OccupyMaine will be occupying Monument Square for some time to come according to Pat O’Connor, a member of the media team for the informally organized group that was spawned in New York City and has grown across the nation causing comparisons to the Tea Party movement by some. The message is: Stop Corporate Greed.
Tent City, Lincoln Park, several blocks from Monument Square has doubled in size over the long weekend. “Our message is getting out and people want to be a part of it,” said O’Connor. The rules for habitating the tents at the Park are strict O’Connor emphasized. No liquor or drugs are permitted. There are no free loaders and residenets have to pick up after themselves; no other behavior is tolerated. Residents of tent city have to be politically active to stay there. According to attorney John Branson, pro bono legal advisor to OM, its thanks to the city that the protestors are permitted to stay at Lincoln Park. Normally, the park closes at 10 pm.
Stirring up a controversy between the city and OM was a carelessly written email from city official Ted Musgrave to John Branson (and copied to 20 city officials) saying that “usually a request for 1st amendment use of city property is normally just for a few hours….” to which Branson in a three page letter to Gary C. Wood, Portland’s corporate counsel, wrote that “a governmental prohibition on political speech and assembly in excess of a certain number of hours or days would not pass muster under the First Amendment.”
Nicole Clegg, communications director for the city, in an email to mhn.com said that the email communication was in no way an indication that the city was seeking to limit OM’s First Amendment rights to assemble. The city has worked diligently …to ensure that OM could exercise its righ to assemble within the city while also respecting the rights of Portland residents, businesses and property owners.
editor’s note: By the way, mhn.com is wondering where the heck are the city council members and the 15 mayoral candidates on the subject of Corporate Greed? For it or against it?
For more background information, please visit posts # 900 and 899 herein.