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Monday, January 30, 2012

Occupy Charlotte. . .what did they accomplish?

I'll be the first to congratulate Occupy Wall Street. The Occupy Wall Street movement changed the national conversation about wealth.
Talk is cheap, though.
While we loved the President's State of The Union address, at the end of the day, if Congress continues to do nothing, we won't see any changes.

Let's bring this conversation home, Charlotte more specifically. Occupy Charlotte kicked off in September. Sadly, the local conversation in Charlotte has not changed much. Occupy Charlotte has been covered by the city's alternative newspaper on a near weekly basis and covered by the mainstream media when something headline grabbing happened, like the burning of an American flag.

Occupy Charlotte may have unwittingly made life for homeless people in the city hell. See, city council passed an ordinance which makes it illegal to camp on property.

"Any temporary shelter located on city property is deemed to be a public nuisance," said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Captain, Jeff Estes.
Sunday, CMPD addressed a group of about 30 protestor’s hours before the ordinance went into effect.
While police do not expect any major issues or confrontations with protestors, Occupy Charlotte expressed some frustration at not being told whether all tents would be banned, or only certain kinds of tents which are being used for shelter.
Protestor, Scottie Wingfield, told us that attorneys, along with city officials, have relayed to Occupy Charlotte that tents not equipped with "living accommodations" would not be considered camping tents.
"So, if no one is sleeping or storing personal belongings in the tents, they should still be allowed," said Wingfield.
The protests will end soon (er or later) but the city's homeless population isn't going anywhere in the next six months or so. Now, between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., police have the right to move them, arrest them, and possibly abuse them. Was this progress?

Occupy Charlotte, in my opinion, harmed the city more than spreading the message of the 99 percent.
Since Occupy Charlotte started, the city offered Chiquita a bunch of money to come to town.
The Mecklenburg County Commissioners played politics and fought over seating arrangements. CMS teachers are still looking for a raise and Bank of America announced that 30,000 people will be losing their jobs.

So, again, what was Occupy Charlotte's purpose? And have they achieved it? I'm waiting to see if CMPD actually enforces the law and moves the protesters from the old city hall lawn. It's 4:39 a.m. and so far, no one has been arrested or left the scene--no one but me.

Update: Police told the protesters they have until 2 p.m. to leave the site. Click here for more.

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