Dallas Hopes to Head Off Future Occupy Protests by Tightening Anti-Camping Rules

Categories: City Hall

OccupyDallasBehindDallasCityHall.JPG
Occupy Dallas, the local champion of the 99 percent, persists in vestigial form as small band of activists who stage occasional temporary demonstrations. The semi-permanent-City Hall-squatter's-camp version of the movement died in November 2011 when it was raided by police as part of a nationwide crackdown on Occupy.

Since then, the city of Dallas has apparently been mulling ways to head off any repeats of 2011, when an Occupy encampment sprung up at City Hall. They've finally arrived at a solution, arrived at after 16 months of careful study: a more restrictive anti-camping ordinance.

The council's Public Safety Committee will meet Wednesday to discuss the measure, which would expand the current ban on overnight camping in parks to include City Hall, the library, the convention center, and other city-owned land. The new rules also wouldn't be limited only to overnight stays but would bar tents or any other "temporary shelter" from being set up at any time.

In a presentation (below) set to be delivered Monday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown argues such measures are needed to combat unsanitary conditions, fire hazards, property damage and crime that crop up during semi-permanent gatherings. The presentation does not specifically name Occupy Dallas but cites "confusion" that arose from certain "Spontaneous Encampments." The accompanying photos show the Occupy encampment that took root behind City Hall.

We reached out to one of the local Occupy leaders, who describes himself as "the East Coast union agitator, flown in specifically to incite the docile Dallas activist public," but may or may not actually be the significant other of a certain Observer staffer. He is not impressed.

"A little late there, guys," he wrote over Gchat, then proceeded to explain the movement's philosophical quibble with the city's attempt to legislate away inconvenient protests. "There is no law that the city of Dallas, or the U.S. government may pass that will eliminate the right of the people to protest its grievance against the government. The ordinance is not only irrelevant, but illegal as it seeks to tear down the right to peaceful assembly."

And, while the East Coast union agitator and his colleagues have limited themselves to less permanent means of protest since the 2011 crackdown, they don't intend to let any piddling municipal ordinance stand in the way of future demonstrations.

"There will be ongoing protests in Dallas and elsewhere," he said. "I cannot say if there will be another attempt at an encampment, and even if there were I would not divulge that information publicly."

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52 comments
mcdallas
mcdallas topcommenter

Will the city do anything about campers in 1st person shooter games?  It's getting crazy in Call of Duty land...


garlandsucks
garlandsucks

When the US has the largest percentage of prison population in the world, how could this country not be a police state?

garlandsucks
garlandsucks

It took somebody 6 months to come up with this ordinance, including about 60 hours charged by a City of Dallas attorney.

commiebiker
commiebiker

Dallas is a lousy place to camp.  They should move up to Ray Roberts.  There are places to hike and fish, lots of trees, and some camp grounds have showers!

Chårlie Kuhlmån
Chårlie Kuhlmån

Is there seriously an Occupy Dallas? Wow. This occupy movement was such a joke. And I'm probably the most liberal person you will ever talk to

peaceseeker
peaceseeker

Instead of people, the good ole City of Dallas prefers toxic gas exploration & processors on it's parks and public lands.  That is exactly why the city is known more for an old soap opera rather than a first class city. 


ODprotestor
ODprotestor

I know you guys are going to delete this because the Observer isn't concerned with freedom of expression or thought but more about their reputation.  This east coast union agitator doesn't speak for Occupy Dallas.  I have talked with many past and present members and we all are in agreement that this self appointed spokesperson was the catalyst for the raid on our camp.  There is strong suspicions by everyone at OD that he is a police plant as he has disrupted and ripped apart other local protest movements.  He did nothing but agitate and caused trouble within our movement and then stole our entire library, books and equipment, when we were raided.  So, please don't let the one person who destroyed Occupy Dallas be our "spokesperson" because he's having relations with some lackey there at your paper.

Rumpunch1
Rumpunch1

After reading the highlights, it appears that if I go to a park with my family and I set up my small canopy to sheild my family from the sun, I am in violation of the proposed ordinance.  I does require that I will be given a verbal warning to remove it along with all personal property within 1 hour or face seizure of property. 

So instead of addressing the issues at hand the City would rather be fair and punish everyone.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

As much as I disagree with the 'agitator' and see very little worthwhile about him, his politics or his methods, I'd have to say I agree with him on this one.  And it was another Occupy member who turned my thinking on it.  Any conservative 2nd amendment supporter should line up right with Occupy on this issue, as Occupy should line up to defend the 2nd amendment.  Every little restriction on our enumerated, individual rights as citizens is another link in the chains binding us into slavery to the political class.  Every little ban is one more step down the road to subjection and away from citizenship.  But our political class is clever, having set itself up as having two sides; a liberal and a conservative one.  We citizens eagerly line up behind one or the other, thus ensuring the division that will lead to the fall.

By the way, there must be SOMETHING worthwhile about the agitator, if a particular staffer has chosen significant otherhood with said agitator (even though we're not sure what that could possibly be).

Americano
Americano

I doubt the occupy movement represents the other 99%.  More like the other 1% of whackos.  Once again, misinformation for the uninformed.

sbenavides888
sbenavides888

The City of Dallas should expect resistance to any attempt to legislate away the right to peaceably assemble, or to participate in a political protest on public property.  This is in fact one step towards militarization of our society through the criminalization of political protest and dissent.  

Sid-Icarus
Sid-Icarus

@ODprotestor  Nice conspiracy theory you have there. How about some proof to go along with it. 
At any rate, as someone that watched OD implode from the sidelines. The impetus for the police raiding the park was the media coverage of rapes and drug use in the camp. And the reasons for OD, (and the Occupy movement at large) utterly failing and falling apart had more to do with inept leadership and direction. Trying to pin it on a single person, that you "laughably" claim was a plant, is a perfect example of this. 

sbenavides888
sbenavides888

@ODprotestor   The catalyst for the raid was that the US government decided that the movement was beginning to legitimize itself, and increase it's influence nationally.  IN response Department of Homeland Security, along with municipal police departments in Dallas, and 10-15 other cities, organized a military style raid of these "spontaneous encampments".    All of these raids occurred within 5-7 days of each other.  They used identical tactics to accomplish these raids, as well as similar media messaging to convince the public that this was in their best interest.  Democracy died in the US that day, if it ever existed.  

The library was never stolen, it was moved to a safe place so it would not be destroyed during the raid.  As you can see, all material was destroyed that remained, and in some form or another, all the books that comprised the library, still exist.  

I would like to end that you are a complete idiot if you think that one person destroyed Occupy Dallas.  It was a collective effort, and you, whoever you are, apparently have some responsibility as well.  

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@bealotcoolerifyoudid no, there's no money in that.  The contractors love those big military bases, that's a cash cow.  Funny comment though

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@RTGolden1 I like to go with what has been ascribed to Benjamin Franklin:

"The rights of the individual end where the rights of the neighbor begin."


As a result, I can own a gun, but I cannot go to a downtown park to shoot it off or for target practice.

There is a city ordinance against the discharge of firearms within the city limits.  This is because of the high risk of accidental injury to other people.


Similarly, there are also reasonable restrictions on protests in order to prevent disruption to other citizens.


Can the city ban camping in city parks, yes they certainly can.  Can they ban political protests in city parks, no they cannot.  Can reasonable limits be placed on political protests in city parks, yes they may.

The question is: "What is 'reasonable limits'?"

CraigT42
CraigT42

@RTGolden1 so are you saying I should be able to pop off a few rounds in downtown parks? No one is curtailing a right to protest or petition for grievances, what they are curtailing is living n city property rent free and expecting city services to clean up behind you while you bang on drums, block traffic, harm small businesses and fail to put out a coherent message.

Don't get me wrong, some of the messages that a few of the more coherent protestors were really good ideas and very legitimate grievances, but the methodology was juvenile, ineffective, and served only to alienate the working public.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@Americano sadly, there's no one in Occupy who can or did articulate what they were for.  I'd suggest they argue for higher top marginal rates and higher cap gains.  But, there's no one in the movement who can make that case.  The Dems don't have anyone either.  It's all bad farce.  If there's an organizer in our midst he can't make a better case against the low tax idiocy than I have.  You'd think the Dems and libs would embrace my argument, I guess the movers and shakers are too compromised and self serving to do so.  Even though none here has been able to refute it.  Shuts up Holman, Rooster, Phelps, but no democrat makes the case. 

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@sbenavides888  

You, sir, seem to be highly displeased with the current political and economic system as many of us also are highly displeased.  Yet your actions tend to indicate that you wish to replace the current political and economic system with anarchy.  How, sir, does anarchy improve anyone's conditions; or, is your sole purpose to be only a destroyer and beserker to satisfy some craving of yours that you have not articulated to the rest of us?  Do you have any proposals for what you consider to be the rectification of the ills of the current system?

CraigT42
CraigT42

@sbenavides888

hy·per·bo·le [hahy-pur-buh-lee] Show IPA

noun Rhetoric .

1.

obvious and intentional exaggeration.

2.

an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity.”

ODprotestor
ODprotestor

@sbenavides888 @ODprotestor No, it wasn't one person but as an agent provacateur you did nothing but cause chaos and dissent while you worked with the police.  And you all worked out a way to give the police a reason to raid us.  They didn't need a reason, really, because it was going to happen regardless but you guys made sure to have one so it wouldn't look as bad for the police.  So, you attacked Glynn.  Go crawl back under your bridge, troll.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul @RTGolden1 Here, I once would have agreed with you.  I viewed the Occupy movement as an amusing annoyance while it was happening.  I was supportive of the 'proper time, place and manner' voice of the opposition.  The question at the end of your post is the telling one indeed.  Who establishes the proper time place and manner?  Who establishes how many rounds a legally owned firearm should be able to hold?  Who determines what fair compensation should be when the gov't takes your property for public use?

The government is basically tasked with three things: Transportation, National Defense, and Mail Delivery.  It overdoes one, never finishes one, and completely fucks up the third.  I don't think we need them determining such vague concepts as reasonable limits, proper time, place, manner, or fair compensation.  Every time the government decides one of these things, the sovereignty of the citizen is eroded that much more.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@CraigT42 No, I didn't say, imply, infer or even tease the edges of saying we should be able to 'pop off' rounds in downtown parks.  I don't know where you got that, perhaps you're a DISD graduate?

I'm making an argument about the sovereignty of the Citizen, as was the intent (though limited by narrow minded thinking of the day) of the framers of the constitution.  The government was supposed to answer to the people, not the other way around.

anon
anon

@CraigT42 I agree that the occupations may have outlived their usefulness, especially under the armed guard of a heavy police state, which worked to enflame and encourage the less constructive elements of the OWS protests. However, in the context of rampant bank fraud, government driven inequality, massive unemployment, and the growth of the military-industrial complex to massive proportions unseen in human history, I reflect on the occupation as a necessary act of a desperate people working to curtail the rise of an increasingly bizarre financial sector backed by an equally abhorent government that no longer works in the interests of public purpose or to uphold the rule of law. On the scale of things, the inconviences of OWS seems relatively minor compared to the cost of the rule of American establishment leaders.

anon
anon

@j.walter.miller @sbenavides888 @ODprotestor In case you didn't know, the anarchist element doesn't want government cheese or government, period. And if you are worried about government welfare queens, look no further than Wall Street and the American 1%, the most entitled, "government cheese" seeking class in the history of mankind.  

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@scottindallas @observist @RTGolden1 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul To clarify, I'm not saying the post office is a failure because it's not profitable. It is a function of the government, so profit is not part of the equation.  I'm saying that the USPO, as a whole (not on a case by case basis), sucks.  It is inefficient, bloated with administration, and has that bureaucratic affliction that views the customers as an inconvenience rather than the entire purpose for it existing at all.  Some of that ambivalence towards 'us' by 'them' is certainly well deserved.  Most is not.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@observist @RTGolden1 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul overdoes defense.  How is the mail overdone?  Does Saturday delivery really rankle anyone?  Transport is inherently an unfinished job and the mail is a utility.  BTW, the post office isn't as screwed up as reported, if all firms pre-paid fully their retirement commitments, there wouldn't be a profitable firm in the country.  Most firms pay retirement according to actuarial tables, not fully funded 100% in advance. 

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul RT, you've gone off the reservation.  As to compensation for eminent domain, that is a pretty good process.  The goal is fair market value.  The taking authority may well offer something on the lower end of "fair market" where the homeowner no doubt is on the higher end of the spectrum.  This can be adjudicated in court, with expert appraisers, who must present evidence to bolster their case.  

Your description of "gov't" is too limited.  I'd suggest the preamble to the Constitution.  Provide for the public defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity..." 

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@observist @RTGolden1 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul Actually, I think they are interchangeable depending on the day applied.  Currently I put them as Trans - overdone, still wanting to do more, no room for it.  Defense - never finishes (vietnam, korea, gulf I and II, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan all abandoned when it became politically necessary to do so), Mail - been completely fucked up all my life.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul  

The reasonable limits is what has been a subject of discussion and debate for about 220 years now.

You list many good points.

It is judiciary that decides what is reasonable.  The legislators may decide to pass a law, but the court will decide whether or not it is reasonable and within the bounds of the Constitution.


I am like Ben Franklin, we have the worst possible government that there could be, except for all of the others.

A Supreme Court Justice once told the newest appointee not to worry about whether his decisions were right or not, he told him: "We are right because we are last, not last because we are right."

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@CraigT42 I would say the disconnect comes with America's need to have everything be explicitly laid out for them.  How about using some common sense.

If you lifted every single restriction on firearms ownership, most owners would still not purchase fully automatic weapons. still would not run out and commit crimes with their guns, and still would not carry, fire or display firearms in an irresponsible manner.  The reason for it would be common sense and personal responsibility.

I would assume most Americans would likewise exercise their First amendment rights in a sensible, responsible manner.

I'm not advocating that we immediately lift all restrictions on either amendment.  Due to the behavior of a small minority of people, irresponsibly exercising their rights with no concern for the rights of others, these restrictions are somewhat necessary.  However, I do not think we need to impose more restrictions on the rights of the people.

"A man who is willing to give up a little freedom to gain a little security deserves neither."  Ben Franklin.

CraigT42
CraigT42

@RTGolden1 @CraigT42

You compared the first amendment rights of the occupy group to 2nd amendment rights. Well the only curtailing of occupies rights was there ability to form a (semi)permanent encampment on public property. Just as my 2nd amendment rights are justifiably limited in when and where I can fire, display, or even carry a gun. So if you want the occupy morons to have all limitations removed from their assembly rights, and you want to compare the two amendments as absolutes then logically I could carry, fire and display any gun I wanted to wherever I wanted to. The comparison was obvious and if you missed it the problem wasn't my education but your deliberate ignorance.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@RTGolden1 @CraigT42 are you sure?  I'm quite sure you were advocating hunting in the Klyde Warren Park.  You're off the hook man. 

anon
anon

@j.walter.miller @anon @CraigT42 Not sure if you know how to count. Defense spending dramatically increased after 9/11 and the Iraq war, and even with recent cuts it still at imperial levels dwarfing the level of spending by the next handful of countries combined. This is supposed to be "a Republic, not an Empire," to quote Pat Buchanan, an old-guard Republican. 

j.walter.miller
j.walter.miller

@anon @CraigT42 You realize the defense budget has shrunk over the last decade, right?  Don't let the facts get in the way of your argument.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@sbenavides888 @RTGolden1 @anon I didn't form my opinion from watching the video.  I was pretty much directly across the street.  It was a performance much better delivered in video, where the audience can be easier led.  Live, it was much like any live performance, interesting, engaging, and, once over, of little importance.  It was a good stop on the way home from work that day.

I don't have anything to amend. The issue was between you and the other man involved.  At the time, I simply noted that it illuminated much about your character, and much about you that is in conflict with the ideals you profess to hold.

CraigT42
CraigT42

@anon @RTGolden1

Your comparison of the 2 private properties is juvinile it comes from a 2 wrongs make a right sandbox argument. He was in violation of the law, a law enforcement representative told him to move and he failed to comply with a lawful order. He was waving a large wooden pole around and has a history of violent confrontations. Whatever happened to him at that point was his own fault.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@CraigT42 we have the highest incarceration rate in the world.  We incarcerate at 5 times the global average.  When do we stop pointing to China as a state that locks up it's people?  The figures show that is us.  What's more entitled than the bankers who expect to be bailed out, while retaining their jobs and golden parachutes?  You've lost all context and measure.  The poor aren't the entitled, it's the military contractors, it's the corps who privatize the gains and socialize the liabilities.  And you're worried about a cop having to patrol a city park for a temporary protest?  Again, you've lost all context and measure.

scottindallas
scottindallas topcommenter

@CraigT42 we have the highest incarceration rate in the world.  We incarcerate at 5 times the global average.  When do we stop pointing to China as a state that locks up it's people?  The figures show that is us.  

What's more entitled than the bankers who expect to be bailed out, while retaining their jobs and golden parachutes?  You've lost all context and measure.  The poor aren't the entitled, it's the military contractors, it's the corps who privatize the gains and socialize the liabilities.  And you're worried about a cop having to patrol a city park for a temporary protest?  Again, you've lost all context and measure.

sbenavides888
sbenavides888

@RTGolden1 @anon No one begs for a lifelong injury, or pariah status due to unwarranted police violence. Maybe you should go and watch the videos again for clarification.  As for the assault on the other occupy leader, that was an issue between us, and for your information we are actually on good terms now.  Simply because two people had an issue during a period of high stress, does not mean they cannot amend the wrong and move forward.  Both of us have, why cant you?  

anon
anon

@RTGolden1 @anon If you really think the legal system doesn't "distinguish between the social, political, or economic standing of the owners of private property," I have got some liar's loan backed MBS stamped AAA by the credit rating agencies to sell you.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@anon @RTGolden1 I, like the law, don't distinguish between the social, political or economic standing of the owners of private property.  Neither should you, if you really hold sacred those individual freedoms Occupy was touting so loudly.

anon
anon

@RTGolden1@anonHe was shoved off a 4ft ledge. Plain and simple. He suffered ligament damage to his legs, and like anybody with a sense of self, he tried to defend himself once on the ground, as the polce applied even more force. Apparently, you're more concerned with the private property of banks than with the private property of citizens who had their homes wrongfully seized by Bank of America over clerical errors stemming from MERS and other unlawful foreclosure practices. I don't particularly like said individual. I don't like his politics. I don't like his methods. And I want nothing to do with him. But facts are facts.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@anon He was nowhere near 'brutally assaulted', and he practically begged for it to happen.  Protest is fine, outrage should be voiced, but when you are told, not once, but several times to remove your person from private property, it is generally a good idea to do so.  He didn't, then he tried to resist when they were going to remove him.  His aim was to escalate a protest into a confrontation and he accomplished that aim.  None of this, nor the tragedy in his family, excuse the assault on the other Occupy leader; that was pure and simple assholery on his part.

anon
anon

@CraigT42 Look, I'm not an ideological extremist. I oppose totalitarianism in all its forms, whether from the left or right. The individual that I posted about intially was, in fact, brutally assaulted by police outside a Bank of America protest, and I have little doubt that that, alongside the murder of his family member a month before, contributed to his fragile mental state, leading to his violent assault on another individual of our group. Violence begats violence. Yes, I virulently disagreed with many of the tactics and messaging of some of the members of the original group, but they were hardly the same threat to the social order that's currently posed by the entitled, chaotic, free for all atmosphere on Wall Street. In any event, those members have long sense quit participating in Occupy Dallas activities, due to their radical revolutionary ideological dispositions. "Smashy-smashy" runs contrary to OWS values, and the current incantation of Occupy Dallas has done everything it can to reestablish itself at a distance from those hell-bent on hijacking the 99%% movement to pursue their narrow, chaotic, and unworkable agendas. 


CraigT42
CraigT42

@anon @CraigT42

"Armed guard of a heavy police state". Right there is where you lose people. For one thing it is obvious hyperbole, East Berlin was a police state, and heavy police sounds like you are talking about fat cops.

Also it is laughable to suggest that the less constructive members were encouraged and enflamed by the police. They were encouraged by the entitled, free for all atmosphere and the lack of any cohesive or coherent structure. When you promote chaos you get anarchy. Blaming order for entropy is silly. As far an anyone being inflamed that was a 2 way street at best.

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