Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
This is the fifth in a series of personal accounts from the Occupation of Tucson. In this letter, Green Party Mayoral Candidate Mary DeCamp talks about life in the Occupy Tucson camp, her first court date, and the local media (who recently realized that she is running for mayor).
Nov. 1: Notes from the Occupation
by Mary DeCamp
Good morning media folks & friends,
Here’s another update from Camp DeCamp along de campaign trail….
Yesterday was busy. I started with a 6:30 a.m. in-studio interview at KGUN-9 television station way out on Rosewood. Luckily, a friend allowed me to intrude early and take a hot shower so I wouldn’t uphold the Flea-Party image that my right-wing friends have tagged all the Occupiers with. I guess it didn’t matter a whole lot, because from what I saw, much of the video coverage was of generic shopping scenes instead of the candidate’s visage. The atmosphere there was chilly, perhaps because my good friend & psychologist Dr. Victor Shamas had engaged in a long and heated email exchange with station producer F. Carr over the negative and misleading slant reporter Steve Nunez put on the foreclosure press conference I gave on October 4, 2011 in front of City Hall. I called Jon Justice, KGUN’s upstairs neighbor and host of the morning talk radio program on “104.1 The Truth,” to see if I could stop in for a visit with them, but Jon refused to take my phone call and the phone screener said Jon wanted nothing more to do with me. I was surprised, because the day before Jon had graciously shared with me a caricature one of his followers did of me that I thought was pretty flattering.
Running hot and cold in Tucson is par for the course these days. Daytime temperatures rise while nighttime temperatures dip. It gives me a whole new appreciation for my homesteading ancestors who crossed the plains in covered wagons and ended up living in sod houses on the windswept prairies. We’ve got it pretty comfortable when that comparative perspective is applied.
My ancestors would be amazed at all the changes. I could dash from the eastside back downtown in my car, arriving at City Court for my second appearance in response to the ongoing citations for Occupying Armory Park after the 10:30 p.m. curfew. After clearing the metal detector and being scanned for weapons, I had time to take a telephone call from Pacifica Radio and talk with them about why a mayoral candidate would be willing to do more than just talk about supporting the Occupy movement. Evidently it is unusual for politicos to walk their talk by sleeping on the ground along with others who sacrifice their comfort to stand for all our rights, and the folks at Pacifica wanted to hear more about Occupy Tucson, Code Pink, and the Green Party.
The phone call didn’t take long, and I was seated in Judge Shetter’s courtroom along with my friends, to hear whether or not the State would allow the prosecutor’s motion to apply zoning restrictions to our cases. Zoning restrictions mean that the defendants cannot return to the scene of the crime. Usually these restrictions are applied for crimes of moral misconduct like theft and/or prostitution, or if others are injured as in the case of fighting or domestic abuse – those convicted are unwelcome to return to the physical location and make more mischief. Think what that says about how the City views the Occupiers. And consider the implications if adopted. By lumping us together with thieves, prostitutes, and violent offenders, we are banned from returning to Armory Park. (The first time this plan was forwarded, it was to cover ANY time, the second time, it covered just the hours the curfew was in effect.) But, if we cannot return, the number of tents steadily decreases and the media can contend that support is waning. It is a sure way to break the back of the movement. Pretty slick, huh? Both judges Chrenshaw and Shetter denied the motion.
The Occupiers will have another court date on November 17 to determine the outcome. Today, Judge Bernal told the prosecutor to bundle the motions for zoning restriction and present them all together in front of Judge Rojas at 9:00 a.m. on November 7 for a determination then.
After the court date yesterday, I scooted on over to my old stomping grounds, the University. I had the wonderful opportunity to return to the classroom and meet with a bunch of fresh-faced and intelligent young aspiring journalists at the invitation of Professor Mark Evans. What a delight! For once, I was given more than just 2 minutes to lay out my plan for the City. I swear, I have had longer interviews for waitress positions than what has been afforded me on the campaign trail to plead my case to be the next Mayor of the 33rd largest city in the USA. Yikes! What does that say about our media and democracy? The students were interested, engaged, and had great questions. I couldn’t believe how quickly the time slid past.
At noon, I met with my all-volunteer campaign team to refile paperwork to qualify for City Matching Funds. We filed Oct. 26, but the City Clerk’s office disqualified 24 of the 301 donor forms. So we beat feet, got even MORE of those $10 donations from city-dwellers who are over 18 and American citizens, and went back to petition once more. The staff in the City Clerk’s office is so wonderful! It is always a delight and a pleasure to visit there and interact with such pleasant and professional city workers.
<The afternoon was free of further commitments, so I could devote time to maintaining the base camp. I could do litter patrol, some emotional support for our needy campers, and some office work on the computers in the Armory Senior Center. Yep, I qualified for the membership offered to those over 50 years old and so I took them up on the deal. My platform is based on recreating that sort of community spirit in all 131 registered neighborhood associations. Direct exposure with their operation just strengthens my commitment to plant such seeds in other neighborhood communities.
Supper last night was fantastic – grilled chicken, burgers, and veggie burgers accompanied with a side salad and snacks. I heard our kitchen got a gold-star rating from the health department, but haven’t verified that rumor.
The general assembly offered good information about what all the work groups were up to. We’re still working with other groups that have filed for permits to use Armory Park for their upcoming events, so nothing to report there yet.
Sleep came quickly, and was only briefly interrupted when the Tucson Police stopped by to issue our nightly citations. Throughout the night, I was roused by occasional horns honking as people drove by and hollered at us to “get a job.” But, all in all, it is amazing how easy it is for the body to adapt to new demands. Sleeping on the ground isn’t bad. Being surrounded by the stately trees, feeling the fresh air, and knowing that I’m performing my patriotic duty allow me to rest easily these days.
Thanks for your continued interest in the Camp DeCamp Campaign. Only one more week to go!
Tell your friends, family, and neighbors to vote – hopefully for me, but even if not for me for SOMEONE to lead this City. I’m hoping if I don’t get elected that whoever DOES get elected will adopt all my good ideas. We all share common ground and want the best for the future.
Previous articles in this series:
Oct. 23: Green Tea
Oct. 25: Of Permits and Police
Oct. 26: Tucson Mayor and Council Meeting
Oct. 30: Jon Justice, violence, and illegal sleeping