Santa Ana City Council Denies Occupy Protesters Permission to Camp in City, Scoffs at Protesters

Categories: Occupy OC
Crystal.jpg
Brandon Ferguson
22-year-old Crystal Ngo Addresses Santa Ana City Council
Last night, the Santa Ana City Council denied Occupy permission to camp in the Civic Center, or anywhere in the city for that matter. Following a public comment session which saw more than 30 people deliver impassioned speeches about crippling student debt, a bleak job market and an unresponsive government, the council upheld a 1993 citywide ban on camping originally enacted to mitigate the blight caused by the area's massive homeless population.

Acting City Attorney Joe Straka explained the ban, which was upheld by the State Supreme Court, has to be applied equally. To allow exemptions for one group of people, such as Occupy, he said, would open the city to civil rights lawsuits from other groups.

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Brandon Ferguson
Councilmember David Benavides said, "As much as I wish I could join you and lift this ordinance, is it prudent for me to put the city in a position where it could be sued?" 

Other councilmembers weighed in on the issue with Sal Tinajero offering a condescending lecture on responsible demonstrations, which in his estimation involve calling the police ahead of time to discuss which protesters will be subjecting themselves to arrest and alerting the media for the resulting photo op.

He also told a pedantic anecdote about a student walk-out that happened back in his school days. When his classmates asked if he would join them, he asked, "Where are you going to walk out to?" 

But the most laughable response of the evening came from councilmember Michele Martinez who said, "This global movement is not just about your right to assembly; it's about your duty to vote." To which those in the audience loudly retorted, "our politicians are bought." 

The council said they would be open to discussing the issue of prolonged occupation at future meetings and offered to speak with attorney and Irvine Occupier Greg Diamond, who was on hand to lend support to the Santa Ana group. Diamond was involved in negotiations between Occupy Irvine and the city council there, which granted the group permission to camp on the civic center lawn. Acting City Attorney Straka referenced Irvine's recent decision saying "They did have some camping ordinances that allowed for some exemptions...but we have issues the city of Irvine does not have."

Their decision made, the council continued with the meeting, by then approaching its seventh hour. As people began to file out of the room, 18-year old Nicholas Dorsey, who had spoken earlier approached the microphone and began shouting, "We can't wait two weeks for you guys to make a decision. Just remember, we voted for you. We won't make that mistake again." Two police officers quickly moved in on him as the council hastily exited the chambers. Dorsey turned to one of the cops and said "You're the 99 percent too," to which the officer brusquely replied, "That's fine, have a good night," dismissing him with a wave of his hand. 

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Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco

Gustavo Arellano and his gang of free loaders must be desparate for attention and camping in Staba Ana!!

S.A. Artist
S.A. Artist

 Nope, no Gustavo to be found. We assume he is in Solidarity though.

Occupier
Occupier

Gotta love the Brea lawyer, speaking out on behalf f the 'occupiers", if this guy isn't the picture of a white suburban rich guy, I don't know what is.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Yeah... Im so sick of hearing how these are peaceful protests... Occupy Boston attacked a female Sailor from the Coastguard.  A guy at Occupy Dallas was arrested for sexual assault, and Occupy Oakland has turned into an all out riot.  Time to go home boys and girls.  Good Job... you got your protesting merit badge now the camping trip is over. SAN DIEGO (CBS) — A pair of Southland street cart vendors who were forced to shut down their businesses after “Occupy” protesters vandalized their carts are hoping to get some help from local residents. KNX 1070′s Tom Reopelle reports a fundraiser in the Gas Lamp district in San Diego on Monday night is aimed at helping two vendors get back on their feet The coffee and hot dog carts were located in Civic Center Plaza, the same location as the Occupy San Diego protesters.That group first settled in to the plaza Oct. 7 and set up a tent city which has since twice been taken down by police.Coffee cart owner Linda Jenson and hot dog cart operators Letty and Pete Soto said they initially provided free food and drink to demonstrators, but when they stopped, the protesters became violent And according to one city councilman, bodily fluids were used in the attacks.“Both carts have had items stolen, have had their covers vandalized with markings and graffiti, as well as one of the carts had urine and blood splattered on it,” said Councilman Carl DeMaio.The damages will likely require at least a complete cleaning if not a replacement of the cart covers, DeMaio said.In addition to the attacks, the vendors also said they recently received death threats

JTraveller44
JTraveller44

Inasmuch as at Oakland and in other cities it has been noted by the Media that there are anarchist elements (in Oakland a group known as the "Black Bloc" was responsible for all of the damages and vandalism of buildings and storefronts, with multiple Occupy groups actually trying to stop them) - it's not surprising that those same violent groups would use the Occupy "umbrella" for staging deliberately unruly or violent behaviors in an effort to discredit the movement. What is "really" interesting however, is the rise of them all at once--almost suggesting that the "black bloc"' have an "organization" directing them. Now who do you suppose would benefit most from having Occupy discredited and broken up?  How about the banking industry thety have targeted truthfully as the perpetrators of hate?

Guest
Guest

You are wrong, the violent elements are inclusive within the occupiers. They have made it very clear that there will be violence today.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

But should a few bad apples condemn the whole orchard? I have to wonder if some of the folks who were violent and unruly purposely acted that way to damage the credibility of the Occupy movement...it's happened before during other such demonstrations.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

A few has always wrecked it for the many !....Welcome to America !......

909Jeff
909Jeff

True, but can any city council take that risk at this point? 

Guest
Guest

Nah, the Occupy San Diego bunch are the biggest losers of all the occupy losers. Those brats aren't even potty-trained yet. 909Jeff forget to include the fact that these protesters followed the vendors to their home. No faith in these idiots to accomplish anything at all. Their childish behavior has turned the City Council against them. 

909Jeff
909Jeff

No worries, And I hear what your saying and quite possibly (and hopefully) the Santa Ana Occupy movement will remain peaceful.  I'm just saying with the number of these starting to get out of hand I think they fell back on that law in order to prevent any potential issues.  I'm certain, if they wanted to, they could have done the same thing as the Irvine council and allowed them to stay.

We all make typos especially when casually posting on a message board. so I pass no judgement there!

 As to the first amendment case you are pretty much right on the money.  We are all guaranteed free speech under the law meaning we are only free from prosecution for what we say.  There is no guarantee under the first amendment as to when or where you may chose your forum  and as a matter of fact the supreme court has upheld that while the right to free speech is an inherent, there is no right to be heard.  Meaning your government is not required to listen to you.   And yes teachers and professors fall miserably short of teaching this properly. 

I Agree 100% with your closing paragraph.  And the crux of the problem falls at the feet of our Politicians .  Corporations are greedy and will exploit every loophole to turn a profit.  Its in their nature and its in the best interest of the shareholders. We cant totally blame them... We have to make change at the government level which is why I'm committed to not voting incumbent in the next election.  If you currently have the job then you're part of the problem and its time to go

JTraveller44
JTraveller44

my apologies for a couple o typo's, my keyboard suffers from a dyslexia.

JTraveller44
JTraveller44

The City of Santa Ana's response was in relationship to an ordinance they passed under entirely different circumstances and for an entirely different group back in 1993 - 18 years ago.  At the time it was not about a political group's message about homelessness, it was about the difference between freedom of speech vs. freedom of conduct.

There have been multiple cases fought by defendants in different states who were arrested or forced to leave public area's where they did not have a legal permit. Nearly all have lost - despite claims being made under various other Amendments such as the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 4th Amendments. Many claimed it as a violation of the First Amendment - assuming that a City or State would simply capitulate based on that and no argument in "how" that Amendment supports them.  This is where the legal community and educational community have failed our youth - in not teaching them that solely relying on an alleged Right granted to them by a Document they have neither read nor understood very well - is no protection in attempting to ciet it in support of a Cause.

As a non-Attorney I can only read the laws that have been made before by Courts and upheld by same in various cited cases and like any Common Man seek to find the loopholes that a skilled licensed attorney might find in his attempt to overturn such ordinances. It is a wise man - or group - that does it's own legal research before attempting to get a City or Government to overturn an ordinance in their favor - particularly a group that violates the same ordinance - thus prejudicing the Government so petitioned - who is ruling on the Petition. Also, those with the Group who choose to violate additional City or State/Federal ordinances and feel that those violations will carry no prejudicial weight against the Group's Petition, merely add prejudices against the Group effort.

In OCCUPY groups there is a tremendous opportunity to indeed challenge laws that City's, States and the Federal Government have made which are fundamentally possibly unconstitutional - but such challenges will have to be made by the only true available form given to the People to make such changes - by Right of the Vote. Occupy claims it's Government has been "bought" and therefore the Vote is meaningless. But it is not. The Vote can still be meaningful - can still remake our Country - but we need to get the Voters to the Polls - and their signatures on official Petitions to change these Laws.  Occupy can do that -- but will it rise from being just a Protest to becoming to being Citizens for Change - or will the group fade... only the members cab answer that.

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

NO......They HAVE to think of everyone else. That's the point here !......

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

I agree that public safety is of the utmost importance...it just sucks that the peaceful folks who were "occupying" in hopes of accomplishing something are being punished for the actions of some jerks who went with the sole purpose of causing trouble...

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