Occupy Philly’s General Assembly came to a consensus this evening on its first message to send the city, but will wait until tomorrow night to discuss how to release it.
The message is a response to an Oct. 11 letter sent by the City Managing Director’s Office asking Occupiers to move wood structures 20 feet away from City Hall, remove tents from stairs, landings and walkways, make all tents self-supporting and put additional covering on the Tech Tent to shield the electrical hookups from water.
It also suggested portable toilets and asked for a meeting to discuss the concerns raised, as well as weekly meetings with Occupy members, and reminded Occupiers that they agreed to vacate Dilworth Plaza on or before its mid-November renovation.
Occupy Philly’s message- and letter-writing committees have been working for ten days to craft the response based on points decided at a General Assembly meeting. Per tonight’s discussion, these points include:
– The letter is written in a polite and respectful tone and acknowledges the city’s demands without acquiescing to them.
– It explains who Occupiers are, why they are here and what they are doing.
– It agrees to meet with the city when Occupiers have concerns, but on neutral ground and on the condition that meetings be recorded.
– In response to police overtime costs, it asks the city to remove undercover cops, do away with morning walk-throughs and remove police photographers and other police cameras.
– To address the public urination issue, it asks the city to grant Occupiers access to City Hall bathrooms.
– It asks that curfews for minors be waived for Occupy participants.
– In response to the city’s request to remove wood structures, the letter says that Occupiers will remove pallet homes when the homeless have permanent housing.
– In response to the city’s concerns about how camp is set up, the letter states that Occupiers know how to secure a tent and will take care of themselves.
– In regards to the renovation of Dilworth Plaza, it states that Philadelphians did not vote on an ice skating rink and coffee shop and that Occupiers will not support the federal government, local institutions and the wealthiest one percent’s privatization of a public space. It suggests that, instead of the planned construction, the $50 million should go towards education and social services.
– It also states that Occupiers will seek the input and support of union members and others whose jobs are affected by the construction before making a decision regarding relocation.
The General Assembly voted to strike from the letter any language that would imply a decision about whether or not Occupiers will attempt to stay at Dilworth Plaza after construction begins because the issue has not yet been debated in a General Assembly.