Mayor Michael Bloomberg is talking tough again, darkly hinting that he may have to take action to shut down Occupy Wall Street. He now claims that the community in Lower Manhattan is upset by the occupation of Zuccotti Park and he must heed their wishes.
The problems: there have been cases of urination and defecation. The drumming is too loud. There is a seeming fear of violence from the street people and homeless the park seems to be attracting.
So it appears that his honor has found a new pretext to send the police in to clear the park. He has already sent his cops to arrest alleged law breakers in the encampment, accompanied by headlines urging "get tough."
In the eyes of much of the press, the end game is in sight because the protesters just don't know how to act, how to be responsible. The New York Times reports in a Friday page one report: "Demonstrators Test Mayor, a Backer of Wall Street and Free Speech." Even some Democrats have joined in calls for a crackdown in the name of keeping the upper class neighbors safe and sound.
As in many stories, however, what's not said is often what's most important.
First, after the last merry-go-round with a top city official who claims to support free speech -- but perhaps in some other city -- Occupy Wall Street met with community groups. They cleaned the park thoroughly. They cut back the hours of drumming to two. They set up a liaison to respond to complaints and enunciated a "Good Neighbor Policy."
As for the expulsion of bodily waste, the Occupation has offered to rent "porta-potties," those mobile toilets that are used in all public events. The City and the real estate company that owns the park has said no. Don't you think they know what happens when people have nowhere to go, as the weather gets colder? Maybe they feel the need to encourage more waste and chaos?
The Occupation also suggested that the City Sanitation Department move some dumpsters into place in the park. Again, the answer was no.
So two of the most cited problems have solutions that officials reject.
As for homeless people, Occupy Wall Street security has reported that city correctional officials and some welfare officers have actively encouraged homeless people to go to a park where they will be fed and can sleep.
Occupy Wall Street has strict rules against drug use and alcohol use. But they can't always enforce them against people who have been encouraged to go to the park to, among other things, cause trouble.
In other words, city officials, who are expressing so much agitation are actually exacerbating the problems, and then pointing to them as a reason the occupation must be forced to end. The cops also have spies in the park and are monitoring developments closely. They had repeatedly refused to protect the park from the presence of predators -- who they now blame on the protest.
Unfortunately, many media outlets are not interested in probing for the causes of problems and just focus on the effects.
Fox News is hostile to the protests, and so can be counted on to throw out every negative they can find. Earlier efforts to stigmatise the protests as anti-Semitic failed. Now they are stoking fears of more chaos.