Dan Pike Issues Order to Evict Occupy Bellingham

Update as of 3:44pm 12/27/11: Hey everyone. Several people have emailed (and a few commented below) that I went too far by questioning Pike’s motives for the City issuing the eviction notice today. You make a good point, it was too far and I apologize, both to Dan Pike and to his supporters. I thought the timing was clever, to avoid backlash, but that is conjecture. Thank you for the feedback, everyone.

As always, I urge everyone to check out my posts on my native site, The Political Junkie. There you can find some extra content, beautiful pictures and . . . ugh . . . Rick Perry's missing governmental department.

As of 9 a.m. tomorrow, the Occupy Bellingham camp is getting evicted. Here is their press release about it and here is their website. They are organizing a non-violent protest to their eviction tomorrow and I hope, for both sides, that it stays non-violent and is defused in a positive manner. Two things jump out at me right away.

First of all, that Dan Pike decided to wait till after the election before evicting them was a clever choice for his career. When he was touting himself as the progressive candidate, it wouldn't have looked good to be throwing out the Occupy Movement. So savvy political choice there to dodge both the election and the Christmas holiday. Now the Parks Director James King (who was put in place after the previous Parks Director was fired over the on-going employee Moonlighting issue), cited "a number of complaints from the public" as the main reason for evicting the encampment, but again, I question the timing. Wouldn't all those complaints have been in much earlier when downtown was awash with Christmas shoppers? Why now, when there are less people are in town and fewer paying attention are they trying to evict the occupiers?

The other issue I have is why are the occupiers still there? Yes, yes to draw attention to economic injustice. But wouldn't it make sense to Occupy a financial institution? Or something directly related to their cause rather than camping out in a public park. A public park, meaning it is owned by the 99%. Look, as I stated earlier, I sympathize with their motives but I question their tactics. The original Occupy movement was fantastic, remember their techniques? First, the initial Occupy Wall Street: take the people who have been damaged by the economic crash (i.e. the 99%) and occupy the space surrounding the 1% to draw attention to their destructive practices. Straightforward, easily digestible by the not-protest-prone citizens of our fine republic. Next was the "Move your money" day where you urged everyone to move their accounts from corporate banks to credit unions. Again a direct action, easily connected to your message and offering a positive solution. Now, I feel the message has gotten lost. I feel it is time to declare victory (you have everyone talking about your issues, success!) and move on to the next tactic. By dragging this out, you run the risk of alienating your allies and losing focus, and there is nothing the 1%-ers would like better than to dismiss you. Don't let it happen.

So my plea is that this gets resolved peacefully. The Occupiers pick up camp, do a thorough cleaning, and figure out what's next to put pressure on the 1%. I know this moment was not your choice, it was Dan Pike's, but it is time to make the most of it.

About Riley Sweeney

Citizen Journalist • Member since Aug 10, 2009

Riley Sweeney, raised in the Pacific Northwest, moved to Bellingham during the Bush years, worked on a cross-section of political campaigns during the Obama years, and then fled to the [...]

Comments by Readers

John Servais

Dec 27, 2011

Well, there is at least one reporter working in Bellingham today - Riley Sweeney.  As is often the case when city hall wants something kept quiet, the Bellingham Herald has not a word about this as of 2:25 pm.  Not in the news and not in any blog.  Nor does the city website.  As Riley points out, the timing in the holidays is to minimize public awareness until it is all over. 

Regardless of one’s opinion of the Occupiers, they have been betrayed by their supposed friend Dan Pike.  Dan is pulling another of his very shallow acts of public deception.  He did snuggle up to the Occupiers during the election. 

Why Dan is doing this will probably remain a mystery.  It may be a favor to Seattle or State enforcement officials who may be embarrassed at the peaceful manner the Occupy Bellingham process has taken.  Dan is looking for a job - and it will probably be in Seattle.  True, he has a modest temporary job, but he is looking for something bigger.  Only the most naive will think he is doing it because of “complaints”.  He is doing it at the request or suggestion of someone he hopes to gain something from.  That is how Dan Pike has operated since he started running for election in the summer of 2007. 

Let us look forward to Kelli becoming mayor on Sunday morning.  She may not invite the Occupiers back but then she has not cuddled up to them either.


Wendy Harris

Dec 28, 2011

After 2 months of peaceful cooperation between the City and OB, the Mayor does this in his last week in office? In my mind this suggests political maneuvering of some sort. If this is not the case, I would like to see some compelling reason, with substantiating evidence, that requires immediate eviction, as it would clearly be more appropriate to allow Kelly to handle this when she assumes office next week.

I am almost upset enough to get up early in the morning to watch!

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