This morning a growing group of very un-hippie, un-anarchist, un-communist, un radical revolutionaries gathered for the 15th straight day in Colorado Springs at Acacia Park in its downtown. The gathering eventually number over 100, mostly middle to approaching retirement age, along with young adults and middle aged struggling parents. It was billed as Uniform Day
The local issue and point of natural conflict is that Occupy Colorado Springs has occupied a portion of public land adjacent to Acacia Park, a city-owned community park in the heart of the downtown. The city's authorities have declared that Occupy is camping and therefore violating their No Camping Ordinance, just passed last year in response to an overgrown problem of homeless persons residing along the city's creeks. Today three plain clothes policemen appeared at the rally just before 11 AM when the General Assembly was scheduled to be called and posted No Camping Signs on the lamp posts, for warning their oft-proclaimed intention of removing Occupy's information shelters. Incidentally the shelters are on the right of way and not blocking or impeding any public sidewalk or in the park's boundary.
Soon thereafter the General Assembly was convened by Jason, who has functioned as the chief spokesman for the amorphous group. He stated that he was not the leader, that everyone in attendance is a leader but that because of his experience in the public and press he has been asked by others to be a spokesman. He is doing a good job.
A major point for the locals is the reality that we have to change or gain acceptance and a coalition with the right-wing conservatives that make up the majority of this community. Ironically, Jason calls himself a conservative, although quite enlightened and non partisan. That is the primary angle for this group---non partisan and non-violent. At the meeting it was revealed that the city has been underhanded and not honest in negotiating a settlement with the movement over its presence. They continually move bars, misrepresent themselves or move up timetables as in the example that they posted the above notices today instead of Monday. Another significant point was that Mayor Bach (the newly elected Republican-developers dream) stated on the radio that he is aware that open urination was taking place in the middle of the night in the park. Challenged he has now backed off this claim. The thing do these people look like hippies, homeless, anarchists and communists?
Of course not, but unless you go down to the park and see for yourself anything is imaginable. The General Assembly carried on discussing the possibility that a compromise with a local downtown property owner that the Occupy Movement could be taken up on private land near Colorado College. Actually both sides do not want the ugly confrontation of a court battle over what is camping and what is not. Especially when there are still homeless who sleep over in parks as seen here just a few yards from the General Assembly.
The meeting was said to be a success with more people coming to the gathering than previous Saturday's. I personally saw many of the "usual suspects" and a few other notables including:
There was the local Moveon.org organizer Pat Hansen in her nurse's uniform along with others from her organization being interviewed by the press.
James Howald from the EPC Democratic Party was in attendance:
As was David Justice also from the EPC Democratic Party who happened to be talking with a anonymous Tea Party Member.
Not to be lost in the crowd was Alma Cremenesi, the regions GLBT advocate and curator of our Lavender Film Festival that possesses national notoriety, she decided to dress in Republican 'Drag':
Not to be unnoticed was Rita Ague, the local advocate for all things peace and justice wearing her 2007 St Patrick's Day Parade Tea Shirt.
And finally there was Ed Billing, one of the early organizers and a union organizer who just got off working another graveyard shift at a 24/7 Grocer. He took the nerf football as well.
The meeting adjourned for a traditional walk around the downtown where about 150 marched and chanted through the park and then through the downtown streets.
That is the report from the NorthComm basecamp of Colorado Springs, CO---Robert Nemanich