G.A. Minutes 6-10-14

G.A. Minutes 6-10-14

Bright sunshine and clear skies greet us this evening. Unfortunately there’s a cold wind which makes it feel more like October than the beginning of June. Oh well, at least there’s no snow.

The first Occupiers to arrive set things up quickly as we need to get the fire going right away. Once the flames are dancing, everyone feels a lot better.

Several Occupiers attended last night’s City Council meeting. They give a report. It was an unusually long meeting. It started at 7pm and it wasn’t until a little after 11pm that the subject of the CJM Memorial was introduced. There were 6 or 7 speakers; all spoke in favor of granting the Memorial local historical site status. The CJM BOD member, who has been insisting the Occupiers remove themselves from CJM, spoke but made no mention of Occupy.

The Occupier speaker was the last to speak. She narrated in some detail the activities of the Occupier meetings at CJM over the last 3 years. Her presentation was well received and several city counselors took the time to assure the Occupiers that the meetings at CJM were considered a valuable contribution to the Central Hillside neighborhood. The counselors specifically stated they would not allow others to harass or attempt to intimidate the Occupy meetings.

The Occupier reporting on the council meeting stated, “The CJMM BOD member who has been harassing us was sitting right there as the counselors were saying all that stuff. I would think she will back off now”. Everyone is delighted with this news.

One of the items on last night’s City Council agenda was rank choice voting. All the Occupiers who were present at the meeting say the discussion of the issue was very heated and confusing. They think at the end of a very long debate the council voted to completely reject the rank choice voting concept. They also voted against allowing an appointed group of experts to study the concept and issue their findings. The Occupiers don’t understand why a study was not allowed. Someone says, “Maybe they would have to pay for the study and the City can’t afford to do so?”

A young man who has visited our fire several times explains the mathematics involved in rank choice type of voting. He says the system would work well when only 3 candidates are in an election race. If there are more than 3 candidates running, things don’t work so well. We’ll just have to believe him, as none of us have the time or energy to figure it out.

Speaking of 3rd party candidates brings us to the subject our friend who is running against Rick Nolan for U.S. House of Representatives seat in the 8th congressional district. An Occupier states, “I just can’t support Nolan after he sold out about PolyMet. How can a person have a consistently good record on all environmental issues except for one? The one environmental issue he won’t support is a mine that is guaranteed to pollute all our fresh water and destroy our wild rice”.

Another replies, “Yeah, I know he wants to get reelected but so what? I’m sure he’s comfortable enough financially and he’ll get a pension even if he loses. I’m so sick of watching people sell their integrity for money and power”.

A couple of Occupiers arrive with a couple of bags. They tell us they have brought the ingredients for making s’mores. Cool. We find some sticks and everyone takes turns roasting marshmallows. We tell stories about the last time we each made a s’more.

An immaculately dressed young woman walks up. “What are you doing?” she asks. We tell her and invite her to join us. She says, “Oh cool. I haven’t done this in a long time”. As we chat she tells us she is working as a stripper at a place just down the street. She says pickings are pretty slim these days as other women in her business are willing to do extra things for the customers that she is not willing to do.

She generally moves around the country a lot but is thinking of staying in Duluth for a while. She asks if we know of motels that rent by the week. We offer suggestions and one Occupier exchanges phone numbers and offers to help her apply for whatever government help may be available.

An older Native man who has been visiting our fires regularly this year arrives. He is kind and has a good sense of humor. We’re happy to see him. He smudges and joins the conversation.

The street has been fairly quiet this evening but as evening turns into night people run by and grab a cup of coffee or juice, a cigarette, a smudge or just a few good words. This is a routine occurrence. They are heading off to their sleeping places.

The conversation has turned to a discussion about the incomprehensible manner of thinking that rich people employ. Someone says, “Oh, but remember, it’s easier for a camel to walk through a needle than for a rich person to go to heaven. Or something like that”.

Another says, “Well I wouldn’t mind trying to put a rich person through a needle”. We laugh and then someone else says, “Hey, I have an idea. We’ll do that next Saturday. Everyone bring one rich person…….” “I’ll bring the needles”, says someone else. We’re getting silly now. That’s generally a clue that we’re overly tired and need to go home.

It seems weird to be packing up when it is still light. However, it’s very close to summer solstice and still light at 9:30pm. We probably won’t be able to find any co-operative rich people but we’ll be back on Saturday anyway.