Patch (above) says that Occupy Fresno needs community support or it may not survive for too much longer. Read Patch’s letter to the editor of the Community Alliance on this page.

Letters to the Editor – September 2012

Will This Be the Death of Occupy Fresno?

Patch (above) says that Occupy Fresno needs community support or it may not survive for too much longer. Read Patch’s letter to the editor of the Community Alliance on this page.

This for those who follow the Occupy movement and encampment in Fresno. In the beginning, our numbers at times were approximately 300. Our GAs [General Assemblies] were large and full of life, our bank protests were lively and robust. The local media was all over the place.

After the first 30 days, our permit expired. Shortly thereafter, the beginning of our 105 arrests began. Adrenaline and excitement ran high. We still had good media coverage both on TV news and in the newspapers. When it was by consensus that we stop being voluntarily kidnapped, media slowed but support was still high.

Our civil suit began and within a short period of time we received an unconstitutional ruling against the county of Fresno. The ordinance with regard to assembly was too restrictive. We then settled with the county, agreeing on an area of
occupancy for the following year. Logistical support dropped for the encampment that still existed.

Fast forward 10 months. The encampment is still here, but there is little to no support. We are four barely supporting ourselves. We are approaching our first anniversary, but without support we may not make it.

How a movement with so much life in the beginning could shrivel up to a point that its existence could be placed upon four people to survive—this, I’m sorry to say, goes beyond my understanding. It’s time for those who wish for this movement and encampment to survive to stand up and be counted.

Without support from friends of Occupy, Occupy Fresno is dead. In order for us to keep going, we need donations of water, food, clothing, ice, tarps, tents and or cash donations to buy above said things and supplies. With love to all and blessings from God,
Richard “Patch” Day
Occupy Fresno

Old School Support for the Community Alliance
Well, the first thing you might notice is that this letter is actually being typed. Do you remember that? Sure, it isn’t always perfect but then, what is? Actually, my interest in typing this letter was inspired by reading the current issue of the Community Alliance while eating breakfast this morning. It was the story about
Eugene Zumwalt and his “printing shop.” Yes, printing, the lost art. So I figured in this modern world, typing on my IBM Selectric II was the closest modern experience of printing.

There is something inherently satisfying about the “paper” newspaper experience. That’s what the Community Alliance does for me. Over the course of the month it takes me to make it from the front to the back, it accompanies me through various breakfasts, lunches and dinners. In fact, forensic analysis of the accumulated drips, splatters and stains might lead to a retroactive re-creation of my dietary patterns. Hmmm. I see some huckleberry jam stains from my toast this very morning.

So, yes I was inspired by Mr. Zumwalt’s printing history. In fact, I worry about history, I worry about history being lost because it is now recorded and stored on shiny metal and plastic discs that may or may not be interpretable at some future date. And also because I say BRAVO to you, Mike Rhodes, for keeping the “paper” press alive. By coincidence, the other day I received a package and for packing material someone had folded up the Funny Times, also a devoutly
paper—print publication (and pretty funny, too!).

Which gets me to the point of this letter: When I went to the mailbox the other day, I also noticed a flurry of fund-raising
requests from many of the major nonprofit organizations. All of them do good work, no doubt, and in the past, when things were a little more “flush” for me, I gave to all as generously as I could.

But then I looked at the print and ink of the Community Alliance and the Funny Times, and I thought to myself that what I should be doing is supporting these smaller but feisty independent entities that are working so hard to keep the concept of a free and independent press alive (because the editorial cartoons in the Funny Times speak loudly without words). Again, nothing against those major international and national organizations that are doing so much good on so many fronts. But they have a big infrastructure in place—and much of their outreach is all Web-based.

I’m going retro this year—not just typing but also shooting slide film for my photography. No Photoshop; no instant gratification. But, at least some sense of permanence.

See, I am starting to ramble—perhaps a drawback of old school typing, it is not as easy to go back and make everything perfect through the editing process. But I hope to get my point across:

I truly appreciate the work Mike Rhodes and the team at the Community Alliance do. Of course, I don’t always agree with every perspective presented in the paper, but then who would want blind conformity and something that failed to challenge my assumptions? That’s part of the value of the paper. I do
appreciate the diversity of viewpoints presented and the advocacy of items from the reportage.

Again, Mike, it is so heartwarming that you not only report on issues like homelessness but then take the next step and provide your readers with concrete actions they can support—and you take the lead by making those first steps yourself. Some may claim that advocacy then impairs the supposed “objectivity” of journalism. I say, it’s the necessary step that fulfills the journalist’s greater humanity. And it really inspires me.

That is why I am sending a renewal check for my subscription to the Community Alliance, whether it is due at this time or not. I am hoping others are so moved and that you receive the support you need to continue your good work.

On another front, I really don’t see Fresno having much to worry about from John Hutson and his nuclear ambitions. With the San Onofre nuclear plant in a free fall of its own making, the Alliance (ours) is now working (with a very forceful “we told you so”) in the legislature to make sure that all future energy plans consider the scenario of California without any reliance on nuclear power. The one and only piece of legislation this year that made any vague aspirations to promote nuclear power was “pulled from committee voluntarily by its author” because, like I said, with San Onofre going down, this is a bad year to say that nukes will save California. I’m pretty much guessing that Hutson is busy looking for his next scam!

OK, that’s it for a Saturday morning and the typewriter is starting to act up a little—might need an adjustment. Yeah, so much for the analog era! It keeps the servicemen busy!

Cheers and best wishes to you, our modern Thomas Paine!
David Weisman
Morro Bay
Correction
In an article that I wrote, “The Final Battle to Save Wa-ha-lish (Jesse Morrow Mountain),” [July 2012 Community Alliance] there was an error in the following sentence: “Borba: When are the repairs and $4.5 billion of construction work going to be done?…Which is it? Is it going to be done before they start? Or is it just a deposit date?” The correct figure is $4.5 million, not $4.5 billion.

I simply misheard Commissioner [Ross] Borba’s words and thus misreported it. I discovered my error as I prepared to write a letter to Supervisor [Debbie] Poochigian and went back to the recording of the hearing to check the figures. The context showed that I had gotten the figures wrong.

My sincerest apologies to the Planning Commission, Commissioner Borba and anyone else who might have been confused by my error.
Chip Ashley
Tollhouse

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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