Welcome to Occupy City Hall. This space is created to share the common experience of “Fighting City Hall.” I have found, in my engaging with City Halls, its less of me fighting them and more of them revealing their true personal issues and political agendas through the way they treat those who come to City Hall to help form a consensual government.
I have discovered, while I am on the “non-violent” team, they are not. They are purveyors and supporters of violence and bullying in our communities to make their agenda the only one relevant for us all to live with as we have been bullied out of our City Halls and told we cannot fight them. Exposing them for the bullies they are, can help form an acceptable public policy to allow Safe Space for the People to participate equally (!!!) with those elected to make final decisions — and THAT IS ALL THEY HAVE BEEN ELECTED TO DO. They were not elected to use the public office and resources like the police force to make their voice the only one heard!
This is the weapon of my choice. My first link is to one of the most egregious acts of oppression of the voice in a regulated speaking environment I’ve ever experienced. This one action by the President of the Los Angeles City Council President, supported and empowered by its City Attorney, is the inspiration for this blog’s existence.
To give a context, I do not actually live in Los Angeles. I was a longtime resident there and live in nearby Palm Springs area. I often weekend and spend holidays in Los Angeles, I do work in Los Angeles and my daughter wants to attend UCLA when she graduates high school. I consider Los Angeles my “Big City” and where I live is a part of it. I first started attending Los Angeles City Council meetings in the Spring of 2014, as a part of the “Wave of Action” within the Occupy Movement. My personal “Wave of Action” was “Global Police State Standdown” or “#GPSS”, and City Hall is where I focused that Wave of Action through the use of Public Comment.
So, this appearance was maybe my 6th or 7th appearance before the Los Angeles City Council. I believe this was the first agenda item I spoke on this day. I really just came to the meeting to give a general public invite to the upcoming Occupy Los Angeles event 11 October 2014. When I gave my card for General Public Comment, I randomly asked the Sergeant at Arms “what topic should I speak on?” And, randomly or otherwise, he responded with “Item 30,” so that is what I selected. When I took my seat again and looked at Agenda Item 30, I smiled inside as I pulled the book from my bag I brought along on my trip to City Hall: Life In Schools by Peter McLaren. I opened the book and read a couple of diary entries, but it was the one from October 11 that seemed serendipitous in its message, and given my experience in jail and the proposed agenda item, I thought the advice was perfect to give direction to Los Angeles City Staff for this agenda Item.
Notwithstanding my use of traditional Toastmaster speaking protocol: icebreaker, introduction, comment; I was interrupted and restrained just because I started speaking on the subject, not given the opportunity to finish. I followed through at a future meeting in my public comment, and readdressed this item for them. At around 3 hours 21 minutes into the meeting, you can hear and decide for yourself. http://lacity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=129&clip_id=13827&meta_id=256517
In fact, at Los Angeles City Council, I generally just give general public comment as most of the agenda items are well spoken on by others with the same positions as I have, and the rest, well, to be honest, if it does not matter to those intimately involved. I do not speak just to speak. I do not speak to have my thoughts interrupted and translated before i even give them voice.