Poll Position: Was Reed too fast or too slow vs. Occupy Atlanta?

They came, they camped, they got thrown in jail.

The Occupiers of Atlanta, or at least of Woodruff Park, logged nearly three weeks of unlawful “urban camping” before finally pushing their luck with Mayor Kasim Reed. About one week into a three-week extension of the permission he’d granted the Occupiers to stay in the park, Reed sent in the police. The mayor said some Occupiers had demonstrated they “were on a clear path to escalation.”

Unlike in Oakland, Calif., the arrests went peacefully. Now the Atlanta Occupiers say they’re moving on to a new location — and will eventually return to Woodruff, because it “is the people’s park.” (Sure it is. And the people’s duly elected representatives have made laws governing the people’s park.)

But the question remains: Were the Occupiers kicked out of Woodruff too soon, or too late?

How do you rate Kasim Reed's actions toward Occupy Atlanta?

  • Kicked 'em out too late. (125 Votes)
  • Kicked 'em out too soon. (60 Votes)
  • Got it just right. (48 Votes)

Total Voters: 233

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On one hand, Reed had authorized their stay in Woodruff through Nov. 7 — and, given that he’d already extended his executive order once before, it’s fair to wonder if he meant “at least Nov. 7.” Absent some kind of riot or imminent public threat, why not stick to that plan?

On the other hand, a city ordinance clearly prohibits overnight camping in public parks. Why should Reed have allowed this group to violate the law — at a cost to the city of tens of thousands of dollars, even before last weekend’s flare-up — when other groups have followed the protocol for requesting similar park usage and been denied? (With Reed, maybe it truly is better to ask forgiveness than permission.)

That’s this week’s Poll Position. Answer in the nearby poll and in the comments thread below.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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144 comments Add your comment

flossofer

October 28th, 2011
5:13 am

Amendment 1, US Constitution: The Right Of The People Peaceably To Assemble SHALL NOT BE ABRIDGED!

marko

October 28th, 2011
5:31 am

Gee whiz flossofer, you’d think he’d taken away their guns the way you carry on. As I see it, it’s just big misunderstanding. Kyle sees an unruly mob illegally occupying public land. I chose to view them as a well regulated militia defending their right to arm bears.

Joel Edge

October 28th, 2011
6:06 am

Show up, have your protest, go home.

marko

October 28th, 2011
6:08 am

.This is off topic, but a national poll conducted by Time shows Hillary Clinton creaming the top GOP contenders in head to head matchups. For me Obama has been a huge disappointment. Kyle seems to think that the presidents unpopular because he doesn’t do what the Tea Party tells him to do. I feel that Obama was given a mandate to come to Washington and kick butts. Instead he chose to compromise with morons. Compromise with stupid people, and at best you wind up with something half stupid.At any rate, we had the chance to sic the Hillabeast on these clods and we blew it.

Joel Edge

October 28th, 2011
6:17 am

marko@6:08
It’s just buyers remorse. It’ll pass.

It's called civil disobedience

October 28th, 2011
6:53 am

It didn’t matter when the mayor removed the protesters. They were there, willing to be arrested, living in tents, and dealing with the weather. It’s called civil disobedience.

They made and continue to make their point loud and clear. They want big money removed from our politics. They want corporations and the rich to pay their fair share in taxes (Exxon, GE paid no federal taxes last year and the wealthy pay 15% on investment (unearned) income.) They want the crooks on Wall Street whose gambling (greed) brought us to the worst recession since the Great Depression to be prosecuted for the fraud they committed.

It's called civil disobedience

October 28th, 2011
6:55 am

These kids have something that more and more people have. Nothing to lose.

Joe The Plumber too.

October 28th, 2011
7:10 am

Should have been ended the first night they stayed past closing time. Firehoses and beanbag bullets next time. The criminal leader (name change to hide fact he’s a convicted thief) telling the protestors before the arrests, if they had been doing drugs or alcohol or were on probation to leave the park. Shows what kind of trash was gathered at the protest. Losers with no place else to crash for free.

Karl Marx

October 28th, 2011
7:15 am

If you apply the same measure to how Atlanta has treated the Tea Party I vote Way Too Late.

What started as civil disobedience ended in freak show of the surreal. Beside the interviews of college students where it was painfully obvious they never had a real job, the Marxist communist wanting everyone to draw the same paycheck, to levitating the Georgia Pacific building the movement became a circus side show. Democrats tried to get traction with Occupy but found that they would be better off staying away. It’s really too bad because there were some good points made by this now defunct movement. Made but lost and perhaps now damaged beyond being able to use those again.

Here are some points worth saving.

Wall Street received bailouts but failed to pass it on to the rest of us. Financial firms and bailout businesses are setting on billions of dollars but will not loan money or hire people. Corporate welfare?

Companies are shipping jobs overseas claiming they need to cut labor cost to be competitive while taking bailout money, special tax breaks, and government contracts from the very people who they are putting out of work.

Companies are using H2A and other similar visa programs to gain a 8 to 10% tax advantage for not hiring us citizens in our own country. The sad thing about this, it’s sanctioned by our own government.

Ronald Reagan made the point that business doesn’t pay taxes they collect taxes in his famous loaf of bread interview. What amazes me is government by ignoring the above points is destroying the very revenue they so desperately are trying to keep. When you layoff a US worker they are no longer paying the taxes they were they are also not buying as many “loafs of bread” causing more job losses. If Reagan was right and there is 151 different taxes embedded in a loaf of bread then our government is by its own choice is reducing tax revenue. We should not allow them to make it up somewhere else.

I hope something good does come out of the Occupy movement maybe the seeds of the points listed above were sown and will bear fruit in the future. Maybe business and government will wake up and realize that per square mile the rich will but maybe 5 washing machines where the Middle Class will buy 100, the rich will buy 20 pair of 100 dollar jeans where the middle class will buy 1000 20 dollar pairs of jeans. The rich may buy 50 gallons of milk the middle class will buy 5000 and don’t forget the embedded taxes paid on each product.

We in the middle class would do well to remember we also have those same strengths in numbers at the voting booth which is something politicians want us to forget.

Jimmy62

October 28th, 2011
7:25 am

Karl Marx: Are any of the people who signed mortgages they couldn’t afford and then got huge breaks on it from the government sending their bailout money on to the rest of us? No, and why should they? Nor should Wall Street. The problem is not Wall Street keeping their bailout money, the problem is that our government bailed them out in the first place. You wanted Wall Street punished? Well they woulda been punished if the government hadn’t bailed them out. Occupy should be called “Occupy The White House” not Wall Street. The government made the choices, and they were the wrong ones.

Kyle: I was in total agreement about kicking the protesters out, until I was reminded about the part in the bill of rights where it says we have the right to peaceably assemble. If you can’t assemble in a public park, and you can’t do it on random private land, where are you supposed to assemble? Saying they can’t hang out in a public park peaceably is tantamount to denying them their first amendment rights, unless you can tell me how kicking them off somehow guarantees their right to peaceably assemble. I think they are dead wrong about who they are protesting, they should be camped out on the White House lawn, but I won’t deny their right to hang out in a group and illustrate the sub-par educational system in this country.

Jimmy62

October 28th, 2011
7:28 am

it’s called civil disobedience: Can you please describe this “fraud” you refer to? Little they did was illegal. And if the government didn’t require Wall Street to follow the ratings given out by the ratings agencies, none of this would have happened. If there was any fraud, it was on the part of the government forcing them to use ratings agencies chosen by the government, and the government implicitly backing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so that everyone knew they could go down and the government would bail them out. Because of our government, far higher levels of risk were attainable. As usual, government meddling in housing and finance distorted the market and set things up for disaster.

Jefferson

October 28th, 2011
7:50 am

The cost incurred is the beginning. Cost money to control people.

Jefferson

October 28th, 2011
7:59 am

Jack

October 28th, 2011
8:00 am

It’s a good bet that none of the losers at Woodruff have ever voted.

Mark T

October 28th, 2011
8:03 am

“They made and continue to make their point loud and clear”

How is sleeping in tents and banging on bongo drums making a point…I say let em stay, and see how long they are willing to bang on those drums. Lets see how well they do in 30 degrees and freezing rain

Waheema

October 28th, 2011
8:13 am

Reed should have moved on the first day.

He can’t in good conscience allow Occupy to violate the law about public meetings and then require other groups to follow it becasue he might have some affinity with Occupy’s politics. That would be freedom of speech and assembly for those we agree with …hardly a constitutional principle.

Occupy wanted a confrontation. They were indeed on a path to escalation to preserve their fifteen minutes of fame. It was always going to end this way… the sooner the better.

Occupy is irrelevant. They are a bunch of lost marxists, professional protestors and none to bright children, surprised that their degree in medieval art history is not a ticket to a middle class lifestyle. No one will remember them soon. What they will remember is Reed’s political calculation to keep Occupy in the park while he would deny that right to others. Hardly equal protection under the law.

He spent a lot of money. He made living in town a little less attractive. He made his own politics more important than his office.

JDW

October 28th, 2011
8:17 am

@Marko…”I feel that Obama was given a mandate to come to Washington and kick butts. Instead he chose to compromise with morons.”

There is a lot of truth to that. The right wants to harp on the poor approval ratings of the President. The part they like to ignore is that about 1 in 4 of those that disapprove do so because he has not been liberal enough. I don’t see those people voting for a Republican nominee.

JKL2

October 28th, 2011
8:19 am

flossifer- Amendment 1, US Constitution: The Right Of The People Peaceably To Assemble SHALL NOT BE ABRIDGED!

It’s not. They can assemble every day. They just need to go home at night because we have laws against squatters. Feel free to invite them over to your house if you like. party, party, party…

JKL2

October 28th, 2011
8:24 am

jefferson- The cost incurred is the beginning.

I think we should leave all those “peaceful” protesters to rape, kill, and steal from each other as they see fit. They might actually learn something if Darwin hit’s them in the face while they’re waiting for their handouts.

JDW

October 28th, 2011
8:24 am

As to the blog topic…I think he did a reasonable job with them. He got them out very calmly. This crowd was unorganized and inarticulate and more of a side show than anything else. The question is will they be better organized and more focused when they come back?

The other thing I find curious is how all of the “strict constitutionalists” in our midst are so quick to favor the laws that abridge the right to free assembly…what is the difference in limiting assembly and limiting gun ownership that drives them to distraction.

Mark T

October 28th, 2011
8:34 am

“what is the difference in limiting assembly and limiting gun ownership that drives them to distraction.”

They can assemble all they want, they just cant do overnight

mike "hussein" smith

October 28th, 2011
8:36 am

Those who don’t “occupy Atlanta” on a nightly basis — in their homes — should just shut up and keep north of Buckhead. The park isn’t yours so your thoughts about it represent mere meddling and oral BMs. Boy Wonder doesn’t really care that the puppet Reed waited so late to make a liar of himself. He’s merely trying to push newspapers/site visits — even if he has to trample on the Constitution to do that.

carlosgvv

October 28th, 2011
8:41 am

Whether they were kicked out too soon or too late is not the question. The real question to ask is why were they there in the first place? It’s not too hard to find out. When 1% of the population controls over 50% of the nation’s wealth and when jobs are so hard to find even for educated people, the streets will start to fill.

commoncents

October 28th, 2011
8:41 am

Freedom of assembly is much like freedom of speech… It ends when your assembly or your speech infringes on the rights of others. I’d say squatting, holding a public space hostage and attempting to have an unpermitted concert infringes on the rights of others.

I believe Reed handled this as well as he could have.

Mark T

October 28th, 2011
8:42 am

SO whos park is it?

JDW

October 28th, 2011
8:44 am

@MarkT…”They can assemble all they want, they just cant do overnight”

Cities have passed laws stating you can have all the guns you want so long as they are secured when not in use…The NRA sued…whats the difference?

Joe The Plumber too.

October 28th, 2011
8:44 am

mikey, those of us who do “occupy Atlanta” on a nightly basis are glad the mayor did something right for a change and sent the children and their ex-con leader packing, we have enough freaks in Atlanta on a nightly basis without sanctioning free homesteading to the wasted and worthless.

Mark T

October 28th, 2011
8:47 am

“When 1% of the population controls over 50% of the nation’s wealth”

Actually its 38.1% and they pay 38% of the taxes

Mark T

October 28th, 2011
8:48 am

JDW

October 28th, 2011
8:44 am
@MarkT…”They can assemble all they want, they just cant do overnight”

Cities have passed laws stating you can have all the guns you want so long as they are secured when not in use…The NRA sued…whats the difference?

I really dont see what the two have in common

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

October 28th, 2011
8:49 am

The human debris known as Occupy Atlanta were breaking the law and were given a pass for too long. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Streetracer

October 28th, 2011
8:54 am

commoncents:

To maybe make your point even simplier for those that need it, I’ll quote my high school English teacher. “You have the right to do whatever you want, but your rights stop at my nose.”

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

October 28th, 2011
8:55 am

It’s called civil disobedience: These kids have something that more and more people have. An entitlement mentality driven by their own greed and envy.
——–

Fixed, at no cost to the tax payer.

JDW

October 28th, 2011
8:56 am

@Mark T…”I really dont see what the two have in common”

They are both laws that abridge in some way a perceived right under the Constitution. If that is an acceptable thing to do, then how can someone rationally hold that it is ok to abridge the right to assemble but not the less specific right to bear arm?

Mark T

October 28th, 2011
9:01 am

JDW

Like I said, no one is saying they do not have the right to assemble, but it is unlawful to camp out in Woodruff Park over night without a permit so they are breaking the law. They can come back every day for the next 5 years but they cant stay overnight, so Reed is not abridging anything

carlosgvv

October 28th, 2011
9:02 am

Mark T – 8:47

Actually, I must stand corrected. The 1% only own a mere 42% of the wealth in America. So, now I can sing “happy days are here again”.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

October 28th, 2011
9:03 am

The right to assemble is not unlimited, just as the right to free speech is not without limits.

If the Tea Party decided they wanted to assemble in the same park at the same time as the OWS scum, somebody’s not going to get to exercise their right. Just as the scum were infringing on normal working Americans’ right to use the park.

Lil' Barry Bailout (Revised Downward)

October 28th, 2011
9:04 am

carlosgvv, why aren’t you part of the 1%?

Welcome to the Occupation

October 28th, 2011
9:04 am

They came, they camped, they got thrown in jail.

But they got people like you a little worried, apparently.

BULLSEYE

October 28th, 2011
9:05 am

But talkin’ about it and bein’ it, that’s two different things. I mean, it’s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free, ’cause then they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they’re gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it’s gonna scare ‘em.

Mark T

October 28th, 2011
9:07 am

carlosgvv

October 28th, 2011
9:02 am
Mark T – 8:47

Actually, I must stand corrected. The 1% only own a mere 42% of the wealth in America. So, now I can sing “happy days are here again”.

And like I said, they pay 38% of the taxes…do you have wealth envy?

Mark T

October 28th, 2011
9:11 am

Welcome to the Occupation

October 28th, 2011
9:04 am
They came, they camped, they got thrown in jail.

But they got people like you a little worried, apparently.

Worried?…Am I suppose to be worried about 100 people (out of 9.6 million) banging on bongo drums and repeating everything 1 person says like sheep..worried no, laughing, yes

Hootinanny Yum Yum

October 28th, 2011
9:13 am

I think Reed got it just right. I like Kasim. He exhibits a nice balance in most decision-making.

Welcome to the Occupation

October 28th, 2011
9:14 am

Mark T: “Am I suppose to be worried about 100 people (out of 9.6 million) banging on bongo drums and repeating everything 1 person says like sheep..worried no, laughing, yes”

Nervous laughter perhaps?

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”

Sounds like stage 2 to me.

Mark T

October 28th, 2011
9:17 am

Sounds like stage 2 to me.

Good luck with that

UGA 1999

October 28th, 2011
9:20 am

When they were protesting without a permit, they should have been kicked to the curb immediately.

Pat

October 28th, 2011
9:22 am

@Welcome, I am glad people like that are out there. It weeds out people that want a job and those who complain about not having it. If I ever become unemployed, I know I already have a step ahead of the 100 or so people.

Uncle Jed

October 28th, 2011
9:25 am

The problem with Hizoner was that he set deadlines and then backed down. That may have seemed popular and I feel certain that some “suggestions” came down from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but it was not an illustration in leadership.

The right to assemble and peaceably protest the government shouldn’t be mistaken for having a right to violate the law. What we witnessed on display was the rule of man trumping the rule of law and that is never a good plan, unless one supports such forms of governance. I prefer a more orderly, transparent, and equitable system. Don’t forget that the park is also “owned” by the non-protestors and therefore some may have had their rights to the peaceful enjoyment of the space infringed upon.

We don’t get to pick and choose which laws we will abide by and we do have a mechanism to change laws with which we find ourselves in disagreement. It is not by breaking an exisitng law and I think in those situations we cross the line between lawful assembly and anarchy.

The “it’s a public park” and “a public space” argument is a weak one. Libraries; schools; fire stations; air control towers; I-285 for the more daring; and many other places are owned by “we the people”, but to suggest that if my group (a hypothetical) chose one of the aforementioned as our assembly and camping spot,as opposed to a park, we should be left alone is ludicrous.

Welcome to the Occupation

October 28th, 2011
9:27 am

Good luck with that

Sounds like nervous laughter all right.

Pat, you think this is about just getting a measly job?

What’s a job when you can retake an entire conversation, and eventually the system?

Don't Tread

October 28th, 2011
9:30 am

“They want the crooks on Wall Street whose gambling (greed) brought us to the worst recession since the Great Depression to be prosecuted for the fraud they committed.”

George Soros did his fair share of insider trading and committed REAL fraud, yet I don’t see you picketing his house or slamming him like you do everyone else. Oh wait, he’s the financing behind the liberal special-interest groups, isn’t he?

I guess it’s better to punish people who violated some unwritten law in your head than to punish those who are actually guilty of something.

Pat

October 28th, 2011
9:31 am

I know it is more than about getting a job. It is about people who do not want to take responsibly and want everything handed to them from “wealthier” people.