Occupy Houston Asked To Leave Tranquility Park

Tranquillity (sic) Park, across the street from Houston City Hall, has been a major site for Occupy Houston since approximately November  2011. “City officials” (who?) have asked protesters to leave by dusk today. Mayor Annise Parker was downright complimentary to the occupiers. As quoted in the Houston Chronicle:

Mayor Annise Parker thanked the protesters for maintaining a non-violent posture that avoided the type of confrontations with police that have been seen in other American cities, but said the time has come for them to move on.

She expressed sympathy for the subject of their protest and said they are free to keep at it during daylight hours.

“I told Occupy Houston leaders in January they need to decide the next phase for their effort,” Parker said. “I support their right to free speech and I’m sympathetic to their call for reform of the financial system, but they can’t simply continue to occupy a space indefinitely.”

The protest began about four months ago. In December, 20 Occupy Houston protesters were arrested at the Port of Houston.

The police department, not surprisingly, groused about spending $350,000 on “salaries and overtime” to police an occupation that had, as far as I know, no violent incidents and basically good relations with the police. I question that figure; it sounds as if they threw in a lot of hours not strictly necessary to maintain good order in a wholly peaceable protest with relatively few arrests apart from those at the one deliberate incident of civil disobedience at the Port.

The City says it will cost $13,000 to clean and re-sod Tranquillity Park before the coming festivals celebrated every year in Houston. It is far from clear to me that this budget item was necessitated by Occupy Houston; my best guess is that Houston does this every year in preparation for the festival season.

The Occupy Houston web site appears not to have been recently updated. Early this month, a protest against the threat of war with Iran was announced for Feb. 4; no subsequent posts have been made. As for local network TV news, they are worse than useless on the subject; don’t get me started. If I find out anything, I’ll let you know.

Correction: the Houston Comical Chronicle got it wrong again. Tranquility Park in Houston, like Tranquility Base on the Moon after which the park is named, is spelled conventionally, with only one “l”. But hey, when you’re the only major daily newspaper in town, you get to act like it. Still, I apologize for reproducing their error.

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  • MandT  On Monday February 13, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    $350,000 ? it’s just expensive to even think about—-that must be it. The moron mayor of Oakland is now blaming all the gang related activities and killings in the city on the fact that OWS is taking up legitimate police time.

  • Steve  On Monday February 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    But MandT, the mayor of Oakland is, well, sorry, but she’s a nut-case, and scared besides. The mayor of Houston is not… not nuts and not scared. She is a successful businesswoman who happens also to be highly rated in environmental matters, and as for social issues… oh, did I mention she’s an out lesbian? Annise Parker is someone I vote for with a clear conscience, and that’s a real rarity in this day and age. I’m sure the $350,000 figure came from someone in Accounting within the Police Dept., and I think most people here will recognize it as an absurd number.

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