Friday, November 4, 2011

Eureka Police Accuse Occupiers of Defecation, Assault

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 1:14 PM

One day after the EPD arrested an alleged Occupy Eureka protester for stealing a carafe of cream from Starbucks, things take a turn for the worse. The press release:

On 11-04-2011, Officers of the Eureka Police Department responded to several crimes involving subjects who appear to be affiliated with the "Occupy Eureka" group.

At about 8:09 am, Officers responded to the 5th Street branch of US Bank for a biohazard report. A US Bank representative reported that she came to work to find an unknown subject(s) had urinated and defecated in the entry way to the bank. This is the second occurrence of this type at US Bank this week.

While taking the biohazard report, the officer was also advised that a complaint had been made to US Bank by a customer concerning being surrounded and harassed by subjects from the "Occupy" group, when they attempted to use the US Bank ATM.

At about 10:04 am, the Eureka Police Department responded to the "Occupy Eureka" campsite at the Humboldt County Courthouse for an assault report. Officers contacted members of the media, who had been assaulted while interviewing members of "Occupy Eureka". The media reported that while they were conducting an interview, an "Occupy Eureka" member stepped forward and pushed the camera man and reporter. He then fled.

Also recovered at the "Occupy Eureka" campsite was a stolen Walgreens sign which was returned to Walgreens.

The Eureka Police Department would like to warn citizens to be cautious when using the ATMs or banking in the downtown area of Eureka, due to increased aggressive behavior by this group. 

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mega-bank Run Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 2:21 PM

This Saturday, Nov. 5, has been designated "Bank Transfer Day," a consumer activism event designed to stick it to the greedy mega-banks that nearly decimated the world economy, only to be bailed out by taxpayers.

The idea -- which has been claimed by L.A. art gallery owner Kristen Christian, though it was suggested elsewhere much earlier (see video above) -- is for consumers to take their money out of "too big to fail" institutions like Bank of America and JP Morgan (Chase) and move it to local credit unions or small community banks.

(Nov. 5 is also the date when, in 1605, a group of disgruntled Catholic Brits led by Guy Fawkes launched their doomed Gunpowder Plot -- an attempt to blow up Parliament and Protestant King James. Fawkes inspired Bonfire Night in Britain, and his stylized visage, along with the motto "Remember, remember the Fifth of November," were later incorporated into the art and plot of the comic V for Vendetta, which, in turn, has given inspiration to the Occupy Wall Street movement. But I digress.)

Officially, Bank Transfer Day is not affiliated with Occupy Wall Street, but the two movements arose from the same bubbling magma of populist rage now erupting across the country.

Multiple separate movements have begun melding together. Move Your Money is promoting the same idea as Bank Transfer Day, minus the time peg. The movement's website has been gaining momentum of late, with more than 60,000 people pledging to close their accounts with big banks. MoveOn.org has joined the party, too, announcing a "Make Wall Street Pay" action to be held (you guessed it) Nov. 5, using more or less the same methods in pursuit of the same goal:

"We'll visit [Wall Street banks'] corporate headquarters, local branches, and town plazas with our message: Make Wall Street Pay! If they do not support the 99 percent, we'll move our money elsewhere, damaging their business and their brand."

It's unclear how the banks might convincingly express support for the 99 percent. In the face of public criticism, Bank of America and some of its major rivals recently abandoned plans to implement a $5 monthly debit card fee, though protesters are hardly calling off the dogs.

Also unclear is whether these actions will, in fact, damage the business and brand of major banks. Some bloggers have argued that too-big-to-fail banks don't particularly give a shit if you close your account. Chances are, this argument goes, the banks aren't making much (if any) money off your comparatively puny savings and checking accounts, especially since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act put limits on their overdraft and transfer fees.

Owners of nonprofit credit unions, of course, love the idea. The CEO of the Credit Union National Association tells customers they can expect to save $70 a year or more through lower rates, higher return on savings and lower fees. 

Locally, protesters couldn't wait for Saturday. Eureka Police Department officers were dispatched to the Fifth Street branch of US bank this afternoon in response to a report that protesters in dark clothes and masks were causing a disturbance -- shouting and banging on the bank's window with a big stick. Officers found the activists a few blocks away, protesting outside the Fourth Street branches of Bank of America and Chase.

According to a press release (ahem), "Protesters were advised that their activities were outside of civilly protected activities." In other words, cool it, kids, or you'll be arrested.

The local MoveOn uprising will meet Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Humboldt County Courthouse in Eureka.

Employees at the Eureka branches of Chase and Bank of America said they're not allowed to comment at the branch level. Eileen Leveckis, a Chase spokeswoman with a San Francisco phone number, said Chase bank's Humboldt County branches will be "operating business as usual" on Saturday. Citing privacy issues, Leveckis declined to say whether local residents have been closing their accounts.

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Recycling center sues waste authority

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2011 at 1:47 PM

The Arcata Community Recycling Center has filed suit against the Humboldt Waste Management Authority, alleging that, as reported by the Courthouse News Service, the HWMA "tricked it into allowing the public trash district to do a 'comprehensive study' of its business, then disclosed trade secrets to competitors, driving down the value of the business, so the defendant could pick it up on the cheap at a foreclosure sale."

As reported earlier on this blog, the ACRC has announced it will shut down its operations in January.

According to the CNS story, the ACRC is seeking punitive damages "for civil rights violations, taking property without just compensation, interference with prospective economic advantage, negligent and intentional misrepresentation, misappropriation of trade secrets, and improper award of public contract."

And it wants the Willits company that outbid it to be dumped.

The CNS story also provides this link to the complaint, which was filed Oct. 24 in Humboldt County Superior Court.

 

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

So long, ACRC

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 3:01 PM

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Start making your clattery-boned, orange-vested, hard-hatted, gloved and virtuously reeking calaveras now -- 35 of them -- for those iconic worker-denizens of the Arcata Community Recycling Center. On Jan. 12, the ACRC will be no more. Shut.

We steal this portentous news straight from the reliably fresh slate of Hank Sims' Lost Coast Outpost. Sims confirmed the closure and posted a news release, from which we learn there will be no more Reusables Depot on 9th Street, no more Center for Hard to Recycle Materials (CHaRM) on 10th Street, and no more fancy, gleaming new Processing Facility on the Samoa Peninsula. No more collection service for businesses, either, and say bye to the educational programs the ACRC brought to local schoolkids and residents. Maybe start looking for jobs for the 35 ACRC employees who'll be cast free.

Forty years, rolled out to the curb.

But don't worry, someone else will be dealing with the recyclables: The Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) awarded the recycling bid to a Willits company. Says the ACRC Board of Directors, in the news release, about that:

"Exporting the material, as is now being done, results in loss of local jobs and hurts the Humboldt County economy. The HWMA will receive approximately $50,000 per year for the recyclables currently shipped out of County. The County's economy will lose $1.5 million dollars in annual payrolls and experience an additional $2.5 million loss in economic activity involving many local businesses in exchange."

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Guest Post: Occupy Wall Street: The face of the 99%

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 12:05 PM

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The following comes to us from Meghan Vogel. Meghan was born and raised in Eureka, but now lives in Arcata after bouncing around the West Coast. She holds a degree from UC Berkeley, is the proud mother of Audrey Luna Vogel and plans on Occupying the world for as long as it takes. She encourages you to check out www.occupytogether.org

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I used to care. I used to watch the news. Hell, I used to even be semi-involved in local politics, but I had given up years ago. The news made me angry and sad. I had become content to occupy my own personal bubble.

Now I’m not.

With the financial backing of a Humboldt benefactor, I occupied Liberty Plaza, aka Zuccotti Park, aka Occupy Wall Street, from Oct. 19-26. I met dozens of remarkable folks while sleeping on cardboard (one night I slept on a piece of cardboard that had the preamble to the US Constitution written on it).They came for many reasons: Student loan debt, universal health care, end the wars, end the Fed, disappointed in Obama, Wal-Mart treats their workers like dirt, Verizon treats their workers like dirt, up with unions, down with greed.

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Among those who stand out: John Hector, 25, Navy Reserves after two tours in Iraq where he lost friends, a mechanical engineer trying to find a job in a bleak recession back in the civilian world. John lives in Brooklyn, and he gets stopped and frisked by the police on an almost weekly basis. Now he’s leading marches that protest arbitrary police stops. Oh, and did I mention John just happens to be black? Apparently that’s still a crime in 21st Century America.

I also met my long-lost Irish grandfather: 72-year-old John O’Conner, on his way to his 59th   annual Catholic grammar school reunion. He was just in town for the day, but as a former union man and self-described “hooligan,” he needed to go Occupy Wall Street. He yelled to the masses, “God bless you for what you are doing!”

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Then there was by new best friend and hardworking single mama/sister-in-arms Zizi from Iraq, who served me coffee from her cart ‘round the clock and called me “sweetheart.” After a few days, she was rocking a sign that read, “From Tahrir Square to Wall Street!”
The roll call of anger and hope was multiplied with each new arrival. There was the night dozens of families from Parents for Occupy Wall Street stayed in Liberty Plaza. There was the young woman with engineering and science degrees who may face eviction from her apartment because she can’t find a job and can’t afford her $600 per month student loan payments.

And there was Hazel, an unemployed-for-three-years social worker in her early 60s. She now gets by as a babysitter for the kids in her apartment building. One day, as I was holding my “Mothers for Revolution! Food and Healthcare for America’s Kids NOW!” sign, she approached to ask where the donation tables were located. Smartly and conservatively dressed, Hazel clutched a brown paper sack full of a few snack items. As I led her through the organized chaos toward the Food and Comfort stations, I saw her jaw drop.

“This is a whole new world everybody’s creating,” she said.

Yes, Hazel, yes it is.

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