Today is day four of being back at the 800 E Washington site and the police or other city departments have not been back to ask people to leave or inspect the camp.
The police originally stopped by and told us we had to leave, but upon consultation with their bosses they changed their mind, told people to “stay warm” and left. Captain Gloede stopped by on Sunday night, and left us with the impression he would be back in the morning after city staff met, but we waited all day, and no one showed up. The mayor called and asked about alternate locations that we had looked at and we’re waiting to hear back. We’re guessing the city is as baffled about what to do as we are. The camp is kinda in limbo, not knowing how much to start gearing up for the winter, or wondering how much to gather items if it will all have to be moved.
Current needs include:
- Water jugs
- Food is appreciated
- Sleeping bags and blankets
Meanwhile, we have reached out to the neighborhood and would like to meet with them. The construction folks have contacted us and are just worried we all remain safe and we made sure we stay out of each others way. And, we are assuming that the city is just trying to figure out what the options are. This is an issue that has not gone away and it won’t, and there aren’t any solutions that are obvious.
To my knowledge, when I left last night, there were 13 homeless people staying there and many stopping by and inquiring. I’m aware of 2 more that will join them tonight. Many others were given the rules to go read and decide if they want to follow them. The rules, which are still being developed, currently look like this (I think there might be one error in them):
Occupy Madison II – No Legal Place to Go
Good Neighbor Guidelines
1. This is a family friendly environment.
a. Watch your language and behavior around children, please.
b. Quiet hours are 10pm – 8am.
2. Participants agree to treat each other in a courteous and respectful manner.
a. If you smoke, properly dispose of your butts.
b. Please help recycle.
3. Conflict is normal, violent or abusive language or behavior will not be tolerated.
a. If you are disruptive, disorderly, excessively loud, fighting, or otherwise break these rules, you will be summoned to a special occupy council meeting where the issue will be discussed and resolution will be voted on and must be approved by council.
b. No weapons allowed. Brandishing objects as weapons will not be tolerated.
4. Participants agree to maintain a safe, sanitary and secure environment.
a. The area around your tent is your responsibility. You are expected to keep it clean and trash free.
b. The common areas – tables, food tent, etc. – are to be kept clean and all food and dishes and trash is to be cleaned and put away immediately after each meal.
c. Stay out of other people’s tents unless you have their permission or are securing it for bad weather.
d. Keep food tent zipped up to prevent ants and other insects and critters from entering.
e. Clean up after your dog immediately.
5. Participants are required to share the workload of the community according to their abilities.
a. The meal is not done until the dishes are done and the area is cleaned.
b. We understand that people have jobs, commitments and things they need to do, and people are there is flexibility with this rule.
6. Participants are expected to participate in governing the occupy camp.
a. No one person is officially in charge of the camp. Camp is governed by the Camp Council. A temporary camp council was appointed for two weeks.
b. Everyone must attend meetings unless they have given prior notice of their absence.
c. General Assembly meetings are at 7:00 on Sundays. Informal meetings will be held daily at 5:00
d. Everyone who stays overnight must be approved by a majority of the camp council, but may be allowed to crash until such a meeting can be held.
e. These rules are subject to amendment at any time by approval of council. Any amendment shall be introduced at one meeting and voted on at the next meeting.
f. Everyone who stays at the camp is subject to these rules and must sign signifying that they understand and agree to these rules.
g. Special Councils shall be called as necessary to address incidents that need to be addressed. Those witnessing the incident shall bring it to the attention of the rest of camp and a meeting will be scheduled to deal with the situation. The person involved in the incident will be present and the council will decide the resolution by a majority vote of people in camp.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY: No drugs. Alcohol policy pending and dependent upon discussions with police.
GOALS: Find a place to legally camp (if not a building) where there is minimally electricity, water and a restroom or ability to put a porta-pottie. Showers are a bonus.
Everyone is concerned that this not become a party zone. Those who are there are simply looking for a saner place to live. They have elected a council to help run the camp and they are very concerned that they work with the neighbors to address their concerns.
Alcohol on this site is complicated. They initially banned it last year, but when people found out that police couldn’t give tickets for open intoxicants (there are no ordinances to enforce), the camp lost control of that issue because there was no way to enforce it. They need to work out something with the police department to figure out how to enforce these rules.
I’m teaching a seminar all day, but will try to keep up to date on any news. You can watch facebook and twitter for any updates.
In other good news. Police Chief Wray is meeting with the homeless people who lost all their belongings when the police and parks department threw out the bags and luggage that was left on State St. More info on that incident here.
Sounds like the city and county are really taking the needs of the homeless seriously now . . . that is much appreciated. More work to do, but progress is better than what we have had in the past.
Categories: | Dane | Madison | Media | Wisconsin