Tucson Progressive

Pamela J. Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Notes from the Occupation: Of Permits and Police

This is the second post in a series of personal accounts from the Occupation of Tucson. [Emphasis added.]

Oct. 25: Notes from the Occupation

By Mary DeCamp

Green Party Mayoral Candidate Mary DeCamp

Tea Party events that use city property have a beginning time and an end time – the Occupy Movement does not.  We are exercising our first amendment rights to peaceably assemble, to petition our government, and to challenge the fascism that has crept in and taken over.  If we followed the rules, we would not be news and the media would ignore our concerns.  Permission from corrupt officials was not a concern for the original Tea Partiers in BostonHarbor, was it?  Action was taken after the normal courses of appeal failed.  That’s what we are doing today.

Should anyone be hurt, I imagine the same policies that covered the kid who was struck by lightning in a Tucson park last year would apply.  The Occupy Tucson movement has a medical team on site, a security team, peace-keepers, food handlers who follow sanitary and safety guidelines, etc.  We are much safer, better organized, and less of a risk to the city than a bunch of unorganized homeless.  The park is cleaner, safer, and more attractive now than it was before we occupied.  We come together as a community to mutually support and police each other.  The homeless fringe are in less danger with us there than they are on their own in this cold, cruel, self-interested world.  It is a win-win-win.

The City of Tucson is spending an inordinate amount on security and a SWAT presence.  I heard someone state it was $35,000 a week.  This is bogus and unnecessary.  The TPD come and sweep the park, in numbers that began at around 2 dozen officers and now are no less than 9 uniformed cops, equipped with state-of-the-art technological toys.  It is a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.  We are not vagrants, we are not a danger.

And the laws are unequally applied.  Someone circulates through the tents, announcing it is “ticket o’clock” and those who cannot bear the expense of the heavy-handed civil system.  Those unwilling to assume the cost (financial, reputation, court time, etc.), simply cross the street and form a prayer circle or wander about until the police leave and then they return to sleep for the night.  What other parks are subject to this style of enforcement?  Why pick and choose where and when to enforce the law?  It seems a hugely unnecessary expense.

Remember, too, that though the State passed the medical marijuana law we still don’t have medical marijuana dispensaries because that violates federal law.  Here we are standing for federal law, but we are persecuted for violating a city ordinance.  It doesn’t compute.

The most poignant experience I have had during the Occupy Movement is at “ticket o’clock”.  Patriots emerge from their slumber, stand sleepily in line to peacefully accept their tickets, and a lone violin player comes to serenade us.  The juxtaposition of some slovenly and sleepy citizens, fully uniformed and weaponized policemen (not many women at all), and the lone musician have etched this experience in my brain.

The range of people is amazing.  The courage is astounding.  The need is great.  We are being true to the foundations the Tea Party Movement based itself on, yet we are dismissed as “Flea baggers.”  Did you see the picture circulating of our elected US representatives playing computer, anyone? solitaire, checking the sports scores, or using the internet to chat while the budget bill was discussed?  It is shocking, and I am proud to be on the other side of the 1% / 99% divide.

Jesus preached compassion and social responsibility.  Gandhi said one of the 7 cardinal sins was Wealth Without Work.  All religious leaders say that self-interest is insufficient, there must be social responsibility to care for the less fortunate and those who lose out in the competitive culture of a dominant hierarchy.  That is all we are doing ~ just following the example of those who have been on the right side of history in the past.

Mary DeCamp

Previous articles in this series:
Oct. 23: Green Tea

8 comments on “Notes from the Occupation: Of Permits and Police

  1. mac
    October 26, 2011

    Bullshit.  You’re breaking the law, pure and simple.  And you’re right, if you didn’t break the law, the media wouldn’t pay any attention.  Because you have no message.  You have no real plan to accomplish whatever it is you hope to accomplish.  I’m afraid an illegal “camp out” won’t do anything but turn the majority of law-abiding folks against you.


  2. Rex
    October 26, 2011

    Hey here is an idea: Take all of your supposedly superior moral code, and stop being a nuisance and stop breaking the law, OR stop complaining about citations and fines for breaking the law. If memory serves, Ghandi and people like Nelson Mandela and MLK served far harsher punishments and they never whined about paying the price. THAT is why their message resonated so well. If you want to model yourselves after them, then you must demonstrate the injustice without entitled whining, otherwise, no one cares.
    Oh yeah, if your group is so unhappy with how things are going, take your 99% out for a spin during the next election cycle and VOTE in our democracy to change things.
    I am sure that the 99% can easily impose its will at the polls for all of the peace love and kumbaya that you are seeking. Make it happen that way, but please stop complaining about tickets.


  3. pretty_funny
    October 26, 2011

    It’s pretty funny. You argue both sides of the coin, and can’t even see it. Also, the reason for all the police presence monitoring your “…better, safer, less of a risk (sic) to the city…” group is to ensure you STAY that way. Wouldn’t want another Oakland in the fair town of Tuscon, would we?
    One cannot step outside the public norm and then complain about not being accepted. As our friends across the pond are wont to say, “That’s just not cricket!”
    And, for which federal law are you standing as you’re being “…persecuted for violating a city ordinance”?
    Finally, it’s good that “ticket o’clock” is “etched” in your brain. Picture if you can your same endeavor occurring most anywhere else in the world. Now imagine the batons, shields, helmets, rubber bullets, REAL bullets, tear gas, smoke grenades, blood, broken bones, pain, etc.
    Keep complaining, and thank a veteran for the opportunity to do so. We swore our lives to defend your Constitutionally-protected right to do so. Patriots, indeed.


  4. Hector
    October 26, 2011

    Should call yourselves the GUM party.  Give Us Money.  Go home gummers, apply yourselves, earn a living, stop wasting time and complaining.  No one cares about your whining.  You’re like gum on the sidewalk; stale, discarded crap to be avoided.


  5. fraser007
    October 26, 2011

     I say we all go down to Armory Park and honk our horns at 3am to keep them awake. Or light off some big firecrackers to keep them awake. Problem is the cops will be there. What a waste of taxpayers money.
    Big time revolutionaries but they wont pay their fines. What no cash?? Guess they are all on annual leave from their jobs so they can do this. Same old tired hippie left crowd. Do your protest on the east side where we work for a living and we will really keep you awake! Guess there is a “force field” where you cant go past. West University, Downtown, Sam Hughes and the U of A area.


    • leftfield
      October 27, 2011

      ‘I say we all go down to Armory Park and honk our horns at 3am to keep them awake.”

      I bet you haven’t been awake at 3AM in years, fraser. 


  6. leftfield
    October 27, 2011

    The responses thus far all sound like recycled quotes from Spiro T. Agnew.


    • afarley
      October 27, 2011

      Snicker, snicker, giggle, giggle. you so funny leftfield.


Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on October 26, 2011 by in Arizona, Free Speech, Mary DeCamp, Occupy, Politics, Tea Party, Tucson and tagged , , .

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela J. Powers

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals–not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election.

My platform focused on economic reforms to grow Arizona’s economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, grow local small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs.

In the Arizona House, I was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility a moratorium on corporate tax breaks until the schools were fully funded, increased cash assistance to the poor, expansion of maternal healthcare benefits, equal rights, choice, unions, education at all levels and protecting our water supply.

After three terms, I retired from the Arizona Legislature in January 2023 but will continue to blog and produce my podcast “A View from the Left Side.”

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