Posted by: sweeneyblog | December 27, 2011

Dan Pike Issues Order to Evict Occupy Bellingham

3:28pm Edit: Hey everyone. Several people have emailed (and a few commented below) that I went too far by questioning Pike’s motives for the City issuing the eviction notice today. You make a good point, it was too far and I apologize, both to Dan Pike and to his supporters. I thought the timing was clever, to avoid backlash, but that is conjecture. Thank you for the feedback, everyone.

As of 9AM tomorrow, the Occupy Bellingham camp is getting evicted. Here is their press release about it and here is their website. They are organizing some non-violent protest to their eviction tomorrow and I hope, for both sides, that it stays non-violent and is defused in a positive manner. Two things jump out at me right away.

First of all, that Dan Pike decided to wait till after the election before evicting them was a clever choice for his career. When he was touting himself as the progressive candidate, it wouldn’t have looked good to be throwing out the Occupy Movement. So savvy political choice there to dodge both the election and the Christmas holiday. Now the Parks Director James King (who was put in place after the previous Parks Director was fired over the on-going employee Moonlighting issue), cited “a number of complaints from the public” as the main reason for evicting the encampment, but again, I question the timing. Wouldn’t all those complaints have been in much earlier when the downtown was awash with Christmas shoppers? Why now, when less people are in town and fewer are paying attention are they trying to evict the occupiers?  See above

The other issue I have is why are the occupiers still there? Yes, yes to draw attention to economic injustice. But wouldn’t it make sense to Occupy a financial institution? Or something directly related to your cause rather than camping out in a public park. A public park, meaning it is owned by the 99%. Look, as I stated earlier, I sympathize with your motives but I question your tactics. The original Occupy movement was fantastic, remember their techniques? First, the initial Occupy Wall Street; take the people who have been damaged by the economic crash (i.e. the 99%) and occupy the space surrounding the 1% to draw attention to their destructive practices. Straight forward, easily digestible by the not-protest-prone citizens of our fine republic. Next was the “Move your money” day where you urged everyone to move their accounts from corporate banks to credit unions. Again a direct action, easily connected to your message and offering a positive solution. Now, I feel the message has gotten lost. I feel it is time to declare victory (you have everyone talking about your issues, success!) and move on to the next tactic. By dragging this out, you run the risk of alienating your allies and losing focus, and there is nothing the 1%-ers would like better than to dismiss you. Don’t let it happen.

So my plea is that this gets resolved peacefully. The Occupiers pick up camp, do a thorough clean and figure out what’s next to put pressure on the 1%. I know that this moment was not your choice, it was Dan Pike’s, but it is time to make the most of it.

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Responses

  1. If YOU have any suggestions which financial institution to occupy where we will not bekicked out imeediately, there is a GA today at 5:30pm where all suggestions as to what we do now will be welcome.

  2. That is a good point, I will try and make it (I have work) but the key issue is that I feel this particular tactic (Occupying a City Park) has run its course.

  3. I heard there were some actions being planned to target *cough* more finance-related areas *cough*. I know nothing, of course. Just saying. And taking up blog comment space. Whee.

  4. Dan Pike issued the order? Do you know that for sure? Did you call Pike to get a response? And wouldn’t it make more sense for Pike’s career to leave this for the next administration? I think the eviction raises more questions than it answers.

    But whether or not one agrees with the Occupy Bellingham tactics or not, I don’t see how anything going on in the park infringes upon anyone’s rights, while evicting the camp is an affront to free speech. I hope we can make this eviction more about impeding free speech than a debate about tactics. There is nothing our detractors would like more than to see us divided. I also question the strategy, but today and tomorrow I am in solidarity with all who occupy and stand with the occupation of the park. We cannot be divided, and it is important to stand with our brothers and sisters even when we disagree on tactics. We can not and should not let this divide us.

    • Dan pike signed the order and on his Facebook page explained why. I worked for Pike for Mayor and now regret supporting him.

  5. Of course Trinkaus has disbelief that Pike could do the inevitable city action to remove the protest.

    Frankly, in this colder weather, I think it’s a benefit to the occupy folks that they can get out of the cold with the political cover of having been ordered to do so. Suicide by freezing doesn’t help anyone.

  6. First of all, please Riley knock it off with the Dan Pike stuff, the government / hippie bashing coalition got what they wanted out of the election so please stop twisting the knife for those of us who had very legitimate reasons for supporting him. Your attack of him is entirely hearsay and I expect better from someone with your intelligence.

    As for the Occupy movement, I agree that it’s time to re-asses tactics. While I agree that the occupiers aren’t causing harm the to community, I fail to see what they add by staying in the park. People are starting to talk about income inequality and that was the whole point of the initial occupation. But an indefinite campsite after a while blends into the community and allows people to forget about the power of the movement. This recent trend of occupying foreclosed houses is encouraging, as is the idea I keep hearing about “occupy the election”. If you are going to be at a GA sometime soon Riley you should read them your list of ideas because I feel that was a very thought out list.

    • What do you mean by “occupying the election”. If it means supporting a national Democrat (or god-forbid a Republican) I’ll have nothing of it.

      • Then by all means, vote for a socialist, a communist, a libertarian, or better yet, run for office. My point is that there are political tools available that have not been used, and would be more effective than this.

      • As long as elections as money and corporations (am i redundant?) decide who wins an election, democracy is non-existent and elections don’t mean sh-t.

  7. “Of course Trinkaus has disbelief that Pike could do the inevitable city action to remove the protest.”

    Huh?

    And before you make such silly assumptions, at least have the courage and common courtesy to use your real name.

  8. Mayor Pike’s Facebook post from about 3:30 today:

    “This morning, City officials notified the Occupy campers in Maritime Heritage Park that as of 9am tomorrow, December 28, any campers remaining would be subject to eviction from the site. For better or worse, I accept responsibility for the decision, which was a challenging one to make, and not one made lightly.

    “People ask me why do this now? Some suggested I could leave this for Mayor-elect Linville. In fact, I could not. For four years I have prided myself on taking what I felt was the right course for Bellingham, regardless of what it meant to my personal image with some groups or individuals. The test has always been, ‘What is in the best interest of the entire community, on a sustainable basis.” I am not going to switch standards now.

    “In this instance, I am in sympathy with many of the reasons for the Occupy movement. Our City and country are suffering because of misdeeds of a few in positions of power, and the system could benefit, in my opinion, from some significant fixes to how decisions are made, and the equitability of the distribution of power. At its inception, the protests in Bellingham, and the encampment at Maritime Heritage Park, served to stimulate important discussions in our community. As an elected official, though, I was always caught in the tensions inherent between the Occupy group and the interests of the larger community, including those in disagreement with Occupy.

    “On December 1, City officials shared with local Occupy representatives that it was time to look at other options to get their message out, and to move on from the park. In addition, as a condition of tolerance of the trespassing in the park, the City let the Occupiers know that we had expectations of how the park property and surrounding property owners were to be treated.

    “While the group has worked laudably to minimize the damage to the park and surrounding businesses, inevitably that damage has mounted, and agreements were strayed from. Surrounding businesses—small businesses of the type promoted by Occupy in their speeches—are suffering. Other park users feel unable to use the park facilities their taxes provide for. And frankly, the venue is losing its resonance as a platform. With so many intelligent, capable people involved in the movement, I am confident they can develop a follow-on strategy to keep their message moving forward, while not continuing the damage to the park and surrounding businesses—damage which unchecked damages their own credibility.”

  9. Eloquent and heartfelt, thank you Riley for your edit. You have integrity and a willingness to listen, I sincerely hope you become an elected official someday (not being sarcastic at all)

  10. Riley, sorry to see that you caved after some criticism and redacted a portion of your original post. I hope in the future you will follow your initial instincts.

    I also question the timing and necessity of this action, and several comments in Pike’s issued statement are down-right troubling. It is really his place to decide how relevant the encampment is as a political statement? A very skeptical person would wonder if this was an attempt to create political turmoil on the eve of Kelly’s inauguration.

    I hope that someone will issue a PRA for the alleged complaints that the eviction is based upon and any internal discussion of this matter. I have actually been frequenting Maritime Heritage Park more frequently because I feel safer with the encampment.

    • I originally thought the timing was suspect, but all I had was my suspicions, with very little support. I try to keep this blog based in solid analysis and facts, hence my decision to redact that part.

  11. Hi, Riley,

    As a participant in #OB, I appreciate your comments more than most…

    The goal to do a thorough clean at the campsite was scuttled when we couldn’t get CoB to grant us more than 24 hours for eviction. I was a member of a delegation sent to the CoB to request more time to achieve that very end.

    The City didn’t budge.

    We are being given 24 hours to clear out and tidy up.

    That is ridiculous.

    Naturally, any mess left is likely to be blamed on #OB.

    Because Fair is a four letter word, naturally.

  12. […] you know, Dan Pike and I have not always seen eye to eye on things as diverse as campaign tactics, Occupy Bellingham, and phone etiquette, however he recently took to the editorial page of the Bellingham Herald to […]


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