Occupy Asheville -- 2nd Week Update -- 10/18/11
My last update ended with the Sunday afternoon Occupy Asheville General Assembly (GA) on 10/9/11. The working groups left the GA with various assignments for our preparations to approach the Asheville City Council on Tuesday, 10/11/11 to petition the City Council to allocate to Occupy Asheville (OA) a piece of public property that OA could use as a permanent base camp. Rosetta, of Rosetta's Kitchen, supplied petitions for businesses to sign showing their support for OA. Other petitions were distributed for anybody to sign to show their support. The legal team was in high gear getting their presentation together.
We prevailed! The Asheville City Council designated a paved parking area under the Interstate 240 bypass bridge at the end of Lexington Ave., as a permanent base camp for Occupy Asheville's use. The time-frame allotted for our use of the park was left virtually open-ended, with the permit extending to April of 2012.
While the parking area itself is extremely small, it has electricity & running water for our use. The Interstate 240 bridge overhead provides shelter from precipitation and the paved parking lot under the bridge will not turn into a muddy quagmire when it rains. We have made arrangements for Port-O-Johns to be set up & serviced regularly courtesy of local unions. I believe that the general consensus is that we are very happy to have made this arrangement with the City. Entire families can participate in these historic events that are going to shape the children's lives forevermore. Parents can bring their children to a hopefully safe place where the parents won't have to worry about being arrested, locked up and their children being left unattended, to say nothing of the trauma of the children seeing their parents being arrested and forcibly hauled away. Interacting with some of the street people who sometimes show up in various states of intoxication has been a challenge at times, but so far we have been able to handle things peaceably on our own without needing to call in the police.
Other parts of Asheville are being occupied also; the sidewalk beside the federal courthouse, Pritchard Park daily for the GA until the 10 pm curfew and Pack Park on Fridays so that the drum circle can do their usual thing. That is a totally voluntary concession on the part of OA. We are protesting the mega-banks, not drummers & their audiences.
Donations of all sorts continue to come in. The local mass media is starting to pay more & more attention. It seems that the media's presentation of the Occupy movement is getting more positive, with less ridicule, and with more attention being focused on the issues that have forced us out here onto the streets. Our movement has the nation's attention and rapidly growing support.
We have made great progress but not without great struggles. Now that the "outside threat" (of police intervention) that unites a group of people is no longer a unifying factor, internal strife has reared its ugly head.