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October 9, 4:31 PM click here to comment > 53

Update on Occupy Seattle – Oct. 9

As the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Seattle protests continue, I wanted to take a moment to again state my position and approach.

I support the overall aims and goals of the movement because I am deeply concerned about the effect of growing inequality on people, our economy and our democracy.  This concern is a core part of my budget and policy decisions as Mayor.

I respect the desire by Occupy Seattle participants to create a forum for the public to express their viewpoints.  They are passionate, and I respect their passion.

We have set out conditions for the extended use of Westlake Park, that are based on rules that have been used for many years and for many different events.  The conditions for this event include allowing an organizing tent to be maintained at Westlake for things like first aid and information sharing.  A summary of what is and is not permitted is at www.seattle.gov/occupyseattle and has been distributed by Park Rangers.

We have also invited participants to use City Hall Plaza as a safe place to pitch tents and camp overnight.  We worked to accommodate yesterday’s march, and we will work to accommodate future marches and other peaceful free speech activities.  I believe we have created the conditions that support the goals of Occupy Seattle to maintain a sustained presence to express their views, while respecting other public rights and values.

The vast majority of those attending Occupy Seattle events only wish to lawfully express their views.  But we know from our experiences in WTO, and experiences elsewhere, that large scale protests can attract small but determined groups who deliberately choose tactics of confrontation and violence.  I am determined to ensure that this does not mar an otherwise appropriate use of public spaces for free speech.  That means there will be a police presence in Westlake Park, focused not on speech, but on unlawful behavior and maintaining the peace.

Another public value is protection of access to public spaces.  Our conditions for use of Westlake are designed to allow access to businesses and park space for other users.  Over the coming weeks, there are multiple organizations that have sought and received permits to use Westlake Park, businesses line the square, and there are numerous others who use the park daily.  For these reasons, Westlake Park is simply not suitable for camping.  From the first day we expressed this to Occupy Seattle and had to reluctantly remove noncompliant tents while making City Hall available.

This balancing of free speech rights with the protection of public safety and public uses means we will continually have friction points.  The days are long, people are passionate, our police are human as well.  We have been, and will continue, to do our best to resolve the tension points in a non-provocative way.

For example, SPD granted permits on the fly for the Saturday evening march, and provided traffic control.  When protesters occupied the street, they took multiple hours to peacefully disband protesters blocking the intersection, ultimately only arresting two who adamantly refused to comply.

Reports have recently centered on honking, and umbrellas.  SPD did ticket drivers who were honking after 10 pm. People live next to Westlake Park and SPD was enforcing the noise ordinance.  In response, I understand protestors themselves starting holding up signs saying “Do not honk!” as a way of respecting the rights of nearby residents.

As for umbrellas, police were concerned that protest participants were using umbrellas and tarps to create makeshift tents to evade the no-camping rule.  But no one has been ticketed or prohibited from using an umbrella at Westlake.  They remain (and hopefully always will remain) legal in Seattle.

The city does feel strongly about camping at Westlake.  Some have argued that the justness of the cause means we should look the other way and ignore the city’s no-camping rules at Westlake.  But when it comes to free speech, government does not get to do that.  We are not allowed to favor one type of speech over another.  That is anathema to the Constitution.  If we permit camping at Westlake for one group, no matter how worthy the cause, we will be obligated to permit camping at Westlake for any group that wishes to do so as a form of speech.  That is simply not an appropriate use for Westlake. This is why we have made City Hall, a civic building that is a locus of political speech, available for camping.  Anyone who wants to stay warm and dry can do so at City Hall plaza.

That we are discussing honking, tents and umbrellas is in some way a sign of success.  Yes, there have been disagreements, but they are modest in scale.  I am proud of both the event participants and the police.  In a largely spontaneous and peaceful way hundreds have gathered to passionately express their concerns.  And police have acted with extraordinary professionalism and restraint when enforcing the rules.

I wish the organizers of Occupy Seattle success in getting out their message.  The City stands ready to provide the conditions for them to do so, as we also stand ready to protect public safety and fair use of public property for all.

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Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn

Comments

Comment from Jesus Y. Rodriguez
Time October 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Nice approach Mayor!

Comment from julie hamilton
Time October 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm

thank you for you reasonable and supportive response to this movement. it makes me glad to live in seattle:)

Comment from Galen Osier
Time October 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Mayor McGinn,
I think you are missing the point. The protesters are not seeking governmental approval for what they’re doing. That’s kind of the whole point. They’re operating with an entirely different set of rules. You will, eventually be forced to take some sort of violent action, I think that is inevitable.

Gandhi layed out the stages of non-violent protest quite clearly. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Remember that you are part of the system they are protesting against.

Comment from Charlie Smith
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:07 pm

@Galen–With all due respect to your psychic powers foretelling the future, it is important to maintain clarity, and I thank the mayor for clearly spelling out his policy. Mayor McGinn is part of thye 99%, and he knows that. Are you, Galen?

Comment from Mike Ray
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:21 pm

In Boston, Mayor Menino is trying to cooperate with the protesters and a week and a half in, it’s working. There have still been no arrests. I think the goal to keep it peaceful is important.

Comment from Jeffrey Pryor
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm

This is probably the only issue I’ve agreed with you on since you became Mayor. Well done.Your response was to the point and extremely reasonable. Thank you.

Comment from Tamara
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Thank you for your considerate approach to Occupy Seattle. Well done working out the issues so that the protest can continue and people can be safe and speak freely.

Now if only Mayor Bloomberg held your views to support Occupy Wall Street!

Thank you again,
Tamara

Comment from Shawnna
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm

You’re wrong Galen; this isn’t about anarchy against all those who represent civil society. The Mayor’s message makes tremendous sense and it would be truly a damn shame if people like you who seem to want to incite violence somehow take hold.

Comment from Charles Rowin
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm

i think the mayor is right on target. the point is not to disassemble society rather, the point is to root out that which is destroying our society. the seattle council didn not cause the way things are. the mayor did not send your jobs overseas or foreclose on your house. we the people are not the instigators. we are all victims of this, even the mayor.

ghandi was talking about were the british.

in a good non-violent protest they dont ignore you, they dont laugh at you, they dont fight you, and everyone wins.

divisive language is counter productive and when you kick someone who is on your side then your validity as a spokesperson is void.

Comment from Jeff
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:33 pm

The issue isn’t weather out not we can have umbrellas to keep us dry while awake, but if we can us them to keep us dry at night with reasonable assurance that we will stay dry. Its a health and safety issue.

Comment from Bill L.
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm

I thought the point was to make a stand against Wall Street and big money influence in D.C. Offering the tent space at city hall, our local municipality is a great show of support. It’s time to get real and get organized and get a clear message. Win the hearts of those who have not joined the cause. Bickering over semantics of tent space is counter productive. Take the offer and show true solidarity for what Occupy Wall Street is about. That was my last two cents, now I’m broke. Thanks.

Comment from Tsukina
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Mayor McGinn, thanks again for your work to accommodate the protesters and other park users. You’ve done an admirable job in striking a middle path.

Comment from holly homan
Time October 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I am pleased with Mayor McGinn’s response. He has offered a compromise to the protesters and it’s a reasonable one. May McGinn, I wrote you a letter protesting against your decision to uproot the tents, but you have redeemed yourself. My hat is off to you. I was going to go downtown and join the protest today but didn’t have the bus fare. I’m a teacher and I AM that poor.

Comment from mandy varona
Time October 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm

MORE than fair. Thanks for offering City Hall Plaza as a safe place to pitch tents and camp overnight. That’s very decent of you :) And thanks for supporting the cause.

I thought the police handled themselves really well Saturday and were relaxed and friendly. Thank you for that too. ~mandy varona, seattle, wa

Comment from One of the 99%
Time October 9, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Thank you Galen.

Mr. Mayor,

If you hadn’t called the Parks department, they would have never come down to check on West Lake.

If you hadn’t contacted the Police Chief, the police wouldn’t be down there en masse. Certainly the already ever present bike cops would be watching, waiting and capable of handling any kind of conflict arising between protestors or other citizens.

The offer you make of city hall is interesting, and may be taken up by some of the families who are bringing children down to protest our corrupt goverment, perhaps some of the more elderly as well. I sincerely hope you enjoy seeing grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters all camped out in front of your office, arrayed against you and everything you stand for. Against the government, its insane level of corruption, the corporations that fund that corruption, the economic inequality that allows an elected official like yourself to live comfortably while your constituents starve, freeze, and are SHELTERLESS DUE TO YOU down in West Lake, simply doing their PATRIOTIC DUTY of standing up against TYRANNY.

Truly, you must agree and support us. After all, we’re trying to get you and your friends removed from power in a peaceful and legal fashion. Why wouldn’t you support that?

Thank you for your selflessness! If you lose your job and realize you are a part of the 99%, feel free to come on down. No hard feelings.

Comment from Dan Donche
Time October 9, 2011 at 9:17 pm

I think you missed the point, Galen. The aim of the movement is not to just break any and every rule to facilitate anarchy. The point is to protest. I think your wires got crossed when “they cooperate with you” didn’t factor into your quote.

Comment from Kass
Time October 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm

As someone who decided to attempt a night at Westlake last night I know 1st hand that umbrella’s were removed if no one was holding it. If someone just propped it up on their head it was considered a structure.
Also there was one officer in particular that asked that I remove my tarp from under and above me. These tarps had no supportive structure and ere being used as a waterproofing measure. Luckily for me a police Lt. Allowed me to continue using the tarps after I inquired about it. If not for her I would have been one soggy protestor.

Comment from Anonymous
Time October 9, 2011 at 9:35 pm

As someone that has been involved with Occupy Seattle since October 3rd, I would like to take a moment to respond to this…

I am glad that you are concerned about the growing inequality in American economy. Everyone should be. I also am glad that you “respect” Occupy Seattle’s desires and passions. However fine-tuned your words and blog posts are, your actions are not translating over as respect to anyone but those not involved in the rally.

The conditions that have been set undermines the civil disobedience that Occupy has been trying to use as an effective mean of protest. These conditions are a set of rules from a governmental force to try and cage the movement in. It also is very illuminating to how laws /can/ be picked and chosen.

I truly think you do not understand that Occupy isn’t like “all those other groups” or that what we are doing goes so much further than local issues. You invite us to City Hall in words, but in actions you practically force us there. Arresting us for having tents up after one day, disallowing tarps, any sort of structures, which included simple umbrellas being set up to, keeping people from being warm and dry. Cleary, this is not an invitation but “the only option”. You will continue to make Westlake as uncomfortable and pressured (increased police presence) as possible until we bow to your whim. Also, yesterday’s march WE DID regardless of your accommodation or not. The police were able to keep up with us because we went at a fairly slow pace so that the group didn’t get too broken up, because we’re nice people.

You have created conditions that support not only where you want Occupy Seattle to be, but when and how. You disrespect our public rights and values by not letting us have a say, by using minute laws against us, by twisting and turning to try and find applicable laws that you will be able to use to your advantage and our disadvantage. Your use of power, however, is not that surprising. After all, Washington has been a notorious police state for years now. In addition to that the amount of bureaucracy is huge (that you had to make special rules for Occupy Seattle supports that point).

The vast majority of those attending Occupy Seattle wishes to be allowed to express our views, lawfully or not. Who were you protecting when the tents were ordered down, the people of Seattle or the businesses in Westlake? I know I saw most people of Seattle asking you not to remove the tents, trying to have their voice heard, and you proved that no matter how loud or how many try to plea with the government… The government will do what is in its best interest anyways. And it is saddening that the government’s interest and the people’s interest does not match.

A police presence in Westlake Park is unnecessary and a power-move on the SPD’s part. Do not pretend that this is for the protestors; we are more than capable of keeping ourselves safe and accountable amongst each other.

You speak of public values, but there is still access to Westlake Park. There are an increased number of people at Westlake Park. Those people are still citizens and they still deserve to use the park just like any number of people that go to Westlake Park everyday for an activity do. Do not feel like you have to protect the businesses either, for they will press charges to any Occupy Seattle protestors that sleep under their awnings on their own. Stop trying to operate as if “Everything’s Fine, Keeping going about your lives” because if anything proves that America is not fine, it is these protests! Everything is NOT FINE and if that means putting some meaningless corporate-funded concert on hold, then it should be done! You can go back to meaningless b.s. activities to numb the masses of what is going on after you have sufficiently discouraged, disassembled, and destroyed Occupy Seattle. As this weekend proved, if it is not a corporate event, they will probably be more than welcome to have Occupy Seattle there. Are you, once again, speaking on the behalf of some abstract group or organization that didn’t give you permission to do so? Why don’t you ever name the direct conflicts and complaints that should be coming into your office? Be more transparent.

Also, calling the Park Department and the police to remove tents was unnecessary and thus, the opposite of reluctant.

But you are right, we will continually have friction points. If you continue to try and play to the voter’s heart with your words, but smash the people’s voice with your actions… It is only a matter of time before people grow aware of the inconsistency. Also, your police being human is a great reason NOT to have a police presence unless it is called upon by the people (not just by you). Police being around causing needless pressure and intimidation (as that is what police are suppose to inspire here) and keeping an eye out if, heaven forbid, someone sets an umbrella or tarp up to keep themselves safe from the rain so that they can arrest that person, is not keeping the peace or protecting anyone (in fact, it’s the opposite of protection).

SPD should not have ticketed those drivers. Those tickets should be written off. Noise ordinances being enforced at Westlake is laughable. A place in /downtown/ where sirens and honks constantly happen through-out the night anyways… Did SPD ticket people for honking on 4th ave at night when Occupy Seattle wasn’t there? I highly doubt it. The residents in that area are most likely more than use to loud noises in Westlake. If there have been actual complaints, I would like transparency of seeing when the citizen called and what was said.

And do not forget that even though you have met with people from Occupy Seattle, they do not speak for all of us. We have NO spokesperson and we have NO organizers. We are all equals and we all have a say in what Occupy Seattle is doing and will do. I urge you, Mayor McGinn, to attend Occupy Seattle and be present at a General Assembly. Talk to the people you claim to support and respect instead of sending police after them.

We are the 99%, and so are you.

Comment from stephen smith
Time October 9, 2011 at 9:46 pm

only the 1% wants a fight… they know how to deal with that… this is working so well because it isnt violent… we have broken their script…. we dont want this to end.. we would like the conversations to continue…

Comment from CJ
Time October 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Galen,
There is a way in which the needs and demands of the Occupy movement can be met while simultaneously following the laws within a system that is otherwise broken. If you can’t handle that, then yeah, you’re probably going to get arrested. If “you” (I should say “we” because I mean the Occupants–if you will) can’t find a way to play by BOTH sets of rules, then how is anyone to trust that “you” (again, “we–The 99%”) can play by ANY set of rules even if “you” (“we”) get your (“our”) way? The answer is: it would be impossible to trust. That’s the answer. If you don’t like it, be responsible for the consequences and don’t act surprised.

Power to the People, The 99%, and to you, Galen. I mean that with heartfelt sincerity. Keep fighting the good fight.

Comment from CJ
Time October 9, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Participating in the system in a way that perpetuates the status quo is different than participating in the system in a way that challenges/ changes the status quo.

Comment from Ellen
Time October 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Galen,
While you are correct on many counts, wherein the police ‘will be forced’ to take violent measures, and while that may be true.. please remember that even as the police work for the institution/ system that we are protesting against, they too are also part of the 99%.

Comment from ash
Time October 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Thank you for your respect, your recognition and your efforts in communication. I am proud to live in Seattle and to have elected you mayor. Here’s to a continued nonviolent, peaceful protest. Thanks for the coffee.

Comment from jon parry
Time October 9, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Like!

Comment from Matthew S Grenz
Time October 9, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I think this is a good stance the Mayor is taking, and giving people options to work within the system to voice their concerns legitimately and publicly.

It is not an ‘us or them’ battle, it is meant to raise awareness that the 1% are profiting off of the work of the 99%, with no regard to the majority’s well-being. Many of us are fighting against the injustice of the economic system and the injustices it propagates against us all.

Ghandi fought for decades against a far more oppressive government system with no support or sanction from the government, and in many people’s eyes, he laid the groundwork for modern non-violent revolution. He understood, first and foremost, that UNITY was the key, not divisions.

If we are given options as to where we can gather and where we can camp within the City, we should be reasonable and find a way to make it work for us all, not condemn someone in office who is actually being reasonable.

I appreciate that we have such an option, and when our numbers grow, through unity, I am hopeful we will see more options and more understanding from the rest of the 99%, and ultimately from the entire 100%, since we are all human beings.

Our goal should be to find a way to restore the rights and fairness ALL people are seeking, both here in America and across the world.

Comment from Andrew James
Time October 9, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Mayor McGinn,

Be the Ghandi of mayors and join the movement.

Comment from jeanie derange
Time October 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Galen,

There are many types involved in this movement. 99% encompasses many variants, so you can hardly call this group a “they”.

Even Mayor Mcginn is one of the 99%. He has also been the most active mayor I have ever seen in this city, showing up for other such causes, not just on behalf of the wealthy. This is the 99%. So plz change that to: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they join you!”. The whole point is to join the 99% together to finally change this inequality that has built up (over the years) to a breaking point. Only a fringe few really want anarchy. And the civil disobedience (at the beginning) of setting up the tents was probably necessary at the time to give this movement momentum.

Comment from zackzelmo
Time October 9, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Wow. The message is getting through to some politicians. This what OWS is really about. It is not about tearing down, it is about building up. Building up our freedoms. Building up our values. Building up our principles. The politicians who will survive will be the ones who recognize the people first and the PACs and corporate interests second. They will prevail. The current crop of politicos are dinosaurs–they just can’t change. They will be pushed aside by true populists. It is the only way for our nation to prosper

Comment from Connor
Time October 10, 2011 at 12:41 am

“Not seeking approval” and “forcing violent action to be taken” are two very different things. McGinn has never ignored nor laughed at this movement. Labeling individuals in government as an enemy or other, while perhaps a recruiting rallying cry, is not constructive to creation of positive and lasting change. Revolution just means going in circles. To truly have an impact, you must transcend the cycle.

Comment from A Figueroa
Time October 10, 2011 at 12:55 am

Thx 4 your support Mayor McGinn!

Comment from Gail Longo
Time October 10, 2011 at 1:09 am

I appreciate your viewpoint and your thoughtfulness. May the expressive spirit of the protest inspire leaders of our nation to listen and attend to voices seeking change.

Comment from shawn landry
Time October 10, 2011 at 1:29 am

to all and any concerned
I feel that the door can remain open for any politician ,police,senator,congressmen,and especially the president , to recognize with an open mind and adoption of ideals that are based in selflessness , abolishing greed and moving into ideals and making decision’s that benefit the people in the truest sense !
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information , which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance– that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
– Herbert Spencer
the truth of the matter is until everyone is fed “we” will always be hungry…shawn landry

Comment from Jon
Time October 10, 2011 at 2:19 am

@Galen

It’s not fair to lump the Mayor is part of what is being protested. First, he is expressing a far more supportive attitude than many in authority have, and is helping allow the message to spread peacefully. Simply stating that his support like this will encourage others that it is ok to join in, and help the movement spread.

Also, you are incorrect that the goal of the protests is to not have government approval, especially small local city governments. The goal is certainly not to force violent action by any parties. The point of these protest are to effect major economic and political change eventually on a national scale, and some of that has to happen from within the system as well as outside the system. The city of Seattle has bent over backward to allow activities that they would normally arrest people for (like if I were to get friends and have a camping trip at Westlake I would be kicked out pretty much immediately and if I didn’t comply I would be arrested), but they are attempting to respect free speech rights.

Finally, the more peaceful and law abiding these protests are, the more effective they will be. When people who are unsure of what position to take witness rational, peaceful discourse, they will be much more likely to join, support, or at least not oppose. And that is crucial to this cause. The longer this is sustained as a peaceful discourse, the more reasonable people will be forced to concede that this is not just a homeless hippy convention. The moment this even begins to border on extreme or violence, it no longer represents the interest of the 99%, and you will lost the bulk of that percentage’s support.

Comment from shawn landry
Time October 10, 2011 at 2:29 am

Description
we the people non profit organic industry , we all put in a dollar a day, build capitol to buy farm land all over this country .Grow our own food ,create our own stores to distribute,export excess food for trade for what we don’t grow . Buy our food from our own stores at current rate, create escrow accounts with the would be profits , for things the people need,health care,dental,green energy industries ect. environmental restoration . We all eat every day .this idea will create jobs for change , no leader, just us “we the people” we vote where OUR money goes.
General Information
This concept will take many people to create , this is a social movement utilizing capitalism as a means to the ends required for our society to begin to heal from the wounds created by greed ,and selfish non discriminate behaviors of corporations . Stop giving them money and make our own circles to take care of our selves , when it is seen that this can work others will create also.
Mission
The mission is to redirect OUR money to the people ,create jobs and eat well and live healthy! And implement green energies for the ourselves now and the children of the future..
Products
food first ,health care /dental, unity investing in wind and solar and environmental restoration.
Email
shawnlandry@rocketmail.com

Comment from Peg Faulmann
Time October 10, 2011 at 7:06 am

Positive message! Thank you!

Comment from Sonny Kwan
Time October 10, 2011 at 8:55 am

Thank you Major McGinn,

I believe you are truly passionate about what the Occupy Seattle movement is all about. I know that if you were not Major, you would be down at Westlake park tenting it with the people.

Comment from Mack
Time October 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

I see a disproportionate number of comments here in favor of Mr. McGinn’s policies. I would remind this audience that the owner of this page (Mr. McGinn) is employing software and staff who can selectively publish or decline publishing of posts on this page. Is this selective publishing being used to create an artificial appearance of support for Mr. McGinn?

Comment from Mari
Time October 10, 2011 at 9:36 am

Don’t normally comment, but would like to take a moment to express appreciation for how the Mayor is handling the beauty and necessity of this experiment in community justice that is emerging.

Comment from Terry Wright
Time October 10, 2011 at 9:36 am

It is important for the OWS group to remember exactly what we are fighting against. There are a number of evils to be battled, but a Mayor who offers city hall is NOT one of them.

Occupiers who rail against and belittle this type of co-operation are hurting the image of the movement.

When you compare the action of the Seattle governement and Police to many other occupation sites, you would have to be blind to not see and appreciate the open arms acceptance being offered in Seattle.

I think that the occupyers can and should work with the city and be as co-operative as the city has been.

Thank you honourable mayor for recognizing and not abridging civil rights. Well done, proud to have been a resident of your city for 40 years.

Comment from Phil Mocek
Time October 10, 2011 at 9:52 am

I filed a public records request with Seattle Police Department for the permits Mayor McGinn referenced. Interested parties can follow the progress of this request and view any responsive records that are disclosed at http://www.muckrock.com/foi/view/seattle-wa/permits-for-occupy-seattle-march-issued-by-police-during-march/854/ .

Comment from Karen Gadwell
Time October 10, 2011 at 11:22 am

I appreciate your approach to the occupy wall street Thanks

Comment from Tony Shaw
Time October 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Terry Wright just said what I was going to say. Except that I’m not that old. :P

Comment from jim oaksmith
Time October 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

It’s refreshing to hear a public policy reflect common sense,kindness and our often ignored constitution. You make us proud. It is high time SPD becomes synonymous with “serve and protect” rather than bully,lie and murder. Thank you, Mayor McGinn!

Comment from Craig
Time October 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm

“Our conditions for use of Westlake are designed to allow access to businesses and park space for other users.”

Isn’t the /point/ of a public protest to get in the way of normal “access” in order to make a point?

Comment from Heather
Time October 11, 2011 at 9:09 am

So why at 3am last night did 5 police cars show up, surround them in floodlights, and threaten to arrest them if they didn’t leave on loud speaker several times then leave when the press showed up at 5am?!? That accomplished nothing! So ignore the media smear campaign that OS is costing tax payers money or remember the protestors are not the ones who’s making bad tactical decisions and apparently even going against the mayor’s decision to allow them an extended stay…

Comment from Mark
Time October 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm

>MM:” …free speech, government… not allowed to favor one type of speech over another… anathema to the Constitution… camping at Westlake for one group, no matter how worthy the cause… for any group that wishes to do so as a form of speech… City Hall… locus of political speech…”

Mayor McGinn, I appreciate this forum where I can express my views publicly and for the historic record, and I appreciate your principled approach and superior handling of this situation compared with many other cities … however I am going to ask you to make a differentiation between *political speech* and *commercial speech* – they are handled differently by the law … and I will ask that you give *political speech* *favored status* and actually codify this into the Seattle Municipal Code… political movements that exceed say *50* people should be allowed to camp at Westlake, while commercial venues still have to follow normal regulations.

Its obvious the reason the protesters are at Westlake is because it is the most visible location. This visibility is needed to combat the bias of the corporate owned media.

Comment from Dan
Time October 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Thank you, Mr Mayor. Please feel welcome to join in the presence at Westlake.

Comment from Anon
Time October 11, 2011 at 9:45 pm

WAKE UP

You don’t have his “support” you have his permission, sheep.

Baa.

Comment from Linda
Time October 16, 2011 at 11:41 am

thank you – I will vote for YOU again. this is so much more in harmony with what is right than during the WTO protest. Thank you.

Comment from Steve Hunter
Time October 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm

This was posted on Pro Publica on October 17,2011 by this gentleman commenting as an attorney on First Amendment Rights:

K. Rundle
36 minutes ago
I am a retired lawyer and did a good deal of first amendment law practice. I disagree with the interpretation that the first amendment is not absolute, regardless of the decisions supporting same. The only qualification on the free speech and free assembly was that it could not be a FALSE statement intended to elicit destructive or dangerous behavior, the famous example being one cannot yell fire in a theatre—IF THERE IS NO FIRE. The stampede to safety which will follow such a cry is dangerous and people can be killed. BUT DANGER ALONE is not sufficient to allow government—federal or state—to interfere with first amendment rights.

What one must remember is that the first amendment protections were specifically addressed in the Bill of Rights to protect UNPOPULAR speech and dissent against government action. Popular speech or demonstrations supported by government or ruling interests rarely need protection.

If the government can schedule when, where, how long, what level of sound may be used, then it can virtually obliterate the protection which the people demanded before they agreed to ratify the constitution. In essence they are doing through the backdoor what is prohibited through the frontdoor. We cannot permit this and still retain the protection intended.

So what if traffic is disrupted—for months? So what if nearby people are disturbed? Good. That is the entire intent of assembly, free speech, and protesting in the first place: GET ATTENTION for the grievance. By enforcing this amendment, the United States has avoided for the most part suicide bombings, rampant assassinations (there have been a few), and instead has provided a protected outlet for the anger, protest of injustice, demands for remedy for the whole population.

Existing power structures despise dissent. They tolerate only what they must and endlessly narrow the protection. A few more years and no one will be able to protest openly because there will be no pretense of “content neutrality.” Furthermore, cops on the line are often fascist by nature and training, and they will decide in favor of their own biases, not in favor of the dissenters. Months, even years, and criminal records later, some nice, safe ensconced jurist will rule in favor of the dissenters, well after irreparable harm has been done.

This is not what is intended by the constitutional protection. The government may not act first and argue later. The constitution prohibits any law which abridges the rights enumerated in the first amendment.

All requirements of permits, organization identification, restrictions on place, time, noise, etc. must be struck down. They are legally wrong and they are morally and politically dangerous.

Comment from Phil Mocek
Time October 24, 2011 at 8:09 am

Mayor McGinn wrote, “SPD granted permits on the fly for the Saturday evening march.” Responding to my October 9, 2011, public records request today, Seattle Police Department Public Request Unit Manager Sheila Friend Gray reports that no such permits were issued.

Pingback from HorsesAss.Org » Blog Archive » Don’t Apologize to the Imaginary Klansmen
Time November 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm

[...] wouldn’t have cleared the nonviolent protests at various places at all, pepper spray or no. Here, to cite one example, McGinn makes the point that he isn’t going to make specific excepti…. “But when it comes to free speech, government does not get to do that. We are not allowed to [...]

Comment from Phil Mocek
Time December 2, 2011 at 7:19 am

McGinn wrote, “SPD granted permits on the fly for the Saturday evening march.” It seems this was incorrect. Public records requests reveal that neither Seattle Police Department, nor Seattle Department of Transportation, nor even the Office of the Mayor has any record of such permits.

Mayor McGinn, did you make this up, or did someone misinform you? If the latter, who misinformed you?

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