G.A. Minutes 8-20-13

G.A. Minutes 8-20-13
There’s only a couple of Occupiers starting out the evening and they are dragging their asses. No wonder as it’s exceptionally hot, 6pm and it’s still in the 90s. We decide not to make a fire; we plunk ourselves down in a couple of chairs and wait for others to arrive. There are many street people around and we casually chat.

After about a half an hour, a few folks arrive. Everyone is dragging; it’s an effort to start a conversation. The older man from the neighborhood is here. We haven’t seen him in several months. He asks about the current status of the synthetic drug situation. We don’t have personal experience in that scene so can only say what we’ve observed. The store that sold the synthetic is still closed and will remain so for at least a month.

A street person who is sitting with us says people are still bringing the stuff from up on The Range but it’s more expensive and making the trip is dangerous. The older man says we have to find a way to keep people from using that stuff. An Occupier says, “Prohibition never works. People are smoking synthetic because marijuana has been made illegal. People take intoxicating substances for many reasons. If you disallow one substance they will go to another. Drug users may have mental health issues, poverty, boredom, loneliness, the stress of living in this dog eat dog world. The problem is much deeper the “Just Say No”. The older man says, “Are you saying people need to have more and better options than just taking drugs”? We all say, “Yes”.

The man asks what we have been up to and we tell him about the G-Tac mine, the Polymet mine, the Alberta Clipper pipeline and (just recently discovered) the Sandpiper pipeline. We also talk about our work with Idle No More and our 2 friends running for City offices.

We’re pleased to announce that both of our homeless Occupiers are no longer homeless. Each has finally been given a place in public housing. One of them waited for 18 months to be admitted, the other about 4 months. Hopefully, the Tea Party won’t force anymore housing cutbacks and they’ll be able to get their lives together again.
The president of our local NAACP stops by for a visit. He doesn’t have much to say, just small talk and off he goes. We toned down our radical ideas for a moment as he doesn’t like that sort of thing and offending him would serve no purpose.

A squad car pulls up and out pops the same officer who came to save the obnoxious guy from getting killed outside of our meeting a few weeks ago. He just wants to make sure we understand that he is our friend and a very nice guy. He has a piece of paper he wants to show us. The paper says according to several ordinances we haven’t heard of, we can’t have a fire at the Memorial. Didn’t we already go through this ordeal twice in the last year?

When the cop arrives, many of the street people leave. But not all of them. This is surprising. Some stay where they are, some come closer to our circle. Then 3 or 4 other cops arrive casually, one by one. Maybe they think that since last spring we’ve organized the street people into an army and now we’re going to kill Officer Friendly and take over………. The Town? The World? Fortunately, it hadn’t even occurred to us to do such a thing. Highly impractical. Some of the Occupiers want to converse with the officers, other Occupiers don’t think that’s such a good idea, they just want the DPD to leave. The talkers win, so they talk to the officers until the officers say they are leaving.
It’s dark now but we have to stay a while so as to appear not to be run off by the police. It’s cooler and many are coming to smudge. An Occupier says, “Great. We have so many important things to do and now we have to deal with this crap again”. We know the fire is important as it will provide much needed warmth during the fall season. After staying the appropriate amount of time, we head out to look up city ordinances again.