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Occupy LA Notes: Downtown Notes for Tonight's Likely Eviction

By Eric Richardson
Published: Sunday, November 27, 2011, at 10:46AM
Occupy LA Day 1 Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Participants in the October 1 march that kicked off Occupy LA's presence at City Hall relax on the South Lawn under a sign listing the park's hours. Identical signs were again put up last week in preparation for the movement's impending eviction.

On Friday afternoon, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck declared that the Occupy LA encampment that has encircled City Hall since October 1 would need to move on, and that the city would begin enforcing rules against tents and camping starting at midnight on Sunday night.

While the broad strokes of the impending eviction are being covered well, it seems worth pointing out a few notes for Downtown residents.

IN FOR A NOISY NIGHT?: The blocks around City Hall may be noisy Sunday evening, as those supporting the Occupiers but not willing or able to be arrested—or just those looking for a show—seem set on lining the sidewalks for what they believe will be a showdown with LAPD.

Nearby residents have gotten more than their fill of noise over the last two months, both from the Occupy LA encampment and from the frequent presence of news helicopters overhead.

While LAPD's aerial units have been called out several times as well, police helicopters are typically nowhere near as loud as those from news agencies. LAPD's units prefer to make tight circles over a scene, while the news choppers hover in place and produce a much higher level of rotor noise.

As for LAPD, the department has given no word on whether it plans to move in right at midnight or just how it will handle enforcement of the no camping rules.

RETURN OF THE SIGNS: Last week, city workers posted signs around City Hall establishing the park's hours and rules. The signs weren't new. The exact same signs forbidding camping were posted around the South Lawn when the Occupy march first showed up on October 1.

Those first signs at City Hall quickly disappeared as the city chose not to enforce its rules.

Elsewhere around Downtown, though, the Occupy movement has fostered a cottage industry in private property signs and signs limiting public hours. Signs just like the City Hall ones were quickly posted at Pershing Square last month, and the grounds around most Downtown office towers now feature new postings listing out rules for public access.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?: During the period where it seemed that the city might try to strike a deal with Occupiers, one of the points the movement asked for was the renaming of the City Hall South Lawn. The Occupiers have been calling the space "Solidarity Park," but the lawn does have an official name.

Plaza Simon Bolivar was dedicated on April 14, 1944, honoring the man most responsible for driving the Spanish out of South America in the 1820s.

SIDEWALKS AND STUFF: The rules under which the city must operate at City Hall are quite different than those a few blocks away on Skid Row.

Sleeping on the sidewalk between 9pm and 6am was legalized under the terms of a 2006 settlement between the ACLU and the city, but that settlement only applies to the blocks bounded by 3rd, Main, 7th and Central. LAPD has generally used the same rules throughout Downtown, but the settlement's terms only strictly apply to Skid Row.

Another recent injunction restricts the city's ability to remove possessions left in the public right of way. Again, the ruling does not apply to any actions around City Hall. The injunction is again limited to the Skid Row area, and, even if it were not, any possessions taken from the park would likely be allowed under a provision allowing the taking of items that are evidence to a crime.


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