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Occupy Denver's Michael Hancock meeting: Mayor refuses to bend on park occupation

money mouth.jpg
Update, 5:18 p.m. October 18: When asked to describe Occupy Denver's meeting with Hancock this afternoon, protester Al (full name withheld) went with, "It was neutral." The less-than-exciting introduction matches the results, which take neither side any further toward agreement than before the meeting. Attended by Al, Paula Fedyk and Amy Marschak, as well as Hancock, several staffers and the chief of police, the meeting lasted a total of twenty minutes, ten fewer than allotted.

"It was clear to me they want to occupy the park," Hancock said at a press conference after the meeting, repeating a well-established fact. "We simply cannot allow that to happen. We don't want to set a precedent."

tents occupy.jpg
Kelsey Whipple
A sampling of Occupy Denver's former tent city.
While both sides briefly aired their grievances, the occupation concentrated mainly on finding a way to rebuild tents and improve upon Thunderdome III, the most recent incarnation of the group's kitchen area and focal point. Right now, protesters are avoiding arrest by moving off official park property at night and onto the sidewalks instead, and discussion of the meeting at the group's 3 p.m. general assembly did not provide any other options.

All three representatives expressed the group's plan to continue occupying the area. "We're not going anywhere, but he already knew that," Marschak says. Overall, the attitude about the meeting was one of suppressed disappointment, particularly considering how much planning was allotted toward setting it up.

The most beneficial aspect of the meeting, then, is that it opened a gate for future communication between the two parties, though no further meetings have been scheduled at this time and any that are will likely not include the mayor, only his staff.

"Nobody cussed or flapped their ass cheeks," Al says. "The only time I was blatant was when I pointed out that it was with [Hancock's] knowledge and approval that force was used and a child was Maced in the face. We both gave our perspectives, but I don't know what else is going to result."

In the meantime, Al says he has been asked to meet with representatives of the Denver Police Department for a meeting with its internal investigations group focusing on the protests. When asked if he expected any progress to result from today's meeting, he said, "Not right now, at least."

Original post: Following a press conference last Thursday featuring Mayor Michael Hancock, Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Occupy Denver protesters have faced two altercations with city and state police over their right to peacefully occupy a series of spaces downtown. Today, the group is taking a more direct approach: Three representatives are meeting with Hancock at 1 p.m. to discuss ways to work together, this time without pepper spray or police batons.

The group has been debating such a discussion across the span of a few general asembly meetings, but last night's ended with the final details. A meeting has been arranged through a third party, and it will last a half hour. Last night's GA included a vote on who will represent the group, and three very different people have been selected, along with two backups. (It should be noted that protester Corey Donahue's nomination called for "everyone" to attend.)
The goal is for the meeting to encourage an agreement on how Occupy Denver can keep going without the threat of arrests or other police interference. However, no immediate decisions will be made at the meeting. In adherence to the occupation's consensus model, and in order to avoid the creation of a representative democracy, the three representatives will return to discuss the results at the 3 p.m. general assembly meeting.

And though no solid list of issues has been specifically denoted, the largest one is likely to be the existence of tents at Occupy Denver's headquarters. As the cold weather approaches and more freeze warnings like last night's become commonplace, the greatest concern is for the safety of those who continue the occupation at night. And without medical tents, a security area or other cemented spaces, it's questionable whether the group is actually occupying the area in any official capacity.

"Right now, we're more like Loiter Denver," Donahue says. "We need to find a way to become Occupy Denver again in a stronger sense of the word."

The Latest Word will update this post with more details of the meeting later this afternoon.

More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver petition protests arrests, hopes for 10,000 signatures."



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29 comments
Benbena001
Benbena001

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shackhouser
shackhouser

Hancock has already been "tamed" by the Denver Police Department. Expect more opposition to anything that brings light to local and federal government corruption and more of the same from our local police. You don't need permission to Occupy. Yes, if you ask the Mayor if he minds people setting up in the park to make him look bad, he's gonna say no.

Overpaid
Overpaid

Back to the question: Why are we protesting against Wall Street when we have corruption in our backyard. Colorado allows this corruption through the professional exempt work classification within its higher educatiion system. Where are the checks and balances within the government of Colorado? The corruption may be in millions rather than in billions; however no one in the state government will step up and invistigate the corruption even with complete disclosed evidence of this practice. We expect other institutions to behave in accordance to the written laws while the Colorado state government allows instituions of higher education to steal from the citizens and students in Colorado. The Occupy Colorado movement has a place in this discourse. 

Fignewton
Fignewton

Hancock.  Enjoy your 1 term while it lasts.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

The dispute cannot be resolved by trying to reason with the morons here, Governor Hypocrite, or Mayor Oreo.  Their selective enforcement of the Law and DPD's attack on children and pedestrians walking on the sidewalk on Tremont Street can only be addressed peacefully in one way -- Hickenlooper & Hancock:  see you in court!

RyanJohnSmith
RyanJohnSmith

Anyone read " Uncle Tom's Cabin " lately ?

Pick it up, good read.

D.Day
D.Day

Hancock would not be where he is were it not for 200 years of civil disobedience - from the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution against England (an illegal insurrection only supported by about 15% of the population in New England), to Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King.  All broke the law.  All knew they were breaking the law and all of them did so because it was the right thing to do.

Hancock is a disgrace to American history, to his party and to his office.

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Wndr303
Wndr303

What would Occupy Denver say if he knew the University of Colorado Boulder is allowing select employees a method to increase their salaries despite a classified employee pay increase freeze? If you want to know how follow this discussion. The University of Colorado Boulder is allowing select employees to reclassify from the state system of classified employees to a classification of Professional Exempt employees. Under the Professional Exempt employee classification select employees are receiving up to a 130% increase in salary. To steal more tax payer money, and more student fee funds, few of the Professional Exempt employees meet minimum job skill and education requirements. Supervisors, who are in the Professional Exempt classification, write job descriptions few, if any, potential job seekers match other than the individual they seek to move from a State Classified position and reward them with a huge salary increase under the Professional Exempt classification. If you are not aware where your tax dollars go or, if you are a parent paying student fees at the University of Colorado Boulder, now you know how you are swindled out of your taxes and tuition/fees under the current corrupt system of Professional Exempt employee classification at the University of Colorado Boulder. The Denver Post and the Boulder Camera, once alerted to this scandal, refused to follow up with investigative reporting of this ongoing corruption.

Calmingscent
Calmingscent

Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime (NotWoofka) of a new bureaucracy. Evil is whatever distracts.  From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.

A Realist
A Realist

Your Democrat Masters know all you lapdogs will fall in line the next electioncycle. After all who are you going to vote for, an evil racist 1% Republican?

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

Mayor Oreo?  Really, that's the level of discourse you want to step down to?

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

It's not a scandal...it's the way things are done.  Find something relevant to get your panties in a wad about...this is small potatoes.

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

Heh, that's pretty out there writing for sure.  It would be cute if it wasn't indicative of some serious paranoia.  If nothing else, you're a great example of why we need single payer health care.  I'm sure with the appropriate medication, you could really become a productive member of society.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Realists do not substitute their own prejudices for the facts -- I left the Democratic Party (after thirty-four years of membership) last month.  I would not vote for anyone in the criminal gang which calls itself the Republican Party (really, the Neo-Feudalist Party) under any circumstances, but I do not plan to vote for the President or his Collaborationist Party either.

Matthew
Matthew

Please................! 130% pay increase is the way things are done, that is why we are protesting. I will occupy and fight for what is good for the majority! After all, we are the .................majority. Tax the rich, feed the poor and for goodness sake, trickle down!

Cccspcd
Cccspcd

Be part of the solution rather than support the 1%.

Calmingscent
Calmingscent

I am a provider in the medical system. Would you like your Icd9 disclosed? 291.3

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

I'm not the one making the allegations. The burden of proof is on the accuser.  Frankly it's not an issue I'm terribly concerned about.  Besides, without talking to the personnel involved, it is impossible to get the true story.  

Calmingscent
Calmingscent

Look at Dept. budgets at CU Boulder. I did. They are public information. The writer is correct. Do some research.

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

Show me a concrete example of this being done systemically, and I'll take it seriously.  Otherwise, it is an unproven allegation, and quite frankly is written in the style of a rant from a crazy person.

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

No, stopping institutional corruption is a goal, not a solution.  If you want to be taken seriously, you need to figure out the cause of the problem, and then come up with a way to change the behavior of the system.  Just  ranting about it as the original poster did, or using one sentence platitudes as you are won't do anything except possibly make you feel better that you've done something, even if it doesn't change things one iota.  

What most of these protesters don't realize is that these systems have to be changed from within.  You have to give people a motivation and reason to change their behavior, and blocking traffic and waving signs really isn't going to do that.  I appreciate their passion and dedication to something they believe in, but they're really going about it the wrong way.

I will admit that it is entirely possible that I could be proven wrong, and that these occupy protests will touch a groundswell of discontent in the general population.  But I think it's extremely unlikely.

Cccspcd
Cccspcd

Read the original. The answer is there. Stop institutional corruption, Mr1%.

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

Do you have a solution, or just tired cliches?  

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

Seriously?  You really believe the world is that black and white?

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