Occupy Sebastopol Local Flavor, Global Vision


Occupy the Wine Country: Movement Broadens, Embraces Latino Struggle

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.

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Town Hall Meeting – February 9

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 [email protected]

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

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, [email protected]

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

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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Across the Country, City Councils Endorsing Local Occupy Movements

Across the Country, City Councils Endorsing Local Occupy Movements


By Doug Foote
December 14, 2011

When police forces have cracked down on local Occupy encampments, TV cameras have swarmed to cover it. But what’s not being covered as closely are the numerous actions, symbolic and otherwise, on the part of local elected officials to endorse or otherwise support the protests of the 99 Percent going on in their cities.

On October 12 in Los Angeles, California, the second largest city in the United States, the City Council resolved that the body “stands in support for the continuation of the peaceful and vibrant exercise in First Amendment Rights carried out by ‘Occupy Los Angeles.’” The resolution included in its justification that 1 in 5 foreclosures in the U.S. have taken place in California, and that an investigation of the financial crisis and holding those accountable are particularly in the interest of Angelenos. The cities of Sebastopol and Santa Anna, California have also formally endorsed Occupy Wall Street.

On November 14 in Seattle, Washington, the nine-member City Council resolved to support the Occupy Seattle protest. They stressed that they condemn violence and any action taken that interferes with the police, but also that they would actively take steps to address the Occupiers concerns. “The City will review its banking and investment practices to ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community,” the resolution states.

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In Small Town Sebastopol, Occupy Movement Stirs Hope Of Big Changes

In Small Town Sebastopol, Occupy Movement Stirs Hope Of Big Changes


by Shepherd Bliss
December 11, 2011

The uniformed police chief of the small California town of Sebastopol walked toward Occupy Sebastopol's decision-making General Assembly (GA). It was Veteran's Day, and many veterans, some of them homeless, had integrated with Occupy gatherings around the nation. Occupiers in larger cities might have been nervous. But the Chief carried a plate of brownies in his hand.

"These are from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)," Chief Jeff Weaver said to the group. Praise followed him as he left.

Occupy Wall Street-events in big cities like New York, Oakland and Los Angeles receive considerable coverage in the mainstream media, especially when police react. Less known is the fact that the 'Occupy' movement has reached into small towns and mid-size cities around the country, engaging people in new conversations and moving into the local political sphere.

In semi-agrarian Sonoma County, just north of San Francisco, Occupy Sebastopol (OS) is creating a beehive of activity from the public square of Sebastopol, an apple-growing, environmentally conscious town that describes itself as "Peacetown, USA."

Best known for its fine wines, Sonoma County has the most lucrative wine industry in the U.S. The first wine billionaire, Jess Jackson, has his wineries and vineyards here, as does the giant Gallo Corporation. Most of the nearly 8,000 locals, however, still tend to think of this region as the nature-based Redwood Empire, in contrast to the commercial wine country of next-door Napa County.

On Dec. 6, Sebastopol's City Council unanimously passed a detailed resolution to support OS, proposed by former mayor and current City Council member Sarah Gurney. Another Councilmember, Kathleen Shaffer, has an occupy sign in her front yard.

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