Missoula County Commissioners to Hold Public Meeting Regarding Proposed Resolution Related to County Property

December 29, 2011
CONTACT: Dale Bickell
Chief Administrative Officer, Missoula County
Phone: 258-4229, dbickell@co.missoula.mt.us


Missoula County Commissioners will hold a public meeting on
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 in room 201 of the Missoula County
Courthouse Annex at 1:30 p.m. The meeting will provide the public an
opportunity to comment on a proposed resolution that would prohibit
camping and structures on County property. The proposed resolution is
available on the County’s website.

Interested members of the public are encouraged to attend. Citizens can
also submit comments on the proposed resolution by calling or emailing
the Commissioners’ Office – 258-4877 or bcc@co.missoula.mt.us

Text of Resolution after the jump. Continue reading

Press Release from the Occupy Missoula Encampment Working Group

Happy holidays to everyone from the Occupy Missoula Encampment Working Group!
We’re pleased to stand in solidarity with Missoula Cultural Council in regards to the up- coming First Night Event. We look forward to an evening of holiday cheer, outreach and education for our fellow citizens about local and national issues. We also encourage all artists and like-minded citizens to join us by contributing art to this First Night Event. We’re also planning a public discussion concerning the Missoula County Commission- ers’ rejection of multiple invitations to join us in our meetings with the Missoula Cultural Council Wednesday the 21st.

The Occupy Missoula Encampment retains a positive outlook despite the removal by county workers of a disabled homeless veteran’s tent at 5:30am on the 21st, under the pretext that it was “abandoned property,” as well as the calculated removal of the porta- potty the same afternoon, in order to create a public health issue. The Commissioners also saw fit to request that porta-potty providers not “get involved,” and our attempts to secure another porta-potty have been unsuccessful for that reason.

We continue to remain hopeful, despite today’s actions by the Sherrif, once again at- tempting to confiscate a disabled veteran’s tent under the premise of its being aban- doned. We would like to remind the Commissioners that the tents are a form of Political Protest, protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United Staes of America.

In the holiday spirit of goodwill and peace, we are asking the County Comminssioners to let us enjoy Christmas without engaging the police, without threats of arrest before we have a public forum next week.

press release_OME

Missoula County Commissioner’s Statement on OccupyMissoula 12.22.2011

The County Commissioners will be reading the statement below at their 1:30 meeting today in Room 201 of the Missoula County Courthouse Annex.

Please feel free to contact the Commissioners’ Office with questions.

Commissioners’ Statement Regarding Occupy Missoula

We have directed County staff to communicate with Occupy Missoula about their encampment since its inception in October. We have increased the frequency of our correspondence with them in the last two weeks in an effort to encourage them to remove their tents from the Courthouse lawn. Despite attempts from both our staff and many of the Occupiers to engage in constructive communication, the tents remain, as do the problems the tents present. As a result of Occupy Missoula’s unwillingness to help Missoula County solve the problems their camp presents, we are developing a policy that will prohibit camping on County property. The City of Missoula’s No Camping Ordinance does not apply to the Courthouse lawn. The County policy and the resulting ordinance are still being developed, but would require any group using the Courthouse lawn to secure a special use permit. Please do not mistake this policy as a means to limit free speech. Protests and demonstrations are still welcome on the Courthouse lawn, but sponsors of demonstrations that encourage prolonged use of the public space – a space we are charged with managing – must offer assurances that activities on County property will not jeopardize the health, welfare, and safety of the general public, or restrict the public’s rightful use of a public space.

We have removed the port-a-potty we have been providing from the Courthouse lawn in an effort to encourage the removal of their tents. We cannot continue to subsidize the Occupy camp with tax payer dollars. The port-a-potty was provided as a means to reduce instances of unsanitary conduct and protect the public and our staff from pathogens. We will continue to protect the public and our staff, but can no longer provide a facility to the camp that is funded with tax payer money.

As an interim measure, before the County ordinance is passed, we have directed County staff to identify unoccupied tents on the lawn as abandoned property and remove them.

We have received numerous calls and emails from constituents complaining about the camp for months. We have made every effort to acknowledge the concerns of those constituents while protecting Occupy Missoula’s right to free speech. We ask that Occupy Missoula acknowledge that they have a responsibility to conduct their protest in a way that is accountable to the Missoula community.

Occupied Media: Interviews With Boots Riley & Alexa D. O’Brien

From OccupiedMedia and OccupyMissoula’s Taryn Hart:

In what is our highest-profile interview to date, I’m thrilled to present Occupied Media’s interview with Occupy Oakland’s Boots Riley. Of all of the interviews I’ve done, this was the first one where I was nervous (maybe also my very first interview Jeff Madrick). As you’ll see in the interview, Boots is charismatic, endlessly interesting and the camera absolutely loves him. More importantly, his vision for social change and for the Occupy movement is both clear and compelling.

Boots is probably best known as a talented musician and lyricist. He is the front man of Oakland’s The Coup and, more recently, he has collaborated with guitarist and activist Tom Morello to form The Street Sweeper Social Club.

Among other matters, Boots and I discuss his history as an organizer (which extends to his youth), how he got “sucked in” (his words) to Occupy Oakland, his vision for social change and the Occupy Movement and his message to progressives and/or radicals critical of Occupy. I have no doubt everyone will find Boots Riley as compelling and thought provoking as we do.

Our next Occupied Media interview is with citizen activist Alexa D. O’Brien. Alexa foundedUS Day of Rage, which was directly involved with organizing and promoting the occupation of Wall Street on September 17, 2011. Alexa continues to be involved with Occupy Wall Street and with US Day of Rage’s call for an Article V Constitutional Convention. I’ve now interviewed several high-profile economists and journalist, but I really love the interviews with fellow occupiers. So, I hope everyone enjoys the interview as much as I did and please check out the very important work going on at US Day of Rage.

Occupied Media: Interviews With Jared Bernstein & William K. Black

From OccupiedMedia and OccupyMissoula’s Taryn Hart:

I’m thrilled to present Occupied Media’s interview with economist Jared Bernstein. Dr. Bernstein has fought the good fight for his entire career. For many years he worked with EPI’s Larry Mishel on State of Working America, which documented the rise in inequality and decimation of the American middle class. He then joined the Obama Administration as Vice President Biden’s Chief Economist. He is now with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and he maintains a blog, On the Economy, which I love both because he presents economic issues in such understandable terms and because you get a glimpse into his personality (tune in for his music selections on Friday, for example).

Dr. Bernstein is incredibly busy – he made time for this interview at 10:00 PM after a 12-hour plus day. He not only took time to meet with us, he also connected us with Larry Mishel of EPI, who has been an amazing resource and advocate. Our deepest thanks for Dr. Bernstein for this interview, for his assistance and, most importantly, for a career dedicated to scholarship and advocacy on behalf of the 99%.

He was remarkably forthcoming and, unlike many economists, was willing to talk outside of the box. His bottom line diagnosis (or maybe it’s still just a concern): We are a system that can no longer self-correct; and a system that cannot self-correct, cannot survive.

The next interview is with esteemed law professor Bill Black who has been a tireless advocate for reform of the financial system and prosecution of the fraudsters that brought our economy to its knees. The title of his book really says it all: The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One.

Professor Black is an Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, a white-collar criminologist and a former financial regulator. He blogs at New Economic Perspectives and tweets at @WilliamKBlack. Professor Black has been an advocate of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and he has been remarkably generous with his time.

Occupied Media: Interviews With Punkboyinsf & Spencer Mills (a/k/a OakFoSho)

From OccupiedMedia and OccupyMissoula, Taryn Hart:

Here’s Occupied Media’s interview with J’Tao a/k/a Punkboyinsf. steaming out of the Bay Area. My main impression of Punkboyinsf – having gotten to know him a bit – is how generous he is: He’s thrilled promote and help out small occupations and fellow streamers. When I asked him about donations, he really wasn’t interested in money, but thought maybe he could use some equipment. However, since then, he’s lost his phone/camera and had to replace it, courtesy his Mom who he really needs to pay back. I will get a donate link up as soon as that is available, but in the the meantime, anyone who wants to donate can contact him on twitter, @punkboyinsf.

Like my interview with OakFoSho, we cover a lot of ground, starting with how he fell into streaming and all of the twists and turns he and the movement have taken since then. Unfortunately, my side of the video was lost due to technical difficulties, but in terms of content, I’m really pleased with the interview:

This interview with Spencer Mills (a/k/a OakFoSho) – as well as a slightly earlier interview with Punkboyinsf (which is held up in editing due to technical issues) – are my first interviews of fellow Occupiers. Partially for that reason, but also because I think these guys are absolutely amazing, these interviews may be my favorite.

Spencer and I pretty much cover the map – how he got started with Occupy and streaming, media objectivity, “diversity of tactics” and transparency, the raid of Occupy LA, the various people Occupying trees (I absolutely LOVE the tree people) and the impressive occupation that is Occupy Oakland. As anyone who has watched OakFoSho’s stream knows, he’s incredibly interesting and opinionated – pretty much a dream interview. So, the one and only, OakFoSho:

Missoula County “Requests Occupy Missoula Relocate Their Camp” by Dec. 12

MISSOULA, MT 59802-4292
PHONE: (406) 258-4877
FAX: (406) 721-4043

Occupy Missoula Participants:

Missoula County Commissioners and staff continue to monitor the presence of Occupy Missoula on the Courthouse lawn. Missoula County strongly supports the right of any group to peaceably assemble and articulate grievances. The County respects the resourcefulness of the Occupy Missoula group and is grateful for what has been a peaceful and relatively respectful relationship to date despite frustration experienced by each entity.

Missoula County has fielded dozens of calls and emails from County citizens complaining about the presence of Occupy Missoula on the Courthouse lawn. Missoula County staff has spent countless hours developing and maintaining relationships with numerous individuals associated with the Occupy Missoula movement. Staff has seen a significant increase in incidences of unsanitary conduct requiring even more staff time to mitigate the problem and causing increased exposure of County staff to pathogens. The nature and source of the unsanitary conduct, whether from Occupy Missoula or the adjacent population of homeless individuals, is immaterial. Regardless of who the culprits are, the situation is untenable and frankly, well above and beyond what the County should be asking of its staff on a frequency such as this.

Missoula County has been patient with Occupy Missoula, but the movement’s presence on the Courthouse lawn is creating more problems than the County has the staff or money to solve. Missoula County would like to request that Occupy Missoula relocate their camp or use the gazebo without tents during the day. Commissioners and staff are concerned that this request will cause Occupy Missoula to believe the County is trying to undermine their movement. That is not the case. The County must manage its grounds and staff in a way that is responsible to tax payers and residents. This movement appears to be long-term and focuses on issues that are beyond the ability of Missoula County to resolve. Missoula County must emphasize that the current situation inappropriately requires taxpayers to subsidize Occupy Missoula’s camp. Missoula County respectfully requests that Occupy Missoula re-shape the physical presence of its movement in order to address these issues.

Please advise Missoula County of Occupy Missoula’s intentions by Monday, December 12th, 2011. We look forward to hearing from you.

Missoula Board of County Commissioners

Letter from County to Occupy Missoula: occupystmt.doc

i’ve setup a discussion thread on our forum.

Here is a list of email addresses that the County sent their “Press Release” to: Continue reading

Occupied Media: Interview With Ryan Devereaux

By Taryn Hart, Occupied Media

I cannot tell you how excited I am to present Occupied Media’s interview with Ryan Devereaux of Democracy Now! Ryan has been covering Occupy Wall Street since before the physical occupation began. He has covered and live tweeted many of the critical moments, including – among many other events – the mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge and the arrests and violence that occurred at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.

In addition to reporting for Democracy Now!, Ryan is a contributing writer for The GuardianAl Jazeera English,The NationAlterNetNew America Media, and others. You can also follow him on Twitter at @RDevro.

This interview is actually from about mid-October, but there were terrible sound issues that required painstaking editing. Many thanks to video editor Paul Shockley for doing that very slow-going work. And thank you to Ryan for agreeing to meet with us and for his patience. I cannot say enough about Ryan – everyone should follow him on twitter, follow his work on Democracy Now! and should read everything he writes.

Occupy Missoula and OccupyMontana MASS DAY OF OCCUPATION this Weekend

For Immediate Release December 1, 2011

Occupy Montana call to action:

Occupy Missoula and OccupyMontana are organizing a MASS DAY OF OCCUPATION on Dec. 3rd 2011. We are inviting people/ organizations/ groups to sponsor an info tent and build a presence for this one event.

Missoula County Court House Lawn Saturday 12/3 10AM

Facilitation workshop at noon

Betsy Mulligan-Dague, Executive Director of the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, at 1:00 pm giving a talk on Non-violent Communication

There will be an Occupy Montana General Assembly at 3:00 reports from around the state – building the statewide network – planning for Dec 17th actions – connecting to the wider Occupy Movement – Citizens Press

Then at 6:00 we’ll have a potluck (sponsored by Occupy Missoula) Music and Drum Circle? Come hang out – may move indoors if too BRR!

Sun at noon there will be a consensus workshop. We will also have a Bradley Manning card making station.

For more information please contact:
Taryn Hart
(406) 207-1556

Download OccupyMontana D3-4-2011 graphic: (3.4MB pdf)
Download OccupyMontana Banner: (5.2MB pdf)

OccupyMissoula GA stands in Solidarity with West Coast Port Shutdown!

Press Release: Support Grows for West Coast Port Shut Down
From: West Coast Port Shutdown

As of November 27, 2011, the Occupy movement in every major West Coast port city: Occupy LA, Occupy San Diego, Occupy Portland, Occupy Tacoma, Occupy Seattle have joined Occupy Oakland in calling for and organizing a coordinated West Coast Port Blockade and Shutdown on December 12, 2011. Other West Coast Occupies, including Occupy Anchorage and Vancouver, Canada are planning to join the economic blockade and disruption of the 1% on that date, according to organizers.

“We’re shutting down these ports because of the union busting and attacks on the working class by the 1%: the firing of Port truckers organizing at SSA terminals in LA; the attempt to rupture ILWU union jurisdiction in Longview, WA by EGT. EGT includes Bunge LTD, a company which reported 2.5 billion dollars in profit last year and has economically devastated poor people in Argentina and Brazil. SSA is responsible for inhumane working conditions and gross exploitation of port truckers and is owned by Goldman Sachs. EGT and Goldman Sachs is Wallstreet on the Waterfront” stated Barucha Peller of the West Coast Port Blockade Assembly of Occupy Oakland. Continue reading