L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti might have spoken a little soon when he told hundreds of Occupy L.A. protesters last week to "stay as long as you need."
What Garcetti perhaps didn't realize is that Occupy L.A. doesn't want to stay a few more days. Not even a month. Some have told our reporters that they plan on living outside L.A. City Hall for, oh, another year or so.
This poses a bit of a problem for the City Council. (Or the LAPD, or whoever else the council enlists to rake the anti-bankster fest off its front lawn.) At some point, the protesters have got to go. They can't stay there forever. (Right?) But that won't stop them from trying.
One public commenter announced in council chambers yesterday that she has officially changed her mailing address to 200 North Spring Street. In other words, this woman now "lives" at L.A. City Hall. (We're currently reviewing footage of the hours-long meeting to find her name. Patience.)
Officials in other cities are starting to get restless. Occupy San Diego is Tweeting that "They R removing our occupation NOW!" (and, "We got orders to remove all of our stuff.") And Occupy Wall Street, who built this movement from the ground up and still sits at the heart of it, is suspicious that a "routine cleaning" at the park they're occupying is really a ploy by fake-friendly New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to clean the riff-raff out.The phase-out is going to be a little trickier for Los Angeles. Camp attendance has been growing nightly (about 300 tents, last we were told), but even if people start getting bored and slinking back into the suburbs, the homeless and the drifters and the diehards aren't going anywhere without a good fight and shouts of "police brutality!"
Now, they're reinforcing that commitment to the cause by -- quite literally -- moving in to City Hall. Aside from the aforementioned public commenter, various Occupy L.A. reps in the media tent tell us they know of other "Perma-Occupiers." (They've promised to send us a full list by this evening.)
In general, when it comes to the impending push-out, Occupy is on the defense. Food-tent managers announced at Tuesday's General Assembly meeting that they were training new managers on how to keep the eating area up to L.A. County Department of Public Health code. And they're right to be worried: Nabbing protesters for endangering their own, or anyone else's, health or safety would be a great way to kick them out on less controversial terms.
On the flip side, media volunteer Gia Trimble says that she, personally, thinks some of the more moved-in occupiers are just using the social-change sleepover as free housing.
"There are people who are too comfortable," Trimble says. "People are just laying around all day. What the fuck is the point of you being here?"