The Charlotte Observer reports this morning something I have long suspected the influx of demonstrators coming into the city next week for the convention will try and do – occupy Frazier Park in uptown. The article centers around the “housing needs” of professional demonstrators and other various marchers as they prepare to converge in just a few days – with some saying they’re staying with friends, at motels, etc. But some have other plans:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. Public parks, tents pitched on private lawns, friends’ couches, churches, out-of-town hotels and campgrounds: Those are some of the places where protesters headed to Charlotte next week plan to stay.
The biggest march of the week is expected to be Sunday’s March on Wall Street South, which police have estimated could draw up to 10,000 people. [Their base will be Frazier Park. –ST]
“We kind of have a network,” said Michael Zytkow, an Occupy Charlotte organizer working with the coalition behind Sunday’s march. “Some people call it couch surfing. We also have a lot of people that are willing to open their backyard, their private land.”
Zytkow said he expects more people to set up tents on private than public property.
“A lot of us know each other through these networks, and there are a lot of phone calls going back and forth,” said Zytkow.
“Frazier Park,” said John Penley, an Occupy activist, when asked where he plans to sleep during the DNC. Penley was interviewed by phone from Tampa, Fla., where he was staying at a tent camp named “Romneyville.”
Police have not said if they will enforce the city’s anti-camping ordinance, which forbids using tents on public property to sleep or store personal belongings.
Penley was confident that protesters would be allowed to stay at the park.
“My expectation is the Democrats will let us stay there at least a few days,” he said. “They’re smart enough to let us alone. We’re not planning to do any property damage, just occupy the park.”
Still, he plans to use a tarp to sleep on to try to avoid running afoul of the anti-camping ordinance.
“I’m going to let people decide if they want to put up a tent,” Penley said. “I’m already out on bail for putting up a tent in North Carolina.”
I am very curious to find out whether or not police will enforce the anti-camping ordinance, which was beefed up earlier this year by our Democrat-controlled city council partly in response to the coming convention and partly in response to Occupy Charlotte, a local group of “Occupiers” who destroyed the grounds of Old City Hall with the camp they were allowed to have there for several months. After the encampment was forced to disband, it was discovered they were using nearby storm drains as porta-potties, a clear health hazard and public safety issue. If the police don’t enforce the very laws that were put in place to try and keep protesters from setting up unsafe, unsanitary, “self-governed” tent cities that are near homes and businesses during the DNC, it will embolden demonstrators for future protests in the Charlotte area, and nearby residents will have zero confidence that the city will work to protect public and private property from careless, thoughtless left-wing activists.
Surrounding areas this year have enacted similar ordinances to Charlotte’s in an effort to try and prevent the mess created by Occupiers in Charlotte and in other cities and towns in this state after the Occupy movement officially launched last September, so it will be interesting as well to see whether or not they will be tested next week during the convention.
On a related note, in addition to the camping ordinance, in the city of Charlotte you are not allowed to wear a mask in public (I assume that excludes Halloween), and it remains to be seen if the police will enforce that rule against any moron wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. I know the locals are aware of this law and they’ve abided by it as far as I know, but I’m not so sure out of towners know or if they do, if they even care. Remember: The goal for Occupiers and other far left activists is to earn “street cred” and to “advance the cause” by either getting “harassed”, touched, or arrested by law enforcement. These people know that such actions are great recruitment tools for future generations of spoiled, self-important nomadic nit-wits.
By the way, I’ll be tweeting extensively about DNC2012 next week, and you’ll probably find me more on Twitter than here. My goal is to show everyone a more complete picture of the DNC rather than just the one ObamaCo want you to see. J Wish me luck …