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For weeks I’ve been monitoring developments with the local “Occupy” movement otherwise known as Occupy Charlotte. Some on Twitter have suggested that Occupy Charlotte is not as exciting as some of the other, more notorious Occupy movements like Oakland and Portland, because the only arrests have been 2 – for jaywalking (I’ve heard there was a 3rd – for public urination, but I haven’t confirmed that info). One local media outlet called OccCLT a “mostly benign” movement so far – apparently not paying attention to how they’ve been radicalized thanks to their alliances with radical Anon hacktivists and the national OWS as well as their belief that it’s ok to “occupy” private property and terrorize customers and family members of banks and bankers as “payback” for “corporate greed.”
Anyway, fast forward to today and Bank of America HQ in uptown Charlotte. The local “occupiers’ – small in numbers when protesting BOA during the week so far – strangely grew. The Charlotte Observer explains why (bolded emphasis added by me):
Amid chants of “Bank of America, bank of coal,” eight protesters were arrested Tuesday morning outside the Charlotte bank’s corporate headquarters.
The protesters were affiliated with the local chapter of the Rainforest Action Network and demanded an end to the bank’s financing of coal-related operations. Members of the Occupy Charlotte movement also joined in and were among those arrested, organizers said.
Just after 7 a.m., several protesters scaled flagpoles in front of the headquarters building and dropped a large banner that read “Not with our money,” urging people to take their money out of the bank so it won’t be used to fund loans to coal companies.
Police then arrested four protesters who had formed a human barricade in front of one of the headquarters’ entrances, said Jimmy Tyson, a volunteer media coordinator for the movement.
A Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokesman said six people were charged with trespassing and two with aiding and abetting trespassing during the morning’s protests.
Guess what Observer readers might not know if it weren’t for yours truly alerting the Observer? That Occupy Charlotte members were among those arrested. The original article didn’t have any information about OC’s eager involvement. But WBTV reported the names of those arrested earlier (mug shots can be seen here), and I recognized some of the names from other local reporting about OC. I alerted Andrew Dunn, the Observer writer, via Twitter, and about an hour later the story was updated.
The local OWS has been desperate to try and maintain a facade of being “peace-loving” when in actuality I’ve watched many of them demonstrate their support via Twitter for the type of thuggery seen rampant on display at the more radical communes in Oakland, Portland, and Seattle. “Vigilante justice” by way of Anon hacktivist “doxing” of alleged abusers of power is supported and encouraged by the local group – but it’s not just so-called “abusers of power” they’re ok with “doxing” (and by “doxing” I mean reveal every tidbit of personal information they can find on a cop, public official, etc – even if it hurts the alleged “offender”‘s family in the process). They’re also ok with doxing their opposition – not because they’ve “abused” any power, but just because they want to shut down all voices of opposition to their “message”, and anyone else who gets in their way … like the judge who this afternoon ruled that Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD had the right to proceed with keeping Zuccotti Park empty of tents, campers, etc.
Last night, our Democrat-controlled Charlotte City Council rolled over for Occupy Charlotte and effectively emboldened them to act as they did today by rejecting a request by two GOP Council-members to put a proposed Char-Meck Police camping ordinance on the table for discussion at the November 28 Council meeting. Read the rationale:
However, City Attorney Mac McCarley said the new ordinances proposed to handle First Amendment issues during the DNC won’t be ready until next year.
Dulin started off a debate on the demonstrators at the end of the City Council meeting on Monday, stating that it was “amazing to me there wasn’t a city ordinance that protected city-owned land.”
“We can assist the protestors if necessary, but I think they need to go home at night,” Dulin said.
He and Peacock wanted the city staff to immediately begin work on a study of how other cities are handling Occupy activists.
Councilman Michael Barnes argued that it would be “too presumptuous” to expect the city to be ready in two weeks.
“I respect freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but I do not like folks tearing up (property),” Barnes said. “And I don’t want to do anything that will lead to that.”
Councilman David Howard added that efforts by other cities to oust the occupiers have “gotten out of hand.”
“We shouldn’t rush this one,” Howard said, noting the proposed ordinances will have a long-term effect on First Amendment issues in Charlotte.
Councilwoman Nancy Carter noted the city has a process for ordinances that involve citizen input and public hearings. Carter added that she has visited the Occupy Charlotte site three times and has spoken both to demonstrators and police.
“There’s mutual respect and mutual tolerance, “ she said. “And I think that’s what Charlotte is known for.”
Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Cannon added that he wanted the city to make a distinction between homeless individuals who are camping and people who are part of a larger protest.
“I think there’s a clear difference,” Cannon said.
What a massive fail. This isn’t “leadership” – this is moral cowardice as exemplified by liberal city “leaders” who are either too afraid to “anger” the local group, are politically cozy with some of the more influential Occupy members, or really DO think the “occupiers” have the right to squat on public property as long as they like. It’s not going to get any better on the Council, considering Republican Edwin Peacock was defeated in last week’s election, tilting the balance even more so to the left. All this with the Democrat National Convention taking place here next September. Today’s protests and arrests are only a very small taste of what the local police force is going to have to deal with next year.
Oakland, Portland, and now even NYC have taken bold measures to break up their respective Occupy communes, which became havens for crime, death, disease, filth, and other assorted nastiness that is not in keeping with the obligation a city has to oversee its public health and safety (not to mention resources). When one or more of those starts to become negatively impacted, the city has every right to step in to curb the problem before it gets out of control. The CLTCC’s (Charlotte City Council) failure to act last night gave a green light to local occupiers that they can do whatever the heck they want at least until January when the City/CMPD proposed ordinance is officially rolled out. Councilman Andy Dulin was exactly right when he noted that everyone has the right to protest but they do NOT have the right to “occupy” and in the process destroy public property.
Isn’t it odd how Occupiers insist they “must” be allowed to do this and if not, their First Amendment rights have been “trampled on”? Yet Tea Partiers, who were much much more peaceful and respectful than Occupy, managed to get their point across to their politicos and the media without having to camp out at all, much less for weeks on end? Too bad none of the so-called “adults” in positions of leadership within the various Occupy movements have figured that out yet.