December 17, 2011

Notes from the December 17, 2011 Occupy Duluth General Assembly
Attendance: 21 people (including a woman from Occupy Port Wing – yay!)
Facilitator: Joel K
Note Taker: Adam R
1. Relationship With the Labor Movement: At our last General Assembly we wrote a brief statement saying that we hope that we can continue to work with the Duluth labor movement on issues where we have agreement, despite their statement disassociating themselves from us due to our disagreement over the Polymet mine.  The Labor World newspaper has been sent out statement, but the next issue doesn’t come out until Jan. 11.
2. Occupy UMD: A successful event was held at the Univ. of MN-Duluth this past Thursday.  Several speakers from Occupy Duluth spoke to an audience of a few dozen people.  A lot of folks filtered through the event, which was held at the Kirby Student Lounge, during the course of the evening.  Kudos to Occupy UMD!
3. County Board Meeting in Ely: The St. Louis County Board is considering passing a resolution in support of non-ferrous mining.  We had a lot of people at a public hearing at the County Courthouse in Duluth this past Tuesday.  This NEXT Tuesday there is going to be another hearing in Ely.  The hearing starts at 9:30am and will run most of the day.  A couple of car caravans will be going to this from Duluth.  One is headed up at Anna C. and will be leaving Duluth between 6 and 6:30am. You can contact her at annagcook [at] gmail.com, but please do so at least 36 hours before the event.  Another one is being organized by Jesse P and Vern S.  You can contact Vern at (218) 591-5722 or Jesse at jp0260245 [at] gmail.com.  It was also suggested that folks bring some signs, so that if there are any breaks during the hearing a picket can be held outside the Courthouse.
4. Duluth Planning Commission: The Duluth Planning Commission is considering some re-zoning proposals for downtown Duluth.  There is some friction between some of the business interests and community activists over maintaining both a working and a living environment downtown.  There is going to be a Planning Commission meeting in January to discuss the matter.  For more info, or to get involved, contact Henry B at (218) 213-1256.
5. Home Foreclosures: The Foreclosure Working Group, which has renamed itself “Project Save Our Homes”, outlined its updated plan for how to hopefully save the homes of two women in the Twin Ports facing foreclosure.  One of the women, “AnnaJoe”, is facing a sheriff’s sale on Jan. 19.  Starting immediately we will be launching a petition drive to save her home.  Between now and Jan. 5 we plan on collecting as many signatures as possible, and then send them, along with a letter from our attorney, to the holder of her mortgage.  There is some hope that the holder of her mortgage may be amenable to re-negotiating the terms of her mortgage, so we’re hoping with a show of community support, we can make that a reality.  Folks interested in petitioning in her neighborhood should gather at 1pm on Sunday (Dec. 18) at the bike shop at the corner of 7th Ave. E. & 8th St.  If you want a petition emailed to you to circulate, email Donna H at howard.donna.e [at] gmail.com.
The group is also planning on holding a broadly endorsed community teach-in on foreclosures tentatively scheduled for Feb. 2 that will be titled “SAVE OUR HOMES: Stopping Foreclosures in the Northland”.  It’ll consist of a panel of people facing foreclosure, as well as legal and activist voices.  A working group is working on nailing down the details.  To help with getting endorsement, lining up speakers, logistics, publicity, etc. contact Adam R at wainosunrise [at] yahoo.com
The next meeting of Project Save Our Homes will be on Jan. 5 at 7pm at the UCC Peace Church.
6. Internet & Facebook:  It was reported that Occupy Duluth’s facebook pages keep getting hacked into, and the content on them erased.  After a wide ranging discussion on what to do about this it was decided to create two facebook groups – one that only a select few administrators can post notices to, and another that would be a private discussion group that only people known to the group could join.  It was also decided to encourage Dennis L to develop a proposal for a new website.  In the meantime, folks are urged to look for announcements on the Occupy Twin Ports facebook fan page and the www.occupyduluth.org website.
7. Camp Phone: The group voted to give Jesse P. $50 to cover another month for the group’s camp phone.
8. Homeless Survey: Loaves & Fishes and CHUM are planning on doing a teach-in in the first week of January, after which they want teams to go out and try to locate homeless people who are sleeping outside.  The goal is to get a sense of how many people are sleeping outside this winter, and to try to help them.  More info will be announced on this project in the future.  For more info contact Joel K at duluthcatholicworker [at] gmail.com
9. Next Meeting: Our next General Assembly will be on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7pm at the Duluth City Hall (with a back-up location being the skywalk where it meets the DECC if the City Hall proves unavailable).  Folks are urged to come up with ideas for future meeting venues to be discussed at this next meeting.
ANNOUNCEMENTS:
-Occupy Duluth’s petty cash has been transferred from Drake to Scot B.
-Tyler N announced that he will be looking at some possible office space for the group on Monday, and will have more to report at the next meeting.
-Jesse P announced that the “storage space” is on the verge of being ready to be opened up.  Contact him if you can help fix it up and get it ready.
– Jennifer C announced her wish to jump start doing food service again, and to perhaps set up a food truck or cart that could be used to provide free food to folks in the community.  She’d like there to be a team to work on this; if you’re interested you can contact her at JLC3892 [at] gmail.com.
-Justin A announced that there will be an animal rights group starting up at UMD next semester.  He also asked for and received reimbursement for printing costs associated with last week’s Occupy UMD event.