11/23/11 Notes City Liaison Meeting
Same city officials, matt on point
Introductions – OLA intros themselves [8 new people] 6 from yesterday, Jim Lafferty
Matt Szabo – deputy mayor, Nieves, Perez
Matt – just came from meeting w/ boss, clear difficulties. We cannot refer to these as negotiations. This is a new situation. We’re trying to work together to best manage this for the city. We are working to secure your first amendment rights, but acknowledge that city hall park is an unsustainable situation
The decision-making and governing process is cumbersome
The mayor WILL CLOSE THE PARK NEXT WEEK
I do not know when that will be, but you will receive notice
The mayor will announce today that we will be making available at least 50, but as many will be required, homeless shelter beds
We’ll continue to be as open and honest as we can possibly be
Difficulty: we wanted to move this forward in a productive way… the issue of whether or not the park is open or closed is NOT A NEGOTIATION
The city has a right to close the park
Some would argue there is a responsibility to enforce the closing
All the issues we’ve been discussing are still on the table, but the closing of the park WILL HAPPEN
OLA – this is almost tantamount to a declaration of war
I understand where you’re coming from, but a hard and fast deadline does not allow for a process where we can really discuss this
THIS IS THE CITY’S FAULT
We will remain nonviolent
Talked w/ SEIU, their message is that an injury to OLA is an injury to SEIU
If something happens to us, something will happen in the streets
We appreciate that the mayor will open up 100 beds
I see no reason to continue this meeting
I would suggest having another dialogue on Monday… let’s cool off, because frankly I’m upset
I don’t like to discuss with a gun to my head
I will recommend we walk out the door when lafferty is done speaking
Matt – I agree that negotiating w/ a ‘gun to your head’ is not the best situation
The issue of the park closure was always happening, never a negotiating point
Lafferty – the gun to the head statement is quite accurate
Maybe you were snookered too, maybe your mind was changed, maybe you were duped
We all know for a FACT that while a perfect resolution may not be possible, but we sat down to TRY
From the very beginning it was made clear that this extraordinary democratic process of the GA and OLA CAN MAKE DECISIONS, can make agreements if given time
No matter what the group decides, it would never be unanimous
We were having discussions which were heading in the right direction, that while not perfect, were far better than the situation we now face
Yesterday 2 things happened
They were taken OFF the table as things that could be delivered in a timely way
We’ve lost the opportunity to do something that NO OTHER CITY has done, and it has come because there’s an arbitrary deadline
WHY IS THERE SUDDENLY A RUSH?
Why is Monday more important than the process of finding a resolution?
I can’t get my mind around it!
You can talk about sanitation, dope, dead grass, etc on the media
But WE ALL KNOW, THE 500 PEOPLE ALL KNOW, THAT IT IS ALL BULLSHIT
Im not angry with you, matt, I have a hunch you’re as disappointed with all of us
There is NO HUMAN, MORAL, ETHICAL REASON TO RUSH TO AN END GAME
NOW HARM WILL BE DONE
I have things to do for the occupation far more critical than this meeting
The good faith offer WAS IN WRITING
Office space, homeless shelters offers are offensive
The larger social issues that require a visible presence is integral to continue a dialogue
Real concerns – LET’S ADDRESS THEM!!
Sanitation, crime, food, etc
GA participation? We keep celebrities safe when they show up, why can’t reps from city come down?????
This is an experiment in democracy that we have not seen
This is the public square
Don’t address the bigger issues of the movement
We will not leave
LAPD – what would you like us to discuss at the GA?
Security, public safety issues, food
Open a dialogue!
Many people would like to make a political statement by making the city remove us
Clarification – what does it mean to be removed?
First 2 weeks, we moved to the sidewalk
Will the park be shut down 24hrs? or just regular operating hours?
Matt – at some point, the park will be closed
LAPD – sleeping on sidewalks is not allowed only in skid row
We had facilitated the movement earlier with tents on sidewalks
We’ll give you this much in terms of good faith, day/night tent moving
OLA – clarification
Equal protection under the law re: skid row tents, it ALSO APPLIES TO US
I think its very disingenuous to say that
Let’s bring it back to the reasons we’re here in the first place
We’re disgruntled with the SYSTEM, not just to camp out
The issues we brought to the city HAVE NOT BEEN ADDRESSED
WHEN WILL YOU ADDRESS THESE ISSUES?
We will leave when the city answers our grievances!
There has been nothing from the city to address those grievances!
Spoke w/ Alarcon, said “OLA is too general, we don’t know what you’re asking. [later] oh you’re too specific, we can’t answer that.
“im a politician, what do you expect?”
WHEN WILL THAT PROCESS of addressing our issues really begin????????
Mark giving proposal to mayor about budget crisis [25billion budget crisis/ending homelessness]
We have 1.5 million ppl in this state that are homeless. The state saves 20,000 EVERY YEAR PER PERSON when implementing this program
When will we have these types of discussions?
Matt – im happy to take whatever you have
The purpose of my presence here is not to debate policy
My only mission is to protect your first amendment right, that’s it
Think about this: the current situation at OLA is not sustainable
We have no interest in preventing 1st amendment rights, but there are limits with regards to space
Mayor wholeheartedly supports our 1st amendment rights
OLA – what is the exact date?
Matt – it is SOME TIME NEXT WEEK, you will receive notice, I don’t know
Yes, the reality is that I would get more work done w/ own space
The reality is that our sacrifice to the cause is occupying
We must have our grievances addressed? How can we do that?
Matt – OLA has already played a major role in driving legislation through city hall
We’re trying to deal with this in the most responsible way possible
Sometimes we turn out to be the enemy when we can’t find a perfect solution
Forming 501c3 is a good idea
The fact that the park is closing doesn’t change our dialogue
OLA – WHAT EXACTLY IS UNSUSTAINABLE? SPECIFICALLY?
Is it unsustainable POLITICALLY? Or logistically?
Would a rep from each of you be willing to address the GA in terms of what you think is unsustainable?
The city is not offering us another public space
Social movements are not pushed forward radically with 501c3s
Bodies on the street cause real change
Your responses are not helpful to our political movement
Re: addressing the GA
You can go to west steps for rallies
As to where you move, I can’t give you that answer
Park will be closed
OLA – what is unsustainable?
LAPD – the park is being closed
Your presence at city hall is not sustainable
The park will be closed, you have to leave
We deal with violation of LAW, that’s it
Most reasonable people would understand that what is going on down there is not sustainable
You don’t have the right by yourselves to occupy forever a public park
The public does not come through there every day as they have before
It is not a place that can be taken by what group for one cause
You’re prohibiting others from using public space
My boss has been fighting on your side [aclu] his entire career, but he does have the job of protecting public assets for the public
You’re obviously closing the park to get us out
Personally, I can empathize with the city in sustainability
BUT any partnership we were going to have is not out the door b/c of the short deadline
These kinds of hurdles and hoops ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM OF WHY WE’RE PROTESTING
From enforcement perspective, its not the message, it is more the LAW and PRECEDENT
If national socialist party wants to come in, they would have precedent from OLA to stay
Farmers market can’t operate
You’re impacting their ability to do business
OLA – IS THERE A MIDDLE GROUND?
LAPD – no, the entire park will be closed
OLA – question towards the policy-makers, is there a middle-ground
Matt – we’re going to do what we’re going to do
The park will close next week
OLA – will there be actions to try and prevent the GA itself?
Will there be trouble around assembling or will it be tents only
LAPD – every assembly must be within the law
We have done what we have done to have a peaceful, harmonious relationship
I would hope we continue the nonviolence tradition and open-dialogue
Matt – we’re not trying to hide anything, we will be as open and honest as to the closing of the park as we can
LAPD – you will see an increased presence in the coming days
Handing out flyers, etc
Just because you see an increase in officers, doesn’t mean we’re coming for a raid
The use of force will be determined by the actions in the camp
I’m not looking to have Oakland
But I don’t want officers shot with paint, fire extinguishers, etc
OLA – is the city prepared in any way to facilitate OPEN PUBLIC SPACE?
How long will the park be closed?
Matt – the park will be closed for rehab and extended period of time
OLA – direct question for matt: closing park for rehab
One of the points is that we participate in the redesign of the park
Matt – we’re completely open to having OLA help rehab park
We will continue to work with you
The park is a separate issue