Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In NYC, a turning point for Occupiers everywhere

Update, 3 p.m.: A New York state supreme court judge has heard oral arguments on NYC's ban on protesters camping overnight at Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of the Occupy movement. A ruling is expected soon.

NYC officials argued in its brief to the court that Occupy might be stockpiling weapons at Zuccotti, and also that allowing protesters to camp again would bring back the safety issues that caused more than 50 arrests and prompted the park's closing.

The latter argument, if successful, gives Charlotte's leaders a framework from which they can impose restrictions on overnight protesters in advance of the Democratic National Convention. We don't advocate shutting down public speech, but establishing a plan dictating where and when those protests occur gives the city and county the opportunity to balance free speech, public safety and the interests of local businesses when the world arrives in 2012.

The Occupy protests are in the news again today with a big development: New York City police cleared the movement's birthplace, Zuccotti Park. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the after-midnight sweep was conducted because of health and safety concerns. More than 150 people have been arrested, including some who chained themselves together. (Update: The AP is reporting that at least 200 have been arrested by late morning.)

In a written statement this morning, Bloomberg said that the protesters can return to the park, but not camp out overnight.

Said the mayor:
The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out - but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others - nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law. There is no ambiguity in the law here - the First Amendment protects speech - it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space.

Protestors have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags. Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.

This seems to conflict with a court order the National Lawyer's Guild says it obtained that allows the protesters to return to the park.

While protesters wait on their court-ordered future at Zuccotti Park, some took over the grounds of a nearby church by cutting the fence with wire snippers, the New York Times reports. This is a fast way to turn public opinion against you.

The New York Daily news is reporting that there are skirmishes around Zuccotti, and that protesters are "openly taunting the NYPD." Police who have not responded thus far.

Also, lots of footage available of the overnight raid. Here's some dramatic video from AP:

Cities like Charlotte will be watching the developments closely. In emails to county commissioners last month, county attorney Tyrone Wade said protesters camped out at Old City Hall were not violating any county or city laws (the city owns the land) simply by staying there overnight. We'll watch how NYC officials argue the legality of Bloomberg's edict, without an apparent ordinance backing them up. Could Charlotte and Mecklenburg officials argue something similar?

Meanwhile, expect the Occupiers to head right back to Zuccotti and challenge Bloomberg and police tonight. They'll be followed by a horde of media chronicling this potentially critical moment for the movement.

Do you care?

We've been hearing from readers lately about the amount of attention the media has given Occupy, especially locally. One regular emailer complained that the Observer gave a front page story Monday to the Charlotte protesters, despite their unimpressive numbers. We have another today about UNC Charlotte granting campus space to an Occupy offshoot. The Observer also has written about the fight for portable bathrooms for the protesters, and we've editorialized about local Republicans wanting the protesters off the Old City Hall lawn.

Never have a couple dozen scruffy folks gotten so much ink.

Is it too much? That's for readers to decide, but there's a case to be made that media locally and nationally are following the natural evolution of a story that continues to be relevant - but for different reasons. Initially, Occupy was somewhat of a novelty - newspapers wrote somewhat superficially about the young men and women blocking streets and bridges and taking over Zuccotti. As the movement gained momentum, the media began examining it in more depth - why did these populist protests resonate with the rest of America, according to polls, in a still-harsh economy? How did they compare to the tea party in message and potential?

Now, the story has shifted to public and government response to protests that, in some places, are losing their ideological traction to violence and health issues. Locally, that took the form of Republicans perhaps overplaying their concern for the Old City Hall lawn, but with legitimate worries about how the city would handle the protests that might come next year with the Democratic Convention. Nationally, some Occupy movements are becoming health and safety hazards, including Oakland, where one protester shot and killed another and police now have cleared the encampment there twice in three weeks.

Today we have Zuccotti in Manhattan. Expect the day's narrative to focus not only on the future for that one park, but whether the clearing of Occupy's birthplace signals the beginning of the end of the movement - or at least the end of America's patience with it.

Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Closer to home

The Observer's editorial today examines why county commissioner Jennifer Roberts, who announced she's not running today, might make a better state legislator than county commission chair.

And if you haven't seen Kevin Siers cartoon on Roberts, you really should.


The Cain Campaign: RIP. After butchering his answer to question on Libya at a meeting with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cain is watching conservatives head for the door.

The Weekly Standard called a video of the question/answer "painful to watch."

The Washington Post's conservative blogger, Jennifer Rubin, says Cain has become an embarrassment.

As with Rick Perry's debate brain freeze, campaign chroniclers will point to Cain's sexual harassment allegations as dooming his campaign, but both candidates may already have been doomed - Perry by weak debate performances and Cain by a startling lack of domestic and foreign policy knowledge.


Rob said...

Yes. It is being covered too much. Until they create some concrete ideas as to how and what they want changed, it is just a bunch of complaing people. Coverage should go to people that are offering solutions or ideas for change.

sanitizer said...

The question is, "Is the occupy movement too occupied with getting media coverage?

Skippy said...

You know for a fact that you and your ilk hoped and prayed this "grass roots" plague would turn out to be the lefts version of the Tea Party. I guess it's fair to say now, you were wrong as usual. You have yet to print a piece about the number of murders, rapes nor have you bothered to inform your highly educated readers about the threats to police or the threat to the Gov of NY or the amount of property damage they caused nor have you mentioned how much damage they have done to business's in NYC and in Oakland. While you did everything possible to smear the Tea Party that had thousands of peaceful rallies and the best you could come up with were made up charges that the party patriots spit on black congressmen.

So now because of do nothing mayors in NYC and Oaklnd the tax payers are being asked to spend hundreds of thousand of dollars in police force expenses and to clean up after this vermin.

But lets hope our President and Little Ms Insider Trader keeps embracing this garbage.

Skippy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sirshannon said...

I think there should be more, better coverage.

Tomc112 said...

Wow when the Koch brothers fund tea party and then they claim this is a movement of all people and you check the tea party is the right extreme wing of the Republican party and FOX biased news showed them everyday. So now a true movement of independents and dems and you dare to ask this question. The defintion of a movement is it starts small and grows by media attention. That is what is happening now.But once again the repubs will try to make it sound like this is a fluke. Repub. have overplayed there power and tossed NC blue Ohio Blue and now Wis. a solid blue. Keep moving that right wing legislation and Obama and the dems will be headed for a landslide.

Unknown said...

Sadly the OWS movement is very anti-semetic in nature and actions. Go after the wealthy banker class, but leave the anti Jew message at home. This is very similar to the Nazi propaganda in the early 20th century, and went unchecked, and caused millions to lose their lives. The signage in NYC alone should have stopped this protest in it's tracks, but the Mainstream media doesn't want to look at the entire picture. ( By the way, why doesn't the Observer publish photos of the anti-Jew posters?)
The Tea Party at least has a clear vision, and the ACORN instigators organizing OWS have ruined what could have been a great opportunity to turn our country around.

pBarbot said...

Too much coverage?? Surely you have to be kidding me!
This movement has been alive now for about 2 months and the 'coverage' has been sparse at best. The Occupy movement does have demands -though no leaders- and those demands are geared to their respective localities; however, one demand is uniform throughout each Occupy site: Corporate, Capitalist greed and control they exert over the majorities lives -the 99%- has got to end; we need a society focused on people, not profit.
The coverage that we are getting from Corporate media sites (CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC, NYT, et al) is tactically chosen to undermine the Occupy message and peg the protestors as tree-hugging youngsters who want everything for free while they live a carefree, sendimentary lifestyle; Or, they are painted as being violent Anarchists who want choas and misery to descend on the world. If you think I'm wrong then take more than just the customary cursory glance at the pictures that accompany all this 'extensive coverage' -its corporate propaganda plain and simple. Where are the pictures of the older protestors? Where are the pictures of whole families that attend these protests?
Corporate power feels threatened and they are pulling out all the stops to smear and trivialize valid complaints that are being made by a populace that has had enoguh.

Before you dismiss my comments as being written by a 'dirty hippy' just know this: I am a recently unemployed father of 4 with $55,000in school loan debt with absolutely no avenue to use my 2 college degrees and severely limited prospects for the future unless something drastic changes. I know I'm in the 99% and perhaps one day the rest of society will realize they are too.

kantstanzya said...

Are we too occupied with the Occupiers? And how about trying to finish off Herman Cain?

Well it certainly beats covering real news like the latest Obama scandal. He has given a $500 Million no bid contract to Drug Company SIGA. This is a smallpox drug. Small pox is a disease which was eradicated in 1978 and experts say another drug is a waste of time and money.

I'm sure you could guess that SIGA's biggest investor is a big Obama donor... Ronald Pearlman.

Obama is the king of crony capitalism.....funnelling tax dollars to his labor unions and big supporters who in turn donate back to the Democratic Party. This used to be called "money laundering". It still would be if a Republican President was doing it.

But back to the Occupiers and Herman Cain.

EM said...

I'd like to think that you folks at the Observer don't actually take seriously these folks who come here to parrot whatever they heard on Fox News on any given day. Fortunately it's pretty easy to detect the comments coming from the extremist cranks.

For every scruffy kid in a tent exercising their First Amendment rights at any of the hundreds of Occupy sites around the country, there are hundreds more working Americans who support and agree with them. Recent polling has confirmed the wide spread support for this movement.

J. Patrick Terry said...

unknown at 9:52,

I've been to the park, almost daily, for the past 2 months. I can assure you that there are people of the Jewish faith protesting.

Anonymous said...

I really don't know. I gave up on your rag months ago. Overall, the coverage is generally when something major happens, like arrests and now being kicked out of sleeping in NYC park. I agree with others, there message is pretty much non-existant, other than to condemn corporate greed. Seem like to many these days -looking for something for nothing.
Also, I too was unemployed for 2 years, and for first time in my 56 years, received unemployment. We went through our savings, took a job 45% less than prior and holding on. But not asking or demanding anything from others or faulting those who have created value.

hostforthedead said...

Subject: Are the media too occupied with Occupy? Well, they're certainly not involved with the survival of the human race!!!
Date: 11-15-11 12.08 pm

O-pinion - Conversations about issues affecting our city, region and country.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
In NYC, a turning point for Occupiers everywhere

Is it too much? That's for readers to decide, but there's a case to be made that media locally and nationally are following the natural evolution of a story that continues to be relevant - but for different reasons. Initially, Occupy was somewhat of a novelty - newspapers wrote somewhat superficially about the young men and women blocking streets and bridges and taking over Zuccotti.

As the movement gained momentum, the media began examining it in more depth - why did these populist protests resonate with the rest of America, according to polls, in a still-harsh economy?

How did they compare to the tea party in message and potential?

My comments:
Are the media too occupied with Occupy? Well, they're certainly not involved with the survival of the human race!!!
Ie. - Every topic I've concerned my self with for the past 2 weeks was selected (site, section of newspaper, topic, excerpted material & My comments:) has been picked by coin flip!!!

I've been on the streets of of Charlotte "protesting" with my bicycle signs since the first week of April, and yet, no "OCCUPY" has ever approached to "join" me!!! Too bad!!! I've got the KKK and Baptist's so scared that they're deleting my post!!! If you want to get the attention of the rich, first you've got to go after their base:

Knowledge is Power? There's is always room for HOPE!!!

I don't suppose she is aware of what a ruckus I'm causing in Charlotte.

Too bad NEWS from Charlotte has failed to reach her!!! But what would she expect, when city folk witnessed 2 TV news trucks pulling away (10 & 25 feet away!!!) from where I was stationed (in front of STARBUCKS), during the previous "Greater Charlotte Heart Walk", 09/17/11, after stopping to read some of the signs on my bicycle!!!

Knowledge is Power? There's is always room for HOPE!!!

I have been awaiting the GOVERNOR to put me back into my "EVIL" foreclosed home, since March 29, 2011! Even though I have been on the streets of Charlotte, 218 days, with signs on my bicycle, I'm sure the LORD is speaking to "CIVIC CLUBS": "ENJOY YOUR IGNORANCE!!!"

Unforgettable Northern Lights display recorded
October 25, 2011 2:33 PM

All Gov. Bev Perdue's N.C. Governor's Conference for Women, this morning, at the Charlotte Convention Center needs to do is ---> GET IN LINE!!!

kantstanzya said...

Taking them out of Zucotti park so they can clean up before letting them back in.

This reminds me of the gerbil cage my kids used to have. The gerbils were incapable of cleaning up after themselves. So we had to take them out of the cage and clean out the cage before letting them back in.


Julian Cuthbertson said...

This may not be a news worthy story for the city of Charlotte but on a national level it is. In the end it is just a bunch of people who are upset that even in an economic downturn that there are some people who are doing well yet the govt is not doing anything to redistribute wealth. Its a simple case of jealousy when you really look at it.

webdevtj said...

I'm sure some of these people are decent, but this overall seems to be a collective of the useless, whinny entitlement crowd members who are looking to complain until someone gives them something for free. IF they were truly complaining about jobs then they wouldn't be jamming up ports and stopping small businesses who's walkways and doors they block from conducting profitable and necessary day-to-day business. Nope, they are more concerned about freebies for themselves irregardless of whom they hurt.

Garth Vader said...

What a surprise in the Observer's wall-to-wall Cain-A-Thon that they'd leave out the fact that we've got ourselves a real race:

GOP Candidates in Four-Way Dead Heat

Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are in a dead heat as the top choices for Iowans likely to attend the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucuses.

A Bloomberg News poll shows Cain at 20 percent, Paul at 19 percent, Romney at 18 percent and Gingrich at 17 percent among the likely attendees with the caucuses that start the nominating contests seven weeks away.

Among likely caucus-goers who say their minds are made up, Paul leads with 32 percent, followed by Romney at 25 percent and Gingrich, a former House speaker, at 17 percent.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you at least mentioned the murder and other violence in Oakland; most traditional media outlets have completely ignored that.

The traditional media outlets' coverage of the Occupy movement and the Tea Party has been so hypocritical it borders on being criminal. A couple of idiots at a Tea Party rally spit at some Congressmen who happen to be people of color, and every article, column and editorial since from traditional media outlets has denounced the entire Tea Party movement as violent, racist and a movement that preys on peoples' fears. But the Occupy movement can contain someone who actually kill a man, and enough people that sexually assault other people that the original Occupy site has to devote some of its resources to STD education, and the traditional media sources act as if they barely notice. I don't think the Occupy movement has been given too much coverage; it is a big news story. But since the message of the Occupy movement has been one of calling for changes that are very liberal in nature, their message has been covered favorably, while the Tea Party movement carries a message calling for changes that are very conservative in nature, so the slightest step out of line is what gets the coverage, rather than their message. Obviously I don't approve.

As for Cain, I want to vote for him and am only held back by his seemingly-gleeful ignorance about foreign policy, not a good thing while we are still at war with terrorists. But I have a question for those who have accepted that the allegations of sexual misconduct are true, and thus he is unfit to be President:

If all the allegations are true, he made crude remarks of a sexual nature to 3 women, and tried to reach under the skirt of a fourth. Doesn't that pale in comparison to the sexual misdeeds of Bill Clinton? And since the Congress did not find Clinton's actions worthy of removing him from the presidency, why should these actions, if true, make Cain unfit for the presidency? Answer - they don't. Now if you want to vote for someone else because you don't like his ignorance on foreign policy or if you think the 999 plan would be a failure, that's fine. But I really don't care to hear that it's OK for one man to be President and commit adultery in the Oval Office and it's not OK for another man to be President because he talked dirty to 4 women and made an unsuccessful grab at one.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Who made Peter St. Onge king of the USA where he gets to decide who is or isn't fit to be the Republican candidate for President?

That's like letting Duke fans pick the starting lineup of the Tar Heels.

This is just another illustration of the abuse of the privilege of freedom of the press.