“It was a joke,” said Scott Smith, this afternoon. He was referring to a listening session with Mayor Kate Snyder that occurred this morning at 9:00 am at Lincoln Park that he along with about 40 others attended.
A press release was issued late yesterday afternoon – just after 4:00 pm announcing this listening session – giving the public less than 24 hours notice of the public meeting.
Scott continued that he believed that the Mayor “was not interested” in the issues surrounding homelessness. “She doesn’t understand. We are not going anywhere. We’ll move elsewhere if we have to. We are not going to stop until our demands are met,” he said. The meeting lasted about l/2 hour. There were others at the meeting, although they did not identify themselves to the public. They may have been city councilors, but Scott did not know for certain. “They never told us who they were,” Scott said.
Meanwhile, Aaron Porter, one of the leaders of the Camp at city hall plaza, who attended the meeting as well, told mhn.com: “I thought it went well.”
The hastily called listening session was called late yesterday afternoon by Mayor Snyder in response to numerous comments by the public criticizing the city for not listening to the concerns of campers at city hall plaza during the comment period of a workshop on Monday. The numerous speakers mainly criticized the council for not providing accessibility to them and their supporters during the public comment period of a city council workshop. Ordinarily, speakers are not permitted to address subjects that are already scheduled for the agenda; however, city councilors such as Spencer Thibodeau and the Mayor were unable to enforce that rule because speaker after speaker ignored that rule. (For more background information, please visit previous post herein on the matter).
The list of Demands by the “impacted people” includes: Decriminalizing camping out, defunding the police, establishing overdose prevention sites, planning for permanent affordable housing led directly by impacted people, and extending the eviction freeze that expires on August 3rd.
Meantime, city hall is closed for all in-person transactions during this time. Please call 207 – 874-8300 for more information. To pay a parking ticket, visit the temporary office at 40 Commercial Street (head of the State Pier). Please call 207 – 874-8443 for more information.
One city employee was told recently to expect to perform his duties off-site for the next two to three weeks; presumable that is how long city hall will be closed for in-person transactions.
Please see previous post herein for more information on the standoff between city hall and the homeless camp at city hall plaza.