The Civic Center
by John Wester, October 28, 2011
Come Fly Away the marquee read,
A sign below said, eat the rich,
Or, taxiderm them, another said,
Ol’ Blue Eyes began to twitch
To see the anger of the youth
Be led by those who speak the truth.
And like Dylan might have said,
When you live outside the law
You must be honest, keep your head
Or you’ll be singing alright ma
I’m only bleeding, tell sweet Marie
It absolutely wasn’t me.
* * *
Bob Dylan’s line, “To live outside the law you must be honest” comes from Absolutely Sweet Marie and “[it’s]alright ma, I’m only bleeding” is out of It’s Alright, Ma. The last two lines make no sense, but I got in the link to the song.
Yesterday around noon I picked up my friend who helped organize the sanitation crew for Occupy San Diego. We drove to Smart and Final where he bought a box of latex gloves for the garbage detail and some paper plates and plastic forks, plus 70 frozen cheese burritos. We went back to his place and heated up the burritos, wrapped them in foil, and put them in a cooler. To keep them hot we put one of those gels that you can either freeze or heat up, and after a couple of minutes in the microwave, we threw it into the cooler with the burritos and took them downtown to the Occupy San Diego people camping at the Civic Center downtown.
People were hungry, the burritos, still hot, were gone in 10 minutes. On the marquee for the theater I noticed that Hair was running. Theater-goers have to pass through the protestors to get into the show. Coming up next in a few weeks is Come Fly Away. I’ll bet the ol’ blue eyes crowd will have a different take on the protestors, if OccupySD is still there. Other venues at the Civic Center had k.d. lang and Howie Mandel — not together.
My friend has been more involved in OccupySD than I have been and he developed a relationship with the original organizers. He told me there are a lot of them who have dropped out. He joked that he was afraid to give them a call to find out why they did, because he’s not sure he wants to hear the answer. Too much infighting? If so, he doesn’t want to be prejudiced against the organizers doing the work now.
We got down there a little before 1 o’clock. It’s at the bottom of B street and as we were coming down it we saw a lot of activity at the Bank of American, about 4 blocks up from the Civic Center. Maybe 75 protestors, lots of cops. In the morning paper I learned Occupy SD had set up what we used to call an informational picket line, talking to BA customers. No one was arrested, no one was blocking entrance, but the bank shut down for the day. At the Civic Center where we brought the food there were perhaps 150 people, two or three tables (comfort/clothes; food; and their media station — the webcasting) and ONE tent. The police had made them clear out all the tents but one. At one point there were close to 75 tents in the plaza. When I told Bud that it looked like a third of the people still there were homeless. He said yeah, the occupiers are trying to keep the homeless from taking over the agenda. Regardless, the occupiers were keeping the plaza clean and hauling their garbage to the dump and paying the fees, which are not small. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the garbage is finding its way to garbage bins outside of various big name corporations here in San Diego — the bins that aren’t locked.
Also yesterday, maybe a half-dozen colleges/universities in the area had plans for a student strike in support of the Occupy San Diego movement. I think it was a tactical move to do it on Thursday to motivate the students to join the protestors over the weekend. They need something. The webcast they’ve been doing is intermittent which is too bad. It was doing a good job of getting the word out, and getting people to be a part of OccupySD who can’t make it to the Civic Center.