Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
I am beginning a series of first-hand accounts from the Occupation of Tucson. These very personal and highly descriptive accounts are written by Green Party Mayoral Candate Mary DeCamp who has been camping out at Armory Park since Day 1 of the Occupation. [Emphasis added.]
Oct 23: Notes from the Occupation
By Mary DeCamp
Yesterday [Saturday, Oct. 22] I was invited to a local Tea Party candidate forum in Presidio Park, just outside the Tucson City Council building. I eagerly accepted the invitation to present my mayoral platform to this group who typically do not embrace any candidate who suggests widening the dialog beyond the supremecy of Individual Rights. Since I am part of Occupy Tucson, a group the Tea Party derisively refers to as “Flea Baggers” to balance out their tag as “Tea Baggers”, I figured I’d encounter a hostile crowd. I was correct.
About 100 folks, mostly gray-haired, white, and clad in red shirts, gathered to hear from local notaries like the new right-wing talk radio host JT Harris, a failed Republican mayoral candidate (too few nominating signatures on his filing petition) Shaun McCluskey, a token female Tea Party official (Jennifer, but didn’t catch last name), and a trio of Republican candidates. I strode in with Dave Croteau, my past primary opponent cum current campaign manager, and took my place in the crowd. Dave set out my quarter page fliers on the literature table. We stood and listened.
Talk show host Mr. Harris stressed the need to keep love in one’s heart and a smile on one’s face when met with jeers from the uninformed left wing spokespeople who would attack them. Mr. McCluskey condemned the Occupy Tucson movement as dirty law-breaking hippies who were just out for a fun time and who should be arrested for breaking the law by not acquiring a park permit to occupy the space. Ms. Jennifer recounted the difficulties she had in getting her business established in the face of bureaucratic obstacles. Mr. Studwell decried the run-up in city staff numbers and salaries. And the Republican mayoral candidate, Rick Grinnell, recounted his experience with a local steak house (promotional agent) and the need for service-oriented city officials.
The microphone and public address system went down during the speeches. They were at a loss. Ms. Jennifer complained that they’d paid their permit fee to access the electrical outlet and now it wasn’t working. Luckily there was a strapping young fellow in the crowd wearing an “Occupy Tucson” t-shirt who could step forward, fix their electrical problems, and restore the functioning capacity of the system.
Then it was my turn to speak. I took the now working microphone, complimented Phil for his technical expertise and willingness to help fix the problem and commended him for his service to the 99% occupying Armory Park. I was meet with jeers and heckling. I smiled, as the raido host had earlier instructed me to do, kept love in my heart, and pointed out to the assembled crowd how grateful I was for the earlier instruction. I pointed out that Mr. McCluskey was picking and choosing which laws to follow, since the Occupiers were following constitutional rights to free assembly, to petition our government, and to free speech. I asked why Arizona was willing to comply with federal laws against marijuana when our state voters supported medical marijuana dispensary clinics but they favored a city ordinance prohibitting peaceable assembly. I also invited anyone who wanted more information on my campaign to ask Dave Croteau for it, since the fliers I set out on the table had been taken by someone in the crowd. I pointed out that Dave had been at their very first Tea Party formation rally at that very same park a couple of years ago.
I went on to outline my platform about setting up Community Conservation Centers in each of our 131 registered neighborhood associations that would take advantage of existing dormant resources to lead the nation in microbusiness development at no cost to big government or to big business. I introduced the idea of Solari Circles to fund the start-up businesses – affinity groups of 6, 8, 10 friends with investment funds to commit who were scared off by the volatility of the stock market.
They listened. They were more respectful. Unconvinced, probably, but nonetheless attentive.
I applauded a new start-up newspaper that had been introduced that day, especially since the current mainstream media were so intent on ignoring my candidacy and my common sense platform.
The organizers said that was enough, and thanked me for coming, and moved on to the other Republican candidates running for City Council and the lone Democratic candidate, Paul Cunninghmam, who was brave enough to show up in his own red shirt.
Thanks everyone, for your interest in the M4M campaign. Please vote and encourage your friends to vote.