G.A. Minutes 2-21-17
Duluth MN has turned into a tropical paradise.  For real. Temperatures have been in the 50s for the last 5 or 6 days with nighttime lows in the 30s…..in February.  We’re keeping a close eye on the sky as pigs will be flying soon.
At Coney Island, 2 of the hipster guys are working the counter. We’re all happy to see each other.  The other non-hipster staff people are o.k. but the hipster staff actually knows what Occupy is about.  They’re down with it too.
They tell us that the hours of operation have changed; they’re going to close at 7pm now.  One hipster tells us, “The place is usually dead by 7:30pm and it makes us kinda nervous to be here all alone until 9pm. 
We’ve noticed this ourselves.  We’re generally the only customers left by the end of the night.  Occasionally a lone male street looking person will come in to use the bathroom.  The level of violence in the neighborhood seems to have increased over the last month or so.  We’re not sure why.
An Occupier responds, “Dude, we totally get it.  No one should have to risk their life just to hold down a job.  We can start our meetings at 5:30pm from now on.  That will give us enough time to take care of any pressing business”.
As we take our seats in the back booth an Occupier comments, “So tomorrow is supposed to be the day that the cops and the military forcibly take down the Occeti Sakowin Camp at Standing Rock.  I wonder how that’s gonna go.  I know that all along the people in the Sacred Stone Camp have expected all the other camps to be torn down.  “They’ve been preparing Sacred Stone to be able to take in the folks from the other camps.  They have to close down the other camps anyway as all that land will flood when spring comes.  I hear the weather is unseasonably warm out there too”.
Another Occupier adds, “I’ve been seeing notices from the camp asking for people to come out there to be witness to what will happen tomorrow.  I know a few of our friends have gone.  The notices say that if you can’t get to camp then please hold a rally in support of Standing Rock.  There’s gonna be a Jingle Dress Rally in Support of Standing Rock tomorrow at People’s Plaza at 4pm”.  We all plan to be there.
The city official will be leaving for Milwaukee in a few days.  He will be giving a presentation about our city’s Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial at the annual gathering of the America’s Black Holocaust Museum.  This is a pretty big deal.  The city man tells us a Memorial to the over 4,000 reported lynchings of black people that took place between 1877 and 1950 will be built in Memphis, TN.  Once it’s completed it will be a major big deal.  Of course, all of this is appalling and very sad but it must be seen and acknowledged.  Unless our country owns up to its true history its people will never be able to heal.
An Occupier reports, “Now that I’ve been able to hook up with the Homeless Person’s Bill or Rights Coalition again, I’m finding all sorts of intrigue going on.  I suppose that’s not unusual when dealing with government bureaucrats.  When the coalition members meet in private with people from the various departments and agencies (they call them stakeholders) those people say that they definitely are in support of the H.B. of R. However, I received an email from the mayor stating that several agencies had come to her with ‘concerns’.  I asked her which agencies she was talking about but she wouldn’t tell me.  The other coalition members report that they think there is a lot of talking between the stakeholders going on behind our backs.
“The Duluth Police Department wants the bill to be a policy instead of an ordinance.  Apparently, the mayor wants that too. We’re not going to go for that because a policy will have no real accountability.  A policy can be changed at any time without even giving public notice.  If the Homeless Bill of Rights is made into a policy, we might as well not have one at all. 
“We’re going to try and get everything out into the open.  We all took on assignments to write a bunch of letters to the editors of the various local newspapers.  I sent one off to the Northland Reader yesterday.  We have about 20 people who will write letters and then we want to hold meetings with more than 1 stakeholder group at a time.  That way they may be more forthcoming about their concerns.  If they say want they really feel, we’ll be able to address their objections or whatever.
“Creating and passing a Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights has been worked on for the last 3 years.  It should not take this long. I don’t understand why granting homeless people the same rights that the rest of the people in this city are entitled to is such a big deal”.
Another Occupier states, “There is going to be another Pancakes Not Pipelines event on Saturday, February 25th 11am – 2pm at the Central Hillside Community Center.  Water Protectors are trying to raise funds to hire a bus to take people up to Bemidjii for the one and only hearing in the country about the Enbridge Line 67 Expansion, aka, the Alberta Clipper.  Remember that one?  It’s the one where they want to push tar sands oil through their already existing pipeline.  The already existing pipeline has been pushing regular oil for a long time but now they want to switch to tar sands and on top of that, they want to greatly increase the amount of the flow.  The expansion will cross the Canadian/US border but through some slight of hand, Enbridge has managed to not have to seek USA permission in order to do this.
“We were worrying about the Alberta Clipper a few years back but Enbridge managed to make us believe they weren’t gonna do it after all.  Surprise, surprise……they lied”.
Someone mentions, “Socialist Pizza (that’s our pet name for the Socialist Action monthly gathering at Pizza Luce’) will be happening again on Monday, February 27th at 6:30pm.
Someone else says, “It’s possible that Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance will be having another Anishinaabe Taco Sale on Friday March 3rd.  I should know for sure by tomorrow.  They’ve been waiting for the kitchen they’ve been using to be remodeled. If they can do a sale, of course they’ll need our help.
An Occupier asks, “Does anybody know what’s going on in our hillside neighborhoods these days?  We usually have 1 or maybe no shootings a year.  We’ve had 2 or 3 this month alone. WTF?”
Another Occupier tells about a scene she witnessed a couple of days ago while driving over the Blatnik Bridge.  She says that 6 or more DPD and/or Sheriff SUVs, all with their big lights flashing, were blocking both sides of (to Superior and to Duluth) the traffic and they had a beat-up old car up against a rail and cops were running all over the place.  She also says, “WTF?”
The first Occupier remarks, “I’m going to the Citizens Review Board meeting tomorrow.  I’ll ask and see if anybody tells me anything”.
7pm has come upon us pretty quick.  We pack up; 1 of the hipster guys comes out with us as we leave.  He turns off the open sign and locks the door behind him.  The other hipster dude starts in on the nightly cleanup.  Things are much safer this way.
Barring a hurricane, earthquake or who knows what, we’ll be back at Coney Island next Tuesday.