Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Occupy Tucson offers counter proposal to city attorney’s plea bargain (video)

Occupy Tucson encampment at Veinte de Agosto Park. (Image Credit: Pamela Powers Hannley)

Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin offered Tucson Occupiers a plea bargain recently. At a legal meeting last week, we defendants heard the details of the plea bargain (which wasn’t much of a bargain). It included multiple levels of monetary penalties and community service depending upon how many tickets a person had garnered. With over 700 citations issued to fewer than 200 people, many Occupiers are facing serious financial and legal burden for camping in the name of free speech for the 99%. The defendants in attendance decided the city’s offer was not a good deal.

Occupy Tucson protesters during rush hour. (Image Credit: Pamela Powers Hannley)

Our legal team read a draft proposal as a counter offer. The Occupiers’ offer to the city included dismissal of citations and establishment free office space downtown for Occupy Tucson for one year in exchange for dismantling the encampment and dropping the federal lawsuit against the City of Tucson and city officials (plus other details outlined below). I spoke in favor of this proposal last week because I believe that the Occupy movement nationwide has to decide on next steps. Office space gives the Occupiers a place to organize and move forward with the causes that are important to the 99%– like fighting foreclosures and fighting against the corporate takeover of our government.

This is not the end of Occupy; it is the next phase.

Below is Occupy Tucson’s counter offer to the city. If you support Occupy, please call the Mayor and City Council members now. Here is a link to their contact information.

BY CONSENSUS OF THE OCCUPY TUCSON GENERAL ASSEMBLY, DECEMBER 18 2011:

Mr. Rankin,

The Occupy Tucson legal team has had an opportunity to review the City’s plea offer with some, but not all, of the Occupy Tucson defendants. [1] The majority of them have rejected the plea upon our advice, and have asked us to present a counter-offer.

Before we get to details, however, we’d like to say a few words about the unique situation facing both the City and the Occupy Tucson movement. Our clients are not the typical “vagrants” the underlying ordinance was intended to address. They have intentionally violated the applicable ordinance(s) in an earnest and righteous exercise of their First Amendment rights. They are extremely principled and dedicated to the ideals of the Occupy movement, as evidenced by the many who have volunteered night after night to receive a citation (some of whom have even go so far as to drive to the park at “ticket time” each night to receive a citation before returning home). With few exceptions, our clients have chosen to stand together as a group in solidarity and as members of a political association.

Our clients represent a true cross section of Americans – homeowners and the homeless (either recently due to foreclosure or chronic), employed and unemployed, highly educated and less so: doctors, short order cooks, grandmothers from Green Valley, students from the UA, Democrats, Republicans – you get the point. Few of them knew each other prior to the first day of the Occupation on October 15th, yet found themselves inextricably drawn to the Occupy Wall Street movement which seemed a beacon of hope for the 99% of Americans affected by an economic crisis brought on by corporate greed and government corruption that had trickled down over the last several years to affect all but the wealthy 1%.

The people of Occupy Tucson found it necessary to make a courageous statement by occupying government land vis a vis camping statement in public parks in a pure expression of free speech. It was imperative to them to exercise their constitutional rights 24 hours a day. Because there is no provision within the City code to allow its residents to do so, the City chose to penalize its citizens by imposing criminal citations carrying maximum penalties of $1,000 and six months in jail. While certainly justified by the laws on the books, the City failed and made a dishonorable choice.

We would like to propose what we believe is a win-win situation. For the purpose of clarity, however, be advised that the Occupy Tucson legal team does not represent every single person who identifies as an Occupy Tucson member. We have no control over splinter groups or rogue individuals who adamantly disregard our legal advice. This is the nature of the beast, and must be taken into account as a reality by which we are all limited to a certain degree. We can, however, provide a roster of those people who are either on board with being represented as part of a group or are interested in accepting the existing plea in whole or in part.We will do our best to insure that the majority of people with citations will accept a plea, and will withdraw from the cases of those people not on the roster because they are not acting in a manner consistent with their best interest.

Our counter proposal is as follows.

1. Our clients will agree to:
A. Decampment of Viente de Agosto[2] park by a date certain if the following conditions can be met. Decampment is meant to include removal of all semi-permanent structures including tents, camping equipment, tables, chairs, IT equipment, remaining kitchen items (the kitchen was voluntarily removed two weeks ago).
B. Our clients will agree not to “re-occupy” Viente de Agosto park, Armory Park or the main library grounds for a period of one (1) year.
C. We shall suspend the federal civil rights lawsuit currently pending in U. S. District Court, Occupy Tucson v. City of Tucson, cause number 4:11-CV-00699-TUC-CJK, for a period of one (1) year at which time it shall be dismissed with prejudice.
D. We shall dismiss the special action in Pima County Superior Court, Occupy Tucson v. Riojas and State of Arizona, cause number C20118136.

5. In exchange, the City shall:
A. Dismiss all citations issued from October 15 to the present for violation of any park-after-hours ordinances including violations of Tucson City Code Sec. 21-3(7)(3), as well as “interfering with judicial order” violations resulting from said park-after-hours restrictions.
B. Will provide suitable office space in the downtown area for the purpose of Occupy Tucson headquarters, to be used for meetings, public interface including education, workshops and information, and offices. The space shall be for the period of one (1) year, free of charge, at street level, not less than 1,000 square feet, and shall include utilities, internet access and telephone.
C. Lastly, the City shall agree to coordinate efforts with Occupy Tucson to relocate each of the homeless-identified/SMI/substance abuse affected who currently camp at the park into appropriate social services.

For purposes of logistics, i.e., a timely decampment coordinated with moving into a new headquarters, we would accept a commitment from the City to work with OT to reach this goal.

In conclusion, we realize that this is not a standard plea offer, but neither is this a standard criminal prosecution. We are certain that despite the additions/changes from your original plea that it is in the best interest of both the City and Occupy Tucson to come to a mutual resolution of this situation. Our clients are not the only ones with a lot at stake if the prosecution continues. While you stated on Arizona Illustrated television show that the 700 citations were not a burden to your office or the Court, we think your statements were primarily for public consumption. We are both aware it will take considerable resources from both the prosecution and defense to merely review the deluge of disclosure that will be involved in a trial of thee charges. In addition, we cannot even estimate the expense in time and money of the number of police interviews that must be done before trial; suffice it to say that we would insist on interviewing all three officers the City felt obliged to put on each cited person (700 x 3 = 2,100 hours of police interviews). And lastly, we assume that even in groupings of defendants the actual trials in this case will be a logistical and resource nightmare; even so, many of our clients have indicated they would insist on individual trials. I am positive that the price of a one year lease on some modest store front office or commercial property would be far less costly to the City than having to produce police officers for interviews and trial testimony.

Of course there is also the added incentive of resolving this situation without the rancor, expense and additional litigation that will result from law enforcement action to end the Occupy Tucson camp. The City has been very reasonable and accommodating up to this point and we would certainly be willing to let the public know about how Tucson would be one of the few cities with an Occupy camp to resolve the situation in a principled and peaceful manner.

We are ready to move immediately. We await your response.

[1] Because our client roster exceeds 130 people, we are not able to contact all our clients easily. Sixty-one percent (61%) can be contacted instantly via email; the rest can only be contacted by phone and/or email.

[2] Any activity which may or may not occur at any other park including DeAnza is not under the control or supervision of Occupy Tucson proper. For instance, Occupy Public Lands is an autonomous offshoot and while we are supportive of their efforts and goals we are not representing anyone who may have or will receive a ticket at that location.

 

 

 

24 comments on “Occupy Tucson offers counter proposal to city attorney’s plea bargain (video)

  1. Friend of Pam's
    December 20, 2011

    Something tells me that the request free office space won’t go over well. Yes, I know. There are businesses that have gotten such deals from the city (remember LP&G in the train depot?) but those deals haven’t proven to be popular. (BTW, LP&G no longer has its office in the train depot. Too much bad PR at that location.)
    To the occupiers, and, yes, I support much of what you stand for, find space without asking the city to give it to you. You may very well find a sympathetic local organization with extra space that it would be willing to provide to you. Give this a try before asking the city for something that has proven very unpopular in the past.

    • Pamela Powers Hannley
      December 20, 2011

      Actually, Paul Cunningham already offered them free office space but not downtown.

      • Friend of Pam's
        December 20, 2011

        I stand corrected – thanks!

  2. Roy Warden
    December 20, 2011

    I’m still laughing! You’re trying to NEGOTIATE?  

    With what? Your federal suit stands less chance than a snowball’s chance in …. .
    Here’s what your chances are: ZERO.

    rw  

    • tunkashila
      December 21, 2011

      Rather like your chances of driving all illegal Mexicans from the state, eh Roy?  Stick to burning flags and trying to beat up teenagers, because you’re no kind of legal (or moral) expert.

  3. You Don't Speak for Me
    December 20, 2011

    As a tax paying citizen of Tucson, I am absolutely opposed to negotiations with this group.  You have ruined the park and now want our City to provide you with FREE office space, including utilities, internet, and phone?   You, and your “Declaration” posted November 12th are beyond absurd.   You should be made to pay and/or serve whatever penalty is called for under the laws of our city — which apply to us all.

     

    • tunkashila
      December 21, 2011

      So do you stand for full application of the law against the bankers who looted our treasury and destroyed the nation’s pension systems, too?  As soon as that happens, I’m sure Occupy Tucson will be happy to pony up.  Until then, keep dreaming.

      • leftfield
        December 21, 2011

        OK, tunkasila.  We have differences in many areas, but I have noticed from looking at your posts that you may be one of the very few people posting who actually are “independent”.  I say this as your POV on issues does not seem to be as predictable as most others who claim independence from a particular ideology.   Certainly, I make no claim to independence.   In fact, I was skeptical such people even existed.

        Best wishes to the folks at OT.

      • tunkashila
        December 22, 2011

        Thank you for that, leftfield.  We indeed have our differences, but I appreciate your ability to make a distinction between rarities such as myself and the ideologues who pollute the blogosphere and the world at large.  I hope this post finds you well and enjoying a wonderful Christmas, solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or whatever other holiday you may or may not celebrate. 
         
        Peace to you and yours in this chaotic holiday season.

    • Pamela Powers Hannley
      December 21, 2011

      You should be made to pay and/or serve whatever penalty is called for under the laws of our city — which apply to us all.

      Since when do the laws in this country apply to us all equally? Is someone with millions treated the same as someone who is poor? No way. Is a straight white man treated the same as a black gay man? No way.

      In fact, the very law that the Occupiers have been charged with breaking– staying in the park after curfew– is applied UNEQUALLY every day in Tucson. Just ask the cops how many people have been charged with that crime in the past year. They ignore vagrants in the park all the time.

      • Hugh Johnson
        December 22, 2011

        Since when does Ohio State hand out degrees to people with no skills? Since when is a person that cannot master one basic skill, but can fail at mulitple tasks be referred to as a ‘Renaissance’ person?

      • tunkashila
        December 22, 2011

        Since when does anybody think the above post had a point?
         
        Comparing earning a degree or ability to master skills with authorities’ application of the law isn’t just a stretch of logic, it’s a an outright break with it.  Is this guy posting from Kino?!?

      • tunkashila
        December 23, 2011

        Sorry, I now realize the poster was talking about P Powers and not the law. I agree with the assesment of Powers.

      • tunkashila
        December 24, 2011

        The above post was not made by me, but an imposter using my screen name. 
         
        I most emphatically do not  agree with “Hugh Johnson’s” assessment of Ms. Powers and am calling out the coward who can’t even think up his own moniker to take issue with my comment.  As I asked above, is he/she/it posting from Kino or are they just too scared to engage in open debate to explain themselves?   

      • tunkashila
        December 27, 2011

        The above post was not made by me, but an imposter using my screen name.

        I do not know is using my screen name, but, again, I do agree with the comments made about Pam Powers. I also feel this is off topic and I will not post again in this particular comment stream. Rest assured any additional comments using my ‘name’ on this thread will not be mine. I will comment, on topic, in the other threads, but not here. To the person/thing using my screen name, please find your own to use and form your own opinions and stand by them.

  4. Roy Warden
    December 21, 2011

    Hey Tunkashila:

    My flag burning was ALWAYS in support of the Mexican Poor and against the policies of the Mexican government, which earned 25 billion dollars in remittances sent home by poor folks working at McDonalds  in 2006: nearly as much as the government earned from oil revenues.

    Pretty nasty trick, don’t you think, to turn your own  poor into an exportable commodity so you don’t have to care for them? 

    I was trying to break up the INDUSTRY which created Mexican Illegals, and the dark forces which have enticed them here so they can be exploited both economically and politically…like republican businesses which  wanted cheap labor and left wing wing “humanitarian” groups which wanted to create a “RAZA REVOLUTION and drive the “Gringo” back to Plymouth Rock.

    Naturally, the press refused to interview me or print the truth of my public speech.

    Anyhow, Occupy Tucson has ZERO chance of trading their lawsuit and special action in exchange for dropping their suits, for the simple reason neither action has any legal merit. I warned them of this way back in October 18, 2011, and they deleted my posts from the website.

    The lemmings have hidden their heads in the sand and followed their leaders off a cliff. 

    Now Tucson will get their pound of flesh, to prevent further “occupation” next spring. 

    RW      

    • tunkashila
      December 22, 2011

      Hey Roy:
       
      It’ s an odd form of support to tell people barely earning a living for themselves to go back to where they couldn’t make a living at all.  It is indeed a nasty trick to turn the poor into an exportable commodity, but since our own govt. has its own nasty track record in that regard (as evidenced by the mounds of homeless moved around like pawns by this nation’s legal structures), your protest comes off as hypocritical and even pointless.
       
      If breaking up the industry which has arisen around providing cheap labor is truly your goal, then you need to stop blaming the victims of that industry by telling them they aren’t welcome here and start working to alter or destroy the system that allows it.  Burning flags and threatening teenagers from the group of people your protest allegedly supports is counter-productive and merely reinforces the view that you are a bigot.
       
      As regards Occupy Tucson and the tickets, I think negotiation has a much better chance of success than expecting the already-destitute to pay what the authorities know they don’t have in the first place, much less laying out the funds to incarcerate them in an already-overloaded system.  A slim chance, to be sure, but far better than zero.  The City of Tucson may well get its pound of flesh, but if they think it will prevent further protest or add money to their coffers, they’re every bit as deluded as you seem to be.

  5. Charlie W
    December 21, 2011

    Savage is right, liberalism is a mental disorder.

  6. roy warden
    December 22, 2011

    Hay Tunkashila:

    What did you think was going to happen to the Mexican poor, way back in 2006 when I sarted warning them to stay home? Do you think it was fair to encourage their entry? Didn’t you realize that Arizonans  would eventually WAKE UP and pass anti-ethnic studies legislation and 1070?

    What do you think has happened to all those folks you and the rest of the left wing encouraged to enter? They’re now stuck between a rock and a hard place, and if you think they are going to get amnesty, send me some of whatever you’re smoking ’cause I could sure use some!

    Roy Warden 

    • tunkashila
      December 22, 2011

      I’ve never encouraged illegal entry, I just recognize it as a reality.  However, I would have much preferred that Arizonans would have awakened to pass laws that addressed the problem rather than making it worse, such as easing legal restrictions and costs on worker’s visas, not amnesty.  If you are really concerned about the people stuck between a rock and a hard place you would detox and do the same. 

  7. roy warden
    December 22, 2011

    BTW I forgot to add: I always shouted “Viva Zapata” whenever I burned a Mexican Flag, by way of encouraging the Mexican people to develop some stones, you know what I mean, like the Eqyptians, Syrians and people of Libya, t o  rise up and get it on, spill some fat cat blood, because they will forever be exploited as long as they continue to cower in fear.

    Roy Warden 

    • tunkashila
      December 22, 2011

      I can agree with that, but with one caveat-work for a similar end here and there will be no need for your protests.  It’s the height of arrogance to cast stones from your own glass house.

  8. Roy Warden
    December 23, 2011

    Hey, my protests were ALWAYS against the fat cats who employed illegals for less than minimum wage and the “pro raza” groups who exploited them politically so the groups could solicit donations, most of which remained in the hands of the directors.

    I lobbied the Arizona Legislature for two years before they passed Employers Sanctions and derailed the teaching of  Pro Raza Propaganda in the schools. 

    I got “right in the face” of the  mayor and city council, and am now suing them in federal court for 13 arrests and other violations of my rights.  I think I’ve paid in blood a heavy price for speaking out against the Industry of Illegal Aliens and the power brokers, left and rith wing,  behind it.    

    Roy Warden

    • tunkashila
      December 24, 2011

      Sell that bovine excrement to someone who’s buying-you don’t help people by burning their nation’s flag and telling them to go home. 
       
      Ooooh, you lobbied for employer sanctions and helped deep-six Mexican/American studies programs.  Thanks so much for helping broaden the technological reach of the police state we live in and screw poor workers in the process while frantically attempting to squelch pride in their heritage at the same time!  What do you want, a cookie?!?
       
      Finally, your loathsome grab for pity is having precisely the opposite effect where I’m concerned.  I hope the courts grind you and your silly waste of their time into bone chip dip.  Either them or a group of  campesinos the next time you engage in one of your flag-burning protests.  Merry Christmas, pendejo!

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This entry was posted on December 19, 2011 by in Arizona, Free Speech, Occupy, Politics, Trickle Down Economics, Tucson, Video and tagged , , .

About

The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

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 focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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Chicago blues + surf rock = fun dancing. #tucson #dancing #swing
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