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10/26/2011 – Meeting with City Officials

A group of Occupy supporters met in City Hall Park this morning with representatives from the BPD, Parks and Rec., and the Fire Dept. Our role was to inform them of what the general assembly has agreed to thus far, and to convey their concerns and positions to the movement. Such concerns included:

  • Our ability to share space with the Farmer’s Market. The DA WG’s previously arrived at consensus to set up on the south side of the park so as to not interfere with the operations of the market was conveyed.
  • The Burlington Ghost Walk happens on Saturday evening, and the tour guide begins her tour on the steps of City Hall and has asked that we keep that space free for her.
  • The Use of Tent Stakes: The Parks and Rec official noted that there are both water pipes and uninsulated electrical wires (for which there is not extant map) a few inches under the soil, and that the city considers using tent stakes to be unsafe and does not license their use in the park. A suggestion was made about weighting down tents, etc., and the suggestion will be brought to the GA on Friday.
  • Bathrooms: It was noted that a number of businesses near the park have offered their facilities for protester use, and a supporter has offered the possibility of portable toilets as an option. Another discussion topic for the GA.
  • Solid Waste/Trash Removal: Concern was expressed about the city having to bear the costs of the encampment’s trash removal. Topic for the GA/possible sanitation working group to discuss.
  • The officials present said they will be doing research as to whether it would be possible to license the protest (at a rate of $25/day) by exempting it from the curfew statue. They will get back with the details, and the possible option will be something for the GA to decide on Friday.

In one encouraging moment, the police representative specifically noted that the police have no intention of having a line of cops march in and break up the camp should occupiers break the curfew. The whole exchange was video recorded and video should be posted by the end of today.