NYCGA Minutes 11/17/2011

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NYC GENERAL ASSEMBLY DAY 62

Date / Time: Thursday 11/17/2011 / 7:00pm EST

Location: Liberty Plaza

Facilitators (F): Shawn and Christina

 

Stack Taker: Joe and Jason. Minutes: Robina.

[Note from the Minutes-taker: This was an unusual GA and I note this for context. Scheduled facilitation was late. Soapbox, which spontaneously began before facilitation arrived, was being facilitated by Lady. She proposed we begin GA and group consensed but agreed we wouldn’t make any decisions; therefore I didn’t start minutes. Scheduled facilitation arrived and we began the agenda they had prepared. However, because of the unusual circumstances the normal introductory information wasn’t presented. Some of it comes up later, but at the start we jumped right in to proposals with no introductions or explanation of process. Minutes were begun as soon as the scheduled facilitators showed up.]

SUMMARY

62.1.  Agenda Items (Legal WG Emergency Proposal, Housing Update)

62.2.  Working Group Report Backs

 

F: First on the agenda will be an emergency proposal from Legal.

 

62.1.  Legal WG Emergency Proposal

62.1.1.  Hi! My name is Zeifer (sp?). I’m from the OWS Legal WG. I have a proposal. Here’s the proposal. Then I’ll explain the proposal. Then I’ll reread the proposal.

Clarifying Question (CQ): I’m sorry to interrupt but some of us are confused. Why aren’t there only the official facilitators?

Response: The reason we all decided in consensus together to facilitate this meeting together is because it originally started out in a context of a think tank. But we started a GA because the GA started at 7:30 and the original facilitators were not here. This is a very large group of people and more people will be coming. There are 8K people trying to make it to this park. Two voices are very hard to distinguish the entire movement so the original facilitators agreed in consensus with the selected facilitators to all four join together.

62.1.1. (continued) Hi again I’m still Zeifer. I still have a proposal. We propose that the Legal WG be empowered by this GA to try to get the collectively owned OWS stuff back from the city!

CQ: Mic check. Where exactly does the Legal WG propose that the stuff be taken once we get it back or has that not been decided?

F: Real quick. Thank you for the question. Right now we’re going to open stack for CQs so if anyone else has a question please come up to Joe and Jason. Give them your names. You’ll be on stack. We can answer them in order. How does that sound? [temp. is positive]

Response: I understand your question. The answer is our proposal is mostly about establishing that OWS as an unincorporated association owns the stuff. We are working to figure out where to take it and would love your help on that. But the first thing is establishing title.

F: We’d also like to mention, if you had comments before and were on stack we’re sorry for interrupting. But we still want to hear you so please get back on stack so you can speak. Once again we have two stack takers. One is here and one is right here. If you can give them your name, it would be greatly appreciated.

62.1.1.1.  Clarifying Questions

F: I have Dave on stack.

62.1.1.1.1.  CQ: I’m Dave. I went to Sanitation today and unfortunately almost all of our stuff is destroyed.

Response: I would like to include in our proposal the empowerment of Legal working group to get replacements for the damaged stuff. That was my initial proposal. I wanted to make it really simple so I didn’t add that.

62.1.1.1.2.  CQ: There was a lot of personal property destroyed, so I’m not sure if we can get that replaced.

Response: There are two separate questions. One is about collectively owned stuff. The other is about privately owned stuff. We want to help you find lawyers to help with the privately owned stuff. This is about the collectively owned stuff.

F: So we’d like to invite everyone at this time to come on in, have a seat and get comfortable. I’d like to explain the process we’re going through and what we’re trying to reach. We go through the consensus process on this proposal right now to reach a meaningful consensus where everyone has a say and everyone has a chance to be heard. Right now, we’re on CQs on this proposal. After, we’re going to going to concerns, followed by FAs. Then, we’ll move towards taking a temp check on this proposal. We’d like to ask everyone to sit down to make it easier for everyone to hear. Before the next stack is taken, I want to identify hand signals for people who are here for the first time. [Review of hand signals]

Announcement (Lady): I have an announcement to make right now. There’s food waiting for us at the gates. We need someone to pick this food up right now. Please go pick the food up so hungry people are able to eat. If you wish to help out and bring in the food for all of us, please raise your hand and come to the front and we’ll facilitate that.

F: Back to the topic at hand. We were discussing CQs on the proposal from Legal WG. Next on stack is Nico.

62.1.1.1.3.  CQ: I want to say that I’ve seen all the tents. … sanitation building. I recommend we go over there and pick up all the tents.

F (Lady): It is hard to understand Nico because he’s from Italy or a country other than our own. So I will help him a little. Nico is concerned about the sanitation building on 57th street and 12th avenue. And all the tents are still there. But Legal WORKING GROUP wants to propose to return these items back that are owned by us. This is the proposal on the table. I’d like to move forward with stack for CQS on the proposal from Legal working group.

62.1.1.1.4.  CQ: I’m Anna from NZ. Thank you NY. Besides getting our tents back, what other powers will an unincorporated association be able to exercise?

Response: Thank you for your question. Our goal is to first identify then claim legal title of those items seized from the park the last two days and try to get replacement if and only if they’re owned by the unincorporated association. We’re not asking for other powers but we need this to tell the city to get the stuff back for everyone.

F: We have four people on stack. And we’re going to start closing stack.

62.1.1.1.5.  CQ: I slept over Tuesday night ….I Wonder what happens to People’s Library…I think it’s important for us to have books.

Response: I agree.

F: Next on stack is Dan.

62.1.1.1.6.  CQ: Hi. Honestly the answer to this question doesn’t really matter to me but it might matter to someone else. If this legal undertaking and I ask because it was approved by the legal branch of Boston….

Response: The proposal is for the Legal WG of OWS. Period.

62.1.1.1.7.  CQ: I just want to ask if there is going to be a form of transparency around the actions of Legal WG.

Response: That’s a great question. I can personally say I am totally committed to transparency. I cannot speak for Legal WG but I commit to reporting back twice a week to the GA or the SC about actions taken and will try to develop a system for report backs.

62.1.1.1.8.  CQ: Pardon me, I lost my voice. Please define collective property vs. personal property.

Response: That’s a great question. It’s a hard question. So, collective property is property owned by the unincorporated association of OWS and not owned by an individual. I hope that answers your question but it’s a longer paragraph than that.

62.1.1.1.9.  CQ: How do people prove ownership of personal property?

Response: I’m glad you asked. We have here Lisa. Lisa has forms for those of you who have personal property seized by the city. Lisa will give you a form and show what you need to fill out to prove it. But, after you’ve done that, stay in touch with Legal WG because we think there are some problems in the process. That’s separate from this collectively own property question.

F: Hi everyone, it looks like more people are coming. I’m wondering if we could get some people to sit down and move forward so that we can all hear each other. Thank you.

62.1.1.1.10.  CQ: Hi, my name is Morgan. I have a legal question.

F: We’d like to ask everyone starting after now for two waves.

62.1.1.1.10. (continued) CQ: My name is still Morgan. Collectively owned stuff. What does OWS need to do to be a group that can collectively own belongings? Or are we already a legal entity that owns property?

F: Before we let Legal answer, I’d like to remind everyone that one wave that’s loud is better than two waves that are kinda quiet.

Response: Morgan, you are a woman after my own heart. This is the question I started with. I can share a long memo with you. But basically an entity that has a decision making structure and finances and operations probably exists and owns stuff.

62.1.1.1.11.  CQ: Hi. I’m wondering if we did get the stuff back, what we would do with it. Is Legal WG working on a solution to our problems with our first amendment rights that were violated?

Response: The answer is yes.

F: That ends stack for CQ. Before we move forward in this process, I would like to get a sense from you all of how you’re feeling about the proposal. It sounds like the proposal is that Legal WG wants to go get our stuff. I want to get a sense from all of you if there are concerns about this. If there are please raise your hand high.

62.1.1.2.  Concerns

62.1.1.2.1.  C: I would like to ask what concrete steps are being taken to find a place for the stuff.

Response: I can’t answer that question. I understand that there are some storage spaces available. I want – we want to be able to start demanding the stuff from the city at the same time as figuring out the place.

F: We think that we didn’t have a good sense of how many people were actually here. Sorry about that. Can we go back to one wave? Is that ok with everyone? [positive]

F: I’d like to get a feel if anyone has a friendly amendment (FA) on this proposal and we can move toward taking a temperature check on this proposal. If you have an FA raise your hand high now please.

62.1.1.3.  Friendly Amendments

62.1.1.3.1.  FA: Can Legal WG also work to identify the storage spaces available to us so that if the property comes into our possession we’ll have some idea of what to do with it?

Response: I accept that as an FA. I accept the transparency request as an FA and I accept my own FA of getting replacements as an FA.

F: We didn’t open stack on FAs. We’d like to move toward a temperature check on this proposal. We’re going to ask the proposer to restate the proposal with any accepted FAs.

62.1.1.4.  Proposal: Does this GA empower the Legal WG to use legal means to get collectively owned stuff back from the city, try to get replacements for damaged stuff, try to identify places for successfully retrieved stuff, and be transparent about its activities in so doing?

F: Any blocks?

62.1.1.5.  Consensus!

F: Next on the agenda, an update on housing.

62.1.2.  Housing Update

62.1.2.1.  I’d like to make it understood that I am not from housing but that housing…information that is necessary for those of you who need it. I’ll read this and then distribute. By the way, my name is Melanie. “Attention Occupiers. Many of your belongings were taken by the NYPC raid of Zuccotti Park on Monday. Please read this. On or before 4pm this Friday, Novemeber 18, you must go to the NYC Dept of Sanitation. That would be Friday Nov 18, between 8a and 4p. The location is Manhattan District 7 Garage, West 56th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues in Manhattan. Can someone please take this and distribute it? Second, I have an announcement that really is from Housing but I can barely see it. Okay. OWS! Current housing info. Access to these spaces is all thanks to the kindness of the church. Please show great respect for the people and the space when you are there. Your options:

62.1.2.1.1.  Option 1: St. Paul and Andrews Church. 263 W. 86th Street between West End Avenue and Broadway. Doors close at 12:30a.

62.1.2.1.2.  Option 2: Judson Memorial Church. 239 Thompson Street near Washington Square Park. You must arrive between 11p and 12a.

62.1.2.1.3.  Option 3. Riverside Church. 91 Clairmont Ave, near West 120th. Open at 9p. Doesn’t say when they close.

62.1.2.1.4.  Option 4. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. 521 West 125th between Broadway and Amsterdam. The housing situation is updated on www.nycga.net . The email is ows.housing@gmail.com. Can you please pass this around? And I’d like to add some info that I believe is true but I’m not 100% certain and that is the churches and houses of worship do not allow any alcohol or drugs. Please make sure you keep items such as that out of the church spaces. Thank you.

F: Do we need two mics? [mixed response.] That doesn’t look like consensus so let’s just try to get loud.

F (Lady): Can I get consensus on having two mics? People in the back? Can you hear? So we will start to facilitate two. Is there any report backs from housing jail support legal comfort kitchen or medical? I think – I can’t think in this situation. Because I’m facilitating I shouldn’t have an opinion. But I’m sure that there are updates from things that happened today from WGs. Please find your way to the front in order to report back updates that happened today.

 

62.2.  Working Group Report Backs

F: First we’re gonna have an announcement from Medical.

62.2.1.  Medical: If there is anybody that needs medical attention for anything whatsoever you can find the remaining medics in the center of the park. Be wary of people with blue lips or uncontrollable shaking for these are the signs of early hypothermia. Try to stay hydrated as possible. And try if you are unable to do any of these I highly recommend that you seek shelter and remove your clothes and get warm ASAP. Like I said medics will be in the center of the park. Stay strong for we are the 99%.

F: Next on stack for WG announcements is Alex from Jail support.

62.2.2.  Jail Support: About 200 people have been arrested today. There’s a large jail support team and they request that no other people go there physically. They have enough food donations for people recently released and the support staff. I personally think none of our friends will get out tonight. That’s it.

Interrupting Announcement: Mic check! There’s an issue with this GA. Namely, the people who were occupying this park have big bags with them. They’re not allowed in this park. Therefore, this is exclusionary to a degree. And everyone should note that. And pass the messages that you heard to those people if you bump into them in the street.

Interrupting Announcement: Mic check! I have a concern with the blockades that surround this park that prevent people from coming in. Can we refer that matter to legal?

F: To answer your question, there are members of Legal WG who are here and you can speak to them. We feel that right now since we’re finished with report backs and we’re still waiting for our brothers and sisters who are on the Brooklyn Bridge tonight now might be a good time to break out into discussion groups so you can talk amongst each other. We’re inviting you to get into small groups to check in with one another. It’s been a huge day. We’ve all experienced a lot. Share that with each other. We also have a lot to think about about what comes next. Share those ideas with each other. We’re going to break for about fifteen minutes for discussion – does that sound alright with you?

[positive]

F: Would you like more time? Fifteen minutes sounds good. Talk with those around you. And let’s meet back in fifteen minutes.

Interrupting announcement: Mic check! The next GA cannot be held here. This is not valid because the occupiers have big bags and cannot be in the park!

F (Lady): What was just said was someone’s opinion on why this is not considered valid. If I can have a consensus for those of you who think this is valid, please put your hands up. [positive] That looks like this is a valid GA. That means the people who are not allowed in this park are being held even against the new rules set forth by Mayor Bloomberg.

PoP: Can I go on? The consensus that you just took didn’t give an opportunity who don’t feel that this is valid to put up their hands.

F: May I suggest we continue into the breakout groups? Maybe we can talk about this. And then come back together and check in. I’m sorry for the confusion tonight. Once again, it’s been a huuuuuge day. Now break out.

62.2.3.  [Fifteen minutes of break out groups]

F: We’d like you all to come back now.

F (Lady): Mic Check. Please have a seat if you’re in the front.

F: Thank you! Mic check! We hope you guys had a great conversation. We have a real quick emergency announcement about housing.

62.2.3.1.  Hi, I’m Charlie! Last night there were too many people at Judson Church. I have a bus that runs onVeggie Oil and I’m going to do a shuttle from Judson Church at 11p to the other shelters. There’s also a hotline being set up right now for housing but I don’t have the number yet.

[Marchers from Brooklyn Bridge show up. Lots of cheering.]

62.2.3.1. (continued) Charlie: Mic Check! The stuff in sanitation needs to be picked up by 4p tomorrow. If you don’t have an ID you can still go and tell them that it’s inside. Any losses must be filed to the comptroller within a certain number of days. Thank you.

PoI: F: The people who are returning now are coming from the Brooklyn Bridge. They marched on the Brooklyn Bridge and occupied it! Welcome back!! I’d like to acknowledge something that was said earlier. Our friend Abe brought up the point that many people have large bags of belongings and aren’t being allowed into this park. This park is their home too. And we want them here. The NYPD does not have the right to keep them from coming home. So we must all stand with them until all the occupiers can come back. Now, we’re going to close the GA and end with announcements. But first we’d like to acknowledge that today is the birthday of OWS!!!! [Cheers and sparkles] So let’s sing Happy Birthday.

F (Lady): [leads everyone in singing “Happy Birthday”]

F: GA Is closed. We’re going to leave you with the people’s soapbox. Anyone can get up and make an announcement.

GA closed. Soapbox begins.

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