Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers, a progressive voice for Arizona

Notes from the Occupation: Tucson Mayor and Council meeting

This is the third in a series of personal accounts from the Occupation of Tucson. On October 25, the Tucson’s Mayor and Council held a closed door session to discuss Occupy Tucson. Here is a recap of the post-executive session discussion.

Oct 26: Notes from the Occupation

By Mary DeCamp

Green Party Mayoral Candidate Mary DeCamp

Life in a tent in the heart of Tucsonis a fantastic experience.  Even for a 54-year-old female mayoral candidate.  At least for THIS Green Party candidate who is participating in Occupy Tucson as part of the 99% fed up with the status quo and pushing for change.

Yesterday was the Mayor & City Council Study Session meeting to discuss the Occupation and our law-breaking/free speech actions.  The item didn’t make it onto the agenda for the regular MCC evening meeting, but it came up during the afternoon “where the sausage is made” meeting.

Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, our champion who released a press statement in favor of Occupy Tucson last week, was unable to attend the meeting, and many of the usual staff members who accompany the other 5 elected Council members were absent as well.  The ones who were there went into executive session behind closed doors to discuss the situation but emerged later and held about 20 minutes of public discussion.

The first Councilwoman waffled a bit, honoring the efforts made by Tucson Police Department, Parks & Rec employees, and the City Attorney but acknowledging the importance of supporting freedom of speech efforts.  She wondered if the City ordinance regarding park use could be re-written to reflect the intent of the group using the space to skirt the problems.  The City Attorney said only behaviors could be legislated, not intent, and that was not a solution.  The Councilwoman wondered about having all the Occupiers sign a waiver that would free the City from health and safety liability issues, but again she was told that would not solve the problem because there was no way to cover all contingencies.  She basically said, “well, carry on, then, and keep us posted.”  Daily meetings continue between City officials;  the relationship between key players on both sides are respectful, courteous, and ongoing.

The second Councilman skipped weighing in on the issue.  He is locked in a re-election race against a strong opponent who is heavily funded and endorsed by the Tea Party loyalists who want self-reliance to triumph and scofflaws to be punished.  My feeling is the current Tea Party followers have lost sight of their founding principles – if these same folks were living in Boston at the time tea was dumped in the harbor to protest legislation without representation they would have called for capital punishment for those ne’er-do-wells who damaged capitalists’ property on behalf of the downtrodden.  Nonetheless, this Councilman’s voice has been quieted by pragmatic political concerns.

The third Councilwoman was our missing Shero.  No idea why she was not present, but she’s been a champion and has bravely taken a supportive stand.  Kudos and thanks go to her.

The forth Councilwoman is also in a re-election race.  Her opponent is also endorsed by the Tea Party and he works as a systems analyst for Raytheon, one of the hearts of the military-industrial-complex beast we are fighting.  This Councilwoman wanted to know about complaints from businesses in the neighborhood, how much paid overtime and scheduling inconvenience this caused the Tucson Police, how the landscaping and watering schedule was affected, and whether the Occupiers were discriminatory in asking people to leave the camp.

The fifth Councilman asked about what was happening in other cities.  Both the Police Chief and the City Attorney assured him they had been in contact with peers in other places and that there was very wide variation in the reactions to Occupation.  The Councilman asked about fines and jail time for those arrested.  He was told that a maximum was in place ($1,000 + 6 mos in jail per citation), but that no MINIMUM was set; that would be at the discretion of the prosecutor and the judge.

The sixth Councilman reported he’d heard concerns from the neighbors (and I know that he’s also heard SUPPORT from others, but he failed to mention that side of the equation).  He said that the City Council adopts ordinances, the Police enforce them, and the judicial branch sorts out any conflicts.  He effectively washed his hands of the matter, turning it over to another governmental branch, as is quite appropriate and convenient.

The Mayor, who is known as “Smiling Bob” and will be retiring in a matter of months, didn’t have anything substantive to contribute.

This morning is our first court date for arraignment.  More updates will be forthcoming as information emerges.

Thanks for your continuing support and interest.  We are making history and it is an honor to be your scribe as the tale unfolds.

Embrace affection – it costs the same as hate and feels a lot better for all involved.

Mary DeCamp

Previous articles in this series:
Oct. 23: Green Tea
Oct. 25: Of Permits and Police

12 comments on “Notes from the Occupation: Tucson Mayor and Council meeting

  1. tiponeill
    October 26, 2011

    Thank you for your efforts – but is it really necessary for you not to actually identify our elected officials ?

    How about if  instead of “the sixth Councilman” you named names ?



  2. pamela
    October 26, 2011

    This is a question for Mary. I have published her accounts verbatiim. It’s easy to tell who’s who by the numbers.


    • tiponeill
      October 26, 2011

      I was asking the question ( actually requesting) it of Mary ( as in: By Mary DeCamp)

       I don’t have the secret decoder ring with “numbers” so I’ll try to find one – but really, when you are reporting such obfuscation is silly.


      • Pamela Powers
        October 26, 2011

        “First Councilwoman” is Ward 1 rep Regina. The designations First, Second, Third, etc. refer to their Wards. 


        • Mary DeCamp
          October 29, 2011

          Sorry, didn’t mean to obfuscate – but don’t want to get bogged down in personality, either.  I was sending to a wide audience and those in other cities do not care about names.  I am trying to archive what’s happening here for comparative purposes in other cities as well.
          We should all be familiar with who our elected representatives are.  That seems a minimal amount of effort for an informed electorate.  Let’s all do OUR job, too, eh?  Thanks so much.


  3. Matthew Ribarich
    October 26, 2011

    Tucson is so exciting compared to Virginia. Just a few common sense questions. Why does the progressive and liberal  political mindset side with the protesters that appear to shower less and leave more trash? I thought the green party and Democratic party sides with the Tucson Park occupiers? Where is the recycling mantra? Where do you think the money is coming from to clean up a park or any other area of protest you chose to be at. At a Tea party event anywhere see how they save YOUR tax payer dollars by responsibly cleaning up their own mess. The ONLY message your group is conveying is that you have a bunch of middle age teenagers that never cleaned their bedroom when they lived at home.


    • tiponeill
      October 26, 2011

      >The ONLY message your group is conveying is that you have a bunch of middle age teenagers that never cleaned their bedroom when they lived at home.

      NO that is the “message” that is repeated on Fox news and right wing blogs – even before the protests started. It was all hippies and bongo drums.

      Fox news followers are not the target audience  – this is for “the rest of us”.


    • The Baron
      October 26, 2011

      The Tea Party events only lasted for a day or two.  If you lived outside for a month straight with no services, dozens, hundreds or even thousands of others in close proximity and under constant threat of arrest, I suspect your personal hygiene would take a hit as well.  Stick to the issues the protesters raise…which would be  tough because their issues (TARP, the criminality of Wall Street and the Federal Reserve, etc.) were also among the Tea Party’s issues as well.  The only difference is in the level of commitment displayed.  When you find a Tea Party event that lasts longer than a weekend and isn’t sponsored by the Koch brothers, then your comparisons might have some relevance.


  4. Karyn Zoldan
    October 26, 2011

    Go Mary! I’m a Democrat (who waffles about becoming an Independent but then I would be bombarded by mailer trash and phone calls (thank dog for caller ID)  from both parties. Ugh) This election I will be going Green for mayor. Does the Green candidates ever win? Do Tea Partyers or Republicans go Green? It’s only the Greens, the Dems or possible Independents who might. Our city government needs a complete overhaul, a vision, and some backbone.
    Mary, please name names.


    October 26, 2011

    Lets set this straight.
    FINDS YOUR WALLET? Tea party member- OR- Flea party member?
    HITS YOUR PARKED CAR WITH NO ONE AROUND? Tea party, or Flea party?

    Edits replies to posts extensively ala Castro? 3 Snorans/ Flea Party?


  6. kane O
    October 26, 2011

    I know exactly which council members Mary is talking about by the descriptions.  I’ve been to Armory Park during the Occupation.  The place is clean.  The Occupiers are organized, disciplined, and polite to one another and to the occasional drop-ins like me. 
    I am disappointed in most of the council members and mayor.  Spineless?  Yes.


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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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