Occupy Philly: While Wall Street dines, Philly whines

Occupy Wall Street’s New York encampment has raised nearly $500,000, organizers have told Metro, but you wouldn’t know it by touring Occupy Philly’s encampment yesterday.

Many on the ground in Occupy Philly’s movement were stunned when told Wall Street had such a large sum at its disposal.

“I know we didn’t collect a lot of money here, though I’d like to know how much,” said Vernon Johnson, a volunteer at the Occupy Philly snack table. “We could definitely use [New York’s funds]. What’s the point of collecting money if you’re not releasing it to the people you’re trying to help?”

New York’s Occupy has spent about $66,000 on computers, credit card processing, food and medical supplies, Brooklynite Pete Dutro said.

“Most of the money is still in the bank,” attorney and Occupy Wall Street member Wylie Stecklow added.

But despite many participants’ perceptions, Occupy Philly isn’t exactly hurting for cash itself. The movement has amassed about $10,000, spending a mere $1,200 so far on office supplies, computer technology and a $200 per week allowance for 16 to 17 established working groups, said Gregory Thomas of the group’s donations and resources committee.

“We were never hurting for money and we never will be hurting for money,” Thomas said. “We have been hurting for objects and services and money is just one way of getting them.” He said that most of the donations, which he estimates to have come from 700 to 800 people, have been small contributions from private citizens.

If that’s the case, there seems to be a disconnect in tent city. “We need money bad,” said food volunteer Kate Corbett.

15 Occupy protesters arrested

Protesters who identified as Occupy Philly members were arrested yesterday after a 17-hour protest that blocked traffic in front of police headquarters.

While many claimed the group were dissenters because their action was not sanctioned by the General Assembly, Occupy provided them blankets and food.

“I’m disappointed,” city Managing Director Rich Negrin said. “Up until today, [the city] has done a fantastic job on both sides making sure these folks were able to demonstrate … without being unlawful.”

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