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Occupy Boise Marches In Solidarity With Oakland

Chanting, “We are the 99%” and “We are Oakland,” about 50 members of the Occupy Boise group marched around downtown Boise Wednesday night and congregated at City Hall.

Members of the group told the GUARDIAN they were demonstrating solidarity with their counterparts in Oakland, California who came under physical attack Tuesday in a confrontation with police.

They marched past the “Hole” at 8th and Main which is the site of a proposed high rise office tower. Zions Bank and the developer are set to receive as much as $4 million in tax money from Boise citizens via the CCDC and the group has said they wanted to call attention to the fact.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. In my view, the “Occupy” movement is not particularly related to CCDC or the Boise “hole.”

    The “Occupy” movement is protesting Wall Street banks, corporatism and especially INCOME INEQUALITY in the United States…

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/08/wealth-how-does-the-us-slice-the-pie.html

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/july-dec11/makingsense_08-16.html

    …which may have been — and probably was — the root cause of the housing bubble and the subsequent collapse of that bubble.

    The Web site of the BOISE “Occupy” movement features nothing about CCDC:

    http://occupyboise.org/

    Nor is there any mention of CCDC or Boise’s “hole” on the “Occupy” Boise Facebook page that I can see:

    http://www.facebook.com/OccupyBoise

    I think you might be stretching this one, Dave.

    EDITOR NOTE–Jerry, no stretch. In fact they told me it will be one of their “focus points” because it is exactly as you outline above…government catering to a big bank. There words, not mine. Rather than a stretch, it is just another example of the GUARDIAN being ahead of the curve. A TV station newsy said they won’t cover either the Tea PArty or Occupy events unless they provide two day notice in advance.

  2. Dave, no doubt you encountered some individuals participating in local protests who may have expressed their suspicion of efforts to fix downtown Boise’s “hole” (public urban renewal efforts), that particular issue does not appear to be the focus of their protest nor does it appear to represent the specific opinions of the group as a whole.

    If it did, they would spell that out on their Web site:

    http://occupyboise.org/

    Wealth inequality, student loan debts, unregulated Wall Street banks (as opposed to relatively small, regional, regulated banks) and corporate control of institutions that are supposed to be democratic: These are their main issues.

  3. By the way, here are the pie charts that illustrate the wealth inequality in the United States:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/businessdesk/2011/08/wealth-how-does-the-us-slice-the-pie-continued.html

  4. Jerry, I’m not sure how many of the occupyboise meetings you’ve been to, but I have to wonder the basis for your assessment. Is it based on actual experience at Occupy Boise assemblies, or is it based on mainstream/corporate media coverage of Occupy Boise events specifically, or is it based on mainstream/corporate coverage of Occupy Wall Street generally?

    I think MANY (most?) people in Occupy Boise are quite concerned about the collusion between public (and psuedo-public) entities that spend tax monies (and narrow the property tax base) to subsidize private profits, especially of a freaking bank.

    At the 6PM Occupy Boise general assembly in Capitol Park last night when this 7PM march was proposed, discussed, consented on and planned, it was made clear that the hole-deal is a grievance many of us share about business as usual around here and that we wanted to specifically pass it (and some of the big banks) on our march route to raise some awareness.

    Over the last week or two especially, this concern seems to be being raised more frequently among folks I talk with there.

    At least one occupier took this concern straight at Councilman Eberle (who has some role at CCDC) at the Boise Votes event at Boise State the other night, and the Councilman seemed to move straight into defensive obfuscation (mixed with a faux indignation). It suggested to me that the Councilman did NOT want an honest conversation about the costs of this project.

    Anyone interested in hearing more directly from occupiers (rather than getting info filtered through mass media) should definitely come to our general assmebly meetings. Tonight (Th, 10/27) and tomorrow (Fr, 10/28) our General Assemblies will be meeting in Room E403 (the House Majority Caucus Chambers) at the People’s House at 700 W. Jefferson.

    Kudos to the Guardian for getting the scoop on this, they were not the only media contacted, but I think they were the only ones who showed up.

  5. other assembly dates are posted on the calendar at our website: http://occupyboise.org/calendar
    all our assemblies are open to the public.

  6. Too funny. We won’t cover news unless we have 2 days notice.

  7. Also, a great debate about wealth inequality on the New York Times Web site:

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/03/21/rising-wealth-inequality-should-we-care

    Also… economist Dean Baker’s suggestions for fixing the problem:

    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/books/the-end-of-loser-liberalism

  8. As a protester with Occupy Boise, we have discussed the “hole” at our GA’s . Dave is right.

  9. Keyann,

    Are you the official spokesperson for OCCUPY BOISE? Just curious.

  10. Alex wrote:

    “At least one occupier took this concern straight at Councilman Eberle (who has some role at CCDC) at the Boise Votes event at Boise State the other night…”

    Yes. I’m sure that’s probably true.

    But the documents explaining the public portion of the “fix-Boise’s-hole” project are on the Web — in public view — here:

    http://ccdcboise.com/AboutCCDC/documents/BoardpacketSeptember262011.pdf

    (Page 231 of the 345-page PDF document.)

    Also, the public board of the city’s agency advertises its meetings — which are public meetings — on the Web site.

    It seems to me that we’re talking about “apples” and “oranges.”

    When it comes to big, international Wall Street investment banks such as Goldman Sachs…

    http://www2.goldmansachs.com/

    …yes… the OCCUPY protests appear to be directed toward that type of bank.

    When it comes to a relatively small, regional, regulated bank then… ? I’m STILL not sure there’s a logical connection.

    The housing bubble and the subsequent collapse of the national economy have already been studied by the official Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC). You can read the conclusion of that panel on the Stanford University Web site here:

    http://fcic.law.stanford.edu/

    The conclusions of that report did *not* appear to place blame for the housing bubble collapse on small, regional banks such as Zions!

    Are you suggesting that a regional depositor bank such as Zions was responsible for a national housing bubble collapse???

    I’m not sure I follow you.

    Other examples of Wall Street investment banks were Lehman Brothers (went bankrupt in 2008), Bear Stearns (sold to JP Morgan Chase in 2008) and Merrill Lynch (now a division of Bank of America).

    So it seems we’re talking about two entirely different types of banks.

    In addition, the collapse of the housing bubble and the subsequent unemployment in the construction industry is something that an urban renewal project in downtown Boise might help, right?

  11. Dean Gunderson
    Oct 27, 2011, 1:48 pm

    Jerry,

    Though the OccupyBoise movement has no single spokesperson (we’re all fully capable of speaking for ourselves), the subject of CCDC’s grant of $4M in public taxpayer money to yet another bank to be built in the downtown has been seriously discussed within the group — both in the General Assemblies and the open facebook page.

    Though I’ve known David Eberle since before he entered local politics, his default position at the debate concerning the legitimate questions raised by the OccupyBoise attendees about the Zion Bank issue was not his best performance. He automatically assumed that those asking the questions knew nothing about tax increment financing, or the nature of Urban Redevelopment Agencies. Most, if not all, of the folks he spoke to were left feeling as if he had treated them as ignorant children — who could only have a problem with the Zion Bank gift because they didn’t know what CCDC is suppose to do.

    For those who only had a fuzzy idea about Urban Renewal Agencies, Eberle’s response still left them asking why CCDC felt obligated to gift $4M to a bank — as opposed to investing that tax money in some other more worthwhile piece of public infrastructure.

  12. Alex asked:

    “I have to wonder the basis for your assessment. Is it based on actual experience at Occupy Boise assemblies, or is it based on mainstream/corporate media coverage of Occupy Boise events specifically, or is it based on mainstream/corporate coverage of Occupy Wall Street generally?”

    Alex,

    The OCCUPY movement, it appears, was initiated by an online magazine, Adbusters: a not-for-profit entity based in Vancouver, British Columbia:

    http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/occupywallstreet.html

    They appear to advocate…

    FOR:

    Democracy

    AGAINST:

    Corporatism and what they describe as “Wall Street, the financial Gomorrah of America.”

    Wikipedia’s entry reads as follows:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupy_Wall_Street

    “Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is an ongoing series of demonstrations in New York City based in Zuccotti Park in the Wall Street financial district. The protests were initiated by the Canadian activist group Adbusters.[5] They are mainly protesting social and economic inequality, corporate greed, corporate power and influence over government (particularly from the financial services sector), and of lobbyists.”

    They appear to be in favor of nonviolent protest.

    If the democratic process leads to a community consensus that Boise’s “hole” should remain a permanent fixture in the downtown, fine, I have no problem with that.

    On the other hand, I would point out that there are probably many local advocates of democracy who hold a different opinion: that fixing the “hole” might yield significant public benefits such as employment and eventually more revenue for public services. I think those people should also be heard.

    Then, hopefully, the two sides might work together to achieve a reasonable compromise.

    But it seems too early to tell if the OCCUPY movement in Boise is 100% against/for fixing the downtown “hole.”

    It appears to me the truth might actually be that members of the group might hold a variety of different opinions on that particular subject.

    EDITOR NOTE–Thanks for the shorter comment! You are right, it is only 99% against spending public money for a bank that already has TARP funds.

  13. …and don’t forget, Zions Bancorp got federal bailout money. Guess they’ll take “fill-in” money too.

  14. Dave, ZIONS will have to repay the TARP funds. In fact, the government might actually force ZIONS to sell shares to pay off that TARP debt. Let’s keep an eye on it.

    Nevertheless, democracy is great! I applaud the robust public debate about these issues! However, why not focus more attention on the organizational structure of the Federal Reserve System?

    http://www.federalreserve.gov/

    More democracy may actually be a potential cure for the our system’s problems. Economist Dean Baker explains how citizens can and should demand more representation on the boards of the various regional Federal Reserve bank units in his FREE book:

    http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/books/the-end-of-loser-liberalism

    In Chapter 6 (page 65), “Full Employment Without The Fed,” Baker expresses the opinion that the main problem with the Federal Reserve System is that its current organizational structure gives private sector banks too much representation on the various Federal Reserve boards!

    Mr. Baker argues that it is happening at OUR expense!

    If average citizens would simply demand more representation on the boards of the Federal Reserve System, they might be able to implement new policy that would place emphasis on full employment, for example, rather than policies that primarily safeguard the interests of deep-pocketed investors. Take a look at the individuals who are on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Salt Lake City Branch:

    http://www.frbsf.org/publications/federalreserve/annual/2010/salt-lake-city-board-of-directors.html

    Let’s start with Mr. Scott Hymas who is the CEO of RC Willey, which is just one of many Berkshire Hathaway companies:

    http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/subs/sublinks.html

    I’ve never met the man. But I ask the question: Is he an individual who would fairly represent the interests of average working citizens in this region? Or is it more likely that He might represent the interests of, say, Mr. Warren Buffett? What about his colleagues on that same board?

    Democracy is the cure, but will Idahoans rise up and demand representation? There’s always hope. But when I look at how many people in Idaho fail to make it to the polls… well…

  15. I think Jerry thinks he is the spokesman for Occupy Boise. Why does Zions Bank need more corporate welfare to build their bank? Why can’t CCDC just tell them to make it one story shorter?
    The top story probably costs about 4 million. Why doesn’t Zion Bank use the massive TARP funds they recieved to pay for the improvements? Oh yeah, I forgot they used it for executive bonus pay.

  16. Dog asked:

    “Why can’t CCDC just tell them to make it one story shorter?”

    Dog, better yet: Why don’t you — yes you — go to one board meeting and ask them? Also ask them to explain why they don’t believe it is corporate welfare. And ask them if the bank will be the only tenant in this building. And ask them how much tax revenue will be lost if this “hole” sits idle for another 24 years. Then report back to us.

  17. One more sincere question for “Dog.”

    How truly messed up do you think downtown Boise would be without public parking garages? All of these public parking garages here…

    http://www.ccdcboise.com/ParkingDowntown/documents/ParkingAccessMap_001.PDF

    …were financed through CCDC using public dollars.

    Now, of course, you refer to these decidedly expensive public structures as “corporate welfare.” So, apparently, you don’t believe public parking structures should have been financed with tax increment financing (TIF) dollars.

    OK. So what would have been your preferred alternative?

    EDITOR NOTE–None of the structures were approved by a vote of the citizens as required by the constitution when bonds are sold. CCDC is without any oversight of any elected body–city, county, or state. All of the structures have spaces dedicated to private users (no public benefit)–nearly 1/3 of the spaces next to the Hampton Inn. Mark Rivers got about $8 million of public money for his private venture. Businesses in other parts of the city have to provide parking as a condition of building permit approval. Downtown they have an unfair advantage because they also get police and fire service largely funded by those of us who live outside the CCDC districts. Future CCDC districts will have to be approved by a vote of the people, thanks to efforts of citizens who participated in the governmental process to limit their runaway authority.

  18. Jerry, Why is the General Assembly of Occupy Boise bound to parrot the position of any other General Assembly within the Occupy Movement? I don’t think that it is, though I certainly stand in solidarity with all the 99% who are refusing to be silenced any longer by the greed and corruption of the 1%.

  19. The thing that concerns me most about the downtown urban renewal district, is that it narrows the base on the county property tax, if I’m not mistaken. That shifts the rightful burden of that district’s property owners onto property tax payers who pay tax on property outside that district. We could have made a heckuva park for $4 million, made downtown more livable, generated more foot traffic, and wound up with something primarily intended for the benefit of all rather than the profit of a few. But keep moving people, there’s nothing to see here.

  20. Jerry, if, as you seem to suggest above, you truly think Occupy Boise should focus on other grievances besides the ones dealt with in this march, then you should totally come and help out with the discussion and planning at Occupy Boise assemblies. It’s exactly 967% more effective (and better received) than laptop quarterbacking. Seriously, come to a meeting if you can make one. Participate in our process and help improve our community together.

    FYI- As I recall, we also ALL agreed that our march would take us past some other, bigger baron banks.
    Honestly, at that time I was all about showing solidarity with my brothers and sisters, whom the City of Oakland tried to silence so crudely. Also one reportorial detail not included in the article: One of the chants was “Shame on OPD, Stop police brutality.”

  21. or why not swing by our FREE! Bazaar in Capitol Park on Saturday. Here’s a copy press release the Occupy Boise Public Ed and Outreach Working Group banged out the other day:

    For Immediate Release

    Occupy Boise Offers FREE! Community Bazaar on Saturday, Oct. 29.

    Occupy Boise invites the public to a “FREE! Bazaar” on Saturday, October 29 from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM in Capitol Park.

    Occupy Boise’s mission is to build community among the 99% to address the problems caused by the greed and corruption of the 1%. The “FREE! Bazaar” will be an exhibition of some small-scale, practical ways to serve human needs right now while preparing to address the bigger problems down the road. Don’t miss this chance to spend time with friends and neighbors in a completely noncommercial (FREE!) setting.

    The “FREE! Bazaar” will feature games, music, zombie face painting, a really free market (where all goods are FREE!), a free-speech soap box, a mass meeting, arts activities, food to share with Food Not Bombs, and educational workshops such as “Know Your Rights,” “Herbalism,” and “Consent”.

    To experience what it might look like to focus on human needs instead of corporate greed, come to the “FREE! Bazaar” in Capitol Park this Saturday, between 10:00 AM and 6:30 PM. The park is located at 601 W. Jefferson Street (across from the People’s House) in Downtown Boise.

    The event is absolutely free of charge and open to folks of all ages and backgrounds.

    The public is also invited to attend all Occupy Boise meetings to discuss and plan next steps. On Thursday and Friday, Occupy Boise will hold General Assembly meetings from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM in the House Majority Caucus Room on the 4th floor of the People’s House, at 700 W. Jefferson St. On Saturday, our mass meeting will assemble at 2:00 PM at the “FREE! Bazaar” in Capitol Park. Other assembly times can be found on the calendar tab at occupyboise.org.
     

  22. sam the sham
    Oct 28, 2011, 2:51 am

    Would we need so many parking garages if we had a (better) mass transit system in Boise? Would it be nice if our mayor supported a mass transit system (rather than a toy train which would run a few blocks downtown in his playground)?
    Would it be nice if government LOCAL government were concerned about the people we call tax payers over big business? By the way, I keep my money in a local credit union – not a bank and use cash whenever possible (to avoid using a plastic card when cash works just as well).
    Thanks Dave, for not needing two freaking days notice to cover the news. In case our media needs to know – a Marine who has returned from Iraq was injured by Oakland police….. but then they may not have had two days notice to report this news. That’s ok – I get most of my news on line rather than waiting and waiting and waiting to find out what the powers that be in this this area sift out as ok to report.

  23. I love the Occupy movement and appreciate what the movement stands for, but I think we are missing the mark on this one. It appears that the right is manipulating our message. I am a Occupier and my message is “Fairness, Justice, and Democracy in government and the workplace” lets focus our efforts on redistribution of wealth, Corporate Campaign contribution reform, and bringing job back to the United States.

  24. chicago sam
    Oct 28, 2011, 9:28 am

    So there it is –redistribution of wealth. The key is how do you redistribute. If you have an idea that others will buy or a unique product or are willing to work 16 hours a day you are well on your way. Standing in line for your unemployment check or getting your kids lunches free will get no sympathy from me. For instance we have a large cattle population in this state. Why don’t you learn to make shoes and leather belts out of the cow hides which are shipped overseas and come back a finished product. This would require hard work and more skill than using your thumbs on an I-pod–Campaign finance reform I am all for it. Binging jobs back from overseas–you have to be willing to outwork and out think a chinese or Indian worker as they are your true competition. If capitalism had been allowed to work the big banks would have been history and your local credit union run by local people would have looked a lot better

  25. Globalization has lifted up third world countries at the expense of good paying jobs in this country. CEO’s got paid big money to move jobs offshore. It didn’t take a genius to figure out cheap labor would impact the bottom line. Americans bought into this with every purchase of cheap foreign made goodies.

    Banks are getting to use our money for nearly zero interest and loaning it to other countries via bond debt to Brazil, Argentina and other countries and the CEO’s are paid millions for taking on high risk debt underwritten by US taxpayers.

    Colleges and Universities keep selling the scam that any college degree will lead to a good job. Add to that the myth that the school you attend along with a worthless degree actually matters to any employer. Parents and students buy into this myth and at the end of 4-5 years the kid comes out of college with a worthless degree eligible to man a hotel reservation line, flip burgers, park cars etc. If you attend college make sure there is a job with a demand for your course of study otherwise you have wasted your time along with your parents money. Math,Science and Engineering are still in demand… Anthropology, Ethnic Studies and Basket Weaving are not going to lead to a good job.

    We now have a situation where we have too many people chasing too few jobs worldwide. Monday the world will hit 7 Billion people and counting.

  26. I am deeply disturbed by Cops in Oakland using teargas and rubber bullets/shotgun bean bag projectiles etc. on peaceful protesters. The last time I checked we have a Constitutional Right of assembly. The person filling in for the Mayor In Oakland should be charged with a crime along with the Chief of Police who overreacted.

    The guy carrying the AK-47 was the excuse for the cops to get carried away. This guy has a Constitutional Right to have that gun and was not engaged in any unlawful behavior.

    All this reminds me of the Chicago Riots at the Democratic Convention in the late 1960’s. The Cops got nutty over what was a peaceful assembly.

  27. Paul, I agree with you. The use of force was too much. It is the kind of thuggery which is becoming all too common with our militarized police forces.

    On the other hand, I do not think the protesters are peaceful when it is their intent to cause disruption.

    Anyone fool enough to openly carry an AK in a confrontational situation with police, legal as it may be, is just being stupid.

  28. One Who Knows
    Oct 28, 2011, 1:57 pm

    Why don’t some of you people “occupy” a seat in the State Legislature? City Council? County Commission? Congress? Yes you make a a good point but if you really want to see change RUN FOR SOMETHING! Hell, run for everything!

  29. sam the sham
    Oct 28, 2011, 3:07 pm

    So, is anyone up for supporting Oakland’s citywide strike on November 2nd? No work, no school. It was voted on after the US vet suffered a skull fracture at the hands of the police of Oakland.

    What is going on rather reminds me of an old tune from 1967 “for what it’s worth” by Buffalo Springfield.

  30. Hey Zippo,
    I could not agree more. The kid with the AK was baiting the cops and they went for it. The video I saw showed a fairly well dressed person with the gun slung over his shoulder with the business end pointed toward the ground.

    I can’t get past the freedom of assembly guaranteed by the Constitution. Given the posture and actions of this kid I think he was exercising his rights. The escalation of violent acts has been due to overly zealous cops when ignoring trivial things would have been the best for everyone.

    The only thing missing was Bull Conner and the fire hoses.

  31. One Who Knows–Maybe some of us would prefer direct democracy to representational democracy. For those of us, such an act might violate our values.

    Others might view it as a tactical error, like that Leonard Cohen line “they sentenced me to 30 years of boredom for trying to change the system from within.” Maybe you should run.

    Personally speaking, I have lost faith in the corporate-owned election system entirely.

    In case you missed it, the system is broken. Maybe the politicians should come sit in on some of our meetings and learn how to listen to each other and work together to find common ground and help solve community problems. Their way sure doesn’t work.

  32. Alex, take a look at California real closely with their “direct democracy” initiatives. Anyone with a couple million can finance any law they wish. Initiatives that pass with voter approval become the law of the land in California. Direct democracy can be much more insidious than representative republic form of government.

    I don’t agree with the elimination of the peoples effort to enact term limits in Idaho but it sent a message to our one party rulers in Idaho. They used their muscle to shoot that issue down in the first 10 minutes of the session a few years back.

    I would like to see 4 year terms for everyone and legislative sessions every two years. At $30k/day cost when the legislature is in session. Other states like Texas and Montana make this work.

  33. Paul, all the issues you raise are concerns I share. The fact that the initiative process in CA is so tainted by big money may explain CA problems as well as problems with initiatives themselves. The money drowns out an honest discussion of costs vs. benefits, and I think that’s part of the CA problem with initiatives there. When I speak of direct democracy, it is not necessarily limited to majority-rules direct democracy, but would include the consensus-based decision making that Occupy Boise uses. Our current republican form seems to me to have been wholly bought and sold by the 1%, and I personally tend to believe we the people’s voice should never be ignored when decisions are made that will impact our lives. Currently our voices seem relevant only insofar as we can donate money to campaigns or vote in November, and then we no longer count.

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