The City Council and the Mayor have endorsed Occupy LA and are allowing OLA to camp in the park at City Hall based on the protesters Constitutional Rights to Free Speech and Assembly, which are superior to local ordinances. They have asked the LAPD to respect the City Council Resolution and its intent.
This situation is all well and good as far as it goes. However, a large proportion of the campers at City Hall are NOT affiliated in any way with OLA. Some are violent hard-drug users and/or mentally ill, some are merely homeless (some OLA people are also homeless, but that's not the point), others just wandered in because it looked like a party and really have not a clue about what OLA is or what the Movement's aims are. None of the non-OLA campers in any way further OLA's objectives. They are not protesters and lay no claim to Free Speech/Assembly Rights. Their presence and behavior are often the basis for complaints from the public, unfairly directed at OLA.
The situation has become intolerable. The camp is an increasingly dangerous place for the OLA protesters. Many people who would be valuable to OLA feel they cannot join the encampment because of the behavior of the non-OLA campers, others, mostly women, are leaving; a tragic loss of human resources. Scarce material resources and space are also lost. Donors are put-off. OLA becomes less and less effective at furthering the aims of the Movement because too much time is spent trying to cope with the numbers and/or problems of the non-OLA campers. Solidarity and espirit seem lost to the OLA campers because they are so diluted by extraneous people in their midst. I imagine it would be very different if the protesters could eat dinner together around the south steps and discuss plans rather than quickly retreating with their plates to the relative safety and sanctuary of their tents.
I am very sympathetic to the victims of homelessness, drug-addiction and mental illness, however, I feel that OLA must pick its battles. We either further the larger aims of the Movement to bring our society, economy and environment back into balance by breaking the hold the global elites have over the 99% or we abandon that and administer an amateur outdoor homeless shelter for the indigent, drug-addicted and mentally ill. OLA cannot do both. The success of the Movement would ensure that social services would cover all the needs of society's most vulnerable. I feel that is the best way for OLA to help everyone.
I do not know why the City Council and Mayor do nothing about non-OLA campers, perhaps the hope is that OLA will be destroyed by the situation, as is a distinct possibility (although perhaps that is uncharitable of me). If this is the situation I have to admit using scary street people is a very effective weapon against OLA (and the poor neighbors by default). This leaves OLA is in the unenviable position of having a sanctioned place for their encampment without any control over any and all who piggyback in for whatever reason.
I am asking that OLA request that the City Council and Mayor immediately make real efforts to find appropriate places for the non-OLA campers who have filtered into the park within the next 10 days to relieve OLA of a burden they are no way qualified to shoulder. The Mayor says he is looking for somewhere for OLA to relocate. If he had somewhere in mind perhaps he should utilize it to immediately start a professional outdoor homeless mission that welcomes all comers and leave OLA in place to further their protest.