General Assembly Minutes 2012-07-24

Roles
Facilitator - Ed S
Stack - Nancy
Timekeeper - John F
Note taker - Annette
Vibe Checker - Coral

Agenda
Consensus Review
Announcements
Court Cases
Occupy The Dog Park
RNC
Friday's demonstration
Rally
Appreciations

Since we had some new people attending, Nancy gave a Consensus review.

Announcements
29 OG arrest cases will be heard at 1:30 this Friday, 7/27
Demonstration in front of Bank of America at 5:30, also Fri 7/27
The Stake Outs, an awesome Ska band playing tonight at the CMC

Court Cases
John F introduced his friend and attorney, Bill Salmon. Bill explained that he sees one of the goals of Occupy Gainesville as opening up the Plaza to it's intended use.All three lawyers will be arguing essentially the same thing, that these are 1st Amendment rights which are guaranteed. The motions are to dismiss the charges. It is hoped, beyond that, that the judges will say something that will stop the arrests. Answering questions - a former city official will testify to the original purpose for the plaza. It is possible that the judges will not give their decision on the same day. CC mentioned restrictions on the media. Ed stated that the civil penalty, if we were tried and found guilty, would be $310.00. Everyone please attend and wear OG shirts.

Occupy the Dog Park
Pat Fitzpatrick pointed out the city's total failure to help the homeless. In their 7th year of their so-called 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in Gainesville, no progress has been made. Meanwhile, the city has spent very large sums of money to help downtown developers and businesses that aren't needy. The city designated the area across from the Fire Station on Main as a Dog Park in order to deny access to the homeless and spent $198,000 on fencing and landscaping it. There was no need for a Dog Park there, as shown by the fact that it is not being used by dogs. Pat is going to start working on this issue and picketing and invites OG and everyone to join him. Approval shown by twinkles all around. Please bring water and mosquito spray to the plaza residents now. Trish - a slogan pointing out that the city sees the homeless as a lower priority than dogs would be useful. Ed - some cities are using Imminent Domain to get shelter for the needy. Pat will report back.

RNC
Annette reported on a trip to Tampa and the meeting of the Committee (Coalition) to March on the RNC, which was also attended by John F and Ian. A bus will transport people early on Monday, Aug 27th from Gainesville to Tampa and return later the same day. Notify Annette or Michela (on our Fb group page) if you plan to ride. The Coalition has arranged for water and porta-potties at the protest sites. Whistler asked what can be carried to the sites. Things banned include a thermos, cans, or bottles, umbrellas with metal points, coolers, water pistols, or gas masks. Loaded guns, with permits, are allowed according to Governor Scoot.
Meanwhile, Tampa regularly releases info to the media about their 3,000+ police officers being back-up by the National Guard, and their recent massive purchases of weapons, armor, an armored vehicle and gas masks

Rally
Ed says the Rally to March, August 24th, will run from noon to midnight with free food, speakers, music and a film. They are looking for 1 more band. Please donate food for FNB and medical supplies to go to Tampa.

Demonstration in Gainesville
The local Committee is part of The Coalition To March on the RNC. The Coalition includes Vets for Peace, Occupy, Code Pink, Unions, SDS and many other groups. This demonstration is to show Gainesville that we are going to Tampa to address the RNC. 5:30 Friday at Bank of America on University Ave, near 11th St. John B pointed out that we has protested there before and their security guard is a former Blackwater mercenary. John F reminded that some of us may be stuck in court beyond 5:30. Let's turn out for this show of Solidarity!!

General Discussion
Remaining Fire Dog Lake caps were given out. Members were encourage to check out the site Label It Yourself for issues related to GMO labeling. OG now has a stamp that says "Corporations are NOT people. And Money is NOT free speech." Flyers for the demonstration were given out.

Appreciations
Nancy is grateful to see so many people attending GA. Trish is grateful for John F's hat.