Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
In the shade of Veinte de Agosto Park, Occupy Tucson enthusiasts met on Sunday to plan the occupation of downtown Tucson, slated for Oct. 15.
By some estimates, approximately 200 people showed up to discuss logistics– including Mia Hansen, executive director of Tucson Meet Yourself (also slated for said park on Oct. 15). The catch for the Occupiers is that Hansen purchased permits for Veinte de Agosto Park, Presidio Park, the Courthouse Courtyard, and several other locations around downtown to hold one of the city’s largest events.
During General Assembly negotiations on Oct. 1 , the Occupiers discussed location for at least an hour. Armory Park, Presidio Park Reed Park, DeAnza Park, and Veinte de Agosto Park were all considered and voted upon. Despite the known conflict with Tucson Meet Yourself, the Occupiers voted to overlap the occupation with Tucson Meet Yourself.
Yesterday, those present reversed their decision–much to the delight of Hansen, who said that holding the Occupation would be “disrespectful to Tucson Meet Yourself and all those involved in organizing it”. She spoke wistfully– in a kumbya sort of way– of the hundreds of individuals and groups that come together each year to make this signature event possible.
Hansen said that she had a medical marijuana petitioner removed from last year’s festival, and she didn’t want politics to spoil this year’s festival. She also said she decided to come to the Occupy Tucson meeting after she saw calls for port-a-potties, generators, tents, sleeping bags, and a soup kitchen to support the Occupiers. You can imagine her horror at the thought of Occupiers (my heavens with bull horns and signs!) lying around Veinte de Agosto Park smack in the middle of the festival. She admitted that yes, indeed, political protest is part of Tucson, but it was not happening at her event.
At any rate, her plea to the Occupiers worked. They voted to start the Occupation at Armory Park at 9 a.m. on Oct. 15 and move to Veinte de Agosto Park after Tucson Meet Yourself. Stay tuned, this is a moving target.