General Assembly Minutes, Nov 25, 2012

Mike Coburn (TruthMerchant or TM), Neal, Marilyn, Susan, Vince, Woody, Sam (Marilyn’s doggy companion). Marilyn facilitated the meeting, and Alan took the minutes.

Topics Discussed:
Leonard Peltier:
We discussed supporting and promoting the annual Leonard Peltier Clemency Gathering, which will be held Dec 8, 2012, at St. Leo’s Church, 710 S. 13th St,Tacoma,WA 98405, from 12 to 3. This meeting will be held to raise money and help bring greater awareness to Leonard Peltier and his status as a political prisoner, to demand that he be pardoned. Click here for Leonard Peltier’s statement about his case.

Mike moved the website to the new host, and everything went according to plan. Mike said he wanted to do a lot of redesigning of the site. To review, we have a mirror of the website at where admins and webmasters can test stuff before going live. This is not being maintained as a face to the public but strictly for testing purposes. Mike got another domain,, where he can make more radical changes. Mike wants to see the site be more of a forum. He talked about using WordPress Multisite to enable people to have blogs under their control on the OT Bluehost server. He also continues to look into ways of implementing on-line participation and voting in our GAs.

Alan discussed the CAPTCHA system and some changes he implemented in the front end of the website. Alan reported than Neal’s 2 articles on Tacoma Tent City got over 3000 hits each in the first week they were up.

City Council Report on Citizen’s United Resolution:
Mike gave a report on the Nov 13, 2012, City Council meeting where overturning Citizens United was discussed. There was much discussion, with Marilyn, Neal, and Susan contributing many insights. Susan stated letters to the editor of the TNT would be helpful. Neal and TM reported on the various speakers present, describing some of the statements by Joy Bonney, Dennis “Occupy the Hood” Lucas, and others.

Strategy Planning:
We continued to discuss strategy and specific goals for coming year. If we come up with a list, that does not mean we can’t add things to it if events dictate. Here are some of the topics addressed:

  1. TM talked a bit about the need of different groups with different agendas to find common ground. For example, the groups opposing Citizens United all agree that corporations are not people, but they begin to differ when the issue of “getting money out of politics” comes up. TM said that his desire to see Citizens United overturned was part of a broader vision of a more effective representation, and he discussed his ideas about that. He also said we need to pay attention to such issues as climate change, the economy, and government. Alan said he was encouraged that various conservative Christian groups were talking about protecting the environment under the concept of “stewardship.”
  2. Neal emphasized that we should set goals that are achievable by specific times for the coming year so we can quantify our successes.
  3. We discussed putting pressure on churches to approve tent cities. Neal has done research on the requirements that Washington State law has governing church sponsorship of tent cities. Churches often complain about bureaucratic roadblocks such as liability insurance requirements, health and safety permits, and so on. But Neal showed us sections of the Washington State law that says authorities cannot require permits, bonds, insurance, etc of churches for tent cities on church property. We need to educate churches and public more on tent cities.
  4. Marilyn talked about the need for more equitable income distribution. After Hurricane Sandy, a group of Occupy activists and other started Occupy Sandy. Marilyn stated that this could provide a paradigm for future activities of the Occupy movement, and that we here in Tacoma could participate if there were a disaster here.
  5. Vince talked again about unified efforts that OT can participate in. When he asked about how we can coordinate with other Occupy groups to help coordinate OT activities, TM said one way was through a blogroll. Marilyn and Alan talked about several sites attempting to coordinate activities of Occupy groups around the country. Vince talked about needing to pressure politicians to be responsive to those who elected them.
  6. Alan said he thought that OT should not support either the Democrats or Republicans and should remain nonpartisan. Alan said he favored a labor party, a political party based on the unions and community groups instead of the corporations. Alan said the Democratic and Republican parties represented different factions of the 1% ruling class and the corporations. He said it does not make sense to strike against them, demonstrate against them, protest against their policies, and then turn around and vote for their candidates. He mentioned the New Democratic Party in Canada and said if we had something similar here, he could perhaps support it critically as the “lesser evil.”

Respectfully submitted: Alan OldStudent

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