Occupy San Diego News: Reoccupation of Plaza and Occupation at Murrieta Foreclosure

by on December 16, 2011 · 14 comments

in California, Civil Rights, Economy, Organizing, Popular, San Diego

Tents go up in the front yard of foreclosed home in Murrieta. Photo by David Lagstein.

A lot is going on with Occupy San Diego.

Occupiers Plans To “Re-Occupy” Freedom Plaza Starting Saturday December 17th

First, a group of the occupiers are planning to re-occupy “Freedom Plaza” – the name given to the Civic Center Plaza by demonstrators – on Saturday, December 17th. They believe they have a right to sleep in public space, and declare:

“Therefore we’re lawfully re-occupying Freedom Plaza.”

A Press Conference has been called for December 17th at 11 am at the Plaza in downtown San Diego.  They have made this statement in support of their position:

We believe under the Illegal Lodging, 647(e) agreement filed 2/8/2011, 04 CV -2314 BEN, Exhibit “A” as well as “Training Bulletin SDPD, page 5 section II; 1., in conjunction with the federal court order giving persons the right to sleep in public space when no shelter beds are available (and it is rare to find such beds available), we have legal standing for our protest to remain in the plaza 24 hours a day and 7 days per week. Therefore we’re lawfully re-occupying Freedom Plaza.

And second, Occupy San Diego was involved in this:

Murrieta House Occupied to Foreclose Foreclosure

By Mirna Alfonso / Murrieta Patch / Dec. 15, 2011

A disabled and bedridden schoolteacher Lesliane Bouchard, is in danger of being evicted.   She vowed not to leave her home at 40734 Mountain Pride Drive in Murrieta.

Bouchard has enlisted the support of her synagogue, her neighbors, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, change.org, OccupySanDiego, OccupyTemecula, OccupyOceanside and many others.

About 50 supporters gathered at the home for an overnight campout, for which six tents were set up on the home’s front lawn.   In light of the demonstration, Murrieta police were on hand.

Here is the text of Bouchards’ online petition, created by her daughter, Kristiane Chappell.   It can be found here.

 “My mom Lesliane Bouchard, a disabled teacher in California, may lose her home because her mortgage company, First Mortgage Corporation, refuses to participate in some of the federal programs that could keep her in it,” Chappell said in a news release.

 ”She has been approved for the federal government’s Hardest Hit State Fund, which would pay down enough of her principal balance enough to keep her in her home. But First Mortgage Corporation refuses to participate in the program, which is only optional for lenders.

 ”Mom is completely bedridden due to a spinal injury that left her in constant excruciating pain. She had to stop teaching last year as a result, and her income dropped by 40 percent. Programs like the Hardest Hit States Fund exist to help people just like her, but they won’t work if lenders won’t participate in them.”

 Liam Chappell, who is Bouchard’s 14-year-old grandson, has lived in the home for four years.   The Murrieta Mesa High School student told Patch he was not kept apprised of the dire situation in which his grandmother found herself … that is, until his mother, Kristiane Chappell, started the movement to save her mom’s house.

 ”It’s our house, we should be able to keep it,” Liam told Patch, as he stood in the rain Thursday, surrounded by his grandmother’s supporters.

 One of those supporters is Lynn Leseth, who intended to spend the night on the Bouchard property, where tents were pitched and hot coffee and cookies were laid out.   “This is what the occupation movement is all about,” Leseth told Patch.  She said she understands Bouchard’s plight all too well.   “I’m living in Freedom Plaza (Civic Center) in San Diego, she said.

Several people standing under the home’s eaves tried to stay sheltered by the rain but they could not escape the cold.  A man who identified himself only as R.T. said he is a disabled veteran and homeless.  R.T. said there are many people who are finding themselves in circumstances that seem unbelievable.  “Its bizarre,” said R.T.  “I never thought that anything like this would happen.

Most interviewed railed against the banks, calling them too eager to snap up properties and re-mortgage them.  “I hate selling foreclosures,” said realtor Christie Paris, who came out in support.  Three of her investment properties were lost to foreclosures, she said.  “Banks don’t have to disclose anything that is wrong with the property.”

Leseth vehemently agreed with Paris.  “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”

 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar marcelo December 16, 2011 at 2:40 pm

it’s a good job the people are showing up these thugs 4 what they r…

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avatar dave rice December 16, 2011 at 4:15 pm

I heard complaints via the text message party line about lack of media coverage of today’s presser, but I didn’t even learn it was going on until my phone blew up while I was at my daughter’s holiday party at school…woulda loved to know about it beforehand.

Also guessing a lot of media are feeling burned (I was actually quite amused) at the last “re-occupation” including the tiny tents.

I went to a lecture by Greg Palast a couple weeks back (if you don’t know him you should, and I can loan you his latest must-read book), and he talked a lot about moving past the physical occupation of public space – occupying foreclosures is a great start to that, I think, though he riffed more on occupying the media this seems likely to garner another round of massive media attention. I (shamefully) used to manage 7 REO offices throughout the state – we were the people you’d be dealing with after the foreclosure was over and it was time to move on. My connections that are still in the industry (the go-along, get-alongs that didn’t buy into some of my more radical methods to avoid the situation and thus weren’t unceremoniously fired a week before Christmas two years ago) are collectively soiling their trousers right now. I’ve seen internal memos that state some banks are doubling and even tripling their checks on vacant properties anywhere within 100 miles of a location that’s hosted a significant Occupy movement in fear of their repossessed homes becoming re-occupied.

One word: awesome.

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avatar Monty Kroopkin December 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Dave,

I hope we all hear and say more about occupying the media. I’d be interested in your response to the “For a Human Revolution” statement of mds. It is posted at

http://freenadler4.com/mds/?p=54

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avatar dave rice December 16, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Monty – since I didn’t see a comment section on the linked post, I’ll respond here.

Others – sorry for going off-topic. Feel free to skip this post.

I think you’ve got a great ideal for for a Utopian society. Unfortunately I don’t think we’re advanced enough as a species to introduce all of the stated goals in one fell swoop, so I’ll address each individually.

Adding more valuable programming to mass media is a noble goal. But, while you can lead a horse to water . . . therefore, I think a more modest target is in order. How about at least asking our media to report the facts on issues, rather than simply a “he said, she said” capsule? The only publication that I pay for these days (since I cancelled my Fishwrap subscription years ago) is called The Week – while it’s far from perfect, I appreciate its aggregation of events and its presentation in the form of:
1. Here’s the conflict.
2. Here are the facts on what happened.
3. Here’s what the liberals have to say about what happened.
4. Here’s what the conservatives have to say about what happened.
It then leaves the reader to make her own conclusions. Ideally, the news would explain what happened and then guide readers/listeners/viewers to take the correct stance, but because I don’t trust any person to be free from bias, I accept this as a solid form of reporting.

Activist San Diego has obtained a FCC radio license and is pushing for funding to go live – since we lost KLSD and Pirate 96.9 I’ve been waiting for a new liberal-biased media outlet to spring up and I would welcome an ASD entry to the market, but what I’m really looking for is truth, not a slant from either a liberal or conservative viewpoint. Lacking that, I’d at least appreciate some left-wing talk to (somewhat) balance the spectrum.

Participatory democracy sounds great on the surface. But as much as I’d like to believe in an egalitarian society, I don’t believe a large portion of people are qualified to take the time to inform themselves and vote on every little issue. I fear that giving everyone a vote on everything presents more opportunity for votes to be bought, not less – and that’s exactly the cancer we’re fighting in our current representative democracy. So I’d want some kind of qualification to be established before someone could vote in a participatory democracy – but that just reeks of Jim Crow, poll taxes and the like. Call me on the fence about this one – show me how it would create a more populist society and safeguard against people being bribed or tricked into voting against their interests and I might get on board. If you need reason for my skepticism, look at how the initiative process in California works today.

On massive debt forgiveness, I don’t think we can make that happen, no matter how good it sounds. Targeted debt write-downs, however, could be very powerful. I’ve advocated in the newsletter I send to my real estate clients that a large-scale principal forgiveness policy could save the housing market. What if we took every homeowner who was “underwater,” that is, owing more than their home was worth, and decided to appraise their homes, reducing their loan balance to 90% of whatever their home is worth today? Instead of owing 30% more than their house was worth (as was my situation when my family lost our home after pouring over $150,000 into a down payment, monthly payments, and improvement projects), people would actually have some wealth invested in their homes. Drop their interest rates to market rates, currently just under 4% – many people who are still paying on these underwater loans are spending thousands of dollars a year too much in interest because banks won’t re-write their loans at current terms simply due to the fact that they owe too much, even though they’ve made good on the too-high payments.

To sum it up, cut debt and interest to the point that the people can see a light at the end of the tunnel – don’t blame the banks entirely because the borrowers made bad decisions, but don’t blame the borrowers entirely, because the banks made bad decisions too.

I don’t know (even after reading the Rag almost since the beginning of its internet incarnation and writing here for a number of years) if there’s a response length limit, but for the sake of not losing what I’ve blabbered so far I’m going to start a new post…

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avatar dave rice December 17, 2011 at 12:27 am

Next up – taxation. While it’s a nice thought to think that you’re going to launch retaliatory tax increases to steal back the wealth that the wealthy have stolen from the people, I also think that’s a non-starter. I think an incremental increase that at least approaches (but maybe doesn’t quite match) tax rates that were levied during the country’s most recent years of strong and sustainable prosperity (the 1950s and early 1960s) is in order.

I think that if we taxed ALL income for Social Security and Medicare it would not only be fair, but would guarantee security for the elderly forevermore.

I’m not quite committed to the idea, but I’d certainly entertain the notion of taxing capital gains at a rate WORSE than income derived from working. I know that the conservative argument is that investment income was already taxed before being invested, but I don’t see why that means that income earned off that income shouldn’t be taxed, or should be taxed at a lower rate. The initial investment isn’t being taxed again, so it’s not double taxation. The investment income was “earned” by clicking a few buttons on a computer to make trades, or even by paying someone else to click those buttons for you. Why should someone who makes their living that way pay LESS in taxes than the guy who makes his money building your house, the gal checking you out at the grocery store, or anyone else who actually contributes to making our society function?

Sorry, that’s another long one…the rest of the points will be shorter, I promise.

On driving our economy toward one that’s driven in large part by the sustainable production of energy, I’m all in favor. Even with the recent missteps by the Obama administration in backing some bad investments. I believe industry is what drives nations – we ruled the automotive and aviation ages and prospered. We lost the technology age to Asia. We can regain a foothold in the industrial world and provide middle-class jobs the country needs to prosper by adopting alternatives to fossil fuels early and excelling in that field. Whether or not we choose to remains to be seen.

On the MDS call to “replace private property enclosure rights in land,” and “[e]nd foreclosures and evictions,” I think the group is reaching a bit. While I think shelter should be a basic human right, I don’t think that signing a promise to pay a loan and then not doing so shouldn’t carry any consequence whatsoever.

On free education, I’m definitely a big supporter, at least through the AA/BA level. And I believe that education should continue to be subsidized at a level comparable to or stronger than what it was during the recent economic boom. Whether college is a right for everyone, I’m not so sure. I prefer the French system, that separates students halfway through high school, tracking some toward higher education and others toward learning a trade if they haven’t shown by their mid-teens that they’re interested in learning. I don’t believe everyone is cut out to be a scholar (and my four years as a junior college freshman prove that), but I don’t think that’s a problem, as long as everyone has a chance to develop a skill that will allow them to be a productive member of society.

Health care as a universal human right – there’s not really any debate on this one, so far as I’m concerned.

Solar panels on every building – hard to argue this one either. In developing countries, there will be no such thing as a power grid. Every building will have solar and a battery bank providing primary power, with a diesel generator (that can be run on renewable biofuels) as a backup. We could move in this direction, were it not for the power companies’ outcry (did you see Dorian Hargrove’s Reader piece about SDG&E wanting to charge solar customers extra for being plugged into the grid?).

On world peace and demilitarization – again, this is one of those noble goals I’m not quite sure humankind is mature enough to contemplate. Let’s work out some of the more workable issues and revisit this one in a generation or two.

Sorry for the excessively long comments, but I feel such a lengthy proposition is worthy of an equally verbose response, especially given its overall merits.

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avatar Monty Kroopkin December 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Dave,

While I would agree immediately that some changes are much easier to implement than others, you and I may have a profound difference of perspective, summed up, I think with your words “…noble goals I’m not quite sure humankind is mature enough to contemplate…”

First, our species may actually be running out of time. That many species we have previously shared the planet with are already gone, or going at an accelerated rate, must be the starting point — not some optional additional point — for any sane discussion of what we need to contemplate (whether or not we are “mature” enough to do so).

Second, the consolidation of global corporate rule, its militarization of world society, and its demolition of democratic institutions and processes everywhere, combined with the irrational inability of competing corporate interests to set aside each one’s particular short-term competitive needs long enough to agree on any plans that may preserve the bio-sphere we depend upon, long-term, has become a “clear and present danger” to all people everywhere.

Third, it is not just a piece of paper, the Declaration of Independence. Likewise the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We can expand this list of documents, but I’ll instead cut to my point. We no longer have a government of consent. It has been subverted by enemies of democracy, by Big Money. We have the right to alter or abolish any such government. If we fail to do so, the wars and deaths of millions in the last hundred years or so will soon seem like minor events compared to what is coming.

Fourth, your atttitude about how to deal with the corporate “news” industry — the most powerful PROPAGANDA machine in world history — is childish. Support for myriad alternative media projects is a necessity, but there is no substitute for confronting the “mind monopoly” of the corporate “news” industry — and the entire, larger, cultural values propaganda machine of corporate media “entertainment”.

Finally, I see your basic approach, about concern with the “maturity” or knowledge of people, to be elitist and anti-democratic. I think you know this and demonstrate reluctance to “own” your viewpoint — e.g., your remarks about poll taxes. I think your stance is rooted in fear — fear of what history has to show us about all the major revolutionary upheavals, todate. But isn’t your fear really more a fear of birth, than a fear of death?

Again, I thank you for engaging these subjects, and respect the humanity of your efforts to think through our global, collective plight.

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avatar dave rice December 18, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Hey now! I’m childish, elitist, and anti-democratic? I can maybe halfway cop to the childish part anyway…

In any case, I think we largely share similar viewpoints and goals, though you’re considerably more optimistic about the likelihood of a sudden and massive change in the way the world works. I look at how many Egyptians showed up to protest their government, then contrast it with the Occupy demonstrations in America and decide that we’ve got a good start, but people aren’t radicalized enough to accept, let alone force, the radical change that’s needed.

We may very well be running out of time as a species to achieve that radical change. But right now approximately half of our country adamantly refuses to believe climate change is even a problem. Until you can convince these folks that this issue is very much real and poses a clear and present danger, I’m going to stand by my statement that collectively we’re not mature enough to discuss how to solve a problem that the truly childish among us refuse to acknowledge. I think it’s elitist to just tell someone that disagrees with you that they’re wrong – and it does nothing to change their perspective. If you know how to either get the naysayers on board or to proceed toward change without the support of them, I’m all ears. If I could figure out how to build consensus on acknowledging this issue, I’d already be a Nobel laureate.

On your second counter-argument, I again have no defense. But again I ask how far you’ve gotten in getting this statement to gain any traction with the doubting Thomases or finding an end run around them. I’ll save trying to think of something pseudo-intellectual on your third argument and again say I pretty much agree.

When you get to the fourth point, which is about when you start to devolve into personal attacks, I take issue. What specifically is “childish” about my assertion that news should move from reporting spin to reporting facts followed by spin? I think that getting the facts out is a step in the right direction. And I think that as long as every bit of significant spin is addressed (and fact-checked, with the truth or falsehood of assertions reported on), society progresses. You’ve attacked my ideas about how news should work, but you’ve provided no counter point of your own, so I can’t express either support or criticism of your view here.

Finally, you say I’m reluctant to “own” my viewpoint. Well, you damn skippy I am! We’re talking in generalities about vague ideas of a perfect society (or at least I get the impression that’s what we’re talking about). While I speak with conviction on specific issues I’m prepared to discuss, I’m very much hesitant to hitch my wagon to vague philosophies or my opinion on a subject upon which I’m not well-versed, because I know myself well enough to know I’ve changed many of my opinions during the course of research, debate, and personal development in the past. If I believe I’m right, I fight my positions to the death. If I think I’m right, I fight my idea and try to find cracks or flaws in it – if I don’t find any I begin to believe.

On fear of birth (in the sense I gather you’re speaking about a new revolution), I’m not scared, I’m anxious and enthusiastic to see how it goes. Well, maybe I am a little scared – depends on who leads the revolution, I guess. Regardless, thanks Monty for taking the time to argue civilly – it’s my hope that such discourse enriches your thought process as it does mine.

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avatar Monty Kroopkin December 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Dave,

I’m sure you’re right that we agree more than disagree. I liked your initial comment and thought it would be a good conversation. So, please don’t take me wrong, that is, I’m not feeling hostile at all here.

You say “If you know how to either get the naysayers on board or to proceed toward change without the support of them, I’m all ears. ”

Do you think one year ago today you would have predicted that conversations like the one we are having here, would be going on right now, all over the world?

If not, then my answer to your question about how to get people “on board” is a question: how do think we got here? what just happened in the last year or so that caused this?

On the corporate information machine problem, your suggestions amount to asking a liar to promise to stop lying. What we have to work out, instead, is how to take the near total monopoly power the liar now has — to make lies the most common thing we all hear — away from the liar.

One more comment. You have compared numbers of Egyptians actively involved in the recent upheaval there, and numbers of USAers currently active. You seem to think it is two different movements. It is not. It is all part of one growing global movement. Once we all wrap our brains around that, many other things get easier to discuss.

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avatar dave rice December 18, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Monty – I’m seeing spirited debate, not hostility at all, and I welcome your challenging some of my assertions. So we’re certainly on the same page there.

As far as whether or not I’d have believed discussions such as this one could have happened a year ago, absolutely. I’ve been having them for years. I’m encouraged that they’re becoming more common, but I still don’t think they happen enough, and I’m a little dismayed that they’re still largely relegated to forums such as this one, only because a relatively heavy moderating hand is needed to facilitate them while avoiding a collapse into total chaos. Our discourse largely consists of preaching to the choir, and while it’s valuable because it helps us iron out the kinks in our arguments, we shouldn’t kid ourselves by believing we’re reaching the people that need to be reached – they’re a much, much tougher sell than someone who’s already willing to buy in.

So far as the “corporate information machine problem,” I think the first step to solving it is to launch independent media (and I’ve got high hopes and a considerably lower monetary investment in the ASD project) that reports facts. Factual information makes it more difficult for the mainstream conservative media (I think we can both agree that anyone who terms ownership of most media sources as “liberal” is worthy of institutionalization) to push their spin. But if the answer to conservative spin is liberal spin (think Air America), the progressives are going to find themselves outgunned and unprepared, and even if they found success they’d be no better than the bastards they replaced.

If the Egyptians, Tunisians, Syrians, US citizens, and others are all part of the same movement, we’re not pulling our own weight here. And that’s not to say I disagree that we share a common goal…or that I’m not part of the reason we’re failing. Right now I can still keep my family housed and fed, and even if I was willing to sacrifice my own welfare in the name of revolution I can’t make that call for my wife or young daughter. Maybe the potential radicals are still too comfortable, even given the economic strife of the last half-decade. But unless things change soon, I fear/anticipate/prepare for things to get interesting in the years to come…

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avatar Monty Kroopkin December 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Would somebody familiar with these cited items please explain each one:

“We believe under the Illegal Lodging, 647(e) agreement filed 2/8/2011, 04 CV -2314 BEN, Exhibit “A” as well as “Training Bulletin SDPD, page 5 section II; 1., in conjunction with the federal court order giving persons the right to sleep in public space when no shelter beds are available (and it is rare to find such beds available), we have legal standing for our protest to remain in the plaza 24 hours a day and 7 days per week. Therefore we’re lawfully re-occupying Freedom Plaza.”

Perhaps the San Diego Police Dept and the city officials know what this is trying to say, but it is unlikely that most other people do.

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avatar malcolm migacz December 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

i found a link to 647(e)
http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/647.html.
unable to find the other related information. I also posted on facebook occupy San Diego to the original statement , asking for links to documents. I was a LOL moment, as anyone who questions the legality of the statement is considered lazy , as in look up the references yourself or that the original occupation of San Diego was not based on lawfulness. Both those are reasonable responses to my question, but there was never any claim that Occupation San Diego ever had legal standing as this article implies.

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avatar Monty Kroopkin December 20, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Lazy? Well, if you post something to try to persuade or mobilize people to do something, it just might be more effective (and less a waste of your own time) if you make it easy for people to understand, without expecting them to hunt for the legal citations themselves.

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avatar malcolm migacz December 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Thanks Christie Paris for your support .

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avatar mr.rick December 16, 2011 at 9:13 pm

This occupying of forclosed property, with a resident on the premises, and a bank that refuses to participate in programs designed just for this situation. This has got to be the newest form of lobbying in politics, The bankers and politicians just don’t know how to deal with this tactic. They fail to understand that this is gonna keep happening every where and with more frequency. So their response should be to pre-emptively do the deal right. Just because they are not dealing in good faith doesn’t mean we can’t push them in that direction. Or am I just dreaming?

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