Occupy L.A.: City Hall Plans To Clear The Camp As Early As Monday
L.A. City Hall officials informed representatives of Occupy L.A. today that they intend to clear out the two-month-old encampment sometime next week.
The Occupiers will be given 72 hours' notice to pack up and get out. City officials said the "evacuation" could take place as early as Monday.
The Occupiers are meeting now to plan their next move.
Though L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been more tolerant than other mayors, he has lately been getting impatient with the Occupy movement.
The mayor's staff has been meeting with Occupy representatives, in hopes of brokering some mutually agreeable exit.
But those talks broke down Tuesday, after details of the city's offer for subsidized office space were disclosed at Monday's General Assembly meeting.
Occupy L.A. rejected that offer on Tuesday night, by which time it had already been withdrawn.
More details to come...
Mario Brito and Jim Lafferty, two members of Occupy's City Liaison team, addressed the group a short time ago. They said they walked out of today's meeting at City Hall because they believed that the mayor's staff is not negotiating in good faith. Others with the Occupy movement, however, continued to negotiate.
The message from the mayor's staff was that there is a firm deadline in place for the "closure" of the City Hall park, and it's next week. Brito and Lafferty said they intended to rally support from SEIU and from clergy members. But they are also trying to prepare the group for mass arrests.
No confirmation or comment yet from the mayor's office.
Update: The mayor's office has confirmed that City Hall Park will close next week.
"The encampment as it exists is unsustainable," Deputy Mayor Matt Szabo told the AP.
Update 2, 4:30 p.m.: Occupy L.A. has posted notes from today's meeting with the mayor's office. And once again, you can see a total disconnect between the two camps.
Here's Szabo explaining why the camp has to shut down:
Most reasonable people would understand that what is going on down there is not sustainable. You don't have the right by yourselves to occupy forever a public park. The public does not come through there every day as they have before. It is not a place that can be taken by [one] group for one cause. You're prohibiting others from using public space. My boss [Villaraigosa] has been fighting on your side [aclu] his entire career, but he does have the job of protecting public assets for the public.And here's Lafferty giving an impassioned defense of Occupy L.A.:
WHY IS THERE SUDDENLY A RUSH? Why is Monday more important than the process of finding a resolution? I can't get my mind around it! You can talk about sanitation, dope, dead grass, etc on the media. But WE ALL KNOW, THE 500 PEOPLE ALL KNOW, THAT IT IS ALL BULLSHIT. I'm not angry with you, Matt, I have a hunch you're as disappointed with all of us There is NO HUMAN, MORAL, ETHICAL REASON TO RUSH TO AN END GAME. NOW HARM WILL BE DONE.Not a lot of common ground there. Lafferty then walked out, and apparently is now planning to file an injunction in a last-ditch effort to prevent the city from clearing the camp.
Also worth noting: Lafferty said the city had promised to give 72 hours' notice. However, the notes of the meeting don't say that. All it says is that Occupy will get "notice." Could be five minutes, for all we know.
Obviously, that's important, because the more advance warning Occupy L.A. gets, the more time they have to rally supporters to come to City Hall to block the eviction.
Update 3: Here's the official statement from the mayor's office. Note that there's no 72-hour-notice provision:
Today, the Mayor's office informed members of Occupy LA that City Hall park will be closed at some point next week for rehabilitation. Members of Occupy LA will be given sufficient notice prior to the closure.Still unclear: What rules will apply post-eviction?
Update 4: The LAPD is explicitly trying to avoid "another Oakland," per the notes from today's meeting. The notes quote an unidentified LAPD representative warning that there will be more officers around the camp in coming days.
"The use of force will be determined by the actions in the camp," the LAPD rep said. "I'm not looking to have Oakland. But I don't want officers shot with paint, fire extinguishers, etc."
First posted at 2:16 p.m.