12/28/11 GA Minutes PM

General Assembly – wednesday 12/28/11

Moderator: Scott
Facilitator: Jenny
Stack-Coordinator: Jeremiah
Scribe: Jeremie [from Occupy Oakland]

Scott explains GA process.


Amy Price – Occupy the Courts:

We’ve had a couple mtgs at this point. The official day is the 20th, we decided to have one event on that day and another, very diff’t one on another day.
We have a panel discussion of speakers on the 20th who can speak on the problem of corporate personhood.
On Saturday 21st, we will have.. a combination of street theater + a march: play, “Who killed democracy” written by a creative writing student at U of H.
Wanted posters…
By the time we do this, there will be roles for everybody. We will need people to do outreach.. help out.. facilitate the panel discussion.

2 proposals:
We never officially voted to support Move to Amend
I will first read the text of Move to Amend.
I have been requested by facilitation to move the proposals to a diff’t section…

Trey (sustainability):
We are working on getting solar panels.
We need people who can help us get and install the panels ($150 each?)
Thank you to those of you who helped clean up the park.

Ben Franklin – occupy tranquility park workgroup:
We decided today to clean up the bench & sort through items that have been sitting there for over a week. 10 am tomorrow we will have a truck pick up for donation. I personally blocked proposal for salvation army as destination, backed by Mouse.
A lot of stuff is still usable by us & other ppl in need.
Please put your trash in trash bags or if you must city trash bins.
Do I have any suggestions of a good local charity to take this stuff to? Women’s shelter?

Women’s shelter wins…

Joe R – Political action group:
Mayor of Houston came by this morning around 10am and stayed for about 45mins, sat and talked to some of us who passed her security screening.
Mouse (from media): I tried to sit in on the conversation but I was not let in.
(gives antiquated definition of lobbying)
We talked about sanitation issues… we can let the city know when to come pick up our trash (?)
She wants to know what our next step is.
I said that those who smoke weed will probably continue to do so.. she laughed.
In a nutshell she just asked us to clean up the park more &…
We are one of the only cities in the US who are still in the same place as we began…

question: Do you confirm that there is a motion to stop us from camping overnight?
Answer: yes, she did bring that up. She’s concerned that we are a target for violence (guns). But we are staying. And we have a very good team of lawyers.
Question (scott): was there any sort of threat?
Answer: more a threat from us to her!

Jenny – workgroup workgroup:
I’m having an event on january 7th.
If you are part of a workgroup, let me know, we need you to be there!
Starts at 2.
If I can’t get enough people representing, I will have to set a schedule, so some of us can represent several workgroups at once.

Scott – facilitation:
we are going to compile every GA document & proposal that has been passed that affects Facilitation/GAs, mostly for future facilitation workgroups

i’ve started a private subreddit for the research workgroup. Email me at scottgregory@gmail.com if you want to get involved.
Q: what sorts of things are you going to be researching?
A: (gives some examples) – a lot of people who can’t necessarily come here can get involved w this committee

there is a house/lot up at 1401 Andrews (corner Wilson)
we came up w one ground rule today: fires and fire pits have to pass thru consensus decisions

Massoud – outreach:
2nd issue [of the OccupyHouston paper] is out, printed 10,000, distributed half of it in many cities. Soon it’s gonna be a Texas-wide newspaper—each city will have a page.
In houston we are in a unique situation. We have 3 ways to connect w one another: website, radio, newspaper. I want to emphasize that it’s easier to get & send email thru email… but historically every movement has had a newspaper that has brought people together… person to person contact w the community…
please contribute to the paper and distribute it!
Cost: we have to pay the printer…

Workgroup proposals:

Amy Price reads the text of Move to Amend’s proposal regarding limiting/abolishing corporate personhood

We, the General Assembly of Occupy Houston, fully support amending the United States Constitution
to end corporate personhood and restrict the influence of money on elections and politics. In particular,
we support the amendment proposed by MoveToAmend.org (text below), which makes clear that
corporations are not people, money is not speech, and both can be regulated by lawmakers.

We support Move To Amend’s amendment, rather than any of the versions currently proposed by various
senators and members of congress, because it is the only version that fully addresses both the doctrines
of “money=free speech” and “corporations are people”. Other versions would continue to allow wealthy
individuals to exert unfair influence over elections, PACs to do so, or both.

Our endorsement of this amendment does not imply that its passage is the aim of our work. Such an
event would be only one accomplishment in the broader struggle to remove power from corporations and
replace it in the hands of the people. Our ultimate goal is the worldwide adoption of sustainable lifestyles supported by structures that maximize meaningful and just freedoms. We will not be satisfied by partial successes.

Text of Amendment proposed by MoveToAmend.org:
Section 1 [A corporation is not a person and can be regulated]
The rights protected by the Constitution of the United States are the rights of natural persons only.
Artificial entities, such as corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities, established by the laws of any State, the United States, or any foreign state shall have no rights under this Constitution and are subject to regulation by the People, through Federal, State, or local law.
The privileges of artificial entities shall be determined by the People, through Federal, State, or local law, and shall not be construed to be inherent or inalienable.
Section 2 [Money is not speech and can be regulated]
Federal, State and local government shall regulate, limit, or prohibit contributions and expenditures, including a candidate’s own contributions and expenditures, for the purpose of influencing in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure.

Federal, State and local government shall require that any permissible contributions and expenditures be publicly disclosed.

The judiciary shall not construe the spending of money to influence elections to be speech under the First Amendment.

Nothing contained in this amendment shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.

Proposal passes.

Massoud – question: I love it but, has this been discussed with Outreach?

A: it’s been sent out (discussed?) over email.
I asked about a month ago who wanted to be involved w occupy the courts and got only one response.
Massoud: but this is outreach.
Scott: let’s work on making it more clear what is outreach and what issues need to be discussed within it.

Q: Will this go on the website?
A: It will go on their website that we—along with many other organizations, including the NLG & other Occupy’s—endorse it. And I think it should also go on ours.

Massoud: why didn’t I/the outreach committee hear about this until now?
Amy: We have been doing this through our own committee.

Amy: also, we need money for this action (posters, water, puppets, etc)
So I propose we allocate $120 to Occupy the Courts.

Ben F: to my knowledge no money has been allocated from the wepay account since the bail bonds…

Proposal passes (by ~80%).

Amy: I propose we make a banner.

?: maybe we should ask for donations for this banner rather than allocate budget twds it.
Remington: I may have a banner we can use. I just can’t bring it over on my motorcycle.

Massoud: we are coming back to the same issue, we need to know about things before GA (??)

The cost is the same as last time, $800. 2 people already sent $250 checks so we only need $300. I propose we allocate $300 for the newspaper.

Q (Ben F): at a previous GA questions have been asked about the printing process, & i’d like to see them answered so they can be in the minutes.
A (Massoud): I don’t know of any printer who can use ink that is environmentally (?)…
Union printers… contacted head of AFL-CIO who gave them the name of a printshop, haven’t checked with them yet.

Amy: maybe if we got in touch w some unions they could donate some of their services.
Massoud: it’s in process. [...]
Joe: POI… there’s only one union printshop…

Massoud: the newspaper can also raise the money for itself. Parties, etc… a lot of people are excited about the paper, and they’ll donate for it, but only for printing…
And all donations go directly towards the website, so that is not an issue.

Proposal passes
Massoud: Second proposal. I propose that we participate in the MLK parade on MLK’s 34th anniversary january 16th. (Duncantel has invited us to be part of the parade free of charge and have a banner…)

Jenny: I propose that we open an Occupy Houston Newspaper account for Massoud to get funds directly.

Proposal passes.

Scott reads the proposal for workgroups & the january 7th event.
“The january 7th meeting will officialize OH workgroups; as such, the workgroups that send a representative to the meeting will be OH’s official workgroups and will be included on the OH website.”

Proposal passes.


Remington: Tomorrow we are going to meet with the program director of KPFT to determine whether we can stay on the FM radio. We need to show them that it is worthwhile for them to keep us on the air. I think we should have as many people as possible call them and pledge to make donations if they keep us on the air. 713-526-4000

Massoud: it doesn’t work that way. We need to start a petition asking listeners to support your radio show.
Clarifying question (BF): M, when is the next KPFT board meeting?
M: I’ll email you.
BF: We could all go there by bus & sit in on their meeting.

Ben Franklin:
Like every Wednesday, from 4-6pm we have protests outside the Russian consulate. It’s always a small group of different people & I would like to have a more consistent large group.

There is a NYE party. There is a new class of city council members coming in, we will be kind to them at first.

The 61 encampments reported earlier were just reduced by 2. Occupy Bellingham and Occupy Sacramento have been evicted.

I am doing rideshare to Last Organic Outpost, a farm where we can work and fill out bags of veggies to bring back, 1pm every Sunday.
Trae: we can also go there any day during the week in the afternoon.

Trae: We have been a wee bit irresponsible with the big silver bins… trampling plants…
let’s compost and bring our containers back


Ben F: the mayor came by; I missed her. She complained about mess while refusing us any shelter or any structures at all. She complained about the grass; we have actually proposed to work with the city about replanting, haven’t been given a response. She claimed that the only reason homeless people defecate in the park is because we’re here. Our mayor, as the first openly LGBT mayor of a major US city, has done nothing for LGBT rights in the city (ex. housing rights).
I propose that we officially re-affirm our commitment to occupying public spaces, to assert our right to free speech and free assembly, and uphold our commitment to walk in the footsteps of the Arab Spring & Occupy Wall street [Passes 1st GA]

Tyler: I propose that we request/invite, as a GA, that people who are occupying “in spirit,” endeavor, if possible, to sleep at the park at least one night out of the week.
[that we post an official invitation on the OH website calling people to spend at least one night a week in Tranquility Park.]

BF: friendly amendment: what about 6 hours in the week?
?: No.
Proposal passes 1st GA.