Posted by troublemaker on November 10, 2011
“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” – Alexander Pope (1)
I admit it. I am a fool. I am a hot head who has caused much trouble for himself and escalated small incidents into much larger ones. I absolutely adore people who do the same. People who’s spirit often gets the better of them. I am particularly fond of the expression: “I know it’s illegal, but…” That said, I also have a great amount of respect for people who can remain level headed, work within the system, and win while playing by the rules. This is the story of two groups of people (Occupy Oakland and Occupy Reno) who I greatly respect; but for different reasons.
In Oakland, protesters took over a vacant building formerly occupied by Traveler’s Aid Society. Although the building was not in use, Oakland Police Department quickly responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, and other forms of nearly lethal force. Police, the mayor, and other officials are in a constant stand off with Occupy protesters. In Reno, not so much. In fact, because city officials were open to the requests of Occupy Reno it looks like there might be a Win Win situation.
“We’re certainly not billionaires. We’re the 99 percent” – Reno Councilman Dave Aiazzi (2)
In initial talks, Reno City council offered to wave their typical camping fee and promised that Occupy Reno will be issued a special event permit provided the protest can provide necessary facilities such portable toilets and meeting fire / safety requirements. Unlike the conflicts between police and protesters in Oakland, in Reno the protesters have been praised by city officials and even Reno Police Chief Steve Pitts. Unlike the agitated state between Oakland’s Mayor and protesters, Reno Mayor Bob Cashell has described the protesters as respectful (2).
“We all just want our voices heard. The voices of the people are shouting for your help.” – Occupy Reno protester Tina Tillman said to city officials.
True to their word, Reno city officials granted a three month special event permit once Occupy Reno complied with health and safety requests. True to their word, the city waved the camping fee which would have added up to $1,100.00 had it not been waived. (3)
“The City waived that fee because they realize the people who would be trying to pay those fees are people who don’t have the means to,” – Haley Breen, an Occupy Reno protester (3)
Because city officials and Occupy Reno could come together, the message is getting out loud and clear. In addition to concerns about economic inequality, the message is now that Occupy and 99% movement is supported by not only the protesters but city officials and law enforcement. Across the world, sincere concern is being demonstrated by men and women of all walks of life.
Thank you Occupy Reno but more importantly thank you City of Reno for facilitating the exchange and allowing the voice of change to be heard.