G.A. Minutes 10-2-12

G.A. Minutes 10-2-12
The owner decided to not obey the law. On Oct. 1st at approximately 11:30 am (the time that most campers go to the feeding center for lunch) the property manager showed up with 6 DPD officers. The officers order all those in the camp to leave or be arrested for trespassing. Several campers stay awhile but eventually leave. The owners’ workers begin tearing down the camp. One Occupier plants himself in a chair, refusing to leave. The police appear somewhat uncomfortable; they beg the Occupier to leave. One officer takes the Occupiers’ I.D. and gives him a ticket for trespassing, he still won’t leave. Another Occupier arrives; the cops block the gate, refusing to let her in. “Tell this guy to leave,” say the police. “He should do whatever he thinks best” she responds. A few campers come back from lunch, a homeless advocate arrives. People stand outside the gate and a casual conversation begins. “You guys should just leave now and you can take this whole thing to court later,” the lead cop says. “That would be great,” says an Occupier, ”if only the judges weren’t corrupt and more worried about their campaign contributions than they are about administering justice.” “So what do we do about all our stuff?” asks the same Occupier. The one mean cop says, “You all left so it’s abandoned property. We’re going to take it to the dump!” One of the owners’ workers shouts,” We’re going to put everything in the Ballroom. You can come and get it later.” Several police say. “We’re regular folks just like you.” We respond. “Then why are you not on our side. Why are you protecting illegal actions by the wealthy?” The property manager is passing out a piece of paper to the cops. The campers ask for a copy, she refuses. The cops also refuse to let the campers see their copy. The campers already know what the paper is; they’d seen it weeks ago. It’s a few sentences from the definition section of the MN landlord tenant statutes. It actually supports the Occupy case. Suddenly the police grab the Occupier who is refusing to leave. They physically drag him the few feet it takes to get out of the gate. The cops all block the gate with their bodies. “O.K.” says the lead officer,” you guys should leave. You can take everything to court later.” Most camp people leave for the moment.
The next day we begin our regular meeting. We are again homeless. We’re at the Civic Center, just like old times. A reporter from a local newspaper is with us; he asks people to recount the events at the camp and asks, “Do you think the owner was pressured by the City to do this?” We don’t know, if he was, he never said anything to us. We are very disappointed. We had hoped he’d do the right thing. Guess we’ll be going to court.
We begin to discuss how we will move forward. One Occupier will begin the legal stuff; the rest will work on other things. Another Occupier says she has just come from the camp. She found it empty with all the camp property where it was the day before. Meeting adjourned. We have work to do.

G.A. Minutes 9-29-12

G.A. Minutes 9-29-12
Mainly Occupiers again tonight, 2 campers. One camper tells a little about his life. He has many health problems. He is in his early 40s and says he has been homeless since he was 13 years old. We note that most of the homeless people we have met tell stories of sad and abusive childhoods.
We go over legal issues another time. One Occupier has been researching the MN landlord/tenant statutes. She says that being a lawyer must be very boring. She can find nothing that goes against our legal tenant rights, everything is pretty much as stated in the MN landlord/tenant handbook. There is a meeting scheduled with a pro bono attorney and several other attorneys are waiting to hear from us. The Occupier has been exchanging emails with the owner. The owner has been rather rude, his attitude very different from the one he has presented in all the time they have known him. He states he may be willing to obey the law, if he feels like it, that is. We hope he will feel like it as then we can part ways in a peaceful manner. All we can do is wait until Oct. 1st.
We make jokes about our situation and then the musical instruments come out. A banjo and an accordion tonight. We ask if they are playing Klezmer music and are told it kind of like that only it’s dance music. Sounds great. The fire is going strong, we relax.