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Archive for Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Lawrence notifies city that some campers plan to stay in South Park despite warnings from city

T.J. Campsey, a protester with Occupy Lawrence, talks about the group's meeting with a delegation of city officials, who told them to leave the park by Thursday night.

October 19, 2011, 11:01 p.m. Updated October 20, 2011, 9:10 p.m.

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Protesters in the Occupy Lawrence camp at South Park converse in a circle on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 shortly after meeting with several city officials earlier in the afternoon. The protesters were told to leave the park by Thursday night as their permit to remain overnight had expired.

Protesters in the Occupy Lawrence camp at South Park converse in a circle on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011 shortly after meeting with several city officials earlier in the afternoon. The protesters were told to leave the park by Thursday night as their permit to remain overnight had expired.

UPDATE:

Toni Wheeler, the city's director of the Legal Department, said two representatives from Occupy Lawrence came to her office in City Hall at 8:30 a.m. today to notify her that a "contingent" of Occupy Lawrence members would continue to camp in the park despite a warning from the city that they would be violating a law that prohibits use of the park during overnight hours.

"They weren't specific about how large the contingent would be," Wheeler said.

Wheeler said she was now in discussions with various city officials to determine what the city's enforcement strategy will be. Wheeler said she did not anticipate the city taking any enforcement action prior to 11:30 p.m. today, which is when the park closes for the day.

By city ordinance, Lawrence parks close from 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wheeler previously has said the city would have the legal right to remove the campers from the park, but she has stopped short of saying whether that will be the approach the city takes to enforce the law.

Sgt. Matt Sarna, a Lawrence police spokesman, at 4:30 p.m. Thursday said the city and police department were "working together to find options and facilitate the protestors' expression of freedom of speech."

"The Lawrence Police Department is committed to enforcing the laws and ordinances within the city limits of Lawrence including parks that have set usage hours. This enforcement could include citations, arrests or other types of enforcement actions deemed necessary," Sarna said. "The City of Lawrence Police Department has no formal timeline on enforcement action at this time and is hoping for a peaceful resolution to the situation."

At 7 p.m., members of Occupy Lawrence agreed by consensus that those who wished could stay in the park past 11:30 p.m. The group also voted to remove a majority of their camping equipment to a location off site.

Occupy Lawrence member Jason Phoenix proposed a resolution which would see the group leave South Park and occupy other parks for one or two days at a time before moving on.

"It's not about South Park, it's about continuing to spark conversation," Phoenix said.

Continue to check back to LJWorld.com for more developments.

Here's the earlier story:

They’re staying. At least some of them are.

About 20 members of the Occupy Lawrence group indicated Wednesday evening that they plan to continue camping in South Park, even though Lawrence’s chief of police and other city officials warned them the city would begin enforcing a law that prohibits camping in city parks.

After a meeting of more than three hours — which featured protesters huddled in a circle around donated propane heaters, speechmakers standing on a stump, and a voting system that involves several types of hand signals — many members said the Occupy Lawrence movement needed to move into a new phase of civil disobedience.

“Lawrence residents shouldn’t only expect civil disobedience but they should participate in it,” said camper David Hughes-Pfeifer.

At various times in the evening, about 50 protesters participated in the discussion — or the “general assembly” as the Occupy Lawrence group labels its nightly meeting. Not all group members agreed to camp at the park and risk fines or arrests from the city. But the group did unanimously agree to formally support those members who choose to keep camping in the park.

Several group members said that camping in the park was an important part of the protests, not only for the visibility it provides the organization but also because of the message it sends.

“I have a nice house just a few blocks from this park that I could be sleeping in right now,” said Chelsea Donoho. “It is ridiculous that I’m sleeping in this park. But the reason it is important that we continue sleeping in this park is because it shows how damn serious we are.”

Gus Bova — a Lawrence resident, Kansas University student and an employee at a local pizza shop — said a poll of people at the park indicated about 20 people were preparing to continue camping, despite the city’s order to stop the activity by this evening. Bova, though, said he thinks the group may gain more campers as news of the city’s pending action spreads across town.

“I think people are realizing that a film screening or going door-to-door isn’t enough,” Bova said. “If that was enough to create change, we wouldn’t be here. Sometimes extreme times call for extreme measures. That’s really what this movement is about.”

A little after 1 p.m. Wednesday, Lawrence Police Chief Tarik Khatib, along with the city’s director of the Legal Department and Parks and Recreation officials, told the group of about 30 campers that their permit to stay in the park overnight has expired. Toni Wheeler, director of the Legal Department, said she told the group that the city expected the campers to remove their tents and no longer use the park between the hours of 11:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. — which is the time that the park is considered officially closed.

But Wheeler said the city did give the campers assurance that police would take no action Wednesday evening to enforce the no-camping provision. Instead, she expects the group to call her office by 8:30 a.m. today to notify her they intend to comply with the city’s laws regarding the park.

After Wednesday night’s meeting, though, the group agreed to tell Wheeler that it is likely some campers will remain in the park despite the city’s orders. The group also will tell Wheeler that the campers will have the support of the Occupy Lawrence movement, which grew out of the Occupy Wall Street movement that is protesting economic inequality, the role corporations play in government and several other themes.

Wheeler stopped short of saying that the city would physically remove the campers if they fail to comply, but she said the city would have the right to do so.

“If they do not leave, they could be cited for a violation of the city code and they would be in the park without the legal authority to be there and they could be removed,” Wheeler said.

Jennifer Dillon, a member of Occupy Lawrence who has been serving as a liaison to city officials, said a Lawrence police captain told her that the city was not planning to make arrests of campers tonight, although they may start issuing tickets.

A spokesman with the police department late Wednesday couldn’t confirm that conversation, but said city officials would take an appropriate amount of time in evaluating potential enforcement strategies.

Wheeler said the city’s code related to illegally staying in a city park has a broad penalty provision. It allows for the Municipal Court judge to issue of a fine of not less than $1 but not more than $1,000 for each offense, up to 180 days in jail or both a fine and jail time.

Wheeler, though, said she told campers that the city does not object to the campers using the park during the normal operating hours of the park.

“We did stress to them that we are fully supportive of them using the park in the daytime hours, even if it is day after day after day, as long as they remove their belongings and leave the park when it closes,” Wheeler said.

On Wednesday evening, however, several campers were preparing for the possibility of being arrested. Several were writing in magic marker on their forearms the telephone number of an attorney who previously had told the crowd that he would represent any protesters who were arrested.

Comments

ljwhirled 3 years, 2 months ago

So Mayor Cromwell says they can stay, but the legal dept and the police department say they have to go.

Who is in charge in this city? The elected representatives or the city manager (ex-head of the legal department)?

Ignignokt 3 years, 2 months ago

Um, none of the above... The laws of this city should be in charge. If you (or anyone else) does not like it, you can lobby to have the law changed to allow camping in the park. That is your right. Welcome to America.

damnitimpissed 3 years, 2 months ago

In that case, there should be more than just one person getting arrested weekly for "taking up space" on the sidewalk downtown. Prosecutorial discretion! Welcome to America!

ljwhirled 3 years, 2 months ago

Um, the cops have civilian oversight through a city commission. Welcome to America, where the cops can't just "enforce the law" without being held accountable to an elected body.

If the Mayor did indeed say:

"Mayor Aron Cromwell says the city has no intention of kicking the occupiers out any time soon, at least so long as they continue to be peaceful."

As Chad reported in his story, then why are appointed officials all of a sudden going after the campers?

Who is in charge, the cops or the commission? I don't remember Toni Wheeler being on a ballot.

Ignignokt 3 years, 2 months ago

So an elected body can chose a group of people that are exempt from having to follow the law? If I park my 5th Wheel next to the gazebo will I be allowed to ignore the law too? I'll be peaceful I promise!

Liberty_Or_Death 3 years, 2 months ago

Do you intend on using your whit and fifth wheel trailer to promote peaceable positive change for mankind? I'd imagine you'll be alright then... .Love&Light.

Ignignokt 3 years, 2 months ago

I just want to promote free in-city camping for a small percent of the population (lets say 1% or less). Granting special consideration to a small fraction of the population is what this whole thing is about isn't it?

Jimo 3 years, 2 months ago

And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.

Jimo 3 years, 2 months ago

Ha. I'm hardly on their "side." To paraphrase Barney Frank about a different protest years ago: The only pressure they're putting on anyone is on the grass.

(Although to their credit they do have the wingnuts running scared -- see the hysterical reaction from your ilk to nothing more than a few people hanging around and pointing to facts that embarrass you. Surprising how "conservatives" love America but hate so many Americans.)

That said: The key here is that protesting is a First Amendment right. The City can make reasonable restrictions on that right to serve important governmental interests -- public safety, health, any conflicting civil rights of others. However, as with other First Amendment rights, governmentally imposed restrictions are subject to heightened scrutiny. This is in contrast to random park vistors, homeless people, vagrants, squatters, or any other persons for which the City's 'no camping' policy does not trigger heightened scrutiny.

Here, the City would need to show not merely that it has a rational reason for its 'no camping' policy and applies that policy impartially. That's all the City has to show with regard to the general public. Rather--for First Amendment protesters--the City must show that its policy serves an important governmental interest that out-weighs the First Amendment as well as that its policy is the least restrictive limitation on these rights that can achieve its important governmental interests.

Maybe the City can do this but it is not obvious that the City can. (1) The City so far doesn't seem able to articulate very well what its important interest is exactly. (And the burden of proof will lie with the City to prove the validity of its stated interest.) (2) Absent that, it's impossible to evaluate whether less restrictive but workable options are available. I'm not saying that the City definitely is violating the protesters civil rights. But I am saying that the City is opening itself up to a lawsuit whose outcome is not clearly in the City's--or the taxpayers'--favor.

In short: these Occupyers may look like vagrants to you but they do not look the same to the Constitution.

ljwhirled 3 years, 2 months ago

Here is the story where the Chad Lawhorn stated:

"Mayor Aron Cromwell says the city has no intention of kicking the occupiers out any time soon, at least so long as they continue to be peaceful." http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/oct...

Now they are getting kicked out?

Is this just Chad getting one on one quotes with various folks and playing them against each other for a story? Did the city change its position all of a sudden? If so, when was the change made and where was the public discourse? Was this the reason for the behind the scenes meeting between the Commission and the legal dept last night?

So many questions, so few answers.

Here are my 0.02$:

Ticket the protesters, but don't arrest them. Then have the city commission forgive the fines on a one-time-only basis.

This enforces the law, but grants clemency. That way if the Phelps clan sets up camp, you can still ticket them ($1,000/Camper/Night) and ......oh, no.......no clemency for bigots.

fsto 3 years, 2 months ago

No clemency for bigots? Then you can't give it to the people "occupying" the park, either. The Phelps clan is a group of deranged, manipulative bigots. The "occupy" movement is largely a group of deranged, manipulative bigots. They're both cut from the same cloth, they're just deranged about different topics.

adavid 3 years, 2 months ago

except where the phelps clan doesn't offer free food, shelter and clothing to those in need, the occupiers...do.

Eride 3 years, 2 months ago

"Several were writing in magic marker on their forearms the telephone number of an attorney who previously had told the crowd that he would represent any protesters who were arrested."

LOL

ceccarp 3 years, 2 months ago

Laugh now. God forbid you should get arrested and have your cellphone, which has the number of your lawyer on it, taken away. Now tell me how are you going to get your lawyer's number?? It's a practical solution for an extreme situation.

deec 3 years, 2 months ago

Maybe the poster needs to call his/her lawyer so often, he/she has the number memorized.

Eride 3 years, 2 months ago

Your lack of understanding of how the legal system works is hilarious.

ceccarp 3 years, 2 months ago

I may not know everything there is to know about the legal system, but I do not lack any understanding of how it works. You do not know me so you have no idea what I do or do not know. Please, do not be so presumptuous.

Food_for_Thought 3 years, 2 months ago

Well, I found the article's statement amusing, simply because that particular attorney is clearly capitalizing on a media-covered event. If it goes far enough, he/she will get free advertisement when he/she makes statements to media outlets. Perhaps he/she will become the " Eye" of the Occupy Lawrence movement.

We're talking about civil disobedience...very minor charges faced, if any. These demonstrators won't need an attorney if they're taken to jail. They just can pay bond or wait to see a judge to be released on the municipal charge(s), and then seek an attorney later. It's not like they're going to spend weeks in jail and need an attorney to protect them from some "good cop/bad cop" interrogation routine. I seriously, seriously doubt that any of these demonstrators would be questioned or interrogated over something like an "illegal camping" charge. I doubt police interrogate people they cite/arrest over a "littering" charge. It's a minor charge that's pretty cut and dry.

The only thing the attorney might benefit any of the protesters for would be that the attorney would likely post bond on the protesters' behalf...but of course, I would expect that this expense would be added to those protesters' bills when the court proceedings were over. Regardless, that attorney would get the free media advertising, as well as word-of-mouth amongst the demonstrators.

I just find it amusing because some may see it as a noble or "white knight" gesture, when it's nothing more than an attorney jumping on a potentially good business opportunity. There are plenty of other good attorneys out there who would be happy to help any of the demonstrators, but have a little more class than to go around passing out their phone numbers like some nightclub promoter putting flyers on car windshields.

Hudson Luce 3 years, 2 months ago

The article is incorrect - I'm not offering free legal representation to all who get arrested. I was just providing my number as one to call in case the person got arrested - so I could get their details and help them arrange for a lawyer, or tell their friends or family that they were in jail and needed help.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

It's not rocket science. You call a family member or friend and have them arrange for a lawyer. That's what most of us would do.

Grammaton 3 years, 2 months ago

They should really be writing the number on the inside of their underwear elastic.

ceccarp 3 years, 2 months ago

Who is the "you" you are speaking of?? I am confused by your statement. Please clarify.

nut_case 3 years, 2 months ago

Liberty_Or_Death "You make no sense..."

Wow, that is so meta...

Richard Heckler 3 years, 2 months ago

The larger issue is Wall Street fraud which goes unchallenged by the legal system. Wall Street fraud negatively impacted millions upon million upon millions and took down the nations economy beginning in 2007. 11 million employed became unemployed.

Yes there are larger issues. Too bad the entire world must demonstrate to get justice.

classclown 3 years, 2 months ago

Does that park have sprinklers? Perhaps the grass could use a good watering.

jw721 3 years, 2 months ago

I do not think that is a good idea, nothing smells worse than wet hippies. :P

deec 3 years, 2 months ago

This was done in Denver a couple of nights ago. It didn't work. Occupiers know how to find the nearest all-night laundromat.

pentiuman 3 years, 2 months ago

Campers - please don't think that city representatives are representitive of the greater public here in Lawrence, as we do care about people and relevant issues.

fsto 3 years, 2 months ago

Then you'll be out there sitting in the park, I assume?

No, didn't think you would be.

adavid 3 years, 2 months ago

you won't either, right? too comfortable on the couch to get out and share your grievances? you have no grievances? fantastic, i'm happy for you and all, but it wouldn't hurt to go out and hear the plight of your neighbors and community.

full-time employed, part-time occupant, first-hand witness

fancy80 3 years, 2 months ago

pent, please don't speak for all of Lawrence. Thanks!!

ceccarp 3 years, 2 months ago

Since when is "the greater public" all of Lawrence?? That phrase simply implies a large segment of the population.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

Actually, it implies the majority of the population...and I'm not sure that's true nowadays.

Phillbert 3 years, 2 months ago

“I think people are realizing that a film screening or going door-to-door isn’t enough,” Bova said. “If that was enough to create change, we wouldn’t be here. Sometimes extreme times call for extreme measures. That’s really what this movement is about.”


What IS the movement about? If it is about enacting actual changes in laws, then going door-to-door registering voters and getting them to vote for candidates who support your views is more than enough.

Right now the local movement (and OWS in general) seems to be more about getting attention for itself rather than taking the steps needed to enact actual change.

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

I generally agree.

But, one problem with our current system is the way in which money has corrupted it - pretty much any candidate, in order to have a chance of winning, has to raise ridiculous amounts of money for their campaign.

When that happens, they are obviously indebted to their large campaign contributors, who often are large corporations and rich people.

So, simply urging people to vote, or finding a candidate you like, isn't quite enough.

I think this is one of the things that people have realized, and are upset about, and are protesting.

John Kyle 3 years, 2 months ago

I agree. You have to know which fights to pick, and I don't see fighting the Lawrence regulations on camping in parks is a great fight to have. They need to start camping in the BOA lobby or something that will actually be making a statement when they get arrested.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

And, unfortunately, we're going to see voter registration drives fading away thanks to people like our Secretary of State to whom provisional ballots are not enough.

As an aside, I've wondered why he thinks that photo IDs will solve his imaginary problem. I mean, how many underage KU students alone does this guy think have phony driver's licenses? (Which can also serve as photo IDS for voting.)

I mean...if someone intended to register and vote illegally for nefarious purposes, I'll bet they could get an ID good enough to pass inspection.

lunacydetector 3 years, 2 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)

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

Of course there was no logic to his "logic".

It always astonished me that anyone would believe that the dictators would ever give up their power once they got it. But, then, we seem to have a lot of folks in this country who have convinced themselves that corporations have the best interests of the people at heart.

I guess I shouldn't be so astonished. Apparently we human beings will believe just about anything and make choices that are obviously not in our self-interest if it sounds good enough.

kernal 3 years, 2 months ago

Ok, campers. I take it that the 20, or so, of you who are considering not leaving the park don't have jobs to lose, can afford to pay the attorney, court costs and a fine (court costs and fine will NOT be waived), have adequate funds to keep up your rent payments, cell phone and internet fees and utilities in addition to the aforementioned and don't have classes at KU. If that's the case, then go for it! Just make sure this is truly a cause that will be worth the hassles you will be facing. Personally, I don't think it is and you've already made your case.

nut_case 3 years, 2 months ago

What are they actually protesting again?

lunacydetector 3 years, 2 months ago

they want obama to be our first dictator, so they're for fascism.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

Where did you get this nonsensical idea? No one wants Obama as a dictator. No one.

It should be obvious by now that he doesn't have the power to do what he wants, so why are you so afraid of him?

campblood 3 years, 2 months ago

these comments are hilarious! thanks everyone...

Jeremiah Jefferson 3 years, 2 months ago

Its going to take another civil war to straighten this country out.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 2 months ago

Nah, just give the west coast to all the far left folks and leave the rest of us alone.

kernal 3 years, 2 months ago

All the Tea Partiers in CA, OR, WY and ID aren't going to like that one bit, Black Velvet. I think you might like Orange County, CA.

Armored_One 3 years, 2 months ago

Again, I ask what about the rights of those that might wish to use the park without having to deal with their nonsense?

What is the point of having laws if there is no enforcement of them?

20 people out of what, 70-100 thousand people in this city, give or take a couple grand, and those 20 are allowed to flaunt a law that the rest of us have to abide by 24/7/365 or face stiff penalties. We are still a nation of laws and those laws need to be observed.

And as to this nonsense that corporations control the government...

Nothing says you have to vote for biggest pee'er in the pool, so to speak. There are usually a few different options, plus the ultimate opt-out, which is the write in vote for whatever canidate you wish. If there was TRULY this much dissatisfaction, the entire sitting membership of Congress would be ousted within a couple of years, 5 at the most.

This is more about people feeling left out of something, or maybe left out of everything and feeling the need to participate since they haven't participated in anything since the civil rights movement. We all learned about Rosa Parks and Dr. King but anyone born in the mid 70s and later never learned what was truly causing it because we grew up in a world that was moving past those times.

If you feel left out, maybe it's because your apathy has left you with little to no options.

This is a nation of laws, but 99 out 100 never truly utilize those laws. 50 years ago, everyone knew them and used them, so there wasn't this huge gap between everyone. We stopped and wanted everyone else to do it for us, instead of sticking our nose into it. You brought it on yourselves.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

"70-100 thousand people in this city" Delusional much?

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

You truly think that 50 years ago people obeyed the laws??? "Knew them and utilized them"??? That there wasn't a "huge gap"??? Boy...do I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd love to sell you.

50 years ago was 1961...do the Freedom Riders ring a bell? The Civil Rights movement? Or how the South "used" those laws to deny blacks the vote? So much for there not being a "huge gap".

Or maybe you were really referring to the "halcyon days" of the 1950s? Those times that people nowadays look back to with nostalgia, but which never existed?

Either way, I can personally tell you many stories from then of people not obeying the law...and buying their way out of it or getting away with it because of who they were. Of people not obeying the law...but getting away with it because "things like that are not discussed in polite company". Of a time when wives were beaten by their husbands with impunity. When children were molested freely. When women were held responsible for being raped. When being divorced meant the ex-wife was a "fallen woman". Where guys having premarital sex were simply "sowing their wild oats" while the girls were tramps and sluts.

Sorry...but there WAS a huge gap between everyone. Men and women. Whites and everyone else. A HUGE gap. So please don't be nostalgic for a halcyon time that simply never existed. There are too many of us still alive to tell you how incredibly wrong you are.

adavid 3 years, 2 months ago

oddly enough the police only enforce this curfew when they see recognized homeless and recognized protests. drunk students on the swings and playing football in the park have been observed (by myself and myself included) without police harassment. i've even seen people stroll through the park with open cans of--GET THIS--alcohol!

you've got to realize that our police SELECTIVELY enforce this ordinance. all other times, they turn a blind eye and don't care until someone is injured or mugged past park hours.

it is increasingly common that people disobey the park hours and still common that they get away with it.

do you REALLY care about someone else's goings-on in that park, no matter the hour?

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

Population, 2010 87,643 Okay, so that is an accurate estimate. I am stand corrected. Back to the topic, you say "This is a nation of laws". I can almost 100% Guarantee, at some point in your busy day, you are breaking 1 or more laws, should we arrest you and throw you in jail over something stupid like speeding?

I am amazed that instead of just ticketing the offenders and trying to remain as peaceful as the protesters have been, our city would rather WASTE even more tax dollars by arresting these peaceful people and locking them further into the system and spending more tax dollars that way.

Ticket them and leave them alone.

BlackVelvet 3 years, 2 months ago

Ticket them and then demand they obey the law. If they continue to violate the law, then arrest them.

Armored_One 3 years, 2 months ago

So, I am to understand your post correctly, I should be "thrown in jail" for speeding, despite the fact that it is not a jailable offence?

See, the point of my argument is that violating the ordinance involved with camping in city parks CAN result in being thrown in jail, and it is clearly printed as one of the end results of being convicted of it.

The ordinance provides for a ticket and/or jail time, but for some odd reason, the concept of jail time should simply be ignored or, at the very least, not brought to the table as an option.

Were this not a 'protest', would you be so pliant with the enforcement of the rules?

You say that jailing them would be a waste of tax dollars. Fair enough, let's just do away with that portion of the judicial system for punishments, since ALL incarcerations cost the state and/or local jurisdictions an ever increasing amount of funds based on how long you are a 'guest' of their establishment.

I have never had an issue with them actually protesting. What I do take extreme exception to is that they are apparently being allowed to flaunt a printed law simply because they 'feel' it impinges on their right to protest, despite the fact that any protest must actually have a permit to proceed. Even Fred Phelps, as gut-wrenchingly disgusting as his message is, procures a protest permit each and every time they stage one of their protests in Lawrence and he lives in Topeka.

A Lawrence citizen, however, just because they feel slighted by the government, shouldn't be held to the same exact standards that I, my neighbor, or some guy on the completely opposite end of town are held to.

Equality in the judicial system never implied or even hinted at being aimed only towards the trial and conviction aspect, but also towards the implementation and enforcement of the laws. They have the legal option to simply apply for another permit, but instead of doing that, they decide to proverbially abscond with a sizable piece of the park, making it impossible for someone to, say, take their child to that park and play catch, or sit with a significant other and simply enjoy the day.

Homeless, drunk, migrant or resident, the law should be applied equally and completely, not simply ignored when it's bad for the public image. That is not why a law is created. A law is created to establish a fundiemental working order for the average citizen to operate within and to have some modicum of equalit compared to the person next to them.

Allowing these 'protestors' to occupy a city park and pick and choose which laws they wish to obey and which ones are beneath their notice is one of the biggest reasons that the judicial system in this country is no longer as functional as it once was. Exemptions, once made, breed exponentially until the law that they are supposedly making an exception for is, in fact, the exemption, not the norm.

deec 3 years, 2 months ago

Actually the only time they are theoretically violating the ordinance is at night after 11:30 PM, as you would be if you were there playing catch with your child. In the daytime, The city has stated they have every right to be there, same as you. Someone else might want to enjoy the peace and quiet of the park and not have their solitude interrupted by your making noise playing catch. The school kids from the neighboring school often use the park for recess. Are they bothering people who want to sit under a tree and enjoy the quiet?. It's a big park and a small group. How are they taking over a "sizable" part of a block that covers 2 blocks?

progressive_thinker 3 years, 2 months ago

From my perspective, city officials have done an incredibly good job of addressing the situation with the campers. There has been no “knee jerk” reaction or unwarranted use of force that would only serve to strengthen the case of the protesters. Instead, the city has wisely chosen a slow, deliberate, thoughtful, and diplomatic approach to a problem involving citizens. City officials would be correct in concluding that, because there is no immediate threat to public safety, there is no reason to risk injury to any person by undertaking a forced eviction at this time.

The city is to be commended in this regard. I hope that the city will continue to use a well measured response which avoids the unnecessary use of tax dollars on arrest and incarceration of protesters, or potential litigation regarding unnecessary use of force.

adavid 3 years, 2 months ago

finally a well-spoken and thought-out message on the topic at hand.

Michael Rowland 3 years, 2 months ago

Got an excellent chant for Occupy Lawrence protestor until they nail down exactly what they're protesting for: "Give me Liberty or give me something else!"

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

Fascinating. I hope none of the 99% people have retirement funds, pensions, IRAs or 401ks.

ljwhirled 3 years, 2 months ago

A 1% tax is very reasonable. It means that you won't be able to make money through high speed trading using quantitative models. Instead you'll have to actually read the company's prospectus and invest for the long term.

That would, indeed, slow down the markets and create a market where money is invested. Right now a huge portion of daily trades are simply gambles by automated software routines.

They can gamble because the transaction cost is effectively 0. If we bring it to 1% it will end this practice and encourage responsible investment.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

I'm curious. Assuming you are right, why should tax law be used to punish quants? Tax law already - in theory - favors long-term investing. Why should a new tax be created to punish a specific class of investors and investing styles? How is a "[gamble] by automated software routines" any different than gambles made by humans? It seems like your main concern is high speed automated trading which could be solved without a new tax structure.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 2 months ago

You answered your own question by saying "in theory".

I, too, don't know if tax law is the way to go. (Canada is considering higher transaction fees, rather than a tax.)

But I do believe that there needs to be some sort of regulation of computerized high-frequency trading...which accounts for 60% of the exchange of shares on the US market each day.

Why do I think this? Because there's increasing evidence that it is making market swings worse and can lead to "flash crashes". Also that this system can be used to illegally manipulate prices. Plus it gives these companies an unfair advantage that was not intended when the SEC authorized electronic exchanges so that ordinary people could trade from their desktop.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

Ok, but why regulate it via a tax mechanism? If high frequency trading is creating problems - and I think it is possible it is - why penalize all traders?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

"And Adbusters does have one specific demand, a 1 percent tax on financial-sector transactions (perhaps stocks, bonds, foreign-currency trades and derivatives). Some form of that idea, known as the "Robin Hood" tax, has been around for a while and might actually fly."

Funny how Adbusters has now been converted to the evil conduit of all evil simply because they proposed (but have in no way been involved in organizing) these protests.

But the transaction tax has indeed been a proposal floating around for awhile, although the amount generally proposed is 1/4 of 1%, not 1%. It already exists in a number of European countries. It's a great idea. Not only would it generate a lot of deficit reducing capital, it would slow down some of the most mindless speculation.

gl0ck0wn3r 3 years, 2 months ago

Adbusters is just a tiny bit Nazi-tastic. Besides that...

Also, please define "mindless speculation"

foodforthought 3 years, 2 months ago

Maybe I'm wrong but the last time I checked All city property was owned by the citizens of that city! Not the commission.

thebigspoon 3 years, 2 months ago

Damn, I hate to agree with you, but that there was FUNNY!!

pepper_bar 3 years, 2 months ago

If the po-po don't make any arrests tonight, I suspect every hobo in Lawrence will move their stuff to South Park.

thebigspoon 3 years, 2 months ago

As cold as it is getting at night I would guess they wouldn't mind spending the night in a warm jail instead of in those tents ????

ST3V3N 3 years, 2 months ago

How is ruining Lawrence and breaking the law going to change anything? Well I guess eventually it will change their arrest record. NYC is the last place any town should aspire to be like.

Barry Watts 3 years, 2 months ago

Go home, you are wasting your time. Those 20 just want to get arrested and make a big scene so they cry about the injustice of government and law enforcement... bla bla bla.

BBalls 3 years, 2 months ago

It would be nice if the would OccupyAJob instead of OccupyLawrence.

akt2 3 years, 2 months ago

The more attention, the better they like it. They'll pack it in when the snow starts flying sideways. I'd also like to protest the fact that I wouldn't have the time or energy to protest anything even if I wanted to. Maybe I could pencil some time in for protesting after I take my daughter to school, go to work for eight hours, stop by the grocery store, fix dinner, and plan for the next days work and school. And everything else in between.

John Pultz 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't get it. Aren't the Occupy Lawrence, Wall Street, etc., people fighting for what most Americans need at this point: A system that responds to the many and not the rich, a system that meets the needs of people and not banks and corporations. I for one am glad that these people have time to make a point I would make if I had the time to do it. Why so much anger at them? They're fighting for what's good for you and you and you.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

Irrelevant. Everyone breaks the law, get out of here with your holier than thou attitude.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

I can assure you, that everyone at some point in their life, has broken atleast 1 law. Breaking the law is an irrelevant argument, because sometimes to change the laws and behaviors of this "Great" nation, they have to be broken, by many.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 2 months ago

A person not coming to a full stop at a stop sign does not mean that groups of people are now allowed to do whatever they want. If you once took a piece of gum without paying for it, does that mean I'm allowed to pee on your leg, pistol whip you, and take your wallet?

One person's bad behavior does not justify another's, nor does it make bad behavior "irrelevant".

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 2 months ago

So now we really know the true intent of the protesters, to find a way to violate the law and be a public nuisance. I am sure that the people on Wall Street in New York are shaking in their boots to learn that the "Great Unwashed" of H.L. Mencken in Lawrence, Kansas are going to break the law to make their useless point. What a great day for this community! None of this absolute foolishness will make any difference whatsoever and it is most amusing to see these old hippies beat their heads against a concrete wall yowling about something that they have absolutely no control over nor comprehension of. I doubt that any of them have accounts with any financial institution that they so vehmently abhor.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

With an attitude like that, nothing will change. Their message is about coming together and standing up for what is RIGHT. And I am sorry , but the top 1% of America need to be held just as accountable as everyone else. Money does not make you above the law either.

Barry Watts 3 years, 2 months ago

"Irrelevant. Everyone breaks the law, get out of here with your holier than thou attitude."

KPOP 3 years, 2 months ago

if we could all gather round a camp fire and sing together this would be such a great thing.

John Pultz 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't get it. Aren't the Occupy Lawrence, Wall Street, etc., people fighting for what most Americans need at this point: A system that responds to the many and not the rich, a system that meets the needs of people and not banks and corporations. I for one am glad that these people have time to make a point I would make if I had the time to do it. Why so much anger at them? They're fighting for what's good for you and you and you.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 2 months ago

Where did I say or indicate any notion that money makes one above the law? Which laws are you referring to? What sort of outcome do you desire at this display of useless grandstanding? Give me some indication of just what you mean in your last post, what will be accoumplished? What sort of outcome do you expect? How will this do anyone any good?

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

Do you only read the LJWorld? This is happening in hundreds of cities now...... Do you not remember the past and the millions of people that have marched, protested, w/e for what they believe is right? Just because this is 2011 going on 2012, doesn't mean that old school tactics will automatically fail. You sir, are stuck in a shell of lies and delusions.

oldtimer39 3 years, 2 months ago

You still didn't answer frwent's questions, which are also my questions about this "movement."

Those involved are trying really hard to make Occupy seem as momentous as any of the real movements in the history of this country (women's rights, civil rights, gay rights), but all of those movements had specific goals in mind and a realistic means to an end. They wanted the right to vote, the right to be equal citizens in the eyes of the law, the right to marry. What, exactly, do the Occupy protesters want other than attention?

The 99% knew times were tough BEFORE they started sleeping in tents in the park - that's not a good enough reason. If you want support for your cause, you need to clearly articulate what your cause is.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 2 months ago

Yes, it is occuring in many cities. That only confirms that Lawrence in not unique in it's poplulation of clueless idiots who think that they ave a ghost of a chance of making any difference in the ways of Wall Street. Where are the anwsers to my questions? Do any of these park dwellers have the slightest idea of how capitalism and financial affairs function? Do any of them have one dime invested in the market? I do and my accounts have been doing reasonably well given the state of the current economy. Do they understand that in order to obtain any wealth, you must have a job and work and save and invest wisely. Do any of these tent persons understand that? This country was not made the economic engine that it has become by protesters wandering around chanting mindless slogans and violating local ordnances. Social issues are one thing and there has certainly been a lot of much needed changes in some social issues, but the affairs of financial institutions is pretty involved, and regulated and if you desire to accumulate wealth and profits (that is not a dirty word) you need to participate in the system and follow the lead of many others who have been successful in that quest. Standing around hollering that you are poor will accomplish nothing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

NPR has it in its contracts with its employees that they won't engage in overt political activity.

I don't much like it, but I like that better than Fox's requirement that all its employees be propagandists for the Republican Party.

Bouncer 3 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

Are you testing enforcement of the terms of use agreement, bouncer?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 2 months ago

OK, I concede that they have the occasional foil that gives the rest of the on-air personalities a liberal to beat up on.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 2 months ago

Bozo, I think that it is pretty well understood that anything with the fingerprints of Fox on it's corporate entity are 10 miles to the right of the Catholic Church. This trumpet section for the Republican Party has been arround for a number of years now. I also find it most amusing that Bill O'Reilly used to proclaim on his former radio show that he was neutral on most political candudates, now look who he is stumping for. Fox is the new national socialist advocate in the U.S. and those who do not recognize this fact when lapping up their "news" will soon regret it.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 2 months ago

"Avatar" is the #1 box office earner in movie history; that doesn't make it better than say, "Mother, Jugs & Speed".

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 2 months ago

I am tiring a bit in this food fight, but I will bite.

Who is saying Fox is #1? I hardly ever watch this network. The BCS computers? The Republican polling network? How are these numbers obtained? What is their sample size? What questions are asked? How is the data processed, what responses are assigned what sort of weight in analyzing the statistics. What certifications of veracity does this poll have?

Where is the poll taken? Alabama?? Well, no wonder!!

There are three types of misinformation.......Lies, damned lies and statistics.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 2 months ago

Bozo, I think that it is pretty well understood that anything with the fingerprints of Fox on it's corporate entity are 10 miles to the right of the Catholic Church. This trumpet section for the Republican Party has been arround for a number of years now. I also find it most amusing that Bill O'Reilly used to proclaim on his former radio show that he was neutral on most political candudates, now look who he is stumping for. Fox is the new national socialist advocate in the U.S. and those who do not recognize this fact when lapping up their "news" will soon regret it.

flux 3 years, 2 months ago

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson

Bouncer 3 years, 2 months ago

Just offer the campers a job. That should chase them off. Maybe Mayor Cromwell should make such an offer. I will offer an 8-man tent to any homeless group that would like to counter the protest by moving in across the street permanently. The City officials round up the homeless and run them off or run them in. If you people really want fairness then encourage the homeless to occupy South Park permanently. Loring Henderson will make sure they don't go hungry.

kseagle 3 years, 2 months ago

Really simple solution. Load them all up into a van take them out to the country, preferrably 30 to 40 miles out, and dump them there. You want to "camp" do it where it is supposed to be done, not in the city park. So many solutions are then solved!!

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

They aren't doing nothing, Bob. They are using THIER time to spread a message to anyone willing to listen. You are implying that they are just sitting there, doing nothing at all. To you, it is nothing. To them, it's a good start.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

You obviously haven't cared for 5 minutes about their message. If you cared, you would take the time to read a few articles and find out for yourself or you would go ask one of the many people gathered at South Park.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 2 months ago

Now who's acting "holier than thou"? You have people asking for an explanation and you want to play the "Go look it up yourself, idiot" card.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 2 months ago

Nice, not long after you chastise someone with "Do you only read the LJWorld?" you provide an LJW link.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

We are talking about Occupy Lawrence here right and not Occupy Wall Street?

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

You are on a computer, you have the entire internet at your fingertips, stop being a lazy American and do something yourself for once.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 2 months ago

I didn't ask you for the info, others did. You are representing yourself as someone who knows what is going on with the movement from a different perspective but if you'd rather name call, that's fine.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

You might as well be calling them names too, you are just trolling around with nothing better to do than pick at someone's comments on a topic you have made 0 positive or helpful comments about.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 2 months ago

Wow. "I know you are but what am I?"

I didn't realize that the two options available to us here were to make only either positive or helpful comments. I'll let you go play now.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

MarcoPogo- " 'Avatar' is the #1 box office earner in movie history; that doesn't make it better than say, 'Mother, Jugs & Speed'."

Troll on, troll on.

MarcoPogo 3 years, 2 months ago

That's actually not a troll. Just because Fox may be #1 in cable news, does that mean that we have to accept them as gospel? On top of that, wouldn't that make them now the "mainstream news media" that conservatives love to rally against?

oldtimer39 3 years, 2 months ago

Quoting from the LJW link you posted: "The group is concerned about the growing gap between the richest in the country and the poorest in the country. The group also is concerned about the amount of influence that corporations have in the government process. They’re also none too thrilled with the media. The group, however, doesn’t seem to have a clear plan on how to change those issues."

I'm sorry, but if you don't know where you're going or how you want to get there, it's not a movement. Come up with some realistic goals and ways to achieve those goals, and you might be able to convince the masses that this is more than just an attention-grabbing circus.

And as far as the protests relate to Lawrence, it appears that the vocal folks in the group are fighting for the right to occupy public spaces however they seem fit. If that's the case, good luck organizing the masses behind that cause. You'll be the "1%" of people who think that's a good idea.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

With time the movement will grow, as does everything.

Oh wait, I forgot, if it's not happening today, why even think or consider what could happen tomorrow?

Hadley_says 3 years, 2 months ago

Remember Bob, that even our Veterans have been required to "sit around and do nothing" (and receive criticism like yours) in a public park space to highlight economic injustice and broken government promises.

In fact is it kinda how this country got started in the first place.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

They aren't asking for you to give them anything but a few moments time and a good ear to listen. You are making it as if they are holding the park ransom for an undisclosed amount of money or something.

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/10/20/99-percent-protests/?iid=HP_LN

"Even if Occupy Wall Street should evaporate, the fuel that's feeding it will not."

happygolucky 3 years, 2 months ago

That's because they are. Thanks for making our point.

happygolucky 3 years, 2 months ago

And I bet your paper work was in better order as well.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

If you say so, Bob. Didn't realize that spreading the message of something you believe in is considered nothing.
So does that mean every Sunday when you go to church, I can come and make fun of your beliefs and say you are doing nothing at all?

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

"Irrel"avant, a. Not relevant; not applicable or pertinent; not bearing upon or serving to support; foreign; extraneous; as, testimony or arguments irrelevant to a case."

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/irrelavant

School is now in session.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

"So, your plan is to sit in a park and hope people come to you for information that you have already mentioned several times is freely available on the internet?"

Not everyone looks at the news, or gets on their computer first thing in the morning.

That's like saying, what's the point of billboards anymore since we are all able to get on the computer.

Not everyone is in front of the computer 24/7. It's a very valid and smart way to send a message, especially since they are located just outside of the Downtown Area of Lawrence where it is always busy and people pass by the area constantly.

engagedecoy 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh, and by the way. I am not a rep for them, merely someone who has similar views and wants to help the movement.

happygolucky 3 years, 2 months ago

Just arrest them all at 11:31. If not, can we start smoking pot and hanging out with hookers? Why bend on one law if we can bend on others? What makes them so special that they are above the law? I get their point, but you still have to follow the law. Camp in your yard, not our park. I don't run my dog in your yard or let my kids run a play around your house, if you even have one.

tecuani 3 years, 2 months ago

Remember kids, if you film it, she's not a hooker, she's an actress.

deec 3 years, 2 months ago

There has been a great deal of misinformation about what the movement is fighting against. While the slogans specifically reference Wall Street, and the media has focused on the message of corruption of corporations, many in the movement are aware of, and equally upset with, the corruption in government. It all ties together. They are two sides of the same coin. A good analogy might be a working girl and her client. The problem is, it is virtually impossible to tell which is which. Both the 1% and government are guilty. Who is more guilty? The one selling their wares, or the buyer? Just one example of the corruption is that Congress members and their staff are exempt from insider trading laws. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kylesmith/2011/06/01/insider-trading-rules-that-dont-apply-to-congress/

deec 3 years, 2 months ago

Which one is the working girl in my analogy? Are you okay with your government being for sale to the highest bidder? You're okay with businesses writing the rules that regulate their activities? You think it's dandy for the government to give billions of dollars to private businesses so they can pay out their annual bonuses? Incidentally there was, briefly, an Occupy movement in China before it was censored. Perhaps those so terribly opposed to the movement here might be more comfortable in China. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/10/beijing-grows-nervous-about-occupy-wall-street.html

jafs 3 years, 2 months ago

That's very discouraging.

But it's good to know.

Jimo 3 years, 2 months ago

The key here is that protesting is a First Amendment right. The City can make reasonable restrictions on that right to serve important governmental interests -- public safety, health, any conflicting civil rights of others. However, as with other First Amendment rights, governmentally imposed restrictions are subject to heightened scrutiny. This is in contrast to random park vistors, homeless people, vagrants, squatters, or any other persons for which the City's 'no camping' policy does not trigger heightened scrutiny.

Here, the City would need to show not merely that it has a rational reason for its 'no camping' policy and applies that policy impartially. That's all the City has to show with regard to the general public. Rather--for First Amendment protesters--the City must show that its policy serves an important governmental interest that out-weighs the First Amendment as well as that its policy is the least restrictive limitation on these rights that can achieve its important governmental interests.

Maybe the City can do this but it is not obvious that the City can. (1) The City so far doesn't seem able to articulate very well what its important interest is exactly. (And the burden of proof will lie with the City to prove the validity of its stated interest.) (2) Absent that, it's impossible to evaluate whether less restrictive but workable options are available. I'm not saying that the City definitely is violating the protesters civil rights. But I am saying that the City is opening itself up to a lawsuit whose outcome is not clearly in the City's--or the taxpayers'--favor.

In short: these Occupyers may look like vagrants to you but they do not look the same to the Constitution.

newmedia 3 years, 2 months ago

Either enforce the ordinance or repeal it. No special favors here...

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 2 months ago

The city of Lawrence has shown remarkable hypocricy in "enforcing" it's ordnances. For instance, an ordnance is only enforced when someone makes a complaint. So one jerk on a block can cause all sorts of hate and discontent, there are many, many "abandoned cars' in Lawrence (mostly North Lawrence), yet the only time this ordnance is envoked is when some pissed-off neighbor complains. And by far the most flagrant failure to enforce an ordnance regards the nuisance of standing water and mosquito breeding places. I have been notified of complaints against my fish pond in my back yard, yet the Haskell Swamp, the most grevious of all mosquito breeding grounds, is allowed to remain under the guise of "Holy and Righteous Baker "Wetlands"(flooded former farming fields of the former Haskell Institute)

The city is remarkedly adept at ignoring that menace to citizens.

myparcelisseceding 3 years, 2 months ago

Protesters, do what you will. No law made by man serves anyone else but that man. Fines? Give them back their federal notes, they are worth nothing anyway. Discover true wealth among yourselves

Haiku_Cuckoo 3 years, 2 months ago

"I think people are realizing that a film screening or going door-to-door isn't enough."

I disagree completely. Going door to door would have a much bigger impact. At least you could personally tell people what changes you're hoping for. Sitting around a public park all day doesn't convey any sort of message apart from the fact that you seem to enjoy camping. What specific change needs to happen in order for this protest to be considered successful? Does anyone know? Again, what specific goal? Help me understand. Heck, come knock on my door and tell me if need be.

Centerville 3 years, 2 months ago

So, the OWS-ers want more taxes (and don't fool yourself: the definition of "financial transaction" won't be restricted to re-arranging hedge funds) so the politicians can have more money to send to their buddies?

FieldTested 3 years, 2 months ago

How anyone can look at this torrent of comments and not think that these protesters have accomplished raising awareness is beyond me. Agree or disagree, "the whole world's watching."

Dr_Noh 3 years, 2 months ago

Don't occupy South Park. I recommend occupying Doug Compton's front lawn.

Flap Doodle 3 years, 2 months ago

Hey, ag discovered wiki. He'll be an expert on everything now....

Sunny Parker 3 years, 2 months ago

Arrest them and put them jail. Let them call the attorney written on the arm. The attorney must be as ignorant as they are!

Flap Doodle 3 years, 2 months ago

They should occupy the yard of a certain prolific poster. (from a source)

dogsandcats 3 years, 2 months ago

I don't understand the choice of South Park as the place they are occupying. What has South Park ever done to anyone? All they are doing is ruining the park and making it so that no one else can use it. Seems selfish and unthoughtful to me.

deec 3 years, 2 months ago

Its a big park. They are in no restricting anyone else from using the park. They have just as much right as anyone else to occupy space in the park.

Armored_One 3 years, 2 months ago

There are so many flaws with this entire movement that I am honestly suprised that it is still in existance.

We want a change in tax laws, so let's screw with Wall Street and disrupt not only the 'movers and shakers' but also the viability of most every 401k program in existance today.

We want the rich to pay more taxes, so let's endanger our health and sit in a park. Not protest, or pass around a petition, or even sound off with a chant. We'll just sit here. At least the sit in's at lunch counters had a directed purpose.

We want to increase the amount of money businesses are forced to pay for taxes, but refuse to accept the other side of that coin. We increase their tax burden, they increase their prices to offset that 'loss', which only backhands everyone in this nation, protestors and non alike.

We have an issue with politicians, but instead of presenting them with a list of greivances, as the Constitution protects, we cause issues for financial institutions and stock trading.

The logic is not apparent to me, but the things I have listed are. I really don't think that I am missing anything, but if I am, I have no doubts that those that feel attacking the finances of a businessman is a good way to enact legal changes will point them out.

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