This is a letter that I sent to Mayor Hopkins concerning teh Occupy Wall Street Protestors whom are squatting on the Veteran's Memorial Park. Honest opinions are welcomed! I actually got interviewed by the Anchorage FOX network and they posted this letter online and the interview! Here is a link to the video news footage...http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1469316309
Dear Mr. Luke Hopkins, Mayor Fairbanks North Star Borough, Ak ,
I'm Scotty Starr and teach special ed out in Ruby, Ak. I've been reading the Fairbanks Daily News Miner's 'feel good' articles about the Occupy Wall Street encampment at your Veteran's Park, as well as listening to the biased reporting on the OWS protests via National Public Radio, which is the only radio news program that we get out here in the bush. From these limited and mostly pro-OWS reports, I was under the impression that the OWS folk were peacefully protesting in other parts of the country as they are here in Fairbanks, but after researching a large sample of the media reports nationwide, I was shocked to see such a large number of incidents nationwide that were violent.
Here is a good link I have checked out that is compiling media reports of violence, lewd behavior, rioting, destruction of private/public property, etc. I have checked out at least 1/2 of these links and they are all good:http://biggovernment.com/jjmnolte/2011/10/28/occupywallstreet-the-rap-sheet-so-far/
After reviewing the national news media's articles, video's and pictures, I've come to the conclusion that there is a media black out of violence by NPR and the Fairbanks Daily News Miner. After reviewing all of these media reports, I felt compelled to act, so I did a symbolic one hour counter-OWS-protest last Saturday, Nov. 26, at Veteran's Park to 'stand in the gap' for the common citizen who has to work, take care of their families and can't 'occupy' the Veteran's memorial for months on end to make a political statement. I had a good time walking around with my sign, spoke to a couple people but I was pretty cold after only one hour in the -20 degree weather and needed shelter. I did not think it was appropriate to seek shelter in the OWS tent as this might have caused problems, although the young OWS protestor squatting there was very polite and offered me coffee!
So Mayor Hopkins, due to the cold temperatures, I have determined that I will need a shelter tent in order to carry out my right to free speech and counter protest the OWS movement in Veteran's Memorial Park. I need to know what the regulations are for me to put up a tent for myself and possibly other counter-protestors who are feed up with the OWS protestors illegally squatting on the Veteran's Memorial Park. I want to abide by the law, although, my understanding is that it is illegal to put up a tent for overnight camping in the park, correct? But, I'm tired of the law being 'bent' for the left wing activists. This is America and we are suppose to be afforded 'equal protection' under the law, correct? Well, then if the law can be bent for the OWS protestors, then it should be bent for me, correct? Or, as it is said, are some of us 'more equal than others'?
I hope you know that writing this pains me, having to stoop to their level of civil disobedience, but, I'm tired of no one evicting these people and making them abide by the law. I'm also tired of the other state and local governments allowing this level of violence, anarchy and destruction of private and public property to go unchecked nationwide. Something must be done to wake our state and local governments up and staging a counter protest is the only way I think that this 'awakening' will happen.
With my actions, your local government will have several choices; 1) evict me and not the OWS protestors and face a law suit for discrimination, or, 2) let me stay with my tent, along with the OWS protestors and watch this 'civil disobedience of squatters' spread to every other special interest group whom has an axe to grind with the government, especially this spring when it warms up, or 3) Evict ALL of us as the law requires!!!
Think about it, you've set a time precedent for other groups this summer (2.5 months now?). These other groups will want to 'squat' for as long as you let the OWS protestors squat OR SUE YOUR BOROUGH under 'equal protection of the law'. There will be only ONE reasonable solution come this Friday when I put my tent up: Evict us all!
If I am not given the same protection to squat, OR, given an EVICTION NOTICE along with the OWS protestors, I'm sure that a conservative or Libertarian legal defense organization will be more than willing to pick up my case. And yes, I know, you guys are thinking that it's cold and it'll all go away, but it will all come back to roost this summer, since now I know I can protest for at least 2.5 months when it is warm, right? You've set the standard and with all the college students coming through this summer, I'm sure it will be a zoo in our Veteran's park if you and the borough assembly do not find the political will and personal courage to cut your loses and act immediately!
As a courtesy, I want you to know up front that this email is being sent out to other media's, posted on the net, sent to our Alaskan state and federal legislative rep's, an assortment of Libertarian and conservative defense organizations, Veteran's groups, as well as Fox news. You can read whom I've copied this email to for yourself. I'm not a crack-pot, just a fed up special ed teacher out here in the Alaskan bush tired of seeing the left wing activists get away with civil disobedience, rioting and other acts of vandalism against public and private property. If this were activists associated with the 'right wing', this behavior would be called 'fascist' by the main stream media and met with force by most local and state governments.
Please be specific in letting me know exactly what the rules are for me to pitch a counter protest tent for warmth this December 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Please specify:
1. How long I may I keep my tent up?
2. Must my tent be occupied 24/7, or can I leave it up the following Mon-Friday, unoccupied, til I am back the following weekend to counter protest for another weekend?
3. Can I have a stove inside the tent?
4. How many tents may I put up?
5: May I have an open fire pit outside the tent for cooking purposes?
6. May I use a P.A. system to broadcast speeches, and if so, is that 24/7? If not, what are the hours for using the P.A. system?
7. Are there electrical outlets available for our use?
I will be nothing but polite to anyone down there as I was this past Saturday, for you see, I have a FULL-TIME job that I need to keep, so, I have much to loose if I'm arrested, unlike other people it appears. But please take me seriously, I will see this through til the end and will be posting everything online, so please do what you need to in order to cover your butt, I truly doubt that you support this behavior and I honestly believe that you are caught between a rock and a hard spot, politically and legally speaking. So this letter is written with all due respect towards you personally and your office.
If you or any other recipient of this email needs to contact me, feel free to call me at my cell number or email me. Mayor, please respond to my specific requests, numbered 1-7 above, for clarification of the borough's regulations concerning squatter's rights via email so that I have a written record of your response.
I truly hope that the Veteran's of this great state will suffer me and my actions within their Veteran's Memorial Park for a short while and will understand that I do this with a heavy heart and mean no disrespect towards them. But, since it is apparent that our local and state governments are paralyzed with political fear, I truly believe that it is time for the common citizen to take action and force the Fairbanks North Star Borough, as well as other local and state governments, to make a black and white decision: to either enforce our laws against ANYONE squatting, or, allow all peoples and groups to squat. It's your choice Mayor and assembly members, what's it gonna be? A Veteran's memorial or a zoo?
PS. I'm sure you get crack-pot letters and calls all the time, so here is a link to my school's website with my professional information and a pic of me last Saturday just so you know that this letter is written in all honesty. Weather permitting, I and hopefully a few others will be there with tents. It is my greatest desire that you are there Friday afternoon to serve both the OWS squatters and I with an eviction notice, I'll go peacefully and happily, I really don't want to sit around in the -20 cold weather for another hour, I'd rather be out trapping!