I left the Asheville City Council meeting early in order to get to a computer and blog. Council was tied up for over three hours trying to negotiate a settlement with Occupy Asheville. City staff has complained that the lack of adequate sanitation has left the turf now occupied “saturated.” A business owner adjacent to the campsite objected having business scared off by the “shanty town,” the increased use of his restrooms, and the creation of a compost pile on his property.
Of course, property is an old-fashioned concept. Council listened to persons talk about how, for example, they should be like Washington, DC, and let people camp wherever they want as long as it doesn’t obstruct a public right of way. Another speaker said hygiene is the responsibility of those who demand it. After several motions, council finally agreed to allow the Occupy movement to accept one or more port-a-potties from a union (three different names were thrown out).
Members of council for the most part expressed whole-hearted support for the movement, which was acting like a sovereign nation negotiating for a treaty. Several members of council asked that the Occupiers move on to tackle larger issues than whether or not they can erect tents next to city hall. It was further argued that the Occupiers had a beef with the national government. Council could do nothing but pass resolutions against Wall Street.
Councilman Cecil Bothwell proposed having council draft a resolution descrying corporate personhood in exchange for the Occupiers breaking camp. The lady who was acting like the leader of the leaderless group twinkled her fingers in the bad direction as she went around the room commanding energy in a way that elicited compliance.
Council also agreed to have a point person from the leaderless movement meet with the assistant city manager Monday to hash out something, because members of council were too weary, impatient, and inattentive to go through another motion and public hearing. The appointed spokesperson asked if he could bring friends. The mayor consented, but said he had to take whatever he and the city manager agreed to back to his group for their input, and get a response on her desk in writing.
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