G.A. Minutes 6-25-16
We’re kinda bummed out as we arrive at Coney Island this evening. A big thunder and lightning storm has just passed over our city. Everything is soaking wet and the weather people say it’s possible that more rain is on the way. It’s been 2 weeks since we’ve been able make a fire at People’s Plaza; we were really looking forward to doing it tonight.
Our group will be small again this evening. Some Occupiers have gone up to the Hibbing MN area for the 87th Annual Midsummer Festival at Mesabe Co-op Park.
As we walk through the door we are just about blown back out again by the really, really loud music the hipsters have playing over the radio. We don’t say anything about it but one of the guys quickly runs to the back and turns the sound down. The Occupiers don’t care much for classic heavy metal but will tolerate it if it’s in the background.
The place is empty as we order food and settle in. Not for long though, a mid sized group of very large men, who appear to be sports fans, walk in. They take up the entire counter space; ordering lots of food. The hipsters begin scurrying around. We figure this means we’ll be waiting for our food for a while. No problem, we we’re not in a hurry.
An Occupier reports, “So there will be the monthly NDN Taco Sale again next Friday, June 1st but it will be a little different. Some of the Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance people will be out of town. All Nations is going to be doing a sale of their own. They will still need our help; we’ll just be working with All Nations folks instead of INM/NWA. Some of the Occupiers will be able to help.
Another Occupier says, “I finally received a copy of the so called letter concerning recreational fires at the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial. I received it in an email from one of our friends on the City Council. The Councilor was concerned that there was no language guaranteeing public access to CJMM.
“Actually, it’s not a letter. It’s an 18 page document called Agreement Between the City of Duluth and Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Inc. Basically it preserves the City’s ownership of CJMM but passes the management of the site over to the CJMM BOD.
“Along with official management status, the BOD is going to get a lot more responsibilities. Among their responsibilities will be hosting an annual spring cleanup, planting and maintaining the garden year around and keeping the site clean on a day to day basis. All expenses incurred from these responsibilities are to be paid for by the CJMM BOD”.
Another Occupier comments, “Maybe they’d like to hire me to keep things clean. After all, I kept it clean for 3 years. I even went down there on days we weren’t going to have a fire and cleaned as necessary. Several neighborhood women did regular cleaning too. It will be interesting to see members of the BOD down there with brooms, scrub brushes and pails of water”. We all laugh.
The first Occupier continues, “The document also states that the City and the CJMM BOD will write a specific Rules and Regulations policy for the Memorial. Oh boy, I can just imagine the totally ridiculous and impractical rules the BOD will come up with. Any rules have to be approved by the City but that doesn’t give me any confidence that their rules will end up making any sense.
“This agreement document that I just showed you still has to be approved by the City Council. I promised our council friend that I would attend their next meeting, this upcoming Monday and sign up to speak on the issue of the public’s right to use of public space”.
Another Occupier reminds us, “Next Tuesday, June 28th, 6pm at Community Action Duluth, the Local Solutions to Poverty group will be holding their next event. The mayor and all the newly elected City Councilors will be there and we need to be there too”.
Another Occupier questions, “Refresh my memory, what is the event about and why do we need to be there?”
The reminding Occupier replies, “Remember right before the November City elections when LSP held an event at the Damiano and all the candidates showed up? The candidates were mandated to each answer the same series of questions about low income housing, racial equity, poverty wages and stuff like that? Well Tuesday evening all the candidates who were elected will return. LSP will hold their feet to the fire (probably way too gently) and find out what each official has done so far to keep their promise”.
We need to be there so they can see we are watching. Although none of us are interested in running for government office or any of the stuff, decisions and actions made by the City government affect us and all the folks who live in our neighborhood. We need to have their backs”.
Someone remarks, “I went to that racial equity meeting last Tuesday. I was the only Occupier there. What’s up with that?” We all laugh sheepishly. She continues, “Well, you didn’t miss much. There were 27 people there, only 5 of them were POC. There were mainly NGO types who receive salaries to help improve or pretend to help improve the lives of POC.
“They kicked around ideas about what they could do to get racial equity for POC. I suggested they get out to street level and see what’s going on. I also suggested they ask POC what they should do’
“A lot of people started asking me questions. Somebody said, “So you’re a real grassroots community organizer” and I responded, ‘Actually, I wouldn’t call it organizing, I just sorta hang out with people”.
An Occupier asks, “Hey, did you see that the RNC is gonna allow guns at their convention? They have all these other rules like, no tennis or beach balls, no sleeping bags, backpacks or all sorts of other things but guns are o.k.” We shake our heads.
Another Occupier exclaims, “The FDL Veterans Powwow is coming up on Saturday July 9th, can we go? Please, please, please?” Most of us just love the Veterans Pow Wow. We’re gonna try and make it happen.
The café is empty now and the hipsters are starting to clean. It won’t hurt to leave a little early. We do our usual cleanup routine, say pleasant good byes to the staff and tell them we’ll see them again sooner or later.
If it doesn’t rain next Saturday, we’ll have a fire at People’s Plaza. Everybody, cross your fingers, say a prayer, put down your tobacco or whatever it is that floats your boat in hopes we can have a fire on Saturday.