Monday, April 30, 2007
From reports I heard from activists that talked to police today, it seems that the City of Arcata is depending on vigilantes to prevent free speech and protest in Arcata. A culture of support for vigilantism seems to flourish in Humboldt County, thanks to the silence of the community and clergy. This is certainly what must have happened in Germany that allowed Hitler to come to power. Perhaps Mayor Harmony Groves is depending on KKK style vigilantes to come with a "final solution" to the "homeless problem".
The People Project will be breaking down their encampment at 14th & Union tomorrow morning in preparation for a rally in the afternoon. After the rally, protesters will begin a march that will end at City Hall, where many of them plan to speak to the City Council at their regularly scheduled Wednesday meeting. The People Project is demanding an end to the criminalization to homelessness and the return of their property that was taken in last Wednesday's raid. Activists also plan to raise concerns about police conduct during the raid. The People Project is also planning to hold a press conference on Thursday. The group will be putting out a press release soon, with more information.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
The People Project protest encampment was reestablished yesterday afternoon at 14th & Union Streets in Arcata, at the entrance to Redwood Park. Police have been coming by frequently, warning of possible citations or arrests, shining spotlights and filming. They came at about 2:30am and 4:30am, making sleep difficult. If anyone in the community can come out and provide support for any amount of time it would be very helpful and much appreciated. Also the People Project has a new website at http://peopleproject.wordpress.com
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The People Project encampment that began last Saturday is still going strong but has moved to the lawn in front of The Arcata City Hall, where they intend to stay until the city gives back the property siezed by the police in Wednesday's raid. Citizens have been extremely generous and supportive. Ten pizza's were just delivered to the camp. The city's press release says citizens are angry and complaining about the camp. I see more that are angry at the city and Mayor Groves. I hope they hold her accountable if she runs for re-election. The city's press release states that on April 23the police warned the group of a violation and told them to vacate by sunset. This is a complete lie. I was there and never heard anything of it. I still can't find anyone who was told anything like that. The whole document is full of blatant lies. Mayor Harmony Groves should find out who is responsible and fire them. If not citizens should demand that the mayor resign. How can any citizen ever believe anything the city says again?
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
This morning , shortly after 6am, police from multiple agencies raided the protest encampment at 11th and D Streets. About 16 protesters sat in a circle, locking arms. A large crowd formed across the street. About 20 of those locked arms and chanted. A girl was arrested at about 8:45, when she approached the police and started talking to them. Then police began to pull protesters from the circle and drag them to a van. One handcuffed protester went into a seizure, while police held him face down on the street. The crowd was disturbed by the police conduct, leading at least one onlooker to cross the street and get arrested. A press release put out by the city appears to be full of distortions and incorrect assertions. I am outraged by their dishonesty, and will write more later, but have little time now, as I have to get to a meeting. It seems clear to me their message is that they will lie in order to deprive people of their constitutional rights. Here is a link for more photos: My Picasa web album
Monday, April 23, 2007
More tents have gone up at the People Project encampment protest, as more houseless people hear about it and decide to join the camp. Yesterday afternoon, Arcata City Councilman Paul Pitino stopped by to see the protest and talk with the activists. This morning someone hung a banner above the 101 freeway that said "It's a crime to sleep outside. Is that alright with you?".
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Yesterday afternoon, activists from the Arcata People Project established an encampment on a lawn at 11th and D streets, next to the old Arcata Community Center. Avery Jenkins said " We're trying to reclaim common spaces and create awareness about the issue of homelessness in the country and the fact that folks just don't have a place to sleep and be safe." About thirty people spent a rainy Saturday night sleeping there in tents and under tarps. Many other people stopped by offering support. At the beginning of the protest, Ranger Bob Murphy of the Arcata Police Department had the protester's porta-potty removed. The People Project is a coalition of students, concerned citizens and houseless people, that are trying to generate support for a free, ecologically sustainable campground.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
About 200 women marched last night from the HSU quad to the plaza to protest against rape, bigotry, and all forms of sexual violence. At a rally before the march, hundreds of t-shirts representing survivors and victims were hung from the University Center.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Humboldt County tree-sitters put up a demonstation tree-sit at Arcata's 420 fest in Redwood Park. They said they were trying to make people awware that ancient forests are still being cut. At 4:20 pm, a huge cloud of smoke appeared in the park. Members of NORML were tabling at the event to raise awarness about yhe need for marijuana law reform.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Last night I went to Baridi Night At the Redwood Peace & Justice Center. There was druming, a refugee meal of beans and cornmeal, and a showing of the documentary film "The Invisible Children". This excellent and moving film depicted the struggle and suffering of children in Uganda, who fear being abducted by the Lord"s Resistance Army, and be forced to fight in that country's civil war. After that, Eric Verprauskus spoke about the refugee camps in Zambia, which he visited last year. For more info visit http://www.forgeprogram.org/mission.htm
Monday, April 9, 2007
Next saturday, will be the largest day of citizen action focusing on global warming in our nation’s history. It is a nationwide campaign comprised of over 1300 actions being held on April 14, 2007 as part of a National Day of Climate Action. The message will be "Step it up, Congress! Cut Carbon 80% by 2050". In Arcata there will be walking tours of the future Humboldt Bay waterline, starting from the plaza at 10am, 12pm and 3:30pm. At 10:45am there will be a critical mass bike ride to the Kotke Ranch, where there will be tree planting with the Billion Trees Campaign. There will be letter writing and information on the plaza and a final gathering at 4pm. Saturday is also the first farmer's market of the year.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Two conservative Arcata City Councilmembers endangered the future existence of the Arcata Food Endeavor and Service Center, by voting against a motion to extend the lease, at last night's council meeting. The large, overflowing audience seemed shocked and outraged by the no votes of Councilmembers Michael Machi and Alex Stillman. The motion by Councilman Paul Pitino, to extend the lease an additional 14 months, failed in a 2-2 vote, with Councilman Mark Wheetley absent. Pitino asked for some compromise, but Machi and Stillman showed no interest in one.
Mayor Harmony Groves called the vote "a real shame'. She pointed out that returning Iraq war veterans may be in need of the services that the center offers. The Endeavor gives food boxes to needy families, The overwhelming majority of which, are not homeless. The Service Center provides showers to the homeless, case management, and hot lunches three times a week, down from five times in past years. Many citizens spoke in support of the Endeavor, including Father Erik Duff.
Also last night, a large group of citizens protested to the council that the Arcata Police Department is marginalizing the annual "Take back the streets" march against sexualized violence. Police force marchers to stay on sidewalks instead of marching in the street, citing saftey concerns. Speakers said marching on the sidewalk was less safe, and that police were sending a message that the " police do not consider sexualized violence a priority".
Fear that the council would reverse their compliance with Prop. 215 and California medical marijuana laws, was another issue that brought many residents to last night's meeting.
It appears to me that the rightward shift in the council is alienating much of the community. Progressives lost their council majority in last November's election, when anti-war activist Dave Meserve lost his seat. As more outrage develops over the reversals of the new conservative majority, perhaps we will see a recall movement.
Monday, April 2, 2007
The People Project held a campout this past weekend to focus on their organizing efforts. The People Project is a group of people that are concerned about the human rights of homelless people and meets on Tuesday nights at 6:30. A major goal, that has developed over the last year, is to establish a free, ecologically-sustainable campground in Arcata. The People Project motto is "Power from the streets!".
A group of bicyclists who are riding across the continent for peace, stopped in Arcata last weekend. They met with many Arcatans to tell people about their journey from Washington State to Washington,D.C. More information can be found at http://catalystsofhope.org/