Occupy SLO withdraws support for courthouse lawn occupation
October 25, 2011
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
Occupy San Luis Obispo has withdrawn support for the campground style occupation of the San Luis Obispo Superior Courthouse lawn on Monterey Street, and a former member of the organization has allegedly called the police to request a breakup of the encampment.
Erected on Oct. 19, the campground grew into a 14-tent establishment by Tuesday afternoon, housing a variety of occupants ranging from political activists to transients to dogs. Several sanitation and safety problems arose in the camp during the six-day occupation, including urination on tents, dog feces on the lawn, and a stolen goods incident Monday night.
Steering Committee Chair of Occupy SLO Evan Sylvester said the occupation has also become a legally dangerous situation. Sylvester said he was informed by a county official Tuesday that in order to legally maintain the occupation, the group would have to obtain a permit and a $1 million general liability policy.
“At this point it’s gotten out of control,” Sylvester said. “We don’t sanction what’s going on there.”
Sylvester said neither the Occupy SLO general assembly, nor its steering committee ever sanctioned the occupation.
“The initial occupation was a well-intentioned effort on behalf of a small unofficial group of Occupy SLOers,” Sylvester said. “Occupy SLO did our best to support the unofficial occupation but it has come to the attention of the steering committee that the effort was not well-coordinated.”
Sylvester said that the withdrawal of support for the camp by no means signals an end to the Occupy SLO movement.
“We’re not trying to occupy a physical environment. We’re trying to occupy a mental environment,” Sylvester said. “This isn’t necessarily about an occupation, it’s about doing what is needed to have those discussions and effect that change.”