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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mayor McGinn Just Wants to Threaten the Protesters, Okay?

Posted by on Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Mayor Mike McGinn just issued the following statement about last night's confused orders to Occupy Seattle protesters—police may arrest you, no they're not going to arrest you, actually they're going to play head games until they provoke protesters to do something rash—to say police were operating under his orders to warn arrests could happen:

The Parks Department and the Seattle Police were under instructions last night to inform people of the rules that apply to Westlake Park, but to not make arrests for camping at this time.

Got it, brilliant, police were simply under orders to threaten arrest. McGinn didn't intend to follow through. So when Paul asked Lt. Nollette what they were doing, she was simply communicating that order:

"Everybody was advised twice that the park closes at 10:00 p.m. and that they could be subject to arrest." Asked if the mayor knew about this, she said, "I have no idea."

Very clever, Mike McGinn. You're declaring support for the protesters and harassing them. The commanding officer on the scene was just telling protesters what could possibly, maybe, perhaps—who knows, really?—happen if they don't leave. That jibes with this announcement that if protesters "don't leave the area you can be subject to arrest for criminal trespass."

But interesting that the cops didn't know what the mayor's office knew, the mayor's office sent a staffer scrambling down to the scene to defuse the situation, and the police needed to make regular loudspeaker announcements (even though making noise was a ticketable offense a few nights ago because it would upset nearby residents). What will "Mayor" McGinn threaten next—and is he capable of following through? In related news, remember that time he followed through on his promise to put light rail on the ballot within two years of getting elected?


Comments (21) RSS

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Cato the Younger Younger 1
Can we recall this clown yet?
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on October 11, 2011 at 10:14 AM · Report this
Quintus Slide 2
Shouldn't "diffuse" be "defuse"?
Posted by Quintus Slide on October 11, 2011 at 10:17 AM · Report this
dirac 3
@2 You are correct.

McGinn is like all the faux Progressives I've been seeing over the last few years. Go buy 'em coffee. Mike McGinn's Coffee Summit--about as pointless and superficial as the Beer Summit.

It's not like he had a huge mandate. Does anybody like him anymore?
Posted by dirac on October 11, 2011 at 10:26 AM · Report this
BombasticMO 4
I'm completely confused by this bat shit behavior. I've defended most of his actions - this one completely lost me.

Let the people be.
Posted by BombasticMO on October 11, 2011 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Typical passive-aggressive false support Seattle bullshit. He is the ineffectual coward that we deserve.
Posted by tired and true on October 11, 2011 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Does the mayor really have the authority to stop police from enforcing the law? In this case, mass trespassing in a city park? I'm not passing judgment on the merits of the protest, but I am just curious where the line is drawn for illegal activity to be serious enough for the police to disregard a mayor's orders in order to secure public peace.
Posted by Whodunit? on October 11, 2011 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Trouble is, the fact of someone opposing him vigorously sometimes convinces him he's right. If there's a way to pressure him without activating his mulish streak, now's the time. I've just sent two courteous emails (one from work account, one from home account) in which I do my best to seem certain he means to do the right thing and quit the senseless harassment.

And speaking of senseless harassment, how about this downpour? Boo Mother Nature, boo!
Posted by gloomy gus on October 11, 2011 at 10:39 AM · Report this
laterite 8
Look man, you've got to either be Sam Adams and accommodate the protesters as best you can, or be Richard Daley in 1968 and crack skulls. There's no middle ground here, Mayor McSquishy.
Posted by laterite on October 11, 2011 at 10:41 AM · Report this
Looks like he is trying to walk a fine line between giving them special accord based on their views, which is illegal, and supporting them. If he says the rules do not apply to them, then he can't say they apply to the next group whose politics may not be so worthy. The government cannot set different rules based on the viewpoint being expressed. Its unconstitutional.

Go talk to a first amendment lawyer. I am not a fan of our mayor, but on this he seems to be trying to do what he can.

Posted by giffy on October 11, 2011 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Njoy 10
He is under pressure to get the protesters out, because of all of the money he is spending on Police OT undoubtedly. This is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. They should just have a couple of those guys who wear the yellow jackets who don't do anything hang out and call the real cops if any rioting happens. It'd be a whole lot cheaper for them(us).
Posted by Njoy on October 11, 2011 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 11
What an idiot.

Regardless of whether or not you support the protest, this is a terrible way to manage a potentially volatile crowd. Repeatedly and loudly issuing threats, and then not following through simply angers and confuses the crowd. If this blows up into violence of some sort, this tactic will take much of the blame for inciting it.

If you want to arrest them, then issue a warning and conduct arrests. If you are not going to arrest them, then leave them the fuck alone. But stop this inflammatory harassment, unless your goal is to incite violence.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on October 11, 2011 at 10:47 AM · Report this
prompt 12
I don't even understand what he's trying to accomplish. I'm sure it's not in his best interest to have people camping out in Westlake, cause that's frankly kinda gross, but interfering isn't going to move them any faster. It also makes him look like an idiot.

It'd probably be easier if people left and returned every day. You'd smell nicer.
Posted by prompt on October 11, 2011 at 10:58 AM · Report this
AsraiyaOnFire 13
Love that all the mainstream media is reporting on how protests are costing the tax payers a lot of money.. I'd say it's pretty clear that BAD TACTICS and COWARDLINESS is costing them more money because if they'd just say what they really meant the first time during the 5 o'clock news hour, in front of the general public, then they wouldn't have to put in overtime and come back in the middle of the night and clarify when there's less chance of an iPhone with enough remaining battery left to videotape it...
Posted by AsraiyaOnFire on October 11, 2011 at 11:06 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 14
The Mayor's argument that he can't afford to give special treatment to this particular protest just because he agrees with their politics is not that difficult to comprehend.

Unless one has a motive to be dense.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on October 11, 2011 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 15
Hey, it's kind of like the FBI and DEA trying to threaten the Iranians who were plotting to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the US - who helped the 9-11 conspirators escape - on US soil.


He's getting a lot of pressure from business interests in the Westlake area.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 11, 2011 at 11:26 AM · Report this
@13, I know. In New York someone told the city controller the overtime had added up to $2 million so far, and he replied that, well, in an annual city budget of $66 billion it wasn't going to be much of a problem.

@14, I don't want the mayor to be okay with treating any protest like what happened last night - no matter what. Dense, huh?
Posted by gloomy gus on October 11, 2011 at 11:27 AM · Report this
What @giffy and @Ph'nglui mgiw'nafh Cthulhu R'leyh wgah'nagi fhtagn said. It seems as though the mayor is trying for a fair, balanced but awkward, fumbling approach. It beats some alternatives. He's probably trying to cover his ass legally, but supporting the protests. It's clever, but awkward.
Posted by Smell on October 11, 2011 at 11:32 AM · Report this
For fuck sakes, the mayor is well within reason in endorsing the cause while also enforcing the law as far as the protestors' choices in how to protest. As hard as everybody keeps pushing this as some kind of dealbreaker, I doubt the majority of voters will see this as a black mark on McGinn.
Posted by The CHZA on October 11, 2011 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 19

See right there. What you just did. You changed the subject. You shifted from objecting to any attempt to enforce the law at all, to objecting to a particular tactic used to enforce the law on a particular night. You know what that is? Dense. You're. Being. Dense.

It's also dense to forget that the whole point of a street protest -- as opposed to coloring within the lines at civilized public meetings or writing letters or writing checks to major political parties -- is to make the powers that be uncomfortable. To put them in an impossible position. To create chaos and uncertainty for the express purpose of getting media attention. If McGinn did roll out the red carpet, they'd have to think of something to provoke him. That's how it works.

But if people like Dominic Holden admitted any of these facts, they'd have a lot less to say and a lot less reason grab the spotlight for their own "reporting" and "analysis" and (barf) "activism".
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on October 11, 2011 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 20
@17 for most Passive Agressive use of @ just because nobody likes his handle win
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 11, 2011 at 12:16 PM · Report this
@19, sorry I got up your nose there, but I didn't shift at all. Let's review: @7, I described the overnight cop behavior described above as "senseless harassment"; @16, I opposed "treating any protest like what happened last night".

If there's a distinction you see there I did not mean to make it.
Posted by gloomy gus on October 11, 2011 at 12:28 PM · Report this

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