Thursday 10 May 2012: Talking to the Man
Alicia Jackson, who has been restored to her foreclosed home, has no water service. Today Occupy Portland held a rally at the city water bureau to demand that her water be turned on. City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who is not running for re-election, came down to the sidewalk to meet the protesters. He says his hands are tied; he can't turn on her water until the company that claims to own her property asks him to turn it on. All existing phone numbers for that company have currently been disconnected. There are rumors the company will be filing for bankruptcy. Leonard says he will do his best to turn the water back on. Occupiers are skeptical (a) that his hands are tied, and (b) that he will do anything. Meanwhile Leonard says he thinks the Occupiers are "using" Alicia Jackson as a pawn in their own power play. She says she does not feel "used." Leonard said, "That's your opinion. I have my opinion."
This might all make sense if someone in Occupy were running for office, hustling for money, or otherwise attempting to gain something for themselvess. But what would anyone in this leaderless movement have to gain by using Alicia as a pawn? It doesn't make sense.
A sign of Portlandia: when Leonard met the Occupiers, he was wearing a mala bead bracelet. One might hope he prays for peace and compassion.
P.S. Edit, added later: I see from the thumbnail that last year at this time I was talking to a Flagwoman. That's what Alicia does. Wonderful coincidence. There's a Flickr set of pictures of today's rally here.