I just got tweeted a reminder that @OccupyTustin is on again. The person who notified me of the event says they will be meeting today at 1pm on the corner of Newport Ave. and Irvine Blvd. in front of the Wells Fargo Bank.
Recently, the Occupy movement has suffered some setbacks as a coordinated move by many “occupied” cities was mounted to oust the peaceful demonstrations from their encampments. Oakland also saw some rioting from opportunists who tried to use the cover of the movement to hide unlawful and sometimes violent activity. When the NYPD rousted Wall Street demonstrators, they reportedly regrouped on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Here in Orange County, protests have been vibrant but peaceful. In Irvine, the city council granted them a temporary permit to camp, apparently seeing that the overnight tents were as much a symbol of 1st Amendment rights as any oratory could be.
Santa Ana was less than enthusiastic with the proposition of hundreds of protesters joining the throngs of homeless in the civic center area. They were so concerned of a possible riot, that the police department placed their mounted detachment in readiness to quell the crowds with hoofbeat and baton. Of course, the expected disruption never occurred and their actions, once again showed how out of touch the city is with reality.
So, here in Tustin, don’t expect the unwashed multitudes to crowd the street during the afternoon commute, blocking your way to your afternoon martini. But do expect what we have seen in other Orange County cities – a hearty band of men and women from all walks of life who will stick up for the 99%. And, if you feel the call, join them for a few hours. You might have that nagging question answered.
Maybe it was the rain. Maybe it was the possibility of Jerry and His Kids slowly driving by, intimidating them in a staredown match. Whatever the reason, apparently #OccupyTustin did not happen on Friday as planned. I made several trips by the corner of Newport and Irvine, hoping to see at least one Guy Fawkes mask, to no avail. Even our friendly OC Register reporter for Tustin, Elysse James, stopped by and said that she saw no one.The Occupy website did say that four people attended. But, until I see pictures, I’ll go with what Elysse and I saw or didn’t see.
I don’t know if there is a rain date. Hopefully, the Occupy website, where these meetings are supposedly organized, will give us a future day. I know we are not a huge financial center of despair. In fact, we have a lot of charitable non-profits hanging out here. Make-a-Wish, Big Brothers and Sisters and a host of others make Tustin home. It has to be our friendly attitude and big pockets. Oh, and don’t we still have the Church of Scientology headquarters hanging around?
Still, I think we need to be #Occupied so we can take our rightful place as one of the coolest places to hang out in the Real OC. And the location is the best. Lots of traffic and, if the demonstrators get hungry, they can always walk across the street to Rubys or Nieuport 17. The OC Fire Station is a block down and our friendly police department is right around the corner to help out. Unfortunately, they don’t have a mounted force, but maybe the bicycle cops can ride by in formation.
By the way, did you know the Tea Party and Occupy use the same website for arranging and announcing meetings?
Few people have not heard of the Occupy (insert city) movement. Fueled by Twitter, Facebook and other social media, the movement has swept the country. Several weeks ago I saw a Twitter feed that gave an indication that the movement may be coming to Orange County. It has finally arrived.
The so-called “leaderless” movement” began with Occupy Wall Street a couple of months ago when people of all ages and backgrounds flooded Wall Street in peaceful demonstration. The police were overwhelmed. They had no idea what to do with hundreds of protesters who were actually demonstrating in a way that would have made Martin Luther King proud. So, some cops did what cops do best and pepper-sprayed and arrested the demonstrators.
By now though, it was too late, as this has grown into a nationwide grassroots effort by people of nearly every class peacefully demonstrating for the cause. There are no color or religion lines. The people involved are not particularly Republican, Democrat or any other political party (more than one Ron Paul sign has been seen). The message is not even all that clear. It is just people who are tired of the same thing that has been happening in our country. They are tired of their voices being drowned out with money and rhetoric from the far Left and the far Right. They claim they are the 99% that want to be heard and, perhaps, they are right.
The far Right seems to be the most upset with the demonstrations, which have taken place in New York, Chicago, Denver, Washington DC, and dozens of other places across the country (this is actually a worldwide movement, but that is another story). Some have laughed at it. Some have written it off. Cal Watchdog writer, Katy Grimes, stated the Sacramento Occupy movement has cost the city $13,000. Really? She then goes on to say there she saw the protest dwindle from two hundred to seven “on a park bench”. Hmmm, that’s almost $2,000 per protester. Must be the overtime. Katy would like to write the protest off as inconsequential but she chose to write about it. Thanks for keeping the publicity up, Katy.
Occupy finally wound up on our doorstep about 2 weeks ago when, suddenly, Twitter keywords of #OccupyHuntingtonBeach and #OccupyIrvine began showing up in the time lines. It was almost comical to read Tweets, often accompanied by a photo, of a sole individual in a Guy Fawkes mask standing on a corner in Irvine holding a sign. Twitter feeds started getting busier with keywords relating to Orange County, urging folks to come out and support the movement on October 15th for a “Global Day of Revolution”.
So, October 15th came. The people came to Irvine, about 250 from one report. The cops came, about 5 or 6 from what could be seen. It was peaceful and even semi-organized. The leaders of this leaderless movement are working without compensation or apparent organization. However, I suspect there are a few and at least some of them know each other. The main job of the leaders seems to be keeping the message out there with the public and keeping it fresh. The police advised the group, late last night, they would not be able camp in the park or even stand in the park. In fact, they told them they had to move to the sidewalk until 6 am and had to keep moving or be arrested for loitering. It was clear the cops were worried. They were so concerned, they posted at least 2 officers at the civic center to quell any potential overnight riots that might have happened with the 20 remaining protesters. Well, I guess they can wear them down. Beside, after all, this is Irvine we are talking about.
October 22nd is supposed to move all the individual Orange County Occupiers into The Civic Center area of Santa Ana for one, huge occupation. The police are gearing up by watching old You Tubes of the Wall Street protest. I’m sure Shawn Nelson is polishing his gun and dusting off his CCW permit, just in case. The homeless will probably join in, if only for the fact that they can get a free meal or two and some much needed hygiene items. The “unorganizers” are calling for assistance with food, hygiene, tents, sleeping bags and other items that will be needed to keep what they expect will be a large encampment or occupation of the Civic Center area. Will the Santa Ana Police let them stay if they protest in a peaceful manner? Some cities have kicked them out, some have allowed them to stay until they tire of them. It should be interesting to see what happens here.
If you want to get an idea of what is going on without actually going to Irvine or Santa Ana, join the Occupy OC Facebook Page or, if you want up to the minute, sometimes blow by blow, reports then join them on Twitter. In the meantime, I hope we don’t #OccupyTustin. I have enough to do getting ready for my daughter’s first homecoming dance.