Minutes of General Assembly, 14 June 2012

Occupy Bernal General Assembly Minutes
7pm on Thursday, June 14, 2012

1. Introductions

Agenda approved with addition of the following items:

* June 25 Sacramento action
* Announcement from Action Council (David Solnit)
* Communications Workgroup

2. Where we stand: Geary and Josephine’s trial loan modifications from Bank of America with assistance from SF Mayor’s office.

Update on Homeowner Bill of Rights: some parts have passed, but dual tracking and single point of contact are still in process. Discussion on how to get more action alerts out on Homeowner Bill of Rights from larger organizations. Talk with Christie Hakim if you’re interested in working on it. Judy Siff recommended putting a message in our email signatures. Also discussed petitions and Occupy Bernal’s petition to the banks for a foreclosure moratorium.

Christie reported on the Monday, June 25, Foreclosure Moratorium action in Sacramento and encouraged people to attend and to lobby. Occupy Sacramento wants FEFs to speak. Kathy asked about what Tom Ammiano and Mark Leno are doing on the legislation and Judy K. replied that Leno is an author of one of the bills. Judy K. and Christie agreed to be liaisons to the organizers of the protest and coordinate Occupy Bernal’s participation.

Hiya offered some typewriters for personalized letters, which legislators treat with more weight than electronic ones.

Mayors’ Pause Letter: calls for pause on foreclosures until Attorney General settlement in place, but has a sentence that excludes those who can’t make payments on their mortgages, so is not very helpful.

Action on individual cases

What end of Alberto’s auction postponement means

3. Assessment of Alberto auction protest: 50 people came out to the auction. David Solnit made awesome mirrors. Alberto filed for bankruptcy so his house wasn’t sold. Kat mentioned how cool the mirrors are, the way they show peoples’ faces in the reflection. Fred found the action super-inspiring and felt the auctioneers and investors were very frustrated. Jose said we stopped some other auctions from happening. Tita felt uncomfortable with the intensity of how the protestors were talking to the people and felt the protestors were verbally violent. Incident where we mistakenly yelled at someone who was a supporter. Tita wants people to come and feel safe at our demonstrations… she saw several people distancing themselves from the action. Perhaps we should have a nonviolence training. Kathy felt horrible at Alberto’s grief when he announced that his family had to file bankruptcy. Julien mentioned that deciding about violence can involve tactical questions, for example, if we get physically violent at an action, then we would invite police repression. Bruce reported that an auctioneer was calling people telling them that there was a huge demonstration. He mentioned that even after discussing the issue of violence for over 50 years, but still haven’t come to any agreement. Alice brought up an incident where an investor pushed her and we had a discussion on how to deal with the situation. Fred suggested a discussion about the pushing scenario and how to respond and felt that we don’t have an agreement in the room about what nonviolence is. Stardust suggested a nonviolence training at 12:00 noon on Saturday after the action planning meeting at ACCE, but some people said they couldn’t come. Bruce suggested creating a card that lists the nonviolence guidelines for the protest… great idea! Kathy L. suggested to Alice and Fred determining what it would take to file a complaint. Elaine suggested an immediate response pertinent to the auction actions, as well as a longer-term Occupy Bernal discussion on violence. Hiya suggested that people meet with Stardust who want to figure out what should go on an action agreement card for the auction action. Fred suggested meeting before an action for an orientation. Those interested will discuss with Stardust immediately after the meeting. Stardust volunteered to draft a card for the auction action and send it to the group for comments. Kat volunteered to prepare a proposal on a nonviolence discussion for the next GA and invited others to participate with her. Elaine feels the discussion is necessary prior to the training. Consensed on the proposal for the auction action card and preparing a nonviolence discussion for the group.

4. Foreclosure and eviction fighter deadlines report

Stardust reviewed the cases and when our foreclosure and eviction fighters are up for auction. Maria talked a bit about her situation.

5. Suggested action calender from ACCE meetings, next coalition meeting

David Solnit reported back from Action Council. David let the Action Council and the Direct Action Workgroup know that things are coming to a head with the housing actions. They want to help Occupy Bernal. They would prefer to have 2-6 weeks notice and prioritize actions.

Christie thinks planning our actions with more notice would be good so that other groups can join in and be effective.

Stardust reported on the action planning meetings co-held with ACCE. He described the actions on the calendar handout.

Kat said she felt the Homeless Shelter action should have a day of its own. Stardust said he feels we really need to escalate our response. Julien said he felt there were too many actions on the list and they should be spread out over more time. Bruce talked about how to indicate which actions should be prioritized, especially for people who can only take limited time off from work. Fred likes how there are actions after the auction actions, especially in the case where auctions get canceled or postponed. Fred suggested sending an email saying “this is the week” and asking people to pick at least one day they can come this week to help their neighbors. David mentioned that to outreach to folks with a short message works better than a complex message. David said to put off the Stumpf action and to advertise the auction actions. Christie would like to focus on getting people to the auctions, along with the email alerts that go along with that.

In summary, the group seemed to think it would be a good idea to delay the Stumpf action and to downplay announcing the actions after the auction actions (and perhaps to restrict it to actions that are simple, such as the Points of Light action).

6. Outreach

Diane will call for an outreach workgroup meeting and coordinate some tabling activities. The education and outreach workgroup meetings typically take place at 10:00am on Sundays at Progressive Grounds.

Julien talked about how we do outreach to foreclosure and eviction fighters. Doorknocking happens at 10:30am each Sunday at Progressive Grounds. Julien brought up the idea of hosting house parties with foreclosure and eviction fighters.

7. Communications

Diane would like to prepare some literature for Occupy Bernal. Diane would like Occupy Bernal to include a broader message with our literature. Christie will work with Diane on the materials, since she has already prepared some. Jose suggested wording of “Do you know someone who is facing foreclosure…?” rather than “Are you facing foreclosure…?”

8. Announcements

* Kathy L. announced that Supervisor Wiener proposing a nasty measure to enable condo conversions and remove rent control protections.

* Elaine announced an event with Boots Riley scheduled for 6pm on Saturday, June 16, at the Redstone Building.

* Diane announced availability of Occupy Bernal buttons available for $3-5.

* David announced events related to solidarity with the student movement in Quebec including:

– Movie screening at 8:30pm on Thursday, June 28, 555 California St.
– Solidarity march at 11:30am on Friday, June 29, 580 California St.

* Fred announced that Occupy SF Housing is planning a campaign around Ellis Act conversions.

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