Archive for Tuesday, October 18, 2011

City Hall leaders urge Occupy Lawrence protesters to ‘follow rules’

October 18, 2011


Lawrence City Hall officials soon are going to want a better definition of what the “occupy” in Occupy Lawrence really means.

City Hall leaders on Tuesday night began to express concern about the approximately 30 people who are camping in South Park as part of the Occupy Lawrence protests.

“I don’t think they will be allowed to stay there indefinitely,” said Toni Wheeler, the director of the city’s legal department. “We’re now evaluating how to proceed.”

Those comments come just one day after Mayor Aron Cromwell made comments that indicated the campers would be allowed to camp in South Park as long as they were peaceful. But Cromwell on Tuesday said he should have done more to emphasize that the campers must follow city rules. Generally, camping in city parks is prohibited unless a group has a special permit. Occupy Lawrence’s permit expired Sunday.

“They have to follow our rules, and we do not allow camping in our parks,” Cromwell said. “Their permit has expired, and that has to be dealt with.”

But Cromwell stopped short of saying the campers would immediately be found in violation of the city’s ordinance. Instead, Cromwell said a dialogue will need to be opened with the campers to “work together to resolve the issue.” Wheeler said her office was exploring the best way to do that, but offered no specific timeline.

“I don’t have a good feel for that now,” Wheeler said when asked how much longer the city may allow the camping. “I would just say days.”

All of this may be news to the Occupy Lawrence campers. A few members of the group attended Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, and a representative thanked the city for its understanding.

“We want to tell you that we’re keeping it peaceful,” said Sean Maupin, a camper and Lawrence resident who works as a nighttime stocking clerk at Walmart. “We’re not trying to make enemies up here. We appreciate everything you’re doing.”

City commissioners or city officials did not bring up any concerns about the camping during the meeting. Instead, officials expressed those concerns outside of the meeting in response to questions from the Journal-World.

The campers who came to City Hall indicated that they intended to stay in the park for an “indefinite” period of time. When pressed, they said that could mean many days or weeks, even noting that colder weather likely would draw more attention to their cause.

Maupin confirmed the campers are using an open fire to stay warm, which city officials said they were not aware of.

The campers indicated that they would see it as a violation of their rights if the city insisted they leave the park.

“The city has been very good to work with and has been very understanding,” said Deb Terry, a 20-year Lawrence resident who does not work because of a physical disability. “If that situation changes, I can tell you that we will still be there.”


davisnin 2 years, 5 months ago

Just to knock down one of the 'requests' from the occupiers, a living wage can't work. The inflation adjusted average workers salary hasn't increased in 50 years. Why? Because of evil corporations? No. Because it is the Pareto efficient market clearing wage. If you triple what people make the market will correct and each dollar will only be worth a third of what it is now. It's a morality free process. This is one of the few parts of economic theory that actually has held up for a good chunk of our history. Of course none of the people complaining about the stagnation in inflation adjusted wages mention how much the standard of living has risen in the same period. Nor does their empathy extend to the countries we outsource to and the fact that these jobs are akin to industrial revolutions pulling people out of poverty while at the same time indistinguishable on our end from similar job losses from advances in technology. (On that note, don't worry about call centers being outsourced to India, voice recognition tech will strip those jobs from them in the decade)


happygolucky 2 years, 5 months ago

Follow the rules or move on. Easy as that. Last I knew, unless the "fire pit" is alread established, you can't use it. The 60's are over hippies. Time to get a job and grow up. PS, Wall Street can't hear you....but can probably smell you.


adavid 2 years, 6 months ago

tents have been moved multiple times. the occupants are doing a fantastic job and keeping litter and trash in designated bins for periodic removal. they've even kept the public restrooms clean. and the point of occupying south park is to BE in a central location. i suppose if anyone ranting around these LJ response columns had actually ever attended one of the DAILY general assemblies, they would be aware of the Occupants' desire for a clean and safe public park.

these are not communists or marxists or leninists or even nazis. they are citizens like you and I making a serious attempt to bring strangers together for some down-to-earth dialogue and to challenge our local government into action. our city leaders don't read the drivel spit about on this web site for many obvious reasons. the Occupants are pressing for our 1st amendment right to 'peaceably assemble'. the problem lies in the fact that for 6 1/2 hours out of the day, the park is seemingly off-limits. however, a stroll through it in the wee hours of the morning will prove that drunks often like to spend some time on the swing set. the anti-camping ordinance is an anti-homeless act first and foremost. it is a bow on the gift we are presenting to developers from Topeka and Kansas City. Lawrence is becoming a simple suburban hub for the upper class while driving the homeless farther and farther into reliance on their local community, which could do a hell of a lot more for each other than is currently practiced.

display not bumper stickers crying for people to 'think and act globally and locally', but rather join the Occupants who are really think-ING and act-ING globally and locally. talk is cheap, about as cheap as a bumper sticker.

part-time occupant, first-hand witness.


Armored_One 2 years, 6 months ago

ya know, I think tonight I might be taking myself a stroll down through the park with a nice big bucket of water. The burn ban is in place and I would be exercizing my civic requirement to protect the populace at large from a hazardous fire.


KansasPerson 2 years, 6 months ago

Remember eight and a half years ago, when the city stood up to this?

I'd like to go camping too -- can I do this anywhere I want? I cannot. Some consistency, please, City.


oldbaldguy 2 years, 6 months ago

I think it is Osage. The impressionable young women were always sincere about whatever it was they were protesting. Back then it was usually the Vietnam War and women's lib. None of them wore bras although some should of.


Boston_Corbett 2 years, 6 months ago

I'm all for a good ole extended protest, after all, this is Lawrence. But these people should also behave in a respectful way that preserves the park for the rest of the community: i.e. move all tents & tables every few days so you don't damage the grass, no fires which could damage the grass, clean up after yourself, no litter, no noise outside of demonstrations, no late night noise, no public intoxication.

If they are doing any damage to South Park, or otherwise violate these kinds of rules, they should get booted and moved to Broken Arrow Park, Dad Perry Park or similar less central location.


darthtaco 2 years, 6 months ago

Just like I was thrown out of my job... Just like the survailence BS at Wakarusa 2006.... LOL at the "concerns" old people who hate to see humanity advance beyond the darkages they like so much. If the REDstate hicks hate america so much, then get the puck out !!! We don't need yall hick no more..


gudpoynt 2 years, 6 months ago

how can you exercise civil disobedience by following all the rules?


idarastar 2 years, 6 months ago

A fireman stopped by before the pit was fired and said it would follow regulations if it was an above-ground fire pit. There were 40 people at last night's general assembly.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 6 months ago

But Cromwell stopped short of saying the campers would immediately be found in violation of the city’s ordinance. Instead, Cromwell said a dialogue will need to be opened with the campers to “work together to resolve the issue.” Wheeler said her office was exploring the best way to do that, but offered no specific timeline. ++++++++++++++++ It is nice to see that those who make the rules can pick and choose which ones they enforce. This is a no brainer. Either resend the ordinance or enforce it.

If they don't enforce it, then how can they enforce the snow removal ordinance? The city's credibility is at zero.


somebodynew 2 years, 6 months ago

I just walked by there this morning (prior to reading this article) and noticed the fire. The wind is blowing about 20 mph and having an open fire is not just illegal, it is downright stupid. This in a park with a bunch of dried up leaves around to help catch other stuff on fire. Yeah, this group is real smart.

And I can't seem to remember where in the Bill of Rights it talks about camping out in a City park in violation of long time rules and regs is within your civil rights. Must have missed that sentence.


kernal 2 years, 6 months ago

We'll see what happens when the temp dips below freezing in the wee hours of tomorrow. That should test their mettle. in the meantime, let them hang out today because they'll probably start to get bored with the whole thing.


lunacydetector 2 years, 6 months ago

"A Marxist ... logically proceeds to the revolution to end capitalism, then into the third stage of reorganization into a new social order of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and finally the last stage -- the political paradise of communism."

Saul Alinsky (1909-1972)


rockchalk1977 2 years, 6 months ago

Camper Sean Maupin works at Wal-Mart. I thought Wal-Mart was the epitome of evil "corporate greed". Hypocrisy anyone?


Eybea Opiner 2 years, 6 months ago

Occupy is seemingly against "corporate greed" (what ever that is), but are seemingly for big government.

Confiscating all the wealth of the Forbes 400 richest people (Gates and Buffet heading the list) would generate about $1.3 trillion. Enough to cover this year's deficit spending. Confiscating all the profits of all corporations reporting over $1 billion annual profits would generate approximately enough to cover another year's deficit spending. (That, by the way would eat up all the dividends that are paid into retirement accounts, many of which are owned and managed by various unions as well as individuals like me.) The debt, of course, would remain at an amount equaling GDP.

The problem is that our government spends too much money that it doesn't have and has no chance of getting.


oldbaldguy 2 years, 6 months ago

Attending protests used to be a great way to meet impressionable young women back in the early 70's.


MarcoPogo 2 years, 6 months ago

I will now spend the next few days "occupying" my back yard and burning my leaves in an open pit since the city has written us all a big, blank check to do whatever we'd like. DE-OCCUPY RAKING!


Armored_One 2 years, 6 months ago


I wonder how those that own numerous businesses, thus qualifying them for this 1% moniker, will respond if their taxes are raised to the levels that I have read are wanted.

Gee, I dunno, maybe raise the prices on everything their businesses sell to offset the losses to income?

Can we shoot ourselves in both feet at the same time to just save time, or are these morons going to drag things out long enough that we actually have to take the time to shoot them one at a time, instead of one shot for both?

Just more proof that the collective intellect of a group decreases on an inverse curve directly related to the increase in the number of people involved.


Armored_One 2 years, 6 months ago

"The campers indicated that they would see it as a violation of their rights if the city insisted they leave the park."

And as to the rights of those that might want to enjoy the park without their presence?

Those that obey the laws and don't camp for days after a permit to do so has expired.

The sense of entitlement in this country is getting to levels that would gag a humpback whale. "Oh, I have a complaint so I shouldn't have to obey the laws unless I really feel like it"

I wonder if it is against the law to wander through a public park and spray water into the air from something like a super soaker.


somedude20 2 years, 6 months ago

The city needs to uphold the law as others have said, it would cause a bad precedence if they did not, but having said that, I think the city is taking their time because they are not sure how these people will respond. If you kick them out will they go somewhere else? Will they need to have more police on call to move these guys out of the park (reminds me of an early 80's movie starring Tommy Lee Jones called "The Park is Mine") ? I would hope the reason the city is slow to respond is so that they can respond well and have no problems


citizen1 2 years, 6 months ago

City hall has a double standard regarding the occupiers. Several years ago the city used equipment to kick the homeless out of north Lawrence, for various reasons, amoung them being camping was not allowed.

Now City Hall says the occupiers can stay in violation of curfew in the park, no permit, open burning, etc.

It seems City Hall needs to decide if we enforce our laws uniformly or based on political agendas.


BornAgainAmerican 2 years, 6 months ago

Kind of off topic here, but the 99% that is being used by the OWS mob suggests that 99% of the citizenry supports these anarchists.. I am not part of the 1%, but I am pretty sure they do not represent me. I agree with very little that has come out of this motley collection of fools. Why are they not demonstrating in front of the White House? After all, Bush may have began the bank bailouts, but it was Obama who executed and supported TARP. Obama also appointed Tim Geitner (Goldman Sachs' arctitect of the bailout) as Secretary of the Treasury. Obama received far and away more campaign dollars from Wall Street in 2008 than McCain. The Annointed One now has the audacity to support OWS in their efforts to bring down capitalism and create class warfare and anarchy. True leaders are uniters and bring people of differing opinions together. This President is promoting divisiveness in his efforts to be re-elected. This country cannot endure 4 more years under this incompetent administration. January 2013, the end of an error!


commonsenseanyone 2 years, 6 months ago

What a bunch of smelly hippies.

There will always be winners and losers in this country. The losers will always be lazy and still complain about their free rent and food stamps. All the while calling the winners greedy and rich... Even though those same greedy rich people are the ones generating the revenue to pay for them.

Maybe these losers should toughen up and cut it out in the real world like the rest of us.

Freakin hippies.... I thought I smelled the river when I drove by but it was much worse. Weed and BO, gross.


Brock Masters 2 years, 6 months ago

The city is setting a dangerous precedent by not enforcing the law. What happens if other groups decide to protest and not follow the rules and their message is not one the city endorses?

I support protests regardless of the message, it is our right, but it must be lawful.


applefarmer 2 years, 6 months ago

Will the city get off their rears and uphold the law. I think if they don't do what they should then why not just do what we want. The city leaders are becoming more and more of a joke. Lets not offend anyone and not cause a scene that will make us look bad.


Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

Again the larger issue is about Wall Street crime which hurt millions upon millions upon millions of homeowners and/or families. Where is the LJW investigative reporting on this matter? Where is the Grand Jury and the FBI?

Wall Street Bank Fraud cost consumers $ trillions, millions of jobs, loss of retirement plans and loss of medical insurance. Exactly like the Reagan/Bush home loan scam. Déjà vu can we say. Yep seems to be a pattern. LJW let's talk about this RINO pattern. Where is the Grand Jury and the FBI?


Often, government plays a role in bubbles. The housing bubble was in part generated by the Federal Reserve maintaining low interest rates. Easy money meant readily obtainable loans and, at least in the short run, low monthly payments.

Also, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan denied the housing bubble’s existence—not fraud exactly, but deception that kept the bubble going. (Greenspan, whose view was ideologically driven, got support in his bubble denial from the academic work of the man who was to be his successor, Ben Bernanke.)

In addition, government regulatory agencies turned a blind eye to the highly risky practices of financial firms, practices that both encouraged the development of the bubble and made the impact all the worse when it burst.

Moreover, the private rating agencies (e.g., Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s) were complicit. Dependent on the financial institutions for their fees, they gave excessively good ratings to these risky investments. Perhaps not fraud in the legal sense, but certainly misleading.

And, yes, substantial fraud was involved. For example, mortgage companies and banks used deceit to get people to take on mortgages when there was no possibility that the borrowers would be able to meet the payments. Not only was this fraud, but this fraud depended on government authorities ignoring their regulatory responsibilities.

Where is the Grand Jury and the FBI?


Richard Heckler 2 years, 6 months ago

The campers are not bothering anyone and they are keeping the area neat and tidy.

The larger issue:

November 3, 2011 – Washington, DC

National Nurses United International Day of Action: Make Wall Street Pay

As the leaders of the G-20 nations meet in France November 3, 2011 to address the global economic crisis, join with nurses, consumer advocates and union allies as part of actions around the world to send a message from Main Street: Wall Street must pay for the devastation they’ve caused to our communities.

A Wall Street Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) can raise $350 billion per year in the U.S. to provide living wage jobs, guaranteed healthcare, a secure retirement for all, quality public education, good housing and protection from hunger. European workers want the benefits of the FTT in their own countries as well.

November 3, 2011, we will tell Congress and economic policy makers in Washington: Tax Wall Street.

Thursday, November 3, 2011 11:30 am — Lafayette Square 3:00 pm — Lobby on Capitol Hill

For more information, please contact or go to


lunacydetector 2 years, 6 months ago

i'm glad these protests were endorsed by the democratic party, communist party, and nazi party......with the low turn out, it brings me hope that our city's population isn't as crazy as i thought.

if this was a tea party campout.....don't you think our crackpot mayor would've shut them down when the permit expired?


pilch 2 years, 6 months ago

Neo-hippies, perhaps you should burn the Union again and blame the man. "nuke the gay whales for Jesus"
PS be sure to put out press release to Pravda you tools.


smitty 2 years, 6 months ago

“They have to follow our rules, and we do not allow camping in our parks,” Cromwell said. “Their permit has expired, and that has to be dealt with.”

The homeless have been allowed to put down their bed rolls along the west side of the rec building and in the pine trees along side the children's pool for months at a time. When the parks and rec employees who maintain the area were asked what the city had instructed them to do about the homeless, our city park employees stated there were no instructions. Of course there were no permits either.

Why the hypocrisy, city hall?


deec 2 years, 6 months ago

I don't think Walmart, or any corporation, has the right to dictate what employees do on their own time. As long as they are not trying to form a labor union, I doubt Walmart cares. One of my sons works as an overnight stocker at a Wamart in the KC metro. If you show up when scheduled and work hard while on the clock, they don't care what you do on your time.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 6 months ago

So a permit expired on Sunday ? Why is the city reluctant to enforce the expired permit?

Deb Terry suggests that the "occupiers" will not leave? Cold weather will draw attention to how ridiculous they are. Wanna bet that those from VermontTowers and other subsidized units (part of Lawrence HOusing Authority?) will head home?

Sean Maupin is a nightime stocker at Walmart, hmmm. Aren't they corporate?Why isn't he camping at Walmart? Wonder what the HR department thinks about their employees trespassing on city property without a permit. Mr. Maupin may find himself not stocking anymore but rather occupying a seat at the Employment office, unemployment that is.

There is no cause but just a reason to hang out. A few VietNam vets could show up and really show the knuckleheads how to camp.


thebcman 2 years, 6 months ago

sounds like it's time to take out the trash.


oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 6 months ago

Mayor Cramwell needs to have a dialogue with Ms. Wheeler. How can Mayor Cramwell allow an open fire when there are structures within 50 feet of the fire? No one in the city can get a burning permit if the fire is within 50 feet? Also, isn't there a ban on burning?

Pray for rain and snow and sleet and hail! Those from Vermont Towers will be headed back to their rent subsidized apartments. That nasty government giving them almost free rent.


Number_1_Grandma 2 years, 6 months ago

As I said earlier, mayor Cromwell doesn't have the authority to do anything but run commission meetings. A permit is needed and if they don't have one should be booted. Just goes to show you how UNeducated votes go on from our mayor/commissioners form of government. The 'for show' mayor form of government needs to be changed to have educated votes of what really goes on in this town!


Commenting has been disabled for this item.