casual report on a productive General Assembly Tuesday April 3rd 2012

A good productive meeting on a perfect evening in the courtyard. We were informal and relaxed, friends among friends. I find it astounding that only five months ago I didn’t know any of them. (Well ok I knew Kathy………) Now we have worked together, shared food and water and living space, had discussions and disagreements, worked through it and found ways to move forward. This is great. I am amazed and delighted to find myself in a group of people who can agree to disagree and yet continue to move forward on common goals.

I didn’t take any notes. I don’t know why. I felt restless and spent most of the meeting pacing the courtyard. It was not nervous or bored pacing. I sense a rising excitement, a belief in people and ideas, a springing up of hope and expectation. This isn’t just the spring of another year. This is the rising up of human energies focused on change.

I don’t remember everything that was discussed. It was a really really free market of ideas……you bring your own stuff (ideas) and offer them to others. Others bring their own ideas, and share with you. You get to pick and choose, keep the ideas that are useful to you, take away new visions of the future….or of the next week anyway.

The discussion orbited around the courtyard like a thousand beeping sputniks, whirring out into the unknown and circling back again with new information. We talked about how to improve the courtyard, what we can do with the building, and how to respond to the few thick heads who continue to snipe and harass us from their civil service positions at city hall.

Some of our members are trying to figure out what exactly the city wants, in terms of permits and permissions, to continue the work we have started here. You may know that we had a visit last Friday from a few people dressed in official looking costumes who told us we can’t continue to work on improving the building. They presented no identification, no court documents, no written directives. They relied on intimidation to try to get us to comply with their demands. “You cannot be here,” they said, something like the boy who didn’t believe in Santa Claus. Too late. We are here. And guess what? We don’t believe in you either.

Take a drive by the corner of First Street North and Second Avenue West. You see that burned out building that used to be The Kozy Bar before some mysterious arsonist burned it down? People have been complaining about that dilapidated neighborhood for years, decades. What has the city done to clean up the mess? Nothing. Their only solution is to bulldoze the neighborhood and give away tax breaks, permits, permissions, and their sycophant assistance to developers who like to build more luxury hotels and multimillion dollar condominium towers. Never mind that the ones they built in the last decade of irrational exuberance are still standing, nearby and empty.

Our plan? Gardens and rain barrels. Solar and wind power projects on the roof. Festivals of new life in the courtyard. A neighborhood social center to promote communication and understanding.

Our only agenda is to build a better life in our community, neighborhood, and city. What agenda does the city have for the corner of 1st St N. and 2nd Ave West?