G.A. Minutes 5-23-17

G.A. Minutes 5-23-17
We’re finally back at People’s Plaza and preparing to have our first recreational fire of the year. YAHOO!!!
Actually it looks like it could rain. The weather people have called for a 50% chance of scattered showers; the sky has been overcast much of the day. We don’t care. It’s been almost 7 months since we’ve been able to have a fire; we just can’t wait any longer.
We’ve all dressed warmly; the temperature is in the lows 50s with a moderate northwesterly wind. A fire is doable.
The city official arrives to help with the setup. He says, “I won’t be able to stay long. It’s too cold and I’m just not dressed for it”. The city man’s wardrobe consists mainly of clothes that are suitable for doing city official stuff. A rustic woodsman he is not.
The Fire Magician is back in action; he has a roaring fire going in no time. It smells, looks and feels great. We all pull our chairs close up and wait to see what will happen next.
A young Native man who has been showing up at our fires for many years quietly walks up. As usual, he’s soft spoken, polite and shy. He smudges himself, rolls a cigarette from the tobacco pouch then sits a little way off and listens to the conversation.
An Occupy asks, “Did you all see the picture that The Main Homeless Outreach Worker put up of the homeless camp that was destroyed? A homeless person made a small camp somewhere around here on a rocky looking hill. While the camper was gone, someone slashed his/her tent and stole all his/her belongings. The Main Outreach Worker managed to gather up another tent and some camping stuff so the camper could set up again. The same trashing of their camp happened the next day. That is so sick”.
The official man remarks, “I have some pretty good things that would be useful for homeless camping if someone would be willing to come to my house and get them”. An Occupier agrees to do so.
As the city official reaches across the table to pour some juice he notices the flyers we put out concerning the disappearance of The Woman Who Tells Good Stories. He comments, “I think there should a larger amount offered for information about her disappearance. Somebody knows something.”
An Occupier tells him, “Our friend, The Main CHUM Staff Person is planning a benefit chili feed event in order to raise more money for a reward. I think it will happen around the end of June”.
Another Occupier asks, “Did you guys see that the Superior African Heritage Community has been given the Men As Peacemakers annual Peacemaker Award? Someone replies, “SAHC is one of the groups that are led by the Superior Organizer. It’s about time she was recognized for all the outstanding work that she does”.
It starts to sprinkle a bit; wearing a skeptical look on his face, the city man states, “I think I’m going to leave now”. An Occupier replies, “Don’t worry, if it starts coming down in sheets, we’ll pack up and leave too. We’re only half crazy”.
As the city official disappears down the street an Occupier exclaims, “Crap! I forgot to ask him for Skip Sandman’s phone number. Veterans for Peace wants to ask him if he’ll speak at their Memorial Day event. Now I’ll have to go all the way over to his house to ask him. What a first world problem”. We all laugh.
The Occupier who reports things gives us her weekly report, “The Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Coalition meeting is this upcoming Thursday, 6:30pm at Dorothy Day House, as per usual. Tomorrow some members of the HPB of RC are going to the Citizens Review Board meeting, 5pm in Room 303 of City Hall. We’re going to review the new police policy called Interactions with Persons Experiencing Homelessness. The policy basically says that homelessness is not a crime and that cops must be respectful to homeless people and not tell them to ‘move along’ when they are in public spaces.
“The new DPD policy is better than a punch in the nose but it’s lacking a lot of very important points. I think they made it in hopes that it would derail the efforts of the HPB of RC to get an actual HPB of R Ordinance passed by the City Council. However, derailment is not gonna happen”.
An Occupier inquires, “Did anyone see Winona LaDuke being interviewed by Tavis Smiley on PBS last Friday? She really rocked it”. No one else saw the PBS show but everyone wishes they had. We think we’ll be able to view it online.
Someone comments, “That reminds me, it sounds like Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance will be doing something a little different for their taco sale in June. They’ve been asked to supply all the tacos for a big block party given by Neighborhood Youth Services on June 25th. I’ve been tasked with tracking down the main frybread maker to see if she’s down with the idea. So far, I haven’t been able to find her”.
We hear the big clock strike 9pm; the occasional sprinkles haven’t been bothering us. They’re certainly no match for the roaring fire. We’re trying to decide if we should let it burn out when couple of guys from Anonymous show up. We’re vaguely acquainted with these young dudes so think we should show them some hospitality. The sky appears to be clearing; the Fire Magician goes to the truck to get more wood.
These Anons tell us they are currently living in some type of halfway house after getting out of treatment. The big Native guy tells us some good stories that the elders told him when he was in Thunderbird House. The smaller white guy says, “I’ve been in Duluth for 4 years now. I’m from Georgia; when I arrived here people were nice to me and they tried to help me. That blew me away. I’m never going back down south; I’m gonna stay here forever”.
The conversation turns to the subject of what the hell is going on with supporters of He Who Shall Not Be Named. An Occupier tells us, “I read lately that many of the supporters were shocked to find out that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act were one and the same. The supporters certainly don’t want anything that has Obama’s name on it but they really like being able to get health insurance because of the ACA”.
Our good friend, a local, well respected and somewhat famous musician rolls up. He was just cruising the street and saw our fire. He says, “I know where I’ll be spending my Tuesday nights now”. An Occupier responds, “I see your name is up in lights down at Zuccone”. The Somewhat Famous Musician humbly answers, “Yeah, it’s Bob Dylan’s birthday again. I always get that gig”.
The big clock strikes 10pm. The fire is burning down, we don’t have any more wood and most of us have stuff we have to do tomorrow. We pack up and make plans to meet up here again next Tuesday.
As the last of the equipment is being loaded into the vehicles one Occupier sighs, “I’d forgotten how incredibly wonderful it is to sit around the fire”.

G.A. Minutes 5-16-17

G.A. Minutes 5-16-17
It looks like we won’t be having a recreational fire at People’s Plaza tonight. The downpour and thunderstorms started late Sunday night and there hasn’t been much letup since then. The weather people say it’s gonna continue until next Monday. Just great…… We feel like a bunch of little kids who were hoping to go outside to play.
It’s not raining when the first Occupiers roll up to Duluth Coffee however, it looks like it could start again any minute. One of those big wooden outdoor seating booths is taking up the parking spaces in front of the entrance. A few people are sitting in it.
We wonder why anyone would want to sit outside right on Superior St. where they would be inhaling all the exhaust from the steady stream of cars. We quickly realize the source of attraction. One can smoke cigarettes while sitting in the outdoor booth. For those who smoke, drinking coffee along with smoking is pretty much mandatory.
After ordering various types of coffee drinks we find a vacant table. There are only a few customers; as more Occupiers arrive we push another table over. One of the Occupiers who is charged with bringing the fire supplies when we have a fire comments, “Man, I was really hoping to have the brakes on the truck fixed by now. I left it at the mechanic shop two weeks ago but they’re still not done fixing it. I’ll go over there tomorrow to see what the holdup is. Hauling fire supplies is much easier with the truck”.
An Occupier brings up the latest fiasco with that He Who Shall Not Be Named guy. This week he’s being criticized for leaking top secret information to the Russian Ambassador. The Occupier remarks, “HWSNBN is gonna be impeached sooner or later; then we’ll be stuck with Pence. Another Occupier adds, “Maybe that was the plan all along. Pence is every bit as insane as HWSNBN but in different ways. The 1% realized Pence would never get elected on his own, so came up with a plan to slide him in as VP. Pence will push the same agenda as HWSNBN but in a more organized way”.
Someone else informs us, “Yeah, Pence is definitely insane alright. Remember when he said that women who have been raped should not be allowed to have abortions because that would cause a lot more women to try and get raped?”
A woman sitting at another table is aghast. Apparently she has been listening to our conversation. She exclaims, “WTF!!! As a woman who in the past had the misfortune to find it necessary to have an abortion, I refuse to tolerate a statement as ignorant as that”. We agree with her.
Bringing up another topic an Occupier says, “I sure miss our friend the Native Grassroots Organizer. What some of his BOD members did to him was just horrific”. Another Occupier concurs, “It sure was. He worked his butt off, unpaid for six years and really helped a lot of people. As soon as he was awarded a fairly large grant some of his own people stabbed him in the back. You know, that’s part of the trouble with 501cs, NGOs and all that stuff. They give an organizer a bunch of money and then they put all these restrictions on them so as to prevent them from doing work that is actually effective.
“The Native Grassroots Organizer always took the high road. Whenever the NGO folks tried to get him to do something shady or highly impractical, he refused. That pissed off a lot of people in the money crowd. I think they had been gunning for him for a long time”.
Someone replies, “Well you know, some of his former BOD members tell a different story”. The previously speaking Occupier answers, “I don’t believe them. I’m guessing that when the Native Grassroots Organizer chastised them about their less than exemplary work they were offended and decided to take revenge. I’ve known the Grassroots dude for many years. I’ve always respected him for his integrity and his compassion and understanding for the least privileged ones.
“I wished he would have stayed here and fought for his reputation and his work but I can understand why he didn’t. I talk with him occasionally; he says he has a bad taste in his mouth for Duluth right now. I mean, he did such good work for so little personal reward for so long he just couldn’t start from scratch all over again. He’s down south hanging in a good music scene right now. I’m sure he’ll come back here again; I just don’t know when”.
The city official arrives. He tells us, “I can’t stay this evening; I’m on my way to a School Board meeting. I just wanted you guys to look at this letter that I’ll be presenting. It’s about the meeting the other week where the school board chairperson referred to all the people of color who were present as ‘you people’ and said that all we do is complain. We were very offended by the chairperson’s ignorance and we don’t want to just let it slide”.
An Occupier says to him, “I attended the Indigenous Commission meeting last night. Someone reported the school board incident to the Commissioners. They were very upset and don’t want to let it slide either. Some of them would like to appear on your radio show and participate in a discussion”. The city man states, “That is a good idea”.
A young man who appears to be a clean, neatly dressed hippie has been sitting in an easy chair since before we came in. He’s been sitting with his eyes closed and his hands raised in a praying position, occasionally he claps loudly. Now he suddenly jumps up and runs out the door. Stuff like this makes us feel as though we are in our own element.
The Occupier who reports stuff reports, “Things got a little wild at the Human Rights Commission meeting last Wednesday. I was there with another person from the Homeless Person’s Bill of Rights Ordinance Coalition. We were expected to report on the latest developments with the HPB of RO. We asked the commission to send a letter of support for the bill to the DNT and to the mayor. They voted yes, they would do that.
“The City Attorney was also at the meeting. He was there in order to advise the commission on changes to their by-laws. Once the Commissioners voted to send the letters, the City Attorney just freaked out. He said the commission should definitely not send the letters. If they did, they would be insulting the mayor and jeopardizing all future meetings with City departments.
“Everyone was really confused by his response and very few people agreed with him. I commented something like ‘If one spends all their time smoozing with the big guys, one will find their proposition very watered down and much different from what they originally asked for’. I was very impressed by how several people told the City Attorney in a very polite way to shut up, mind his own business and remember the reason he was asked to be present at the meeting. I wish I had those skills.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work. He just kept on yapping over and over about the same thing. I had to leave early so didn’t see how things ended. I’ll be interested to talk with my fellow Coalition members at the next meeting on Thursday”.
A street guy comes in and goes over to a table where a few middle aged women are sitting. With much animation, he appears to be telling them a story. A barista comes running out from the back of the café. She says, “I’ve told you before, you cannot come in here and harass our customers”. The street dude apologizes and leaves. One of the Occupiers who lives up the street says, “I recognize him. He’s one of the regular spare change hustlers on Superior St. I think he’s addicted to meth”.
The reporting Occupier continues, “The documentary The Secret To Being Black In Duluth is going to be shown again on June 11th. The original plan is to show it at Adeline Wright’s hair solon but her place only holds about forty people. There will probably be at least a hundred folks who want to see it”.
We’re surprised when the hip hop music that has been playing quietly in the background becomes really loud. It almost blasts us out of our seats. We look around and see we are the only customers left. We check the time; it says 6:52pm. We guess this is how they let customers know they are closing. They could have just told us.
We pack up, leave tips and head out. When we get outside we see it’s been raining. An Occupier asks, “Has anyone ever gone to the Coney Island up on W 1st St?” Some have been there. She says, “If it’s raining again next Tuesday, maybe we could go up there for our meeting. We’d be able to get food”. Another Occupier offers to go and check out the scene beforehand.
So…… We hope to be having a fire at People’s Plaza next Tuesday. If not, we’ll be at Coney Island on W 1st St or back at Duluth Coffee. Hope for a nice sunny day.

G.A. Minutes 5-9-17

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 talks 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 5-2-17

G.A. Minutes 5-2-17
After almost a week of cold, windy and rainy weather the sky has begun to clear today. Temperatures have been in the 50s; the weather people say it’s going to be like this or better for at least the next week. We sure hope so. Mother Earth and Father Sky have teased us long enough; we beg for mercy.
An Occupier couple is the first to arrive at Coney Island this evening. As they pull into their favorite parking spot the Man Who Is Always Laughing walks over. They haven’t seen him since the sad encounter last fall. He looks a lot rougher than they’re used to seeing him but it appears that at least he’s laughing again. The Laughing Man asks for a ride up the hill. No problem, the female decides to go into the café and hold down the back booth while the male gives Laughing Man a ride.
The place is completely empty; the non-hipster is working again. He’s says business has been unusually slow all day. As soon as the Occupier settles in the back booth, the non-hipster staff guy bolts out the front door and around the corner. It’s probably been a long time since he’s been able to take a smoke break.
Occupiers begin rolling in. Someone comments, “I hear there were about 700 people at the Climate March on Saturday. I thought there would be more but it was still a good turnout and a good day. Some of the signs were very clever”.
An Occupier replies, “We had to cut out early in order to get to the premier of the movie at the Zuccone. Another Occupier asks, “What movie was that?” The first Occupier answers, “It’s called The Secret To Being Black In Duluth. It was created by Classy Dudley, a young local African American woman, UMD graduate and activist. It’s a documentary about what it’s like to be a black person living in Duluth. It featured candid interviews with many black folks who live here. I’d say that the premier showing was quite a success; the Zuccone was packed to the gills with a very diverse crowd. When it was over the audience gave it a standing ovation”.
The city official was also at the movie premier. He asks, “So what did you think of the film?” An Occupier responds, “There were a few small technical glitches that could easily be fixed but it was actually very good. It contained a lot of revealing information and will make a very good educational tool, especially for white folks”.
The city man adds, “There’s going to be a talk back about the film in the evening on Thursday May 11th at the public library. I hope you’ll attend and express your opinion”.
Another Occupier changes the subject saying, “Man, weather-wise, yesterday was sure a miserable day wasn’t it?” An Occupier agrees, “It sure was. I thought I was gonna freeze my ass off”. Someone else chimes in, “Yeah, the Democratic Socialists picnic was canceled; I hear they went to a bar or something. I just slept in and then went down to the march for Missing, Murdered and Trafficked Indigenous Women”.
An Occupier opines, “That turned out pretty well don’t you think? It was cold and windy but the rain stopped just as the event began and didn’t start up again until it was over. The turnout was small because of the weather but there sure were a lot of media in attendance. Having some of the Anons show up added a nice touch. We were on the front page of the DNT and someone made a Facebook video of the rally that had over three thousand views as of yesterday evening”.
Another Occupier tells us, “I was holding the big sign with the picture of the Woman Who Told Good Stories and the wind was just about knocking me over. I was wanting to take a break and go inside to Amazing Grace to get warm when one of the speakers said, ‘Yeah, it is cold but trafficked women are forced to stand out in weather like this all night long, night after night.’ After he said that I didn’t feel so cold”.
Somebody adds, “When we put the flowers in the harbor I could feel there were spirits around us. I hope we were able to comfort them”.
The Occupier who lives in Superior remarks, “I’ve been reading that many state legislatures are trying to pass more laws to make protesting even more difficult than it already is. It most definitely is a person’s constitutional right to protest. I hope we still have some judges who see it that way. I suppose the corrupt law makers are trying to stop us because they’re afraid of us”.
The city official and one of the Occupiers attended a Duluth School Board meeting last week. The city man reports, “The discussion was about the disparities in high school graduation rates between white students and students of color. Once it was pretty much over, the chairperson of the board said to the people of color who were in attendance, ‘Whenever you people come here, all you do is complain’. I was about to respond when the former co-chair of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial stepped up. He really let the school board man have it. He was vicious. An Occupier states, “Yeah, the former CJMM co-chair can be useful from time to time”.
An Occupier tells a story about his mother. She is in the hospital recovering from a serious injury and expects to be released soon. The Occupier explains, “My mom lives in a rural area about 60 miles from here. She’s going to be expected to come to Duluth every few weeks to be examined by her doctors. I checked into what kind of transportation is available to her from the government or medical system. I found out there is none. There used to be some but not anymore. My mom is just on Medicare and a small pension. She can’t drive herself or afford to pay for gas; she can’t afford to take a long distance bus either. So how do they expect her to be at her appointments?”
Another Occupier mentions, “The spouses and families from rural areas need to be able to stay somewhere in Duluth when they need to be with their loved ones in the hospital. The hospitals used to offer free lodging to these family members but I’m told they don’t do that anymore. I wonder what the families without sufficient funds are supposed to do.”
An Occupier who doesn’t usually speak much says, “I see the MN legislature is still fighting about the budget. MN has a 1.5 billion dollar surplus this year and Dayton wants to use it to pay for all the much needed infrastructure repair projects that have been requested throughout the state. The Republicans want to spend only 600 million of the surplus on rural projects but nothing for the cities. I don’t know what they plan to do with the rest of the money. Another Occupier sighs, “Probably give tax breaks to rich people”.
The official man tells us, “If they don’t pass a budget that helps everyone, our City won’t be able to make the changes to the city steam plant so they can switch from steam to hot water heating. The steam system is really falling apart besides; hot water is more environmentally friendly”. Several of the Occupiers live in residences heated by the steam plant.
Somebody comments, “Did anyone see where St Olaf College students boycotted classes yesterday because of unsolved racial incidents which have been going on since last November? St Olaf is an institution of primarily white students. Many of them marched in solidarity with the students of color. I think they were able to shut the place down”.
An Occupier exclaims, “That is so cool! My daughter graduated from St Olaf; she’s a so called person of color. She’s smart and multi-talented but we were poor so didn’t know how we were going to get her through college. St Olaf gave her a full scholarship. I’ll have to call her tonight. I bet she’s very proud of all those “Oles”.
The Occupier who always reports stuff reports, “Idle No More/Northwoods Wolf Alliance is not going to have an Anishinaabe Taco Sale this month. The frybread maker has to perform with the Duluth/Superior Symphony and several of the other food makers will be out of town.
This upcoming Friday, a Local Solutions To Poverty Candidate Accountability Session will be held at AICHO at 5:30pm. I think they’re going to feed people too.”
Throughout the evening the café’ has been quiet. Very few customers have come in; none of the street people have come to use the bathroom. We’re still yakking away when the non-hipster reminds us that he needs to close. Whoops, our bad. It’s well past closing time.
It looks like the upcoming week may be less eventful than it’s been in a while. Maybe we’ll get a chance to get outside and enjoy some spring weather. We plan to return to Coney Island next Tuesday.