GA Notes 10-24-11

Facilitator:  Denny

Stacker and Timekeeper:  Joe

Scribe:  Louise

Jim made a list of committees/members which he handed out at the meeting and which is also available on both FB and the Occupy website.

Denny went over the hand-signals.  We have been misusing the “point” signal.  It is actually for raising points of order (as when we get off track).  So we now have the new signal of raising our hands when we want to address an issue. 

We are implementing the proposal for structuring the meetings mor strictly approved at the last meeting.  Time limits were set – 5 minutes per announcement, 10 per committee report and varying times for the items on the stack, which were already on the agenda although one was added at the start of the meeting.  [At the end of the meeting it was noted by several that this meeting did progress in a more smooth and organized fashion and we got through the stacked agenda with 17 minutes to spare)

Instead of changing facilitators nightly, we will try doing so weekly, determining who the new facilitator for the week will be at the Sunday meeting for the week starting on Monday.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Denny has the DVD of “Inside Job” and will loan it to whoever wants to watch it.  It is about the causes of the financial collapse.

Denny announced the success of the Zombie Walk – they have enough for 2,077 meals – surpassing their 1,500 meal goal.

TEAM REPORTS

De-escalation Team – the De-escalation team will meet 15 minutes before the start of the Thursday protest at 4:00.

IT Team – They are working on small glitches on the website and they are also working to make changes that will make it an easier site to navigate for those who have found it confusing.

STACK

Thursday Protest – Bankers Row

- It will be in the 1100 block of Military Cutoff.  The permit covers the 900 to the 1300 block.  Time is from 4-7.  In that area are B of A, BB&T, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

- Do we know why we are protesting?  Delthea summarized – Merrill Lynch is an arm of Bank of America.  It owns 75 trillion  in derivatives and the attempt is being made to transfer those to the Bank where the government/taxpayers will insure them under the FDIC. 

- There are presently 4 people on the de-escalation team for the event, which should be enough. 

- Although the permit doesn’t restrict us to one side of the street, only one side has a sidewalk and would be easier to use.

- There was concern that the FaceBook invitation wasn’t clear enough on who was being protested – tweaking was suggested.

- The protest can be a marching protest or can sequentially move from one financial institution to another.  This will depend on numbers – invite anyone you can think of.

- For signs – there will be a sign-making workshop Tuesday night at the Community Action Center at 4th and Castle at 8:30.  If anyone needs to use the internet when there, contact Jim for the pass code.

-Roberta has written up some possible sign content for anyone who would like ideas.

Volunteer Project – Sunset Park Elementary School

 - It will be from 2-4 at Sunset Park Elementary School, which is near the Ampitheatre, behind Eldrhouse.  The school has been given a greenhouse kit, with instructions.  Volunteers will assemble it for the school.  The children will not be present in the area where this is taking place.

 - Denny will put together a tool package for the project but others are encouraged to bring basic tools of their own (hammers, screwdrivers, glue guns, etc.).  Use of safety goggles is encouraged, and steel-toed boots for those who might be doing digging.  Hard hats will not be necessary.

 - The question was raised as to whether a permit will be needed but it was felt that (a) the school had probably taken care of anything along this line, and (b) this was not the sort of structure for which a permit was necessary.

Financial Issues

 - It was reported that Molly works with two entities that might let us use them as an umbrella for our group’s funds.  Prospects with one of them, SEAC, are looking good.  They may let us “parasite” on their account.  Report from Molly is pending.

Lawyer

 - Kate has contacted attorney Deborah Butler who is willing to work with us as long as her dealings are restricted to a single contact person.  She is concerned about her lack of experience in the area of law involved but seemed sympathetic to the group and was willing to learn along side of us.  She has agreed to meet with three of us on Thursday.  Jim, Denny and Kate will be meeting with her.

Committee Consolidation

 - The role of working groups in making some decisions and advancement on their own, returning only to the GA when universal consensus or funds were needed, was discussed.  Also that certain communities overlapped and might be combined – specifically IT/Media/Social Networking and Encampment/Logistics. 

 - There were concerns raised as to whether this would actually improve anything, whether it might not make things worse, whether groups with clear boundaries should be merged, whether we could even vote on the matter with so few members of the affected committees present.

 - In support of the proposal, the ability to share research was noted, also that because of low group member attendance broadening the group increased the chance that there would be representation, and that the measure was not permanent but was only for when we remained a small group.

 - After discussion, the proposal was tabled until tomorrow, so that people could consider it further, and the friendly amendment was made to obtain more input from FaceBook.

Saturday Protest – Suggestion

 - A nighttime protest was suggested – groups of ten or less would go downtown from 9-12 with signs and just talk to people.  No picketing permit would be required.

 - It was noted that flyers could be given out, that a de-escalation team member should be part of each group.  It was suggested that, since this was the Saturday before Halloween and a lot of people would be wasted by 9, the hours should be changed to about 5-9 to catch the more sober dinner crowd.

 - A counterproposal was made – that we might consider answering Raleigh’s call for demonstrators at the state capitol on the same day.

 - The matter was tabled for consideration and will return to the agenda tomorrow.

Encampment

 - Kate has suggested the green space on the right side of City Hall, close to the downtown banks and so public that occupying it would be a bold statement.

 - Group members noted that this spot had been considered originally.  There was concern about lack of toilets/water at night, about whether the space was large enough.  Matthew knows someone at Thalian who suggested that Thalian would not be in favor of it, or of portapotties brought to the site.  Concern was expressed about City Council control over the area but it was opined that any retroactive ordinance-making could be legally challenged.  It was noted that the park in front of the library could be used for spillover.  There was uncertainty about whether we can get a permit.  Not all groups have waited on permitting.  Some have moved from place to place.

 - It was decided that we should have our representatives discuss this with the lawyer on Thursday, and that Denny would go ahead with his meeting with the Parks and Rec/Downtown Services and obtain their opinion on use of the site.  Roberta will talk to Councilman Earl Sheridan, who is friendly to us, and get his opinion.  Anyone else who knows an attorney or someone connected with the City who might be knowledgeable about use policy is encouraged to contact them and report back.

 - Voting on the proposal for the City Hall site was tabled until Friday to obtain more information.

 - More people are needed on the Encampment Committee.

 - The site at 4th and Wooster won’t be available because our use of it would jeopardize an adjacent “illegal” community garden.

UNCW-ECO group event

 - This will be a UNCW function that will allow us to present our information on campus.  There will be workshops, panel discussion.  Volunteers who can speak in front of groups are needed to fill out the panel and to act as a faciliatator for the panel discussion.  The event will be on either November 15, 16 or 17.

END OF STACK

- But we had further informal discussion on moving over from Facebook to our own website, and on possible addition of some sort of blog-roll or forum to our site.  There was one opinion that we should give a date certain and just move, but concern for losing members who would only follow us on FaceBook was raised to counter that suggestion.  The possibility of trolling/targetting members on FaceBook and its value in general as a platform was called into question.  The details of using our own site for comments were discussed and an IT tutorial for those wanting to maximize use of our website was suggested, perhaps with projector and screen capture hand-outs, perhaps at the Juggling Gypsy.  Ted can get a projector for a time period after the General Assembly on Sunday.  More details are to be worked out before making a firm commitment on time and location of the tutorial. 

 - Concern for IT Team burnout was expressed, as was appreciation for their excellent work.

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'GA Notes 10-24-11'

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