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Thursday, October 13, 2011

City Officials Weigh in on Occupy Movement; Cleveland Amenable, Other Ohio Cities Not So Much

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 4:00 PM

occupy-cleveland.jpg

As Occupy Cleveland settles in on Public Square to voice their displeasure, make arts and crafts, and commune with Cleveland's public-transit users, the city has been largely amenable to their presence. Permits were granted for protesters to erect tents, cops have stayed out of their way, etc.

That hasn't been the case everywhere — some cities are handing down daily fines to those who camp out over night — and reaction from local politicians spans the spectrum as well. Some support the cause, some stay noncommittal, and as you'll see in a second, some start flame throwing.

In Cleveland, for instance, there's been a modicum of support from city council. Scene's own Anastasia Pantsios reports on Ohio Daily:

According to #OccupyCleveland, they were personally invited to Cleveland's weekly city council meeting last night by Ward 14 councilman Brian Cummins. He is the only non-Democrat among the 19 council members — he is a Green.

According to #OccupyCleveland, "Members of the group received a tour of the grounds and sat in on a City Council meeting that turned out to be mainly about them. The group received a rousing round of applause, as well as the endorsements of many key Council members.

[snip]

"Cities are going into default, states are going into default, and yet when people go to Congress we're not too big to fail, only banks are too big to fail," says Westbrook.

The #OccupyCleveland folks shared, "Councilman Cummins made sure to highlight the group’s excellent working relationship with the Cleveland Police Department and its relentless commitment to the consensus process. Councilman Jay Westbrook of Ward 16 expressed his delight to see such a diverse group engaging in their First Amendment rights. Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell of Ward 6 said that she is inspired by the way the movement is engaging in democracy. Councilman Zach Reed of Ward 2 stressed that Cleveland is an important place to see this movement prosper. He was especially impressed with #OccupyCleveland’s steadfast dedication to nonviolence and peaceable assembly."

"Mayor Frank Jackson was also in attendance, seen shaking hands and smiling for #OccupyCleveland’s live feed of the event. The group later received endorsements from Council President Martin Sweeney of Ward 18, Councilman Matt Zone of Ward 15 and Councilman Joe Cimperman of Ward 3."

Down at Occupy Cincinnati, however, there's been a little more flavor, a little more hyperbole, and some possibly regrettable quotes from politicians.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports:

Covington city commissioner Steve Frank had one of the more, um, vigorous denunciations, writing on his Facebook page: “Turn out the lights on the Occupiers, I feel like going Taliban on them!!!” I asked asked him, via Facebook, what he meant.

Here’s his response: ”The Taliban, as they see it is resisting occupation. I am resisting the Occupiers and very proud to be a 1%’er. I figured that the irony would be lost on most of the dummies in Occupation Nation who oppose the war in Afganistan because they see us as occupiers. I happen to oppose the war too but for highly different grounds. PS I am proud of our troops and have a son in harm’s way.”

Um, sure, now the Taliban thing totally makes sense, sir.

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