And it looks like the socialist fowl will be roosting in Bellingham’s Maritime Heritage Park. The group Occupy Bellingham has announced its plan for a permanent occupation encampment beginning tomorrow.?? You might ask as I did if this is legal?? The answer is well sort of legal maybe.
City of Bellingham Municipal Code
Title 8 PARKS, CEMETERIES, AND PUBLIC PLACES
Chapter 04 GENERAL REGULATIONS
8.04.080 – OVERNIGHT CAMPING
A. Overnight camping is prohibited on park property except by written permission of the Director of Parks and Recreation.
B. A violation of this section is a civil infraction.
[Ord. 10612 ?2, 1995]
So if they did received written permission, then yes it is legal to camp overnight.?? But did they get permission to take up permanent residency at the park?? And is that even possible or is there a time limit on events?
<Click Image for Complete list>
Image & information from http://occupy-bellingham.org.
I did check another section of the City of Bellingham code and found that most of what is planned, including fires, could be legal, but again only with proper permission obtained “by?submitting a written application to the office of the Director of Parks and Recreation at least 10 days in advance of the date of intended use.”
I still didn?t find anything that allows permanent residency in the park by groups so their plan may have some legal kinks.? However legal kinks may not be a problem because Kelli Linville, who seems a shoe in as Bellingham?s next mayor, and City Council member Terry Bornemann were both smiling for the camera as they marched with the Occupy Bellingham a few weeks ago.
So?I?m kind of doubting there will be legal issues with the city, but the Occupy Group was also looking for ?VOLUNTEERS!! (Especially first aid & Legal!)? Your guess is as good as mine about what they have planned that might require first aid and a lawyer.? I do wonder though, when push comes to shove, which side Kelli Linville & Terry Bornemann will be on??? And as it?s been almost a tradition for the City of Bellingham to swoon over anyone involved with our local socialist groups, will this have to change if things turn south, the way they have in other occupied cities?? Will the City of Bellingham have to grow up?
From a Bellingham Herald article today,
Though Bellingham Parks and Recreation Interim Director Leslie Bryson did not give approval for the overnight camping, the city said it is being flexible with the campers in hopes of keeping costs down and ensuring safety. City officials have given the campers guidelines to follow about noise, sanitation, fires and food service.
I guess this clears up any question regarding the legality of the encampment in a Bellingham park; They are in violation of a Bellingham Municipal code, but the city has chosen not to enforce this rule in this case. ?Comments on their UStream confirms that police had avoided the area during the first night and that park officials came by, but didn’t ask them to leave ?Their UStream also showed two other admirable, yet I think illegal, things going on: ?they have landscaped the part with bark to cut down on mud and they are processing grey water and
dumping watering plants in park. ? Food does not appear to be in issue with much apparently being donated, but on the less than admirable front one forum poster said “some of us also have foodstamps available if it gets that bad”
Oh, and they need ear plugs because trains are loud.
If you’d like to keep a tabs on the goings on down there while you occupy your office or living room in solidarity with the 53%, check out their Occupy website, Occupy Forum, Facebook page, or go hi-tech and visit their Upstream.
And one more thought and then really I’ll quit. ?Mayor Dan Pike said in a press release referenced in the above Herald article.
“Organizers have expressed and, so far, followed through with their commitment to protest against wealth inequity in our country in a non-confrontational manner that is respectful of public safety and respectful of city property,”
Really soon to be former Mayor Pike? ?Politely flipping their noses at the rules of the city and people you represent then illegally taking up residence in a public park is being non-confrontational? ?Would it still be non-confrontational?if you had said, No? ?Ronald Reagan once said,
?Let?s set the record straight. There is no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have peace?and you can have it in the next second?surrender.”
Mayor Pike… Ronald Reagan was joking, not giving leadership advice!