11:45 AM 07/23/2020
We were tremendously successful in extending testimony. Tremendous. Our initial hope was to push to midnight and force a continuance to the next regular Assembly meeting scheduled for 07/28/2020. We were outmaneuvered and Chair Felix Ramirez forced us into an exhausting night after night of testimony.
We all reached out to more friends, more neighbors. We filled the chambers each night, we maintained our cool (mostly) in the face of provocative behavior on the part of our elected officials. We helped each other in every way. We proved just how mighty we are in word, deed and action.
We pulled together and put a last minute mailing to our neighbors within a 3/4 mile radius of the three buildings. That required a massive hands on effort – well over two dozen people over about 10 hours – and got the word out to 6,000 more people.
We weathered pushback and an attempted rally from the Coalition to End Homelessness (according to Suzanne Downing Mayor Berkowitz paid $5,000 for FaceBook ads for CTEH to fight our grassroots). We sent hundreds and hundreds of email testimony. We spent nearly 30 hours testifying, 3 and 6 minutes at a time. We witnessed phone calls to supporters attempted multiple times, phone calls to regular folks attempted once and dropped.
The email testimony (it is a MASSIVE file) (added – original file was corrupt, this is not corrupt and has testimony up to 07/22) is here:
Despite 75% – 90% (I’ve heard a range of estimates) being vehemently opposed for a wide variety of reasons, it has been clear we have been neither listened to nor heard. Assembly Member Constant displayed particularly aggregious behavior, and while he feigned interest after the ‘The face you make when you have to listen to the peasants’ meme, last night he was occupied posting a squirrel to his personal FaceBook page during the testimony of Jacky Gorlick (thank you Jasmine for screen shotting that jewel).
Finally, last night, the testimony drew to a close. And even then, with the very difficult 5 PM start, we kept the Assembly Chambers busy until 11:30 PM, with approximately the last hour them postponing 2020-58 (B3 zoning) indefinitely and the Mayor and Administration pressuring the Assembly to push through 2020-66. This was expected.
Please watch the last hour or so of the Assembly meeting so you can hear the Mayor’s explanation and watch the Assembly’s body language. This link should take you directly to the last hour:
So where are we now?
A vote will be taken. Legal action will ensue (I don’t have much information on this), and I fully expect to see a number of recalls initiate. The Assembly made a number of mistakes that are on record and they helped our efforts through their hubris.
On Monday 07/27/2020 6:00 PM the Assembly will meet. The Mayor will speak to the Assembly again. The Assembly will deliberate. Then we fully expect AO 2020-66 to pass.
The Mayor flexed his Covid granted Emergency Powers, and prohibited large gatherings. The Assembly will not have to look us in the eyes while they vote.
I would like to see us outside, en masse, before the Assembly gathers. They should see that we are still watching, that we haven’t gone away.
I think it would also be wise to break the massive collection of public testimony emailed out into sections and tally for / against and the arguments used. I think that could be helpful though I am not sure yet how we would use that information. Let us see what wiser heads say (it would be a significant effort).
I thank all of you for the work you have done. This was grass roots. None of us are paid. We each had different effective ideas and acted on them independently while aiding our neighbors with their ideas. I remain astonished at how effective we were. We are mighty.
We expect AO 2020-66 to pass. We expect shenanigans and negotiations. We expect legal action and recalls. While the last week or so has been grueling this was the first skirmish. We need to continue spreading the word and malfeasance of our elected officials to ensure our other efforts are successful.
I’m pretty pooped. I am sure you too, are pooped. Get a quick rest and then we will get back into the fight.