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November 08, 2011 9:59 am

Occupiers lobby for reform

Written by CJ Baker

“Occupy Powell” demonstrators cheer after getting some friendly honks from a passing mail truck at Washington Park on Satuday. Organizers said about two dozen people participated in the protest against corporate greed and for other causes. “Occupy Powell” demonstrators cheer after getting some friendly honks from a passing mail truck at Washington Park on Satuday. Organizers said about two dozen people participated in the protest against corporate greed and for other causes. Tribune photo by CJ Baker

Some 2,100 miles away from the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in Zuccotti Park, a group of area residents came together in Powell’s Washington Park on Saturday to join the protest against corporate power and stump for other causes.

“We’re trying to bring it (power) back to the people, where it belongs, instead of corporations, where it does not,” said Faith Wicks of Powell at midday Saturday.

“Our government is broken, that’s the main problem,” said Margaret Whited of Wapiti, criticizing corporations’ influence in processes like writing legislation.

“What’s wrong with millionaires paying taxes?” asked Rex Sanders of Powell.

Around 12:30 p.m., Whited and Sanders were among about a dozen protestors who braved the morning snow and cold at Washington Park for two hours.

The Occupiers stood along Second Street, flashing posters, thumbs ups and peace signs at passing motorists — and cheering when they received a honk or wave in return. A few drivers shot dirty looks or yelled things, while many ignored the gathering, but those present said the overall response had been unexpectedly positive.

In the same way that the Tea Party movement has generally drawn conservative Republicans, the Occupy movement has generally found favor with liberal Democrats, though both are nonpartisan.

Speaking on KODI’s Speak Your Piece program last month from New York City, an Occupy Wall Street spokesman, Harrison Schultz, said the movement has benefited from a lack of specific goals.

“It’s about whatever the participants want it to be about. I mean, it’s open-ended, deliberately open-ended, and I think the reason this movement has been growing is precisely because there’s no single frame ... that would exclude anybody,” Schultz said, adding later, “Everyone’s viewpoints, everyone’s individual agendas are welcome, just so long as no one excludes a different viewpoint.”

True to that wide-ranging premise, there were many causes being lobbied at Washington Park on Saturday.

Frannie Mayor Jack Cordner held a sign encouraging state officials to provide federal block grants to small communities like his without requiring any local match. Cordner said Frannie and its 157 residents couldn’t afford a $40,000 match the state had required on a grant to renovate a building.

Other causes referenced by the Occupiers included: maintaining “green” energy subsidies as long as subsidies to traditional energy industries stay intact; passing President Barack Obama’s jobs bill; supporting education as a right; requiring businesses such as oil companies to act responsibly; punishing banks that have “stolen” money from the American people; higher taxes for the wealthy; closing tax loopholes for big corporations; and reducing corporate influence.

“People really need to become aware of what’s going on, not just listen to soundbites,” said Mimi Renaud, who helped organize the Powell event. “Look it up.”

5 comments

  • Comment Link November 08, 2011 3:01 pm posted by disgusted taxpayer

    Kudos to these folks for having the ca hones to stand up to these monsters in the face of so many RINO's.

  • Comment Link November 08, 2011 3:04 pm posted by jane wuchinich m.d.

    I am so impressed with the spirit of this little town! I worked in Powell
    from 1990-1992 and my husband started his 4 year degree at NWCC.
    It takes courage to stand up for democratic beliefs in a Tea Party kind of state. Three cheers for Powell's progressives!

  • Comment Link November 08, 2011 6:56 pm posted by Mark

    I'm certain that, like myself, the majority of Wyoming citizens are offended by you calling our state a 'Tea Party' kind of state. I'd like to claim that we are more of a 'thinking' kind of state instead. Tea party and 'Occupy' participants both tend to be uninformed bandwagon hoppers.

  • Comment Link November 09, 2011 8:30 am posted by Disgusted taxpayer

    I could not agree more,Jane.Too many phony RINO's infest this area,and Wyoming as a whole.There is NO fair & balanced politics,no anything unless it comes from certain circles inside the "good old boys club".The herd mentality has permeated people to the point that an automatic R is the first thing they run for on the ballots anymore,never mind if it sets taxpayers back a few hundred thousand.Yet the "R's" moan about those tax & spend Liberals.Apparently they can't look in the mirror very much anymore.

  • Comment Link November 10, 2011 7:44 pm posted by Herald Anue

    "Uninformed bandwagon hoppers"? Hmm... evidently you are not aware that many of the Occupy protesters who were present on November fifth are not only informed members of the community, but have taken time to run for and hold honorable positions in our local government. They volunteer at local help centers for poor people, offer up goods to organizations such as loaves and fishes on a regular basis, and otherwise do what they can to help promote decency in their community. They never stop thinking of ways in which their community can prosper by their actions.

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