Tag Archives: Camping

Legal artistry

(In response to questions received on another forum: “I’m curious as to why, exactly, you feel that you are entitled to stay in a public park at all?”, “What makes you feel that you are entitled to enjoy the ‘right’ of pursuing your happiness — that is, living in Acacia park — without having to contribute monetarily to the upkeep of that public facility.. Furthermore, why is it that you believe that, in the interest of effecting a change in a law which you disagree with, the best course of action is to choose to voluntarily break said law, rather than getting involved in the legal process and effecting a change in the typical fashion? After all, all that really accomplishes is an additional waste of taxpayer-funded services, in this case law enforcement.”)

I’ll reiterate again before i take this on that these are profoundly excellent questions that i think every Occupier, observer, and citizen of any country ought to contemplate deeply before entering the fray–maybe even before leaving the house this morning.

First I should clarify what may amount to a few misconceptions wrought largely by the media of late. As has been reported I am living with dear friends who find my comfort to be a valuable thing and have extended their hospitality freely absent any solicitation on my end. J. Adrian Stanley of the CS Independent has referred to me as a “technically homeless…couch[-]surf[er],” which is true, though only by certain technical legal definitions, which are generally designed to either skirt or address issues involving benefits of some sort. I am “technically” employed as the sole proprietor of the Paint Squad, a remodeling company that has been defunct for practical purposes since the media began trumpeting a new Great Depression, and the guy i had been working with abandoned the project. For the record, i collect no unemployment, disability, food stamps, or any other money or benefits of any kind from the government. Plainly stated, i have no monetary income. This is not meant to offer ethical assessment of my situation nor to elicit sympathy or whatever, but is merely offered to add perspective to my positions, and to rectify factual errors that have made it into the mix. Bear in mind i was camping at Acacia Park not out of necessity, but to effect the specific outcome that you may observe to have been effected. Note that although hundreds of campers are now down along Fountain Creek in violation of the same ordinance, they are not at Acacia Park kicking the bee’s nest with me–they have different and rather more imminent needs than i.

I believe i adequately responded to Mark’s first question by directing him to the appropriate pages here at hipgnosis. The second is a continuation of the first, with the addenda about “contributing monetarily.” A response must necessarily involve the natures of money, property and its use, and our interaction amongst ourselves as human beings. The third involves political processes and movements, civil disobedience, and my own spiritual foundation. I hope those statements enlightens the reader on the length of this post, and Mark in particular on the reason for the time taken for its development.

Some questions in answer to a question: Who owns public land? What does it mean to “own” it? Whence the resources to maintain the land, and what does that mean? We Americans have never adequately addressed these matters, and our ethical foundation for holding this conversation will remain forever spongy until we do. All land ownership in the United States harks back to the arbitrary decrees of that series of monarchies our predecessors here acknowledged to be so corrupt that a bloody war was necessary to shed the influence thereof. Land was simply declared by powerful people to be “owned” by favored sycophants, regardless of the opinions of the contemporary inhabitants. The Founders adopted the same attitudes governing property as had been utilized by their enemies. Every piece of property in the country now, public or private, is viewed through the lens of this fact. Its “ownership” is determined by arbitrary acts of murder and fiat. It’s understandable that this is the case–effecting such jarring and massive shifts in foundational thinking is never blithely easy, though it does appear simple once accomplished.

Having had an ear to the ground for some time on matters such as we are discussing , i am alert to numerous suggestion that “we” give land back to the “Indians.” This idea is as flawed as the other, and the thinking of indigenous peoples advocating it has been corrupted by our Western philosophical bias. The only genuine option uncorrupted by avarice and murder is to revert to a state of ignorance of ownership where the land is concerned. The elaboration of this notion constitutes a genuine system of political economy and i will carry it no further here, (but will link below). This is put in the mix to allow the reader to investigate further, and to establish that the following points are argued from an academic point of view rendered at least partially moot by the actual philosophical basis for the actions in question.

Be alert, Mark, that i have not been a societal parasite. I have worked and paid taxes since the age of 12, in spite of strenuous effort to limit the absurd, onerous, and unethical share the Government has taken through any nefarious means available. Maintenance at Acacia Park is paid out of city sales tax, unless i’m mistaken, which i certainly paid when i bought the sleeping bag i slept in there, the bicycle i rode to the park, the tobacco i smoked while there. Additionally, though i have not camped there in a week or so, one might readily visit the Park and ascertain that it is in a far cleaner state than before Occupiers carved out a space there, the rest rooms were locked coincident to their arrival, and the only maintenance in evidence is a guy that comes around in the morning to collect the bags of trash the Occupiers have gathered from around the whole park, and the sprinklers which still douse the tree lawns where people are camping even though watering season is so obviously over that infrastructure damage is imminent. Regardless, and without additional verbosity, the land in question is public, and we Occupiers clean up after ourselves requiring less maintenance, not more, of the City. Opposition to the notion that smaller contributions in tax payments ought to equal diminished rights to enjoy publicly held assets, with which we are endowed at birth is quite close to the heart of the Occupiers’ battles, whether individual Occupiers have become aware of the idea yet or not. We all pay for it, both monetarily and in karmic debt, or by whatever system of spiritual balance you may care to invoke. Any Rockefeller is welcome to pop a tent next to mine.

Your final point, that is, why civil disobedience rather than ordinary action is yet another that might be expanded at length. In the interest of getting this up i’ll restrain myself from that in hopes that you will recognize that i am not attempting to be glib or brusque with you here, Mark, but merely brief. Additional commentary on all these points is both available and forthcoming. Simply enough–civil disobedience, and in fact in my mind and those of many, many others, full-blown political and ideological restructuring is necessary because no approach within the confines of less strenuous discourse has worked thus far, and people all over the planet have had quite enough bullshit. If you imagine to yourself that this business of mine, or the business of Occupy in general is about camping in Acacia Park, or the stupid camping ordinance enacted but not enforced by the City of Colorado Springs then you have badly missed some very important news. I suggest you follow the links below. Visit the Occupiers, both here and in many other cities around the whole wide World right now.

This’ll do. Ask more questions! Read these links:

I’m not angry, but, hmmm… http://www.businessinsider.com/what-wall-street-protesters-are-so-angry-about-2011-10?op=1

Henry George developed a system addressing this stuff. I can’t say his system is complete, and in fact, i am personally convinced our problem as humans must be addressed spiritually. That’s a topic for another moment, and it does not detract from George’s thesis: http://www.henrygeorge.org/

This strikes me as so obvious that it could be seen as a jab, and almost feels that way, but it’s still the place to go for primary discourse on civil disobedience: http://thoreau.eserver.org/civil.html

This is obviously unnecessary, but i’ll point out once more that the reader will find an abundance of words of my own that bounce around all these topics and more. It’s all the same conversation: www.hipgnosis21.blogspot.com

PPCC Philo Club page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/168063276537761/

Some other discussion and reporting establishing basis: http://wwwwendolbloggercom.blogspot.com/

There’s no end. Keep looking.

Cajun squirrels and field peas

One more time, for the Community Kitchen Cookbook. This is something like the coon-asses I planted tree with for a season used to do over a propane cooking ring. They used a couple dozen squirrels and fed us all at once. Man, that was some good times. If you want it coon-ass authentic, serve with plenty of cheap beer. Don’t get too drunk and kick the pot over.

Squirrel with Black-Eyed Peas
Four medium-size squirrels, drawn, skinned, and cleaned
1/2 lb Black-eyed peas
3 md Onions
2 sm Carrots
1/2 pk Frozen sweet peas
1/4 lb Smoked link sausage
Flour
Bacon fat or lard
Garlic
Little dab of oregano and marjoram
Salt and pepper
1 c Chicken broth
For the slow cooker: serves two
Put the squirrels into salted water and hold overnight in the refrigerator; the next day, rinse and pat dry.
Bring 4-6 cups of water to vigorous boil in a large saucepan, then add the black-eyed peas to it. Boil furiously for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and cover; hold 15 minutes and drain. Quarter the squirrels, and dredge with flour. Sauté in a skillet in hot bacon fat or lard until golden brown, then drain on a paper towel and place in a crock-pot. Saute the garlic til golden before adding onion. . Chop the onions coarsely, and sauté in bacon fat and pan drippings until translucent, and add to the pot. Cut the carrots into 3/4″ lengths, and the sausage into 1/8″ disks, then add them along with the frozen peas and the cooked black-eyed peas. Salt and pepper to taste and stir gently; add the chicken broth and cook in the crock-pot for 8 hours on low setting, or until the meat is almost falling off the bones. For a different flavor, you can substitute lentils or navy beans for the black-eyed peas.

(Reprinted from Hipgnosis)

Colo. Springs finds jobs for homeless

COLORADO SPRINGS- Any development on the local homeless front as funds dry up to hide them in roach motels? Sure: we’ve harnessed the destitute with bigger burdens to pull across public sidewalks. Not only do they have nowhere to put their bags, thanks to the no-camping ordinance, they have to haul their tents and bedding wherever they go, like prisoners made to wear stripes, for law enforcement to hound.

Will our city presume to prohibit life for whoever can’t afford to pay their way?

In case you thought City Council’s reprieve earlier this winter reflected a soft spot in their heart for the homeless forced to live in tents, in reality the city attorneys advised any purge of the unsightly camps be delayed until an iron-clad ordinance could be devised. The suggested legal verbiage was reviewed at Monday’s meeting, to be formally adopted today. It reads “9.6.109. Camping on Public Property Prohibited.” The definition of “camping” to include: “Sleeping or making preparation to sleep, including the lying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping.”

No sleeping. On public property.

By the way, I care not the least about a slippery slope that might infringe on your prerogative to take a nap in the park. This is not about the average man losing his middle class privileges to the creep of authoritarian rule-making. At some point I have to presume we agree that human beings have some inalienable rights. They used to be lofty ideals, protected by fundamental principles. On the issue of sleep, we are discussing the right to an involuntary life function.

The right to defecate is what’s got these homeless camps in trouble, but it stands to reason that to shit is more than a right too, it’s a necessity. All of this is dreadful platitude unless it’s escaped our city administrators. Are they suggesting that because the city cannot provide for the services for its people, that the people must forgo their basic creature needs?

What inhuman folly. And on public ground. Where are they to go? Must man pay rent to exist?

That you can dictate the rights of another on private land is open to debate. By whose authority do you claim dominion to use land for yourself? How dare you refuse a fellow human being, wherever he might need to rest his head? Granting the argument for private property, who are you to force your will upon others on shared common property? Others can’t do what? Where?

Do public lands belong only to property owners? You can legislate the right to take property for yourself, but you can’t hoard all of it. You have the right to private land precisely because the remainder is reserved for the public. The authority to give the deed to you comes from a governing entity empowered by everyone. A government is bound to providing for the land-less in exchange for the privilege to sell premium land to the better-off.

And a city has obligations to service that public land just as much as it serves the private lots. Can local administrators say, sorry, no more money for water, sewer, utilities, or security? Neither can it fail its responsibilities to the poor.

You aren’t obligated to provide eat, drink and shelter to all, but you can’t deny men access to the basic resource of land. Would you have men born into cells until they agree to work for their sustenance? Colorado Springs would deny them heat and sleep too. If we could, would we regulate breath?

On public land you have limited authority to regulate. Where private property owners crow about property rights, so do the public have property rights. Every bit, and perhaps more sacrosanct. The public can consent to regulation, for the safety and health of all etc, but that doesn’t encompass prohibition. You want health and safety, you provide the services. You have no authority to deny the service and then deny man’s basic needs. What an absolute crock.

Below is the text of the city’s proposed ordinance. It describes the creation of a new section, under 9.6.109.

9. Public Offenses, fair enough;

6. Offenses Affecting Property, a functional necessity of course;

109. Camping on Public Property Prohibited. Huh?

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS:

9.6.109: CAMPING ON PUBLIC PROPERTY PROHIBITED:

A. It is unlawful for any person to camp on any public property, except as may be specifically authorized by the appropriate governmental authority.

B. For the purposes of this section “camp” or “camping” means to use the public area for living accommodation including, but not limited to, the activities and circumstances listed below. These activities and circumstances may be considered in determining whether reasonable grounds for belief have arisen that a person has “camped” or is “camping” in violation of this ordinance.

1. Sleeping or making preparation to sleep, including the lying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping.

2. Occupying a shelter out-of-doors. “Shelter” shall mean any cover or protection from the elements other than clothing, such as a tent, shack, sleeping bag, or other structure or material.

3. The presence or use of a camp fire, camp stove or other heating source or cooking device.

5. Keeping or storing personal property.

Sleep, a basic animal function. Shelter, a fundamental human need. Fire, the first of mankind’s tools. Before agriculture was fire.

Property. How unbecoming that an ordinance seeking to prohibit the public’s right to public property should also deprive the public of the ability to keep personal property.

Also presented on Monday were recommendations from the city management, detailing the consequences of violating the camping prohibition. They included this paragraph:

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS: A violation of these updated ordinances may result in a fine and sentencing to the Criminal Justice Center (CJC). In the past, homeless individuals have been known to ignore summonses to appear in Municipal Court until it is advantageous for them to be placed in CJC (cold weather, need for food and/or shelter, etc.). The preferred method of dealing with these types of violations would be to gain the cooperation of the individuals involved without relying upon the criminal justice system, thus removing them from the circumstance by linking them with the appropriate service agency.

Making the specious argument basically that since homeless persons sometimes get themselves arrested on purpose, authorities are justified in accommodating them full time. How considerate of us.