G.A. Minutes 12-19-15
We enter Coney Island in a hurry tonight. It’s cold outside; we take our coats and things off right away so as to get the chill off.
We laugh about how quickly we acclimate. Last month we freaked out when temperatures went into the 30s. This evening it’s about 15 degrees with a slight wind. Last night was in the single digits with a strong east wind; we thought we would die. Next month we’ll be happy if temperatures are at least above zero. People are weird.
There will be only a few Occupiers tonight; many are off at Winter Solstice celebrations. The actual Solstice isn’t until Tuesday but working class folks have to adjust their lives to suit their jobs. It should be the other way around.
We get food and drinks and settle into the big booth. An Occupier reports she has met with Em Westerlund, the new City Councilor for District 3 which encompasses West End, Central Hillside and a small portion of East Hillside.
The meeting was attended by a few other homeless advocate types. Since then, the Occupier and Ms. Westerlund have exchanged several emails and scheduled a meeting with just the two of them for February 1st. The Councilor appears interested in finding out what the powers that be are trying to pull with our CJMM small, safe and legal campfire situation.
The Occupier also reports that the newspaper columnist has expressed willingness to write about the fire situation. She says, “I need to get a bunch of paperwork ready for both the writer and the Councilor. I think I’ll wait until after Christmas and then get everything rolling”.
Our friend, the City official arrives. He has brought some paperwork we requested. He has been a big help to us for many years, a man who truly cares and practices what he preaches.
Our friend says, “So who’s going to the big Mayoral Inauguration on January 4th?” An Occupier replies, “Well I don’t know, is there going to be food? I hear Don Ness always puts on quite a spread”.
The friend replies, “Yes he does but now it’s going to be the new mayor, Emily Larsen. I have no idea what kind of eats she’ll have served”. The Occupier responds, “Actually, I don’t care what kind of food is served, I’m not going. I don’t like artificial schmoozing”.
We discuss what we hope will happen when the new mayor takes over. We know she has worked for years in poverty and homelessness areas. We’ve heard she’s been known to kowtow to business interests.
An Occupier remarks, “She says she wants to make Duluth work for all its citizens. She tries to give the impression that she will pay attention to poor people and people of color. Well, she won’t have to do much in order to do more than Don Ness ever did. If she’s really serious, one of the first things she will do is to fire the Chief Administrator”.
Our friend reminds us, “We will need to hold her accountable. If she’s for real, she will appreciate it as being held accountable will help her stand up to forces that oppress POC and the poor”.
Someone brings up the topic of Chief of Police Gordon Ramsey’s acceptance of the new job as police chief of Wichita, KS. We think this is not good, for us at least.
An Occupier states, “Yeah, we knew about this right away because we were contacted by someone from Occupy Wichita. They wanted to know what we thought of Chief Ramsey. I told them that he was still a cop so to keep that in mind. However, he did make a show of expecting his police officers to be respectful and fair to all citizens of Duluth. It didn’t always work out that way but the Chief’s attitude did keep the street cops somewhat in line.
“I told the Wichita Occupiers that Ramsey is intelligent and very personable and the citizens will probably like him. I said I wasn’t so sure about the Wichita cops. I hear those cops are in the habit of murdering young black men whenever they feel like it”.
Somebody postulates, “So you know there’s a real chance that Deputy Chief Tuscan could be our next Chief of Police?” We all let out a loud groan. An Occupier exclaims, “Oh no! That just cannot be! He’s rude, threatening and doesn’t like to be challenged in any way. What do we have to do to prevent him from becoming the next chief?”
Our friend tells us, “Well, they have to let Duluth citizens serve on the interview boards. You could try that”. We think that one of the Occupiers who isn’t present tonight would make a good candidate. We’ll ask him ASAP. We think several of us should try to get appointed however; our city is small enough that many of those in government know who we are. If only they’d let us choose the new chief…… yeah right.
An Occupier asks, “So now that the big Climate Conference in Paris is over, what do you think will happen?’ Another replies, “We’re going to be really busy. The people are going to be the ones who will save the planet. All the government bozos are under the control of the 1%. The strength of the greed disease amazes me. The fossil fuel barons know that their gas and oil will destroy the human race but they just don’t care. They don’t even care for their own future generations! Their lust for material wealth blinds them to everything else.
“You all know that I’m one of the people who manage the treasury for Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance. I’ve been having conversations with MN 350 organizers. I think we will be working with them a lot more in the future.
“We need to help INM/NWA as much as we can with their NDN Taco Sales. The profits from those sales are what will send folks to actions all over the area”.
The woman of the Occupier couple makes a request, “I’m gonna start cooking tomorrow for our dinner on Christmas and will have to cook for several days. Do you think we could leave a little early tonight so I could get a little extra sleep?”
We are all looking forward to the warmth and camaraderie of a holiday dinner. We will allow her to get some sleep and allow the staff to close up on time.
We plan to be back at the Coney Island café on Tuesday.