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Fred Karger, GOP candidate for president–you know, the gay, Jewish, pro-choice, pro-medical marijuana Republican candidate (aka a  real live unicorn!)–dropped by Occupy LA today. He’s already visited Occupy New Hampshire and Occupy Wall Street where he’s been listening to what people are saying and asking questions.  Obama didn’t even drive by when he was visiting Los Angeles, though some Occupiers put up their tents along his route. The Secret Service wanted them to to move, but the Los Angeles police said they could stay. And so they did!

Meanwhile,  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the protestors have to eventually move from City Hall, only he hasn’t figured when. Or how. ):

I respect the protesters’ right to peacefully assemble and express their views. City officials have been in a continuous and open dialogue with the organizers of Occupy L.A. However, the protesters must respect city laws and regulations, and while they have been allowed to camp on City Hall lawns, that cannot continue indefinitely.

But he has launched a committee to find another place for them. I’m thinking MacArthur Park or “The Cornfield.” No, that’s not a reference to the Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life,” starring Billy Mumy as the mean kid who would put people “in the cornfield” by wishing them gone when they displeased him, but rather to the California State Park in the heart of downtown, though that would technically require state approval.

Villaraigosa also instructed city officials to begin drafting restrictions limiting when people are allowed at City Hall, though currently no one is supposed to be sleeping there between 10:30pm and 5am anyway.

LA City Attorney Carmen Trutinich said:

To protect the public health and safety of all residents, the LAPD and General Services Police can and should enforce the law in a fair, consistent, and even-handed manner. The law addresses conduct. Enforcement may not be based on the content of any political or personal opinion or message.

The LAPD has not been enforcing the  get-off-the-lawn law. They have been really cool.

Tonight the General Assembly was split when a group calling themselves “People’s Forum”  began dancing and chanting and holding an open mic sharing where several people plugged their websites and one woman rambled about her daughter’s bad relationship, her own free master’s degree from Cornell and how she’s a celebrity. Sharing about why they’re there and what they hope to achieve, problems they are having is needed, though maybe with a time limit and less self-promotion: People do need to know each other and their stories, to hear encouragement and ideas; however at the GA, issues like  security and actions, plus the state of other Occupys are brought up and discussed, along with committee reports, finances, etc.   Granted nightly GA can be occasionally tedious, but they are needed and are an immediate democratic process. While the share-bear People’s Forum went on, the GA met on the other lawn.

After an hour, the GA joined the open mic folks and unity was achieved. Issues like maintaining the cleanliness of the park, sexual harassment, drug and alcohol use were discussed. People expressed that it was necessary to have unity and focus, and that pot and booze dull the latter, while having an environment where women don’t feel safe fractures unity.  And picking up trash and not making a mess shows respect for the environment/land. There was no voting, just ideas brought forth.

I think having open mic assemblies at night on Saturday and/or Sunday where people just share could help foster unity as well as giving people ideas that could later be voted on in GA during the week.   You can watch the recorded livestreams of the General Assemblies at  www.livestream.com/owslosangeles

There is some reasonable concern about police action, given the ongoing  situations Oakland, Atlanta and  in others citys where  police force is being used to remove Occupys; but again, so far the Los Angeles police have been reasonable, helpful, friendly and kind. Let’s hope that Villaraigosa doesn’t drop the banhammer on Occupy LA, but if he does, the LAPD acts like Albany, NY where they police refused to move on protestors and not like the law enforcement in Oakland, CA.

Tomorrow, thanks to FDL’s #Occupy Supply program, I am bringing down cases of peanut butter, loaves of bread  and other packaged foodstuffs to distribute through the camp, as they are really hungry and, per the Health Department can only have food that is prepackaged or prepared by Health Department-permitted kitchens. So thank you, FDL members and readers for helping the 1,000+ Occupiers of Los Angeles in 495 tents at City Hall have food in their bellies as they move forward.

 

Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.

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