G.A. Minutes 7-30-16

G.A. Minutes 7-26-16

G.A. Minutes 7-26-16

G.A. Minutes 7-23-16

G.A. Minutes 7-16-16

G.A. Minutes 7-16-16
 We’ve hit on another perfect evening at People’s Plaza.  We’ve been hoping to get a few more of these before summer is over.  We remember these types of days all year long; they help us through the cruelest times in winter.
The temperature is in the low 80s, the sky is partly cloudy with a gentle breeze whispering calmly throughout the space.
When the first Occupiers arrive, the Plaza is completely empty.  Someone has been here recently and they didn’t clean up their mess.  Old food wrappers, used paper cups and cigarette butts are scattered all around.
The first couple of Occupiers decide to sit and wait for others to arrive before setting things up.  As they wait, they notice the street and sidewalks are strangely quiet, especially for a Saturday night.  Superior St. has been blocked off after 1st Ave. W. There is no activity going on inside the blockade. 
After sitting, enjoying the weather for about a half an hour, the streets are still quiet and absolutely no one has even shown their face in the Plaza.  The Occupiers decide to do the set up and cleanup themselves and see how things develop.
As they are putting the chairs in a circle, a woman who appears to be a tourist comes up and asks them if they know where the dance on the Lake Walk is going to be.  The Occupiers are clueless but they point her in the direction of the Lake Walk.
They get a small fire going.  Their first visitor is the brain damaged man who lives at San Marcos.  He looks like absolute hell.  His hands are shaking, his face is quite swollen and his right arm has an open wound surrounded by green tinged skin.  He assures us that he’s just fine and says he can’t remember how he got so banged up.
An Occupier asks how things are going at the San Marcos and the man replies, “Oh, everybody’s always fighting but the next morning they can’t remember what they were fighting about so they’re friends again”.  He also comments, “I hear there’s gonna be a street dance here”.
The other Occupier notices that the Port-a-Pottys that were in the back of the Plaza when they had their last fire are now gone.  She exclaims, “Damn!  I was so hoping they would still be there”.
A middle aged man we haven’t met in the past asks to sit down; we welcome him.  He tells us he was on his way to southern MN when his RV broke down about a block from People’s Plaza.  He says he’s dedicated his life to Jesus Christ so he figures there is a reason why he broke down in Duluth.  He’s gonna go with the flow.
The middle aged guy, who has a country hippie look about him, reports that he was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and since then has spent most of his life working as a counselor at juvenile correction facilities.  He states, “Everybody thinks I work with bad kids.  They’re not bad; they’ve just had bad upbringing and bad luck.  I try real hard not to judge people”.
Another man, perhaps somewhat older, asks to sit and we welcome him also.  He looks kinda like a hippie too but his clothes are new and his gear is top of the line.  He tells us he’s from Wasila, Alaska and he’s in the process of hitchhiking to Maine.  The man says, “I had a really nice boat but it was destroyed in the hurricane in the Gulf.  I’d sunk everything I had into.  I have friends in Maine who own a farm and I’m going there to help.  I hope I’ll be able to find some type of job that I can work until I’m too old to work anymore”.
The older man and an Occupier talk about the best routes for hitchhiking.  The man confides, “I really don’t want to go near Chicago.  I hear it’s seriously dangerous there right now.  Black Lives Matter is closing down the freeways and there’s lots of violence”.
The other Occupier responds, “We just attended a Black Lives Matter vigil last night.  It wasn’t violent at all, in fact, it was beautiful.  I think you might be getting your information from the major media.  They’re doing to Black Lives Matter the same thing they did to Occupy.  They produced very selected footage and accused Occupy of being violent when nothing was further from the truth.  They’re doing the same thing to BLM.  Folks from Black Lives Matter are no different from us.  They’re just people trying to survive”.
We hear sounds of people doing mic checks and tuning up.  Maybe they are having a street dance up the street.
Our friend, the city official, comes up the stairs and joins the circle.  An Occupier says to him, “I thought last night was really nice”.  The official answers, “So did I.  Some of the speakers spoke some very heavy words; I especially liked it when we all lit candles, made that big circle and held them up”.      
The Occupier informs the other men, “We’re talking about last night’s Black Lives Matter vigil.  The official was the lead organizer and MC for the one here in Duluth.  There was a vigil in Superior too and in lots of places across the country”.
The middle aged man asks, “So what is Black Lives Matter about anyway?”  An Occupier nods to the official and answers, “He can explain it best”.  The official responds, “Yes I can but I’m tired of doing it.  You explain it”.  So the Occupier explains, “Well, the bottom line is that cops are killing black people’s innocent children.  The cops don’t even get in trouble when they murder the kids.  Cops have historically done this.
“African Americans have been complaining about having their children killed for over 100 years.  That’s why BLM is blocking the streets and freeways now.  They’re trying to get the rest of the people to listen.  So far, no one is listening.  There were 3 young, innocent black men murdered already, this month.
“You will probably be seeing a lot more white folks in Black Lives Matter.  White folks have white privilege so are gonna try to get the attention of the rest of people”.
The middle aged man comments, “Yeah, that slavery shit was terribly gruesome. Getting kidnapped and put on those ships and all”.
An Occupier says to the city man, “So I hear there’s another BLM meeting Friday, 2pm at the Dom.  I sure hope I can make it.  I’ll be helping out at the All Nations Indian Taco Sale and I’m not sure when I’ll be done”.  The city man replies, “I think I won’t be able to get to the City Forum, Q+A on next Tuesday 6p-7:30p at Denfield H.S.”
A young, probably homeless man has been hanging around the edge of the circle.  An Occupier smiles at him and signals a welcome to the fire.  The young man helps himself to the snacks on the table.  He looks hungry so the Occupier asks, “If I throw these hot dogs, from a few fires ago, on the grill, will you eat some?”  The young man answers, “Definitely”.
A well respected local musician stops in.  He’s hungry too.  Another middle aged, dressed in sports fan attire, would like to eat but will only take the food if he can pay for it.  We put his donation in the treasury fund.  We have at least $10 now.
A squad car pulls up across the street and an officer gets out.  Several more officers arrive on foot.  Then a big fire truck with flashing lights pulls up at an angle, blocking the street.
For a moment we wonder if we’re about to have a replay of the drama we experienced during our final months at the Memorial.  But no, the middle aged man comes from across the street and reports, “There is a woman lying in the middle of the sidewalk.  I tried to help her but the man who appeared to be with her told me she was alright.  I moved away and called the cops.  I’m surprised they got here so fast”.
We sit and observe the scene unfolding.  It turns out like many things on the street.  A lotta drama over nothin’.  Apparently the cops have received the same answer as the middle aged man.  They all leave and the middle aged man comments, “I’m surprised they just leave her like that”.  An Occupier tells him, “They probably know her and can see she’s o.k.  If she was really bad off they would take her to Detox”.
The big clock strikes 10pm.  The fire is dying and all the hot dogs are gone.  The official offers to help us pack up but an Occupier replies, “We’ve kinda got this thing down to a science”.
As the Occupiers finish packing up, one of them observes, “Well considering it was just the two of us tonight, I’d say things went pretty well”.
We’ll be at an anti-racism forum next Tuesday but if all goes well, we expect to be back at People’s Plaza next Saturday.

G.A. Minutes 7-12-16

G.A. Minutes 7-12-16
The weather is cooperating, more or less this evening, so we’re back at People’s Plaza.  It’s partly cloudy with temperatures in the mid-80s.  The wind is blowing from the west at about a bazillion miles per hour.  We’re going to need to anchor down everything on the table; if we don’t, the entire contents will be bouncing off the cars on the freeway exit.
We are just beginning to unload when we see the stylish Native woman and her partner walking up.  An Occupier had seen them at the Domiano earlier in the week and told them about our new location.  It’s wonderful to see them again; they’re some of our favorite people.
We give them a copy of the final draft of the proposed Homeless Bill of Rights. This bill has been worked on by homeless advocates for approximately 2 years.  It will be presented to the City Council in the near future with the recommendation that it be made into a City Ordinance.  The couple takes a seat in the circle and begin reading.
We notice something else that’s pretty wonderful too.  Off in the far west corner of the Plaza 3 porta pottys sit open for business.  We figure they are there so the various construction crews can use them in the daytime when they’re working in the area.  Fortunately, they’ve been left unlocked.  This makes a huge difference in the lives of homeless people.
As more Occupiers arrive, we start up a conversation about Black Lives Matter and the horrible murders of young black men across our country this month.  Then last Saturday 5 white police officers were killed by an African American sniper in Dallas, Texas.
The young black men were Delran Small of NYC, Anton Sterling of Baton Rouge, LA and Philandro Castile of St. Paul, MN.  All three men were just minding their own business and living their lives when they were shot and killed by police officers.  The 5 Dallas cops were attending a rally and were marching in support of Black Lives Matter.
 We make plans to attend the BLM vigil to be held on Friday, July 15th at 7pm in front of City Hall.  This vigil will be in coordination with vigils held all across the country.  Superior, WI will be holding a vigil at their City Hall also.
Some of the Occupiers were able to attend a pre-rally meeting last Friday.  After planning logistics, the BLM members told us this violence and murders have to stop.  They said that is reaching epidemic proportions and they will need us to increase our support and make use of our white privilege.
A BLM organizer stated, “In the past you have been our allies and have been there to back us up.  We are not being listened to so we need you to step up and be heard.  Your white privilege will get your words listened to and then maybe we can stop the police killing us for BWB (breathing while black).
All the Occupiers are down with complying with the BLM request.  We’re not sure how we will go about getting the powers that be to listen to us as they have not done so in the past.  We will certainly take every opportunity to make ourselves heard.
Our friend, the city official, arrives.  This evening he is talking about the City Council meeting last night.  At that meeting, Carl Crawford, a man that we all know and respect, was confirmed as the new Duluth Human Rights Officer.  Several of the Occupiers attended this meeting.  The Council Chambers were packed with supporters of Carl.
Anyway, all the Councilors were talking about what the HRO job entailed when one Councilor, Howie Hansen, committed a faux pas.  He welcomed Carl into the inner circle, “good ole’ boys” golfing team.  Everyone in the Council Chambers was pretty much speechless for a moment after that.  We don’t expect that Carl will have much time or interest in schmoozing with the inner circle while protecting the human rights of our most vulnerable citizens.
An Occupier comments that he wonders why cops are allowed to keep their jobs and escape any punishment after killing innocent and harmless people.  The city official responds, “It’s because of the police unions.  They will back up a cop no matter what he/she has done”.
Changing the subject, another Occupier tells a story, “I had my utilities shut off most of today.  I’m behind on my bill so they decided to cut me off.  I don’t have enough money in my bank account to cover the whole thing so I asked if they would take the considerable sum that I had.  They said no, they wanted the entire amount. 
“I called the Energy Assistance people.  They told me I’d have to fill out a bunch of forms and wait about 6 months to be accepted.  Then they said it doesn’t really matter because they have run out of money so don’t have anything to give anyone anyway”
The city official adds, “The CEO of that energy assistance program makes a 6 figure salary.  Maybe that explains why they don’t have any money left”.
The Occupier continues, “Fortunately, I was able to borrow some money from one of my friends so my electricity is back on now”.  
The utility using Occupier has been a big supporter of Bernie Sanders.  We know he’s been very busy today so we ask him, “Did you see what Bernie did today?” He answers, “No, what did he do?”  We tell him, “Bernie endorsed Hilary Clinton for president of the U.S.”.  The Occupier takes the big Bernie button off his shirt and puts it in his pocket.  Enough said.
The wind has finally settled down.  We can light the fire without worrying about accidently burning the whole place down.
The woman with the animal menagerie rides up on her bike.  She’s coming from her usual Tuesday night visit to the Plasma Donating Center and is looking for the Spiritual Man.  He’s been staying at her house recently and they had planned to take the bus back to her place later.  We tell her to just wait a while, Spiritual Man generally shows up later in the evening.
The fashionable woman and her partner have finished reading the Homeless Bill of Rights.  They like it very much, especially the parts where it says that homeless people have a right to make use of public space, to rest and to sleep and to have use of a bathroom and general hygiene space 24/7.
The woman tells us, “This is just exactly what we need”, her partner agrees, “Yeah, we just need to be treated like human beings”, he then goes on to tell us about a man who froze to death in the winter, in our city.  The man was kicked out of CHUM and could find no indoor space to keep warm throughout the night.
We see 2 squad cars sitting at the Superior St. intersection; when the light changes, they drive on.  They don’t seem to be paying us any mind.
An Occupier announces, “Tomorrow is the public hearing for the BWCA and friends.   Twin Metals executives will also be there.  It’s at the DECC and people are supposed to meet in the parking lot at 3:30pm.  The hearing starts at 5pm.
Another Occupier says to some of the others, “I found out that there is a group of people in the cities that are planning on caravanning to the DNC national conference in Philly.  Here’s the contact information in case you want to go along”.
Spiritual Man arrives.  He tells us he’s been wrestling with some heavy speed type drugs for the past 4 days or so.  He’s come down now and hopes he doesn’t go there again.  He’s been unable to smudge so appreciates being able to do so now.  He says, “I don’t really want to do that drug because I know it’s bad for me but I have to admit, I like it.  I have to figure out what it is about me that makes me like it”.
The big Native man who had just won the Papa Smurf doll when we saw him at our last fire comes walking up the stairs.  He and Spiritual Man are good friends.  They take a copy of the proposed Homeless Bill of Rights and sit to read it.
When they are finished the big Native man comments, “This is really good.  I hope it gets passed; it contains some very important things.  You know, the workers at CHUM threw away all my clothes again.  This is the 5th time they’ve done this. Now I’ll have to get all new clothes.  They don’t have anywhere that I can store my stuff so I just have to leave it there when I can’t take it with me.  If I’m not back in a few days, they throw my stuff away.  That’s not right”.
Spiritual Man, Menagerie Woman and the big Native guy go off to the bus stop. We are left with just Occupiers at the fire.
Someone says, “It’s only 9pm but maybe we should pack up now”.  Somebody else replies, “Yeah, we only stay later when a visitor still needs us to sit longer”.
So we pack up.  If the weather holds up, we’ll be back to the People’s Plaza on Saturday. 

G.A. Minutes 7-5-16

G.A. Minutes 7-5-16
So we’ve been calling back and forth all day trying to decide where we should meet tonight.  The weather people say there’s going to be major rainstorms all evening.  We check the weather maps; they show big storms on the way.  It’s impossible to tell if they are heading right for us or if they will pass to the north or south.
Eventually, we decide to be cautious and meet at Coney Island.  The sky has been gray all day with temperatures in the mid-80s.  The air is humid, almost oppressive and a breeze is non-existent.
Right about the time we’re rolling up to Coney Island, a strong, cool breeze picks up.  We think this is part of the big storm that’s been forecast.  We just stop and stand around outside for a bit.  It feels real good.
As we enter the café, an Occupier tells us, “I thought we might be going to People’s Plaza so I made a big bunch of PB+J sandwiches.  No worries though, once we’re done here I’ll drop them off at CHUM.  People will probably appreciate a bedtime snack”.
It’s the usual suspects plus one this evening.  A retired school teacher who is a friend of all the Occupiers is joining us.  She’s not been to one of our meetings before.  Once we start to yakking, we’ll have to remember to stop and explain what we’re talking about every so often. We’re used to using acronyms and names she may not be familiar with.
We find we’re quite packed in as we settle into the back booth.  If anyone else shows up some will have to stand.
An Occupier comments, “I hear they’re not giving out free Narcan kits at the Needle Exchange anymore.  Pfizer bought out the company that makes Narcan and they’ve jacked the price up real high”.
The Occupiers all gasp.  An Occupier exclaims, “OMG, that just cannot be. Where did you hear this?”  The first Occupier answers, “A friend of mine who works at the Exchange told me this a couple of days ago.  I guess only rich junkies will be able to have their lives saved now”.   
One of the Occupiers turns to the teacher and explains, “Narcan is a drug that when injected into a person who is having a heroin overdose will sort of neutralize the heroin.  Narcan has saved many people’s lives”.
Another Occupier adds, “I’m so glad I never got into those types of drugs. Smoking marijuana was as far as I ever went and I was quite happy to stay right there.  Someone remarks, “A very long time ago, I tried heroin twice but I didn’t like it very much”.
The teacher says “Really?  I thought heroin was supposed to be a heavenly experience”.  An Occupier replies, “Only for some people.  It depends on one’s brain chemistry I think.  Some people think it’s just great but others don’t like all the creepy side effects.  One thing is for sure though; using heroin will definitely ruin one’s life”.
An Occupier opines, “You see a lot of various types of substance abuse in our neighborhood.  I think a lot of it might just have to do with boredom.  So many people in the Central Hillside just have nothing to do.  No one will hire them for a job or they just don’t have enough self-confidence to try and get a job.  Maybe they are unable to work and just haven’t discovered what it is that they enjoy doing.  There’s many reasons why they have nothing to do.  I think if I was bored shitless and had nothing to do but hang out on the street; I’d start abusing drugs and/or alcohol too”.
Our friend, the city official, cruises in.  An Occupier asks him, “Has the Mayor announced her choice for Human Rights Director yet?’  The official replies, “Nope, I haven’t heard a word.  However, I don’t get the inside scoops like I used to. Everyone knows that I hang out with you guys”.  We all laugh.
The Zenith News has a front page article about the achievement gap between Duluth’s white students and its students of color.  All the Occupiers think this is just horrible.  The official remarks that one of the main problems with students of color not doing as well as the white students has to do with the fact that there are very few teachers of color in the Duluth school system.  It’s a generally recognized fact that students respond better to teachers who are of the same ethnicity as themselves. 
The topic of conversation morphs into one about the upcoming rehabilitation of Superior St.  This project will last for at least 3 years and very many workers will be needed.
Our city official friend has challenged the Mayor to make sure at least 50% of those jobs are given to POC.  Considering the fact that over the course of the previous Mayor’s time in office, there were many City projects of which no POC were hired. 
Our friend requests that we join him and help make good jobs for Duluth POC a reality.  Everyone is down with his cause.  An Occupier promises to speak on the subject before the City Council.
An Occupier adds, “I’m sure our new mayor will be much better than our old one. However, I don’t have a lot of confidence that she will come through with anything of substance”.
The official responds, “I’ve worked with her in the past and found her to be very genuine.  She’s also intelligent and well organized.  The problem is that rich developers and other wealthy Duluthians have so much power and they’re constantly pressuring her to see things their way.
The City has what are called TIF funds.  These TIF funds are given to developers who agree to create new buildings and businesses in our city.  Basically, they get a reduction on their taxes for a period of time.  That means less taxes are going into the City coffers; therefore the City has less money to spend on services to its regular citizens.  Of course, this affects poor citizens the most.
“In the past, TIF funds have been given to business owners who are multi-millionaires, even billionaires.  Billionaires don’t need tax breaks.
“The 1% doesn’t have to worry about bare survival so have more time to schmooze politicians.  We’re going to have to work really hard to remind her what is truly important”.
Changing the subject, an Occupier states, “I’ve been getting into the Indigenous Commissions’ Ethnographic Study.  It’s amazing and really sad and frustrating at the same time”.
The Occupier turns to the retired teacher and explains, “A well respected historian and scholar got a grant to do research about what it was like in our Twin Ports and surrounding area before white people came on the scene.  His findings are what is called the Ethnographic Study. 
“This area was frequented often by large numbers of Ojibwe people and some Souix people too.  There were large numbers of villages stretching from what we call the Lakefront to Cloquet and further.
“So of course, you know that white people arrived and basically kicked all the Native peoples to the curb and stole their land.  After this time, the main Chief of the area Ojibwe people was called Chief Buffalo.  The white people asked him to pick a portion of the area that Duluth stands on now.
“He chose an area that encompassed the waterfront area from about Canal Park to the Garfield Ave. area; it then goes up the hill to around where the second old Central High School is.  From there it went back down the hill to 1st Ave W. and down to the lake again.
“The entire City Complex sits on Chief Buffalo land.  Anyway, Chief Buffalo dies and the land is inherited by his daughter and her dishonest white husband.  The husband does all kinds of forgeries and double deals.  He dies and a bunch of other white people forget about Chief Buffalo and his descendants; they build the City of Duluth.  There’s a lot more to the story.  I’m just giving you an overview.
Another Occupier says to the teacher, “Have you ever heard of the Doctrine of Discovery?”  She says no and the Occupier explains, “It’s a Papal Bull from a Pope who ruled in the 1400s.  It said that any Christian could take away the land, possessions and whatever of anyone who was not a Christian.
“It said that non-Christians were unworthy of owning anything so it was a Christian’s duty to lay claim to anything belonging to a non-Christian.  The so called European explorers used this “Bull” to justify their claiming western hemisphere lands.  The “Bull” is still in the law books to this very day”.
An Occupier inquires, “Does everyone remember that FDL’s Veteran’s Pow Wow will be happening on Saturday?”  Another Occupier replies, “Oh right, we’re gonna go aren’t we?”  We all say yes and we start figuring out logistics.
An Occupier tells our friend, the teacher, “FDL’s Veteran’s Pow Wow is the best Pow Wow of the year”.  The hipsters are bringing out the brooms and mops so we know it’s time to go.
We’ll be out at Mash Ka Wisen on Saturday and hope to hold a fire circle at the People’s Plaza next Tuesday.


G.A. Minutes 7-2-16

G.A. Minutes 7-2-16
The gods of good fortune are finally with us again.  The temperature is in the high 70s as we arrive at the People’s Plaza tonight.  The sky is partly cloudy; a gentle breeze adds the finishing touch.  Heavenly.
We think it’s about time.  It’s been 3 weeks since we’ve been able to make a recreational fire.  A few times we’ve had to take care of other obligations but mostly it’s been rain that has kept us out of the Plaza.
It seems like it has rained more than is usual for early summer this year.  That’s probably a good thing but it would be nice if the rain would disperse its blessings on evenings that didn’t coincide with our meeting nights.  Hmmm…..
As we roll up to unload all the stuff from our vehicles we find that Spiritual Man is sitting on a bench waiting for us.  We exchange greetings and he comments “I was hoping you guys were gonna show up tonight”.  He helps us with getting things set up.  He’s been in attendance at so many of our fires these past few years that no one has to explain anything; he knows the routine.
The Fire Magician gets a small fire going; we don’t have to worry about keeping warm.  Even so, a fire makes it easier for everyone to remain focused and calm.
Once we are settled, Spiritual Man asks, “So what have you been up to since I’ve last seen you?”  An Occupier answers, “Well, we went to the Juneteenth Celebration a couple of Saturdays ago but mostly we’ve had to attend meetings with City officials, NGO types and church people.  Our new mayor campaigned on making our city work for everyone.
“She talked really big about improving the lives of Duluth citizens who are in poverty.  So now we’re attempting to hold her feet to the fire, remind her of her promises and ask what she’s actually gonna do.
“It’s very frustrating because most of the so called ‘Good Samaritans’ seem to live on another planet.  The needs of many street people are right now, immediate needs but the people in power have never been homeless so they have no sense of urgency. 
“They talk about eventually finding funding for their ideas, forming groups with catchy names to have more meetings, statistics blah, blah, blah.  Most of them are being paid by the government or a foundation or something to do whatever it is that they actually do.
“I’m not sure Occupiers are gonna get anything concrete and positive from all these meetings.  We mainly go so we can keep an eye on what they’re doing and to let them know we are watching.
“Some of the people who are immersed in all this stuff really hate Occupy but most seem sort of in awe of us.  That is so stupid!  At a meeting I was at a few days ago, someone said to me, in front of the entire group, ‘Wow, you’re really out in the actual street working with those people.  You are truly a grassroots organizer.’
“I responded, ‘Well no, I’m not organizing anything.  I just hang out with folks’.  I don’t think anyone understood what I was trying to say.”
A middle aged Native man who has occasionally attended our fires crosses the street and comes over.  He is accompanied by a woman we haven’t met and he’s carrying a big stuffed Papa Smurf toy.
We all look at him quizzically; he says, “I supposed you’ve noticed that the annual carnival rides and games company is in town.  One of my buddies is working a game booth.  We were down there earlier and he said to me, ‘Hey man, no one is coming to my booth.  Why don’t you take a chance maybe that will encourage others to play?’
“So I spent $20 throwing balls at stacks of milk cans and I won this Papa Smurf”. He nods towards his woman friend and continues, “She’s not interested in having it so I don’t know what to do with it”.  We all laugh.  No one in the fire circle is particularly interested in taking it off his hands.
One of the Occupiers rides up on his bike.  He’s brought lots of hotdogs and all the fixins.  We throw a few logs on the fire so we can get some good coals for cooking them.
Spiritual Man inquires, “So when you guys go to all these meetings, what do the people talk about?”  An Occupier replies, “Loaves N Fishes along with others have been working on writing a Homeless Bill of Rights to be brought before the City Council to be approved and made into a City Ordinance.
“If that ever actually happens it would insure that homeless folks have the right to rest, the right to use of bathroom facilities, the right to sleep and stuff like that.  A City Ordinance would prevent the cops from hassling innocent homeless folks who are just trying to exist.
“We also keep pushing the need for more low income housing.  So far, the mayor and the City Councilors tell us there are no funding sources available to create more low income housing.  Developers aren’t interested in building low income housing because they don’t make much of a profit.  The government isn’t doing much in that area these days either.  It seems like a lot of people feel that we got the Steve O’Neil apartments last year so we shouldn’t be asking for more.
“The O’Neil apartments are great but we still have hundreds of people in this city that have nowhere to live.  We’re just gonna keep pushing for more”.
The regular street guy who is mute arrives.  He might be deaf too and can read lips.  We’re not sure.  We exchange mutual hand waves and he sits down.
The woman with the animal menagerie rides up on her bike.  Our friend the city official and the Occupier who lives in Superior follow shortly.  It’s a good thing too because the hotdogs are now cooked and ready to be eaten.  Everyone chows down.
A young homeless couple who generally help out at the Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance NDN Taco Sales stop in.  They are both trying very hard to refrain from drinking.  He has been sober for a whole month.  She’s been sober for 2 weeks.  He tells us that their main obstacle to staying sober is finding something to do with their time.  We know this is a major problem for many street folks.
Many seagulls are up in the air and circling our fire; they’re hoping we will drop some food on the ground.  An Occupier calls out to them, “Go away!  You’re supposed to be out on the lake diving for fish”. 
People in the circle start trying to make seagull calls; their attempts leave much to be desired.  The woman with the animal menagerie gives it a try and she nails it. She sounds just like a seagull.
As per usual, it’s well past 9pm when we finally notice the time.  Everyone helps to pack up and we say, “If it doesn’t rain, we’ll be back here on Tuesday.