, which begins setting up in the plaza in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Others on the council said a prolonged protest could affect business and attract illegal behavior.

Councilman Patrick Slayter said he’d been at Santa Rosa City Hall on business earlier Thursday and noted signs of drug use among some protesters camped there.

“I saw not just a little bit of illicit drug use going on,” he said. “I worry about what the movement is becoming.”

Council members discussed how to respond if campers arrive, including a suggestion to offer them alternative sites to stay; that idea was shot down for liability reasons.

Camping in city parks, including the plaza, is against Sebastopol ordinances, but council members shied away from endorsing a crackdown.

“I think we ensure a good turnout if we say they can’t occupy the plaza,” said Michael Kyes, the city’s vice mayor, adding he thought protesters intent on causing disruption would otherwise be drawn to protests like Occupy Oakland.

“I don’t think we need to do anything to provoke anything,” he said.

Ultimately, council members opted for a wait-and-see approach, saying they trusted the city’s Police Department to respond appropriately.

Police Chief Jeff Weaver said officers would respond with citations and arrests only as a last resort if problems such as a conflict with the Farmers Market could not be dealt with in other ways.





10 Responses to “Sebastopol council waits for Occupy action”

  1. Western Cluebird says:

    It’s pathetic to see the town square littered with the invaders and their cardboard signs and tents.
    Do they care that the farmers market “occupies” that space every Sunday to sell the produce that they WORK to grow?
    No- it’s all about them and their cause.
    The council members should have known that no amount of reasoning with them would work.

    How do I know that my kids are safe at school with these belligerent squatters nearby?

    I will hold Sebastopol city council members accountable when these thugs start showing their true colors as they have in every other city they have disgraced with their presence.

    I left a town I loved and lived in for twenty five years due to the aggressive panhandlers, drug addicts, mentally ill and “homeless” taking over first the City Hall lawn, then the rest of the town. When one of them tried to steal my two year old from me, that was the last straw. The police could not keep up with it, and there was no consequence for the attempted kidnapping.
    This is a replay of what happened to Santa Cruz-believe me, you won’t like the results, especially if you are a business owner.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  2. Sebastopol Citizen says:

    Dear Occupy Fools

    The hard working tax paying citizens of Sebastopol don’t want you here. There is no reason for you to dirty up our city, no reason to protest our businesses, no reason for you to prevent anyone from getting to work, no reason for you to even be here squatting on our property, and violating our laws. The corporate offices are elsewhere, the state capitol is in Sacramento, the federal capitol in in Washington D.C and Wall Street is in New York City. Take your foolishness there and leave us alone. You are not wanted here. Go home and smoke your pot, go hitch a ride to harass some politician, but please just GO AWAY!

    and to you spineless city council members, you lost the legitimacy to govern when you allowed these degenerates to violate established legal ordinances. You obviously do not represent the decent hardworking citizens of this community! Come election time I hope you go away too!

    Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  3. john Lennon says:

    Take off the Fawkes masks. You people are not Anonymous. Anonymous thinks you people are crazy

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  4. Another blight says:

    So the OSR is non-violent and about as insightfull and prodictive as the same. They are inert. Inconsequensial. Nothing. Now a few are jumping on the “move your money” band wagon. The desicion to move $4.5 Bil came from B of A wanting to charge $5 for debit transations. It has squat to do with the occupiers. What is next? Will they claim victory for the sun rising in the East?

    I drive past the rotting carcass of a deer every day. It is there, smelling, rotting, not doing anything… That is what is it like to drive by the occupiers… They do nothing but sit and smell… and they do nothing.

    As for suggestions that spraying them with pepper spray is illegal? Hardly… Pepper spray is the first step in force short of laying hands on a person. Tell them to move, if they don’t, spray them… It is more humane than the laying of hands, which might injure someone. Time to move the useless carcass.

    Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  5. Just A Thought says:

    When will the Sebastopol council hang out the white sheets of surrender? Are they baking up those “special” cookies for the disorderly mob to enjoy on their march to the plaza?

    Will the mayor lead the march? Will the Police Chief ask the mob to assemble somewhere else, preferably in Santa Rosa?

    Will Sebastopol actually be occupied? What to do, what to do? Best course of action, do nothing and maybe the whole thing will blow over.

    The mob may have other ideas.

    Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  6. Grapevines says:

    So the natural fruit and fiber folks in Sebastopol will get into their Volvo’s and drive down to make sure that they are not trying to use the internet. This as you know will upset the natural balance in nature with those who are “sensitive” to the radiation cause by such pursuits.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 3

  7. STOP Occupy Santa Rosa says:

    Hopefully the police and city council will stop the Santa Rosa trouble makers before the rest of the county turns into Oakland.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/STOP-Occupy-Santa-Rosa/280047732034853

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 7

  8. Take The Bull By The Horns says:

    A city government or any government that reacts out of fear is lost. The city council was elected to ensure basic police services are provided which includes protecting public and private property, businesses and persons within the city.

    A council that is so easily imtimidated should resign and hang out at Starbucks discussing the injustices in the world.

    The Sebastopol city council obviously supports the occupiers objectives and wishes them well. But they were elected to do a job, not run at the first sign someone might put up a sign or a tent.

    Best advice, do the job you were elected to do or let some else do it who will not operate in fear.

    Thumb up 25 Thumb down 7

  9. Non Violent says:

    WARNING TO OWS PROTESTERS:

    The City of Santa Rosa along with other County bureaucrats only agreed to “negotiate” as a ploy to IDENTIFY the local leaders of the movement.

    That word circulating among Law Enforcement circles.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 23

  10. Non Violent says:

    The criminal bureaucrats fear the loss of their cozy political lifestyle and their criminally excessive public pensions.

    Why else are they worried ?

    Occupy Santa Rosa has not done anything violent to cause worry.

    VIDEO tape all OWS events. Record criminal acts by police such as illegal pepper spraying, clubbing, kicking, or punching and shoving of protestors.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 25

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