Occupy Sebastopol http://occupysebastopol.net Local Flavor, Global Vision Sun, 28 Oct 2012 19:17:48 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3 Chase CVS Protest http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/05/23/chase-cvs-protest/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/05/23/chase-cvs-protest/#comments Wed, 23 May 2012 19:00:16 +0000 TRyan http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=1186 Stop Chase Bank and CVS Pharmacy from Moving Downtown!!!


OccupySebastopoland community members will be protesting the CVS/Chase project proposed on the corner of Highway 12 and 116. The majority of the community has not supported this project. The Design Review Board, Planning Commission, and City Council have all voted against this project. It is still an issue because of the persistence of CVS, Chase, and Armstrong Development. To be successful in stopping this project, we must also be persistent.


All are welcome and encouraged to join us at 3pm on Thursday the 24th to protest CVS and Chase moving downtown. After meeting in the plaza we will move to the corner of hwy 12/116 where we will peacefully demonstrate against this project.


Let the city council know how you feel on Tuesday the 29th. Let the DRB know how you feel on Wednesday the 30th(THIS IS POSSIBLY THE FINAL MEETING WHERE A DECISION WILL BE MADE; IMPORTANT TO ATTEND)


  • This project is bad for traffic, local business, andSebastopol’s character.
  • CVS has payed out almost half a billion dollars to settle various lawsuits and fines, ranging from illegal labor practices and deceptive business practices, to racketeering, corruption, and the mishandling of toxic waste.
  • JP Morgan Chase received $94.7 billion in bail-out funds, of which $64 billion is still on the backs of tax payers. Chase is among the leaders in home foreclosures and is under investigation by the New York State Attorney General over allegations of its fraudulent foreclosure practices. They are now under investigation by the FBI and SEC regarding their recent loss of 3 billion dollars.


Do these two corporations seem like the kind of businesses and neighbors we want in our community, at the heart of our town? If not, join us on Thursday.

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Shame on SSU protest of Sady Weill, CEO Citigroup, a Success http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/05/17/shame-on-ssu-protest-of-sady-weill-ceo-citigroup-a-success/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/05/17/shame-on-ssu-protest-of-sady-weill-ceo-citigroup-a-success/#comments Thu, 17 May 2012 17:22:21 +0000 TRyan http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=1184 After four years of teaching various humanities courses at SSU, I’m sad to report that our school recently sank to a new low. It awarded the notorious banker Sandy Weill, retired CEO of Citigroup, and his wife Joan honorary doctorates. They purchased them for $12 million, which they gave to the Green Music Center, an essentially non-educational pet project of President Ruben Arminana that has dominated fund-raising at SSU.

“These awards by SSU are reprehensible in light of Sandy Weill's role in bringing about the economic crisis that has seized this nation,” said SSU sociology professor Noel Byrne. “The consequences have been dire for the SSU community of faculty, staff, students, graduates, alumni and their families, in the form of elevated tuition, reduced funding for education, auctioned homes, dashed dreams, burdensome debts, loss of employment opportunities, and resultant tragedies of an array of sorts.”

The May 12 graduation was a disgrace. When it was announced that the Weills would receive an honorary degree, students, faculty, and alumni began organizing a direct action against that dishonorable degree. Occupy activists and other community members joined, as did groups such as the Living Wage Coalition and the Peace and Justice Center.

With respect for the hard-working graduating students who earned their degrees, the peaceful action focused on educating the 10,000 students, faculty, family members, and friends who attended the two graduation ceremonies. Thousands of flyers documenting Weill’s substantial abuses as the architect of subprime mortgages and consequential foreclosures and evictions were passed out. Dozens of articles appeared in publications around the region, nationally, and even internationally. Radio stations and a television station reported the action on news and talk shows. A county-wide coalition came into being which has helped build community and solidarity.

Dressed in black, students, family members, faculty, alumni, and others turned their backs in a dignified shunning when the doctorates were bestowed.

California’s greatness is due partly to the extensive public higher education that used to be available here. That system is being privatized and corporatized by the 1% to further meet its elite needs, which this doctorate represents.

The last issue of the campus newspaper, the May 8 Star, ran the banner headline “Day of Shame at SSU” across the front-page, written by its news editor. The opinion page had two further articles, one entitled “Day of Shame: Wrong Place, Wrong Time” by the editor-in-chief. Those articles, as well as others, are at ShameOnSSU.org.

The newspaper appeared on stands Monday; it was soon taken away. A faculty member wrote the following on the faculty email listserve: “An SSU staff member observed SSU employees removing issues of the Star that had front page information on the controversy regarding the honorary degree process. This is truly disheartening.”

An SSU vice-president admitted, “Some newspapers were removed as part of efforts to clean the campus for graduation - something they do every year. I have directed the Facilities Team to return the papers.”

However, another faculty member reported the following: “I remember there being Star newspapers after nearly every Spring semester I’ve worked here. Some years I’ve been able to grab a copy well into July.” Though copies may have been temporarily returned, they soon were vanished again.

“The editor of the Star estimates that 95 percent of newspapers have been removed,” wrote the Star’s faculty advisor. “This is unacceptable and a shot across the bow of the First Amendment. These so-called cleaning efforts that included the Star removal are an affront to free speech on our campus. The Day of Shame is now. Is this some attempt to cover up our controversies? I join with those who believe in freedom of speech to ask that a full accounting of what happened to these papers be made.”

(Shepherd Bliss teaches college, runs a farm in Sebastopol, and can be reached at 3sb@comcast.net.)

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Apple Blossom Parade 4/21 http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/04/10/apple-blossom-parade-421/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/04/10/apple-blossom-parade-421/#comments Tue, 10 Apr 2012 23:37:27 +0000 TRyan http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=1169 Join Occupy Sebastopol to march in the Apple Blossom Parade. All are welcome. Meet between 8 and 10 am on Morris St. OS will be marching in section 3 (14). If you can't find us, people in red vests can direct you to us. The parade starts at ten and lasts till noon, the actual marching time is about 30 minutes. This should be a really good time and a great opportunity for community outreach!

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April 7th Occupy Santa Rosa Spring Awakening http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/04/05/april-7th-occupy-santa-rosa-spring-awakening/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/04/05/april-7th-occupy-santa-rosa-spring-awakening/#comments Thu, 05 Apr 2012 21:09:32 +0000 TRyan http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=1167 (Don't miss this one!)
For six months, Sonoma County occupations have been standing up in solidarity with OWS as part of the Occupy Movement. In 2012 we will take back our wealth and our country from the 1%. Join us for this family freindly event in the Courthouse Square, in Santa Rosa to kick off the American Spring.

1:00 Pally and festival with music and speakers. Egg hunt and kids GA for children

2:30 Parade for the 99%

3:00 General Assembly- Get family with our consensus based decision making process. Bring ideas and be heard, come to listen and learn, or both.

4:00 Rockuppy- Live music to celebrate the 99%

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OWS – Report from New York http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/03/15/ows-report-from-new-york/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/03/15/ows-report-from-new-york/#comments Thu, 15 Mar 2012 17:07:55 +0000 TRyan http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=1159 OWS – Report from New York
by Sonoma County’s own, Michael Levitin, 

an early participant at Occupy Wall Street who 
helped start the Occupied Wall Street Journal.

Michael will discuss the role of independent press in the Occupy Movement and how citizen/journalists can contribute. We will hear a first-hand account of what happened early on at OWS and what is currently going on there as he tells about trends, growth and conflicts within the movement ahead of big spring actions.

Michael graduated from Forestville’s El Molino High School in 1994 and went on to study journalism. He now lives in New York City and is deeply involved with Occupy, using his journalistic background to give voice to the movement at the Occupied Wall Street Journal.

This conversation is especially timely as a new bilingual publication is about to be launched, the Occupied Press–North Bay / Prensa Ocupada – Bahía Norte. There, citizen journalists will reflect the ideas and stories of the 99%. 

Friday, March 16, 6:30pm
Arlene Francis Center
99 6th Street, Old Railroad Square, Santa Rosa
all are welcome – donations accepted
Please support the newspaper online. 
Got to: indiegogo.com, type Occupied Press in the search.
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Sonoma County Daily Attacks Occupy Movement http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/02/03/sonoma-county-daily-attacks-occupy-movement/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/02/03/sonoma-county-daily-attacks-occupy-movement/#comments Sat, 04 Feb 2012 01:28:29 +0000 occseb http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=1130 Sonoma County Daily Attacks Occupy Movement


By Shepherd Bliss
February 3, 2012

The Press Democrat's Feb. 1 editorial “Occupy Movement in Ashes” is wishful thinking. Our phoenix will rise during this month. You wait. You watch. You see.

Occupy is still an infant, having been born in New York Sept. 17 with Occupy Wall Street. It is not even five months old and already the local daily tries to editorialize it into ashes. Rumors of our death are premature. We have made mistakes, including in Oakland. We’re learning and experiencing what one activist calls “growing pains.” Provoked by police violence in Oakland, a few cornered occupiers among the 2000 present reacted. That has not happened here. The Sonoma County Occupy Town Hall Affinity Group--of which I am a member--opposes violence, as do the overwhelming majority of Occupy groups and individuals.

I do, however, respect the right of self-defense by those cornered by the police. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "Violence is the voice of the unheard."  And as President John F. Kennedy said at a 1962 speech at the White House, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

What would you do when surrounded by a large group of armed, masked, threatening, charging, and rioting armored men? I praise the brave souls willing to face such police violence. As one occupier wondered, “What’s next? Live ammunition?”

Punishing people in a democracy should be the job of the courts, not the police, which Oakland police are notorious for doing. They fan the flames.

Court-appointed monitors, according to The Bay Citizen, recently “wrote in their quarterly report that the police response to Occupy Oakland protests this fall raised ‘serious concerns’ about the department's ability to ‘hold true to the best practices in American policing,’ and promised a thorough investigation of the matter. Last week, a judge moved the police department closer to a federal takeover, writing that he was in ‘disbelief’ that the department had yet to finish a series of court-ordered reforms.”

Why did the Press Democrat not report these relevant facts? The PD carefully selects what to report and what to exclude. A daily newspaper should represent various voices of its community, rather than just the status quo. Occupy has “officially overstepped its welcome,” the PD alleges. Since when has the PD ever welcomed Occupy or officiated over such matters? The argument that what a few people did in one city reduces the national Occupy movement to ashes is without merit.

The PD asks occupiers to condemn the violence in Oakland. I condemn the police brutality and criticize the much less violent behavior of a few activists. I have done so within our movement and publicly, as have other Occupy co-leaders. Now, will the Press Democrat denounce the violence of the Oakland police, who exercise unlawful authority? Or is there a double standard here?

Burning the American flag is an inflammatory and futile act of frustration that dilutes the main messages of the majority of occupiers and our many supporters, which is to bring about fundamental changes in our economic and political systems. When I was commissioned an officer in the U.S. Army, I swore an oath to defend my country against external and internal threats. I have kept that vow, which is a big reason that I am part of the Occupy movement, as are many veterans.

Violence by occupiers is a tactical mistake. The guns, other weapons, and media are in the hands of the protectors of the wealthy 1%. Violence is also a strategic and moral error. The real violence that we should oppose includes the following: banks that gambled and foreclosed on the homes of millions; corporations that buy politicians with their big bucks; and stripping workers’ pensions and health care benefits.

Occupy does need to mature. Young people, especially, are desperate today. Their college debts are astronomical and their job options are minimal. Desperation can lead to violence. Long-term organizing is more likely to be successful.

“Ashes,” you fantasize. Yet on Feb. 9 the Sonoma County Town Hall will host its third of ongoing monthly gatherings in a downtown Sebastopol church; 130 to 140 people attended the previous two. On Feb. 17 the new Occupied Press—North Bay will show the film “Battle in Seattle,” about the l999 shut-down of the World Trade Organization. On Feb. 25 Occupy Santa Rosa will support teachers unions in a day of action in support of public education.

These are samples of the dozens of activities led by Sonoma County Occupy groups as we prepare to move from a reflective winter into an action-oriented spring. Do these indicate “ashes?” You wait. You watch. You see.

Perhaps your editorial represents what we can expect from the new conservative Florida owners of the Press Democrat. Perhaps we need a new newspaper here that reflects the 99%.

(Shepherd Bliss has owned an organic farm in Sebastopol for 20 years, teaches college, and works with military veterans, of which he is one. He can be reached at 3sb@comcast.net.)

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Occupy the Wine Country: Movement Broadens, Embraces Latino Struggle http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/01/11/occupy-the-wine-country-movement-broadens-embraces-latino-struggle/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/01/11/occupy-the-wine-country-movement-broadens-embraces-latino-struggle/#comments Thu, 12 Jan 2012 02:09:52 +0000 occseb http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=1137 Occupy the Wine Country: Movement Broadens, Embraces Latino Struggle


by Shepherd Bliss
January 11, 2012

Like the grapevines collecting energy for a spring bloom, Occupy groups in Northern California are preparing this winter to extend their reach into the Latino, business and other local communities.

Sonoma County Occupy opened 2012 with two well-attended events -- one in the streets and another inside. Around 140 people attended a county-wide Town Hall on Occupy at Sebastopol's United Methodist church on Jan. 8. Two days earlier, over 400 protestors temporarily shut down two Wells Fargo Bank branches in Santa Rosa.

On Jan. 6 Occupy Santa Rosa joined forces with various Latino and immigration rights groups to march on the local branches of Wells Fargo. They targeted the bank because of its investments in two private prison corporations, foreclosure of local homes, and for receiving $25 billion in taxpayer bail-out dollars, while paying CEO John Stumpf $19 million in 2010. Seven protestors were arrested but have since been cited and released.

The dramatic day included the colorful arrival of dozens of cyclists on a 13.5-mile "Pedal for Justice" ride.

"Occupy Petaluma believes that frustrations with our current system can be channeled in peaceful and creative ways," said organizer Jessica Strasen. "We seek to inspire others to rediscover the ability to occupy our own lives, and be a part of creating our shared future."

The rally began in Roseland, a largely Latino neighborhood. It included Aztec dancers in bright-feathered headdresses and a theater performance on a large flatbed tow truck. The Graton Day Labor Center, one of the half dozen sponsors of the rally, wrote the bi-lingual play.

"The next big event of Occupy Santa Rosa will be in March around education," said Frank Anderson, 20, a moderator of the Wells Fargo action. "Our educational system is falling apart and getting worse. The No Child Left Behind Act is for profit and does not help kids. We are speaking with local teachers' unions to work together to protest school day reductions."

On Jan. 8, Town Hall participants included veteran activists from Occupy Sebastopol, Occupy Santa Rosa, Occupy Petaluma, and from the surrounding towns of Sonoma, Healdsburg and Guerneville, as well as newcomers to the movement.

"The goal of this evening," said co-facilitator Jeff Aitken, "is to help Occupy deepen and broaden."

He explained that the Open Space meeting method being employed encourages those present to create their own agenda based on where their "passion and responsibility" is.

Organizer Ben Browner added, "Seeing people connect is what Occupy is about. It is a movement, a school, a network."

At the meeting, some two dozen people convened smaller groups based on their Occupy-related interests. One of the best-attended groups was about finding and keeping the movement's focus, convened by Larry Robinson, a former Sebastopol mayor and City Council member.

Other popular groups were on the foreclosure of homes, a focus of Occupy Petaluma, and the Move to Amend, which seeks to change the U.S. constitution because "corporations are not people and money is not speech," according to convener Abraham Entin.

There were also groups on public education, big bank divestiture, having an Occupy presence at the annual Harmony Festival, racial diversity, creating an Occupy Learning Center, and organizing the new North Bay Occupied newspaper.

North Bay Re-Occupied Press was founded after nearly a month of meetings and plans, with the goal of publishing a print and electronic newspaper sometime in the spring. Some planners say that the recent New York Times sale of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat to a conservative Florida publishing chain may open a space for a new grass roots publication.

During December the local Occupy movement did not receive much corporate media attention, compared to its regular front-page autumn coverage. Yet Occupy groups were quite active behind the scenes preparing for an expected spring flowering.

A look at the www.occupysantarosa.org website reveals multiple meetings happening almost every day. The websites www.occupysebastopol.net and www.occupypetaluma.com have been launched. OccupySolutions, a small affinity group, began a Community Learning Center at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square. It will offer a series of free and open to the public classes, trainings, and teach-ins. Other trainings have been occurring regularly at the Peace and Justice Center and in people's homes.

At the January 8 Town Hall meeting were members of groups such as the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy, the historic Grange, and Moveon.org. Sebastopol City Council member Kathleen Schaffer attended, as did former Sonoma County Supervisor Ernie Carpenter. The age range was from 20 to 92 years old.

"This has been like a really great cocktail party where you get to meet lots of people and have the interesting conversations you want to have," said co-facilitator Beth Meredith of Create the Good Life.

"The habits of how to do democracy and how to tolerate differences are changing," said organizer Joseph McIntyre of AgInnovations at a debriefing the next day. "Some people were there for education. Others are more interested in engagement. What is needed next? Are we going to start organizing ourselves for action?"

"I was delighted to see the high level of energy and enthusiasm. The Occupy movement has tapped a long pent-up desire to take focused, effective action," said Barry Chertov of WaccoBB.net, an online bulletin board that co-sponsors the Town Halls. "It's clear the energy behind the Occupy movement is still strong and manifesting in a rainbow of exciting initiatives, both locally and nationally focused."

Monthly Town Hall meetings are planned for Feb. 9 and "as long as needed," according to Robinson, in the United Methodist Church of Sebastopol.

Just as Sonoma County is a leader in wine production throughout the nation, this semi-rural California region is proactive with regards to questions being asked by Occupy organizers around and beyond the United States.

Shepherd Bliss teaches college, runs an organic farm, and works with various veterans' groups in Sonoma County, CA.

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Town Hall Meeting – February 9 http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/01/11/town-hall-meeting-february-9/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/01/11/town-hall-meeting-february-9/#comments Wed, 11 Jan 2012 17:07:40 +0000 occseb http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=1087 Sonoma County Occupy Town Hall

On Thursday, February 9, the Leadership Institute For Ecology and the Economy and WaccoBB are hosting the third in an ongoing series of Town Hall meetings on the Occupy movement. The meeting will be held at Sebastopol's United Methodist Church, 500 North Main, from 6:30 to 9:30 PM.

It is open to anyone interested in learning more about the local Occupy movement or sharing their thoughts and ideas on how to create a more equitable economic and political system. The evening will include both small group and plenary discussions.

This meeting will focus on the following issues:
1) Changing the rules: constitutional amendments to address money and power in politics
2) The financial crisis at home: mortgages and main street revitalization
3) The financial crisis on Wall Street: banking reform
4) Birthing the future: building local resiliency

As a special treat, the internationally-acclaimed political comedian Swami Beyondananda will make a guest appearance.

For further information contact Larry Robinson at 707-823-1708 or Lrobpoet@sonic.net.

The event is free to all, and donations are appreciated to help with costs.

We thank Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy and WaccoBB.net for co-sponsoring this event, and the Methodist Church for hosting.


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Town Hall Meeting – January 9 http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/01/03/town-hall-meeting-january-9/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2012/01/03/town-hall-meeting-january-9/#comments Tue, 03 Jan 2012 18:52:30 +0000 occseb http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=1072 Town Hall Meeting in Sebastopol - January 9th

Sonoma County's Occupy Movement: Reporting Out and Plugging In

What is happening with the various Occupy efforts throughout the region?
How can you connect with people who share your interests and goals?
What are the options for learning and doing in the coming months?

Join us for an evening of information, allies, and inspiration.
We are inviting people active in the movement as well as those interested in learning more, connecting with what is going on, and creating next steps.

We will quickly create an agenda together, in which all are invited to host or attend a discussion on a regional Occupy topic that matters to them. You are welcome to participate in as many or as few topics as you wish.

Where: Methodist Church, 500 N. Main St., Sebastopol

When: January 9, 2012 (Monday) 7:00 to 9:00 pm

Contact: Larry Robinson, lrobpoet@sonic.net

The event is free to all, and donations are appreciated to help with costs.

We thank Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy and Waccobb.net for co-sponsoring this event, and the Methodist Church for hosting.

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Inside Job documentary http://occupysebastopol.net/2011/12/18/inside-job-documentary/ http://occupysebastopol.net/2011/12/18/inside-job-documentary/#comments Mon, 19 Dec 2011 07:23:59 +0000 occseb http://occupysebastopol.net/?p=114 This documentary is required viewing.

Inside Job, Narrated by Matt Damon (Full Length HD) on Vimeo.

'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.

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