G.A. Minutes 5-9-17
For the first time in 5 or 6 days there is no east wind. It doesn’t just look like spring; it feels like it too. The sun’s been shining all day and temperatures were in the upper 50s. Dandelions are popping up, leaves are coming out on the bushes and birds are starting their pre-nesting behavior. We sure hope spring stays around this time. We’ve waited soooo long.
There are quite a few customers this evening when we roll into Coney Island. The non-hipster is very busy so we just head to the back booth. We’ll wait to place our order when things slow down for him a bit.
As we’re settling in, an Occupier comments, “Man, the Local Solutions to Poverty Accountability Session last Friday was depressing. Our state senator Erik Simonson and our state representatives from the local districts were supposed to report to us about all the wonderful things they’ve been doing to push forward on a progressive agenda. They all had the same thing to say. They told us that both houses of the legislature are under the control of the Republicans this session and these jerks (they didn’t say jerks; that’s my word) aren’t compromising on anything. It’s gonna be all our state congress people can do to just hold onto the small gains that have been made in the past”.
We’re about to start a conversation about the situation when the non-hipster comes over to take our order. He says, “I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. Tonight my boss says I have to close at 6:30pm. Also, Coney Island will be closing for good on Sunday. The building has been sold and Coney Island will be no more”.
We say “WTF?!? How can that be? Coney Island has operated in this spot for 96 years; it’s an historical landmark! The non-hipster replies, “Yeah, I know but my boss sold the building already so there’s nothing anyone can do”.
A few of the Occupiers had seen something about the sale in the DNT yesterday; for others this is the first they’ve heard about it. We’re all pretty much speechless for a few minutes. Someone says, “The City, the Downtown Council and the other rich developer types have been talking for many years about gentrifying so called Lesser Duluth. Of course, they never bother to consult with any of the people who actually live here. None of the folks who live in the Central Hillside are rich so their needs don’t matter”.
Another Occupier adds, “I know but I’ve never been able to figure out what they intend to do with all the homeless people. There are several hundred homeless folks who attempt to survive in this neighborhood. All the feeding stations and other services needed by them are located right here too. I’m sure the 1% has no intention of providing everyone with homes.
“I don’t think they’ll be able to get away with killing them all or locking them up in a big concentration camp. There are too many regular people in Duluth who would not turn their backs if stuff like that happened. At least I’d like to think they wouldn’t:.
The first Occupier replies, “Well, with the “Trumpopath” in office who knows what they’ll try? I think we may be on uncharted territory now; uncharted in our lifetimes at least”.
Changing the subject a bit, an Occupier suggests, “I’ve been thinking that it might be time to start up our recreational fire at People’s Plaza again. This new development makes it pretty clear that it is time. Whadaya say we have our first fire of the year next Tuesday?” We all agree, it’s time to start our fire.
The city official tells us, “I received a phone call from the MN Federal Reserve recently. Apparently, the FR president will be coming to Duluth and he’d like to be interviewed on my radio show this week. I said that it would be fine with me. I have no idea why he wants to be on my show although I’m told I have a very large listening audience”.
We all come up with ridiculously pointed questions that we would like him to ask the FR president. The official man laughs and says, “You know I can’t ask him that. I have to be polite and impartial. By the way, I interviewed one of the leaders of the Feminist Justice League and the Superior Organizer yesterday. That interview will be aired in 2 weeks”.
When the non-hipster stops by to refill our coffee cups an Occupier says to him, “You know you will be eligible for unemployment compensation once this place closes. Apply right away in order to get your full benefits”.
The non-hipster responds, “Oh no, I won’t do that. I’ll just look for another job. The Occupier opines, “Yahbut, you can collect while you’re looking”. The staff guy looks like we have just suggested something very immoral and exclaims, “I would NEVER do that. I have NEVER applied for unemployment”.
As he leaves, we just shake our heads. Some of the young ones have been so misguided. They don’t even know that they have rights. They seem to think there is some kind of shame in not behaving like a 100% slave.
We still have things to talk about so we think we should make a move to next door at Duluth Coffee. They usually stay open until 7pm. As we’re getting ready to go someone spies an ad for our good friend Skip Sandman on the entire back page of the Zenith News.
An Occupier states, “Oh, I guess he’s going to run for the 8th CD again. I talked with him about a month ago. He said he was thinking about doing it because Nolan was making noises about running for governor this time. However, I received an email about a week ago that was introducing me to some guy who was the DFL choice for governor. So I wonder what’s up with all that. I guess I’d better call Skip”.
As we look closer at the Zenith ad we realize that it says, “We want to vote for you Skip”. It’s just encouraging Skip to run. The ad then goes on to talk about a mistake made in US Supreme Court records in 1886. This mistake led up to the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision in 2010.
The ad then goes on to talk about Neil Gorsuch, the Trumpopath’s choice for our newest Supreme Court Justice. It says we should be glad that Gorsuch is a Catholic because that means he will vote to repeal Citizen’s United. Huh? We think that Gorsuch’s lifetime judicial decisions suggest that repealing Citizen’s United will not be in the cards.
We know the guy who composed and paid for the ad. He’s an 80 something guy who seems to be well meaning. He also seems to live on another planet.
After rolling our eyes in unison, we pack up, put extra farewell tips in the jar and go next door. Duluth Coffee is still open and they have only 1 customer. We push some tables together, get coffees and start yakking again. One of our friends from Anonymous joins us.
An Occupier says, “So I see that He Who Shall Remain Unnamed fired Comey, the head of the FBI today. I’m betting it was because Comey was very revealing about having a current open investigation into whatever contacts were made with the Russians during HWSRU’s campaign”.
One of the baristas comes over to our table with a plate of gourmet blueberry muffins. She tells us, “These muffins haven’t been sold and we’re closing soon so they’ll just be thrown in the garbage. Would you like to eat them?” We sure would! We give 1 to the guy we don’t know who’s sitting by himself at a table and we chow down the rest.
Continuing our conversation, someone comments, “You know, I just don’t get it. Every 2 years or so our citizens go to the voting booths and elect some legislators. Then they find out that whoever is elected just rolls over for the 1% and doesn’t do things to help the people. They get really pissed, say ‘just wait til next time’ and then they go to the voting booth and do the same shit all over again. What is up with that? Don’t they have any memory?”
Another Occupier agrees, “Yeah and look at all the stuff that happened during World War II and the McCarthy era. It was not that long ago but most of the regular citizens don’t seem to have a clue that it’s starting to happen again”.
An Occupier adds, “Maybe the 1% has put something in the water? But wait, that can’t be true. We all drink water and we have memories”. Another Occupier replies, “ I know, they put something in the beer. We all drink little or no beer. Most other people drink lots of beer”. We all laugh. Humor is necessary when attempting to keep one’s sanity.
A barista reminds us that they are closing now. We start to clean up our tables like we always did at Coney Island. The barista assures us that we needn’t do that. Things are different over here.
We’re still in conversation as we go out the door. The sky is still very light and it’s not too cold if one is wearing a jacket. We hang on the sidewalk to talk a little longer.
The city man directs our attention to the big building across the street and says, “That building is up for sale or has already been sold too. All the businesses will have to vacate; even my favorite restaurant the China Inn. I hear they’re going to tear the building down and turn it into a hotel. An Occupier sighs and responds, “Oh, just what we need; another one of those”.
An Occupier asks the Occupier who always reports things, “So what’s going on the rest of this week? The reporting Occupier replies, “Tomorrow is the monthly meeting of the Human Rights Commission in City Hall at 5:30pm. The monthly Sobriety Feast is tomorrow too at the Central Hillside Community Center at 6pm. I usually go to the HRC meeting and cut out a little early so I can participate in the Feast.
“On Thursday I’m going to a panel discussion about that documentary The Secret To Being Black In Duluth that we saw a few weeks ago. It’s happening at the Public Library at 6pm. The weekly meeting of the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition will also be happening on Thursday, 6:30pm at Dorothy Day House. Unfortunately, I can’t be 2 places at once.
We notice that we’re kind of blocking the sidewalk for passersby so we all say goodbye with plans to meet at People’s Plaza for our first recreational fire of the year, next Tuesday.
G.A. Minutes 5-9-17