UPDATE: Barely over 20 Occupy protesters marched at the Santa Ana Art Walk on Saturday, according to the OC Weekly. Obviously this is a very small movement…no doubt our Santa Ana City Council will take that into account on Monday night.
“Santa Ana’s City Council on Monday will undertake a discussion of the city’s no-camping ordinances in response to the Occupy OC movement’s wish to establish a long-term presence in the Civic Center,” according to the O.C. Register.
Santa Ana Council Members David Benavides and Michele Martinez put the 85B item on the agenda – forcing the rest of the City Council to consider allowing the Occupy movement to camp out overnight in Downtown Santa Ana.
Is this a good idea? Well, consider what has happened in other communities that have allowed their city centers to be overrun at night by Occupy protesters:
- After Los Angeles County health inspectors expressed worries about the cleanliness of the camp, Los Angeles Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa and city officials plan to relocate the demonstration. Not only has sanitation been an issue but the there are also concerns about the conditions of the lawn and trees, according to the LA Times.
- Portland officials have issued a warning to the protesters of Occupy Portland after a police officer was shoved against a bus during an unruly march this week, and the police chief ordered his department to have riot gear at the ready. (Washington Post)
- Dallas police have arrested a man who allegedly sexually assaulted a minor at the Occupy Dallas campsite downtown. Richard Armstrong, 24, was charged with sexual assault of child and failure to register as a sex offender. (WFAA TV)
- “We’re getting addicts and drunks down here, and it’s a ratio that’s hard to deal with, given the number [of activists] we have,” said David Kellam, a member of the Occupy Baltimore media team. “There’s about 10 or so people who are working their butts off to hold it together with duct tape.” (Baltimore Sun)
- From Channel 7 in Denver: “FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Police have arrested an Occupy Fort Collins protester in connection with a $10 million arson fire that damaged dozens of condominiums and businesses in Fort Collins. Benjamin David Gilmore, 29, was arrested on Thursday night on suspicion of arson, burglary and criminal mischief.”
- Among the banners and flags are now discarded packets of condoms, cigarettes and bottles of spirits, while naked youngsters happily get together with just sleeping bags covering their modesty. (Daily Mail)
- In the morning, a woman was arrested at the encampment outside City Hall after she allegedly set another person’s clothes on fire. In another incident hours later, a woman was arrested after protesters said she struck a man with a tent pole. Both were booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon. (L.A. Times)
- “These protests have a history of welcoming everyone and just assuming they’re on your side,” said David Meyer, a professor of sociology at the University of California at Irvine, who studies protest movements. (ABC News)
- An “Occupy Wall Street” participant has been arrested in connection with two sexual assaults at Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, according to a law enforcement official. Police arrested 26-year-old Tonye Iketubosin, of Brooklyn, on Tuesday after two women reported two separate assaults to the New York Police Department, the official said. (Fox News)
- The occupiers have made themselves so thoroughly at home that their village boasts named thoroughfares. Here, at the corner of Jefferson Street and Trotsky Alley [sic], one can find not only a glorious nexus of historical illiteracy and irony-proof earnestness, but a living, breathing blight: barricades and booming drums, the hum of generators and the smell of burning fuel, respect for the conventions of hygiene that is uneven at best, and increasingly, the threat of theft, assault, and even rape. (National Review)
And we want to bring this mess to downtown Santa Ana? No thanks.
I don’t mind these folks protesting during the day, but overnight? No way. We have ordinances against this for a reason. It is a threat to public safety to allow these folks to run amok at night.
And why are they occupying Santa Ana to begin with? This is a Democratic town. We only have two Republicans elected here – Supervisor Janet Nguyen and Councilman Carlos Bustamante. We should be rid of both of them in 2012.
Some of the folks who want to camp out here don’t even live here. Orange Juice blogger Gregg Diamond lives in Brea, where he NEVER complains about the Republicans who run his town. Orange Juice blog editor Vern Nelson lives in Huntington Beach – another Republican town. Why not occupy HB?
Doing this to Santa Ana will hurt the poor. Our city is broke. Forcing us to spend money we don’t have on increased police patrols and overtime is totally asinine. It will force our city to lay off workers and cut even more city services.
“We’re trying to follow the progressive precedence of Irvine,” community organizer Alicia Rojas told the Voice of OC.
Irvine allowed the camping but they don’t have the homeless problem we have. They ought to build a permanent campground for the homeless at the Great Park. They already have a farm there, so they can feed them.
I suspect the Santa Ana City Council will vote on an alternative motion to recognize the Occupy protest for what it is, but there is no way our Council majority is going to allow these people to take over our town at night.