Tent City protestors woke up this morning outside Los Angeles City Hall to pouring rain. Although it is Day 18 of Occupy Wall Street in New York City, the last four days of the solidarity protest have proven that LA is a substantial part of the nationwide demonstration. Angelenos are standing up against corporate greed, big bank profits and joblessness -- in addition to a variety of other social issues plaguing our city today.
The movement has spread nationwide, from Boston to Kona, Hawaii, taking inspiration from the social-media-driven Arab Spring revolts in the Middle East,” and that higher-ups are starting to respond. “The anti-corporate push even got a nod from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, who said of protesters: "On some level, I can't blame them.
The Elephant In The Room
Occupy LA’s growing power is too difficult to ignore, even for the lawmakers who are the subject of much scrutiny. According to the LA Times, a City Council meeting yesterday focused on whether or not to increase L.A. Zoo ticket prices and someone stood up and pointed out the elephant in the room; he "told lawmakers they were ignoring an obvious fact: 'You are surrounded by tents.'”
The councilmen decided to walk outside and actually engage with the protestors in Tent City. Dennis Zine, who recently dropped his Republican label, commented, “It’s the right thing to do. We could just drive by them, or we could go talk to them.” The councilmen walked around shaking hands, meeting individuals, and most importantly, acknowledged that they understand why people are upset – they understand why people are protesting.
The People's Mic
Part of the Occupy movement’s DNA is giving everyone a voice. The LA Times reports that each individual protester of Occupy LA is part of a ‘General Assembly’-- and when someone has something to say, the group utilizes what is called 'the people’s mic' -- the audience echoes what the speaker said so that everyone can hear. And everyone is being heard. City councilmen Bill Rosendahl and Eric Garcetti stayed behind at Tent City after others left and rallied up shouts from the protestors. They "called for equality in fiery speeches. When Garcetti shouted, ‘This is your City Hall!’ the crowd repeated, ‘This is our City Hall!’” Garcetti also told the crowd to “Stay as long as you need. We’re here to support you.”
After their visit to Tent City yesterday, members of The Los Angeles City Council have issued forth a resolution, reports The City Maven. It was brought forth by Councilmen Richard Alarcon and Bill Rosendhal and seconded by Councilmen Jose Huizar, Paul Koretz, Ed Reyes, Dennis Zine and Eric Garcetti. While awaiting a vote (most likely Tuesday), Councilman Richard Alarcon also appealed to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to ask him to get involved and help improve the sleeping conditions for the protestors outside City Hall. At night, the protestors are required to move off of the grass and onto sidewalks as the area is techincally considered a park. Sleeping on the sidewalk is obviously not ideal, but Occupy LA protestors have declared that they will stay until December!
STORY CONTINUES BELOW:
Photos are courtesy of OccupyLA. They were uploaded to the OccupyLA gallery on October 4 and 5.
It Gets Personal
According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, hundreds marched together last night in protest at the home of Steven Mnuchin, the CEO of Pasadena’s OneWest Bank. Standing in front of the CEO’s reported $26.5 million Bel Air mansion, Rose Gudiel and many friends and family were up in arms about Gudiel losing her home. They “carried signs, blew whistles and chanted in English and Spanish that it was time for Mnuchin and OneWest to pay for evicting Gudiel and her elderly parents last month from their home,” according to the SGV Tribune. It has been a long battle with the bank to try to keep their home, but six days ago they were ordered to leave. They don’t plan on doing so quietly. “There is a bigger point here that we are trying to make,” Gudiel has said. “We are doing it so that other homeowners will stand up and fight the banks. They got bailed out and that has not trickled down to homeowners at all." LAPD officers and a helicopter arrived at the Bel Air home quickly and ushered the protesters off of the property. Mnuchin did not come outside or respond to any of the protestors’ chants.
Update: The LA Times reports that 70 people came out today to support Rose Gudiel and her disabled mother in their struggle to keep their home. The protest began at Pasadena's City Hall and moved over to a Fannie Mae building.
These are the first reported arrests associated with Occupy LA.
The building’s management determined that the protesters were being disruptive to business. After several warnings, the crowd dispersed and after a third warning nine people were arrested, said Lt. Pete Hettema of the city’s Police Department.
Even Colleges Care
According to LA Weekly, today is the day that local public colleges UCLA, Cal State Northridge and Santa Monica College students will participate in what is being called ‘Occupy Colleges.’ LA Weekly took a dig at USC Trojans who, they claim, might identify more with the 1% of billionaires under fire versus the 99% everyone else is fighting for. We’d like to bet USC’s student body, known for its interest in community activism as it is for its partying, will jump in and get involved, -- quickly.