Occupy Still Searching For Solution – Gazettes.com: News.
Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:57 pm
By Jonathan Van Dyke
Tension remains between the Occupy Long Beach movement and the city after a report failed to satisfy the occupiers with its options or the methodology used to create it.
The City Manager’s Office released a report Nov. 30 to the City Council that gave several possibilities to consider regarding how to handle the occupiers moving forward:
• Maintain the current approach, which allows occupiers onto Lincoln Park during the day and forces them to the sidewalk at night.
• Allow occupiers to camp in El Dorado Regional Park Area II — the one park in the city where overnight camping is allowed now. This suggestion also may come with certain conditions that occupiers would have to follow based on the council’s discretion.
• Amend the overnight rule so that occupiers could stay in Lincoln Park, or any other park of the council’s choosing — again, likely with some conditions.
The report was given to City Council, but no item was put on the council agenda this week regarding it.
“Since we’re not on the agenda, the only opportunity is to bring it up during public comment,” said Chris Robson, Occupy Long Beach’s civic engagement committee liaison.
Members of Occupy Long Beach said they were frustrated that the City Manager’s Office did not speak with them before preparing the report to include their input — something Eighth District Councilwoman Rae Gabelich had directed weeks ago when the report was requested.
The options presented so far, Robson said, were still unacceptable — the City Council is being advised not to amend park rules.
“What we want is the ability to protest 24 hours a day and seven days a week at Lincoln Park,” he said. “Nothing has changed, but how do we get there within the rules of the city? Clearly, El Dorado Park doesn’t make any sense and the status quo doesn’t make any sense either.”
Gabelich said she believes that the Occupy Long Beach movement won’t be going away, so sol-
utions need to be looked at.
“Everyone has talked to me about not opening that door to changing the ordinance (for overnight camping at a park),” Gabelich said. “But maybe there is some way to just tweak it a little bit, because we do that all the time.”
Robson pointed out that Rose Park hours were changed for a special event within the last year — an approach that didn’t change the ordinance but was added as a separate rule.
After several occupiers spoke during the public comment portion of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Gabelich attempted to address the issue, but was told it needed to be on the agenda.
Instead, she asked City Manager Patrick West to try again to work with the Occupy Long Beach movement.
“Mr. West I’m going to ask if you would work on that and engage the team for ongoing dialogue with the group to see how we can better serve their needs while still working within our ordinance,” she said.
On Wednesday, she confirmed that the City Manager’s Office will reach back out to occupiers and attempt to brainstorm more solutions moving forward.