G.A. Minutes 3-28-17
The regular hipster is back working the counter at Coney Island tonight. When we arrived for our meeting last Tuesday we found the day shift hipster working. He looked half dead and told us he was going to close soon as he’d been working since 6am.
He was still kind enough to make food for us. We gobbled it down while we contacted all the other Occupiers to let them know what was up. It was general consensus to just cancel and return this evening.
So here we are…. It looks like spring is truly on its way now. Flocks of geese are heading up north, everyone’s pets are shedding large amounts of fur and snow is melting fast. Today’s temperature hit 60 degrees; it’s still in the mid-40s when we roll up. No one has heard a robin’s call yet; once that happens we will be good to go.
As we are sliding into the back booth, an Occupier tells us, “There’s a bit of good news concerning the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Ordinance Coalition. We met with members of the Human Rights Commission last Thursday and they voted to accept and support our proposed Bill.
“One of the Commissioners is also on the commission that distributes the Community Block Development Grant money. He told us the CBDG Commission was looking for a way to contribute money to pay for some 24/7 public bathrooms for use by homeless persons and others. The City seems to get a little squeamish when it comes to spending money on the homeless”.
Another Occupier replies, “That is ridiculous! The City gives enormous amounts of money to all sorts of wealthy developers and companies but they can’t kick a few bucks for homeless folks?”
The first Occupier adds, “About a month ago during a HPB of R meeting I asked if anyone would be willing to do the research and give a report about how much money the City had given away to various wealthy entities in the past year or two. So far, no one has stepped up to do the research”.
The other Occupier responds, “I just may take on that task. I know someone who has all that information right at his fingertips. The first Occupier smiles and answers, “I’ll remind you”.
Someone reports, “Before I forget, Friday, March 31st will be the annual Trans Day of Visibility at Lake Ave and Superior St, 4-6pm”.
More Occupiers arrive; when they settle in an Occupier says to a newly arriving one, “I’m so glad you’re here. I need to pick your brain about tenants unions like the one you have at your building. My Co-op has finished with our tax credits and we’re going to have to sign new leases. I think we won’t have a BOD any longer so I’m thinking we may want to have a tenant union”.
The questioned Occupier responds, “They’re called Resident Councils now. We had a lot of help from some of our City Councilors. We needed that because our property management company is very hostile. Councilor Joel Sipress is probably who you might want to talk with first; he has a lot of information”.
The Co-op Occupier states, “Our property management company is way cool and tenant friendly. We just need to know the rules and regulations and how to go about forming one in case that’s what we want to do. I’ll shoot an email to Joel”.
The Occupier who lives in Superior asks, “So what’s gonna be going on in the next 2 weeks or so?” An Occupier hands him a copy of the Northland Worker Calendar; another tells him, “U.U. Church will be holding a Progressive Coalition event this upcoming Sunday at 2pm. All progressive groups are invited to attend and show what they’re all about”.
The Occupier who tries to keep track of all this stuff reports, “I hope I can remember everything. Next Tuesday, April 4th 6-8pm at the Fond du Lac Tribal College, Honor the Earth is sponsoring a Frontlines Are Everywhere workshop. It will concern the legal aspects of being a Water Protector. I’m hoping we could all go to it. We could carpool if we wanted to”. We all agree that it is important that we attend this FDL/HTE event.
The Occupier continues, “Duluth for Clean Water is having some type of an event at Community Action Duluth on Thursday, March 30th at 5:30pm. I think food and childcare will be provided. Up at Cass Lake on Sunday, April 9th 1pm, Marty Cobanais is holding a Line 3 Pipeline Walk.
“I’m pretty sure that Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance will be having another Anishinaabe Taco Sale on Friday, April 7th. Of course, they’ll need our help. There’s talk about doing a walleye (from Red Lake) taco sale but I don’t know if they’ll do that this month or next. Whatever it is, it’s sure to be good.
“By the way, did you guys know that our good friend and organizer recently left her job on the FDL rez and started working for HTE?” We say, “Way cool”. “Also, I think Anonymous is out on the protest corner tonight. We could join them after we’re done here if you all want to”.
Somehow, we get into a conversation about healthcare and about how dental care is not included in general healthcare insurance policies. Everyone has at least one horror story to tell about having to pay way too much for health insurance and then needing dental care and being unable to receive it. One Occupier says, “I went through at least four courses of antibiotics before I was able to save enough money to get my tooth fixed”.
An Occupier, when telling his story, ends by saying, “But I must admit there are holes in my wisdom”. Another Occupier replies, “Well, you’ll certainly need a dentist for that”. When he sees our quizzical looks he adds, “You know, wisdom teeth…” We all groan. An Occupier remarks, “We’re not paid enough to have to put up with this”.
It’s almost 7pm when some of the Anonymous kids roll in. Our booth is crammed full so they fill the next booth and some chairs in the walkway. Even though it’s almost time to go, the hipster staff guy scurries around getting coffee and snacks for the new arrivals.
They have their sound equipment and a bunch of new signs with them. They show us their signs and we discuss sign making techniques. They have a lot of good ideas; their lettering is great. We just advise them to use very few words per sign; that way people driving by will have time to read them.
Just as we are leaving, the city official walks in. He’s coming from doing an interview for his radio program. As he goes walking up the street with some of the Occupiers he calls out, “Don’t forget, $5 bag sale tomorrow at Michael’s Used A Bit!” Most of the Occupiers do all their shopping at Michael’s. One of the Occupier couples loads up some of the Anonymous folks and all the equipment into their car and gives them a ride up the hill.
So, next Tuesday we’ll be attending the FDL Tribal College workshop and won’t be back at Coney Island until Tuesday, April 11th.
G.A. Minutes 3-28-17