Reports of Occupy Long Beach's Demise Greatly Exaggerated; OLB Report Compiled Without OLB Input
According to several OLBers, at 8:15pm LBPD Sgt. Doug Mock arrived at Lincoln Park and told the group that by 10pm the police would arrive and confiscate all OLB property on-site.
When reached at 8:45pm by the Long Beach Post, LBPD spokesperson Sgt. David Marander provided the following explanation: "We were asking Occupy Long Beach members to help us by asking them to remove items. […] They've got some stuff that we don't believe is essential [for] their staying."
Marander clarified that OLB was not being evicted from the site, and that police would not necessarily be confiscating any property -- and definitely not sleeping bags, blankets, et cetera. The issue, Marander said, was "the storage of personal items that aren't necessary and are becoming a problem."
By 10:00pm, OLB had packed up a large portion of their collective property, but at 10:15pm four police officers arrived and instructed OLB to remove the remainder of what was on the sidewalk, citing municipal code without providing information on the specific violation. OLB refused to comply, saying they had been told by officers earlier that they may keep "essential items" on-site, and that the remaining items were indeed essential to the Occupation.
Eventually police cited LBMC Sec. 14.04.040, "Goods on Sidewalks Prohibited," which disallows "leav[ing] any goods, boxes, truck, barrels, trunks or any other article or thing upon any public sidewalk … for more than sixty (60) minutes."
However, police left the scene saying no OLB goods would be confiscated on this night.
These events -- or non-events, depending on your perspective -- came on the eve of what had been slated to be city council discussion of a report from the City Manager Pat West's office "on the practices of other cities to accommodate the Occupy protestors, and a discussion of options the City may consider to provide a free-speech zone or other means to address the issue." However, the matter is not on Tuesday's council agenda.
OLB has complained that, contrary to council instructions, West's report was complied without OLB input -- which the report acknowledges, noting that OLB was met with only on November 29 in the capacity of "provid[ing] input on the report before it is officially released."
Councilmember Rae Gabelich's recently recounted to the Long Beach Post a November 26 conversation she had with West, wherein she expressed her displeasure that OLB had not yet been consulted in the report's compilation. "'We gave you the mission to come back with some ideas, and you haven't even met with these people yet,'" she recalled saying to West. "… He said the holiday had [interfered with the process], and I said, 'Wait a minute, Pat -- it's been two weeks.'"
On the group's website, Occupy Long Beach discusses their perspective on the circumstances of the November 29 meeting with West:
The hastily arranged meeting was quite clearly an after-thought to the Report - viewed by the City Manager as an unpleasant “hurdle” erected by the Council, rather than an essential part of his function. In fact, the “meeting” took place only after OLB had taken the initiative to contact the City Manager on November 28 [sic], because his office made no effort to meet with OLB before that time. By delaying communications with OLB until the Report had essentially been written, the City Manager circumvented the Council's mandate that the preparation of the Report should involve “dialogue” with OLB. Instead, the City Manager merely engaged in a “reading” of the Report to members of OLB's Civic Engagement/Legal Committee.