Occupy Charlottesville folk at the feet of old trooper, R.E. Lee, in late October. This not a bivouac; rather, a convenient place to camp.

"We, the people are of all colors, classes, and beliefs. We realize we’re the ones with the power to check institutionalized greed. We saw the Arab Spring. We saw Occupy Wall Street. We stood up. Every day, we’re creating change globally and face to face. We’re demonstrating for socioeconomic justice and feeding whoever comes by hungry. We have no leader.  We are developing solutions together. We are the 99%."–Occupy Charlottesville
Commentator Bill Emory puts up a new photo nearly every day at billemory.com/blog.

Read more on: occupy wall street


When I was a boy in the 60's we used to go to Lee park and see the live nativity scene but that's no more. This year kids can go see the live occupy movement.

Bill, this photo, very cool.
Stirs up hopefulness and resolution, just like the continuous presence of protest and discontent used to.

Remember the Viet Nam vets, getting in the way of business as usual? Getting IN YOUR FACE.
It needed doing and things started HAPPENING.

Charlottesville is desperately supportive of the Occupy movement, but we appear mostly stand-off-ish and preoccupied, like there's nothing happening here. Like nothing's EVER happened here.

Well that's BS.

This movement is a perfectly adequate start to push the enemies of democracy, the individuals and institutions, out of YOUR way.
Fall and Winter here is a great time for hitting the streets, obstructing business as usual, and letting out some of our stuck-up anger onto some deserving hometown targets.

I especially like how they are mean to homeless people and don't want them around.

Because those terrible homeless people are in nooooooo way part of the 99%, amirite?

I think they should turn off their cell phones and laptops to protest the big corporations that they detest so much...that will show em...

These people are spoiled brats who never had an empty belly in their lives....

They should be mad at Congress and the Democrats over student loans..

It is no different than the sub prime mortgates..

UVA lobbied for student loan money then jacked up tuition (even faster than healthcare) and now UVA has the money, these folks have the debt and Congress and UVA are blaming it on the banks...

I notice that the reason they don't want the homeless there is because the homeless feel "entitled" to share the food and such.

Welcome to the real world.

Poor Shawn. Do the absence of homeless people among the protestors give your negative stereotypes of them less validity? Aww (sticks out bottom lip and makes "pouty" face)...

Awww, poor Chuck Bartowski... thinks people are all lovey-dovey in the park. Here are some recent comments among actual Occupy Charlottesvillians (on their FB page):

"as the permit holder of the park for a said time, do we have the right ask anyone to leave the rented park (city opted to waive fees) a public park or do we, the renters, have to co-exist with the public.... lets rephrase that, Say the crafts fair rents the park for the weekend, the drunks don't have the ok to camp as well. the point is we allowed this to happen. Neighbors or not, they have funded resources in which to get warm clothes, and sleeping bags. People are donating to Occupy Charlottesville, to the people actively involeved, not to drunks, not to homeless shelters."

"Rope off a main area n let the public kno to drop off donations at this spot n if the person trying to accept ur donation smells of alcohol, chances r u just gave ur stuff to a drunk not an Occupier."

"then i saw a call for blankets, well if blankets weren't given out to our "neighbors" we might have had enough warm items for people activley involved. point being, the driunks have shelters, funded resources, food banks and kitchens. it is not our reponseablity to feed, cloth, and shelter people who are not actively involved and jusr show up for a 'safe' place to drink."

Aww... look at that wonderful compassion on display. These people should be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Poor people want a blanket for the night? Forget them! They ain't us! They ain't the 99%! Just like good ol' Ebenezer:

"Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."

"Are there no prisons?" ..."And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"... "I help to support the establishments I have mentioned -- they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."

"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."

"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

I expect they are using locally-made tents and locally-grown food and locally-made electronic devices.

Shawn, you are correct that the homeless are part of the 99%, in fact the are the very clearest example of people who have been abandoned by a society that places profits over people. But in taking those quotes from the facebook page you are mistaking open discourse for policy.

Yes, there are some people concerned about the homeless in the park, particularly about the homeless who are belligerently drunk and threatening. Among them are young women who are courageously camping out even though they have previously been victims of abuse or assault. The have reason to be concerned about what drunk and violence-prone people might do.

Nevertheless the actual response to the homeless presence has been far different than what you suggest. The actual response by the people camping out, myself included, has been to welcome them to the park, invite their participation in meetings, feed them, give them donated supplies and try to defuse conflict between them.

The Elders among the homeless joined us from the beginning. They are practiced at keeping the peace among a community of people ignored by the rest of us, and they have recognized that the Occupy movement is providing not just a place to sleep without getting kicked out by the police, but also the best change they have ever seen of making real change that might affect their lives.

3 nights ago I stood in support of one of the Elders who was trying to calm a belligerent drunk who was threatening to start a fight, and through force of personality got him to leave the park. That same guy who was kicked out showed up again the next day and was calmer but still loud. Last night he showed up again, apparently sober, and helped with security for the night.

Last night during our General Assembly we had a homeless man take exception to what he took as an insult, and start to become loud and disruptive, interfering with the meeting. I helped convince him to talk to me further away from the meeting, talked him down, and got it worked out. I brought him back to the park, got him food, a jacket and blanket from our supplies, and learned a lot about his life in the process. He's now camping out peacefully with the rest of us.

So, Shawn, you have accused us of hypocrisy and lack of compassion, implying in the process that you are compassionate toward homeless drunks. If that's so, prove it. Show up at Lee Park with a donation of food, warm clothing, or a tent. If you are concerned about it going to support a protest you disagree with, then just ask anyone to point out some of the homeless to you and give it directly to them.

And in the meantime, I'd appreciate it if you were a little more accurate in your portrayal of what we are doing.

Ed, thank you for your response and invitation. If only everyone involved were more like yourself in dealing with outreach, things might not have the reputation they have now. Although, I wouldn't say I "disagree" with the (main thrust of the) protest. I just have come across some fairly nasty elements that would prevent me from self-identifying as an "Occupier."

Perhaps Lee is better described as an "old trouper" than "old trooper".

I do not think that you folks lack compassion I think you lack personal accountability. You want others to forgive YOUR student loans. You hate Wall Street (except of course Apple and your wireless carrier) and you think that the reason you don't have job offers is because of some conspiracy of capitalists. The fact of the matter is that people are afraid to take risks because people with attitudes like OWS who want high pay, great benefits, job security and 6 weeks vaction while offering nothing but a whiney attiude and marginal skills are not worth betting on.

You should all get together and open your own OWS store and compete with wall street. Show them how easy it is to run a business and pay everyone well and comply with all the laws and regulations. You can hire the drunks to bring your deposits to the bank for you on their way to the liquor store.

@tim taylor: What a huge load of crap...Your Mama would be ashamed of you.

Again, if this is the 99%, then why are there only 12 of them?

and again......check the backgrounds and current staus of those who have allowed their names to be published or shown- it is a very diverse group- yea, sure it is...........

Have you considered the possibility that some of those posting here are indeed homeless and unwelcome in the park?
Could the "fairly nasty elements that would prevent me from self-identifying as an "Occupier."" be C'Villes' finest?
Just sayin'

Ed Zavada said: "Shawn, you are correct that the homeless are part of the 99%, in fact the are the very clearest example of people who have been abandoned by a society that places profits over people."

But you can't assume that the root of all homelessness is "profits over people." There's a lot of different reasons people wind up homeless, including choice, for those who are purposely shunning mainstream society. Some are mentally unstable and should be in a home of some sort with supervision and medication. Others are flat out lazy and laxadaisal, and lack the drive and go-getter attitude that others have to do whatever it takes to make things happen. The political correct brigade likes to create victims and walk on eggshells with how we word things but let's face it.......there's a good chunk of homeless people who are homeless for a very good reason. They're slow, laxadaisal, lazy, they often times have alcohol and drug problems, they have unpresentable appearances, their personalities are "rough around the edges" and totally unhirable, and in general they don't care. They don't fight for their own destiny. I can say this as someone who was tossed out there to fend for myself before even graduating highschool without a dime to my name. I fought. The idea of becoming homeless and being some lazy, laxadaisal loaf who lets life toss me about like a big ol' victim of circumstance wasn't even a possiblity for me. I fought with everything I had, and I made it. No excuses. Also I've gotten on the Hook comments section before talking about the various immigrant success stories I've been privvy to in life, namely the Asians and what they manage to accomplish. You have English speaking natives who loaf about pointing fingers at everybody but themselves, meanwhile, a family of immigrant Asians lands in America and kicks everybody's ass. Soon the homeless English speaking natives are hanging around panhandling and feigning victimhood in front of the shops that these Asian immigrants have set up for themselves. And we're supposed to feel sorry for them? Something is wrong here, but it isn't capitalism. It's lack of personal responsibility.

If people are upset over the big businesses that places profits over people, then what the people need to do is to make sure *not to patronize any businesses or companies that engage in that.* Patrionize ONLY Mom 'n Pop companies for EVERYTHING you need. Period. THAT'S what needs to be done. Not throwing the entire capitalism baby out with the bathwater.

This next part isn't directed at Ed, it's just my thoughts in general. But the anti-capitalism rhetoric of the whole Occupy movement is puzzling to me. Capitalism at its core is the ability for anybody in this country to start their own business, be their own boss, determine their own profits and to carve out their own niche in the world. It's the ability for anybody here to make something of themselves. That's what this country was founded on. So you have these anti-capitalism Occupiers at Wall Street, situated smack in the middle of a city that's one of the absolute greatest examples of the positive aspects of Capitalism. Think of all the immigrants who landed on New York City soil, then hit the ground running, learning the language, working their way up, until often times finding themselves owning their own shops and businesses all around the city, and retiring successfully in old age while passing the business along to their kids. They were responsible for the creation of their business, for providing a quality product or service, for networking and forming a loyal customer base, and ensuring the success of their own company. It's such an integral part of what this country is that I even remember my dad explaining capitalism to me when I was little, like maybe 6 or 7. It obviously made an impression on me. We have that ability here to make something of ourselves, and to be **responsible for ourselves and our own fortunes.** That last part can't be emphasized enough.

There may be negative aspects to capitalism, but that doesn't mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater and advocate communism, or socialism, or whatever it is these people are suggesting instead. I'm not saying there aren't legitimate problems in this country, but this anti-capitalism rhetoric is the one point that has me very, very puzzled.

End of rant, getting down off the soap box now......

Please do not bring homelessness into this silliness. Has nothing to do with it. In the '60s, they were called "bums" and lived on skid row (in my hometown of Philly, that was at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge). Then liberal do-gooders made it even worse by electing to "mainstream" addicts and the mentally ill; "we can put them into institutions." Bingo, they're on the street. So, today we have homeless--as previously said--who are addicted, or mentally ill, or lazy, or a combination thereof.

The losers in Lee Park are hypocrites. Just like another group we saw in Philly who "detested the man"...the MOVE organization. Anti technology but used battery-operated bullhorns to spew rubbish.

Now we have the Occupy crowd. Same old silly hippy rhetoric, with a select group of pols ready to support them.

When will the "Free Mumia" posters show up? Shall we expect Boner, Sting, Matthews and Gabriel to show up? We know how much they all despise big business and "the man," don't we.

Reminds me of the time Dave Matthews got caught pooping big time on a bunch of tourists in the Chicago River. Found out one of his many tour buses emptied doodie over the bridge. Also found out that this big "sustainability" advocate had a separate bus for each of the five band members, rather than cutting the carbon footprint a bit and have the four other guys shares two buses. You know, kind of like asking Al Gore to cut his mansion from 17,000 sq. ft. to, say, only 10,000 sq. ft. Or asking John Kerry to...well, you get the idea.

Why didn't the scuzzies set up their tents under Capshaw's Eyesore near the lovely $1 million chalkboard? Shelter from rain, high visibility, and near the Cville Transportation Center so they could hop on CAT and go job hunting.

Saw on one of their cardboard signs: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."

The full quote is as follows: "In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!"--Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program (1875).

It does not matter what anyone thinks of the Occupiers, the revolution has begun and there is no turning back.


I remember a time when it was a really hard decision to ask for help or a handout even in a time of real need. Now we have protests demanding a free ride from people who should be able to take care of themselves.

Shame on you and shame on your parents for telling you that you are special.

"It does not matter what anyone thinks of the Occupiers, the revolution has begun and there is no turning back"

until mom and dad stop paying the cell phone bill and recharging their debit card....

what is sitting on your ass in Lee Park really going to accomplish?

I wonder if there’s an Occupy Paris movement, cause like, that’s been done. Couple times.

First, thanks Shawn for your response. I'm sorry that you've had negative experiences with the occupation. I've seen things I don't agree with too, but I draw a distinction between the actions of the individuals and the group as a whole. We certainly don't have any monopoly on compassion, nor do we individually do the right thing all the time. But we do try to be respectful to one another and listen to everyone's ideas with an open mind (though I've seen that fail too).

Boo, likewise thanks for your response. I agree that the root causes of homelessness are complex, and after sharing the park with them for a week I've found they are all sorts of people, with all sorts of problems and reasons of being on the street. Regardless of the problems they face or the root causes, I stand by my statement that society has abandoned them. If you asked me a week ago I would have felt uncomfortable saying that we our society put profits over people, but now I have no doubt. The 40,000 people who live in Charlottesville could easily help the 300 or so homeless people here, help them dry out and get back on their feet, or in at least one case make someone's last few months a little more comfortable. And I think most people here would readily agree to do so, if they actually saw the problem.

And while there are people here and there in the Occupiers who want to end Capitalism, the vast majority of us have no particular problem with Capitalism. It's generally a good system for efficiently exchanging goods and services. What we have a problem with is what is sometimes referred to as "crony capitalism", where a small number of people are cheating, committing acts of fraud and malfeasance, only to get at worst some slaps on the wrist.

There is broad support among the Occupy movement for the idea of buying local and supporting small local businesses.

So no, we don't want to throw out the baby, we are just concerned with the turds floating in the bathwater and want to clean it up.

To Liberalace, you misunderstand what we are after. We don't have anything against the rich per se. We just want them to play by the same rules everyone else is. Given that, why should we begrudge Al Gore (or anyone else) their house? We just want to see that people who commit fraud or malfeasance (whether in private corporations or in public office) are held accountable rather than given bailouts, bonuses and cushy new jobs.

To "The Skinny", disagree with you completely on that point. The Occupation is based on consensus, and everyone's opinions matter. Everyone is welcome, regardless of viewpoint. Everyone is entitled to respect, regardless of viewpoint. We will not reach consensus on a "revolution" that ignores honest people's needs and concerns. The sort of "revolution" that pushes aside one group of people so another can have their way is just the kind of revolution we DON'T need.

@Tim Taylor,

"I do not think that you folks lack compassion I think you lack personal accountability. You want others to forgive YOUR student loans. "

I don't care if my student loans are forgiven. I've paid them for the past 15 years and will continue to do so. But students today face a very different situation than I did when I went to college. Tuition has gone through the roof while pay rates have remained largely unchanged. And there are fewer grants and smaller grants available, so you have to borrow more money to go to school. I can't imagine how I can possibly afford to send my son to college if things keep up like this.

"You hate Wall Street (except of course Apple and your wireless carrier) and you think that the reason you don't have job offers is because of some conspiracy of capitalists."

Well, I have had several job offers despite already having a great job. I turn them down because I love what I do, the people I work with, and living in Charlottesville. I also understand that reason there has been a jobless recovery has nothing to do with a conspiracy and everything to do with business people holding onto capital because they are not confident in what the future holds, and at the same time there is a glut of available workers because of corporate and government layoffs.

"The fact of the matter is that people are afraid to take risks because people with attitudes like OWS who want high pay, great benefits, job security and 6 weeks vaction while offering nothing but a whiney attiude and marginal skills are not worth betting on."

So you are saying that we should all just be happy with low pay, no benefits, no job security, no vacation and just barely managing cover the mortgage on the house that is now worth less than what we owe on it? Should we be grateful for that?

What about those of us with no job at all, who worked hard, paid into unemployment for years but got laid off and now their unemployment has ended? Should they be grateful?

"You should all get together and open your own OWS store and compete with wall street. Show them how easy it is to run a business and pay everyone well and comply with all the laws and regulations. You can hire the drunks to bring your deposits to the bank for you on their way to the liquor store.

Thanks, but I think I'll stick with the business I already own.

@Ed Zavada - I think you were making a fairly reasonable argument until your comments on unemployment. Employees do not pay into Unemployment. The employers pay a percentage which has jumped from 2% to 8% in some cases.

Okay, let me figger this out...
I am in Lee Park, and I believe in buying local. But I can buy a pound of strawberries at Food Lion for $1.49, but the same pound at some locally-owned, smaller store, is $2.49. Same for shampoo (not that anyone in Lee Park uses it)...Wal-Mart is $1.49, local market is $2.79. But I have no job, nor am I inclined to work. But I bitch about money and wealth injustice. If I am in such financial straits, how can I afford to buy the more costly strawberries?

Ed Zavada, WHY do you think tuition is through the roof.?

I think it is because student loans became too easy and Universities raised the rates because people would pay it. There is no excuse for it. Where the hell is all the money going? Why are these people not pouring over UVAs budget and demanding they cut costs?

And the fact of the matter is that they SHOULD accept lower wages if that is all that is out there. That is more respectable than taking money from others who worked all day while they stayed home. If they are valuable to the company than they can ask for a raise once they have proven themselves. If the boss lets them quit because someone else will do it for less than that is all it should pay. If your job goes overseas to a ten year old you didn't have a real skill anyway. Get one.

99 weeks of unemployment is unheard of. 13 weeks was the norm, If you can't find a job in two years then after the first year get together with others and form a company. If you are so smart you will find investors. The rich are always looking for a way to make a buck on their money.

Most of these people are not like you. They want something for nothing.

Any homeless person in Charlottesville can go stay at the PACEM night shelter but they can't drink at the shelter. All of the homeless people in Lee Park have a warm place to sleep indoors but they choose to stay in Lee Park instead. Presumably so they don't have to follow the PACEM rules around drinking and misbehavior.

My husband and I both work very hard, and make good money for where we live and what we do. We're both college grads and we've paid off our student loans. We lead a modest lifestyle and are thankful for what we have. Between mortgage payments, bills, insurance costs and so on, we sometimes have a hard time making ends meet. Isn't the American dream all about being able to provide for yourself and your family? We make good money and are barely making it. So, what are people that don't supposed to do?

I want to raise a family in a healthy, successful community. Therefore, I want to keep my money here whenever possible, instead of shipping it off to Walmart or Bank of America. The success of my family is largely based on the people we interact with daily, so this "every man for himself" thinking will never work. I want to pay taxes so that my community is well educated. That will ensure that our doctor knows what he's he's doing, that the fire department comes when I need them, that the local cafeteria knows how to serve good food that's healthy for my family. Does that make me whiney or lazy?

Stevsie- no, just whiney.............

the American dream is "regulated" by not living beyond your means, regardless of what you feel the Country or others "owe" you....

if I were you, I would set up camp outside the White House where it belongs

That's ridiculous, HarryD. My whole point is that no one owes me, it's that I owe my community. Did you read what I said? I'll take "whiney" over "greedy" any day. . .
Also, if everyone that shares your view had money or lived within their means, you might have a point. Oh, well.

Stevsie- you asked the question. You are not lazy. Guess I missed your point.......what is it again?

@ Stevsie

"The success of my family is largely based on the people we interact with daily, so this "every man for himself" thinking will never work."

Count me in as somebody else who's also confused as to what exactly it is you're getting at. What exactly is it that you're looking for with the Occupy movement? What sorts of changes are you looking for in society, and how do you believe the Occupy movement can bring about those changes?

@Cviller... you are correct, I mistakenly thought that some FICA went toward that, but of course that's all federal and unemployment is a state thing. My apologies for spreading misinformation. My understanding is the cost of unemployment insurance goes up for companies that lay people off, as a disincentive to layoffs.

@Bill, first, at some point wages are low enough that it's simply not worth taking a job. For example, let's suppose you are a skilled carpenter, who is paid $20/hour. Forgetting about maintenance, insurance, etc..., It costs you $30 in gas to drive your truck full of tools (which you bought) to the job site. It cost you $120/week to put your kid in the cheapest daycare center you can find. You work an 8 hour day, and net $58 for that day's work. That's only about $1200 net per month, barely enough to pay cheap rent and food. Still, it's arguably worth doing.

You drop that to $10/hour. Now you are netting $26/day or around $550/month. That's just not enough to live on, much less support a child, especially not that they are spending all their time in daycare and you hardly see them.

I agree with you on the reasons student loans went up. I would also point out that traditionally we've been told that education is the best investment we can make because it is investment in ourselves. But wages largely stagnant, we are seeing more and more people who either borrow way more than they can afford to, or decide they simply can't afford college. What are the long term impacts on our country and economy when fewer people start going to school, and the average student is burdened by massive debt? Is this a problem we should be concerned about? Is telling Universities what they are allowed to charge the right answer? Is socializing higher education the right answer? Or do we just let the free market for education shake out how it will? I don't know, but we need to at least consider the question and the pros and cons of various approaches with an open mind.

Bill, how long do you think some people were unemployed during the Great Depression? What will the long term unemployed do to "start a company", especially when banks aren't lending? You claim that smart people will find investors, but where? Venture capitalists typically don't hang out in the same social circles that the long term unemployed do, and they tend to invest money in people they believe in.

More importantly, what about the people who aren't so smart? Should people of average intellect be just be left suffer their fate in a job market that doesn't seem to need or want them? Do only exceptional people deserve a chance at the American Dream?

@Ed. All valid points but it supposes that life is fair. Everyone gets a chance at the dream, but the smarter, harder working usually get a bigger stab at it. And you will not find the dream at the end of the unemployment check. Someone wants the dream they might have to begin in the dishwashing area and prove their worth and industry. Work nights while the SO/parents watch the kids. Take the bus. Bust your hump and ask the chef to teach you a basic knife skill. Keep working. Watching. One night a prep cook might not show and tell the chef you will stay late to cover both. Watch what happens. Average intellect might have to work harder instead of smarter. I sure do.

I can tell you my hard luck story work history, walking home in the midwest at 2AM in February after a day of school and a shift working. It is what it is and sitting around expecting the world to solve your problems is pretty good way of feeling left behind in that dream.

As to school. Go to a state school and study with a chance at a job. Nursing. Teaching. Engineering. Studying psychology or marketing or fashion design or polysci might be fun, but the job market is tough and thinking its your way to a career is naive and expensive. You can do instate CC for cheap and then state school for 7K 3rd/4th years.. Work hard over summer and make 5K, borrow the other and then pay it off like a nut while taking the bus for the next couple years until you are debt free.

It can be done, but it is NOT easy. Any review of history will show that the little time bump in our corner of the planet has been one of the most forgiving and easy...

My Dad had a poster on his wall behind his office desk. "Lead, follow, or get out of the way." I see you talking about problems. What are your solutions that you know will work?

Me thinks "Obamanomics" is the root cause of it all.


It makes workers feel that they should not work hard and earn more because if they do they will pay more in taxes and lose out on all the giveaways that they are entitled to.

Work hard, earn more and you might have to pay your student loan back......waht a concept!

"Jimi Hendrix"- YES! Just what is it that they want- please tell us!

......or " I prefer that you just say thank you (for your so called entitlements) and go about your business"......

That's a great theory jimi but many employees did just what you are outlining only to reach middle age and have the damn rug pulled out from under them.

Your job was eliminated, cheaper for your company to hire overseas

Pensions gone, your 401 tanked. Irresponsible government spending and smart unregulated speculators took it all.

Health care will bankrupt you just when you start to need it but the government is still supporting the health care companies with huge subsidies funded by your taxes (medicare advantage) politicians want that old folks vote because THEY VOTE.

Social security wont be there after years of contributing.

Your home isnt worth squat even after its paid for.

You don't work in the defense industry so you are sick of watching the corporate shills (Democrats and Republicans) in washington spend trillions on foreign aid and fighting wars that will in the end only weaken us.


No, this doesn't suppose life is fair at all. Quite the opposite. Nor do I think everyone has equal potential to contribute to society. I know I've gotten a lot of breaks that other people haven't, so many that I was able to squander some of them. I know I have skills and abilities that are rare.

That in no way lessens my compassion for people who don't.

I don't have any wish to be dependent on others, and count myself lucky that I have family and friends who will help me if I ever fall on hard times, as I've helped some of them.

But not everyone has that. Some people are born into situations that deprive them of the opportunity to reach their full potential. Some people make bad choices that are hard to recover from.

What this supposes is that everyone deserves OPPORTUNITY. What they make of their opportunities is what defines their character. This doesn't mean that everyone has to have the same opportunities -- choices we make shape what opportunities we have -- but we all have the right to at least have the opportunity to find a job, the opportunity to a decent education, the opportunity to have a say in the decisions that affect our lives.

Can you honestly tell me that everyone in this country has those opportunities? More importantly, have those opportunities been increasing or decreasing?

I'm not saying it needs to be easy for everyone. It just needs to be POSSIBLE.

Has it ever come across the minds those many smart and well meaning people of Occupy that it is the drunks and users that they are allying themselves with are part of the problem? Nine out of 10 of those clowns that have been frequenting that park and being buddy-buddy with everybody is because they are out of their government hand-out checks within 5 days after they get them. Hmm, about the same time that they started showing up at the park and trouble started happening.
Charlottesville caters to the drunks here. During the day it's the Haven. These drunks are fed decent food and coffee for breakfast that they complain about, can use the phone instead of using all the time given to them on the Free Phones, do their laundry and take a warm shower and to shave, watch tv and nap on nice couches doing so, get on the internet; get referred to free health care, and on and on. Oh. This even allows them to go and panhandle for booze and rug money on the Mall and under the railroad bridge on The Corner. All this is done at the benevolence of Tom Shadyack and many volunteers. In return, what do the later get: they have to clean up vomit, people urinate on furniture, the police and EMTs are constantly there among others. So when the screws get put to these clowns to be held accountable for their actions, they look for someone or something to latch onto.
They claim that they have no where to eat. Besides the daily breakfast at the Haven, there are churches that feed them lunch and give them snacks Monday through Friday. This is on top of them being able to receive hot and decent meals every nights during the weekdays, and all weekends. Two of them are on Park Street on Wednesday and Friday and too far to walk to from the Haven. So they complain about not being fed. Another problem and that is a general rule. Can't go there under the influence of anything. So, they turn to latch onto someone or something else.
Then there is PACEM during the cold nights of the fall/winter. Various churches take these people into their buildings, feed them, cloth them, give them snacks and toiletries and some one to talk to. What do these people get in return? Alcohol snuck in, people sneaking out to smoke and drink, beligerence to the people hosting them, urination and defecation outside of the toilets. So, when they can't do all of that, there is one more place that they can go for a warm night.
The City pays x-amout of dollars per year to house 5 drunks in the back of thr Mohr Center on Market Street for the night rather than to spend the money to book them and transport them to the Complex for drunk in public related charges. The police transport them there and all that is required is that the Mohr staff take their vital signs and steer them back into the sleeping area. The only requirement is that they stay there for 4 hours. Since they don;t like the rule, they can then leave and find more people to latch on to. And now they have found it.
After the second week that Occupy was in Lee Park and by the time all the drunks had spent their disability or other check monies on booze and rugs, Occupy was there. Occupy has some money as evidenced by their nice tents, paying for porta-johns, permits to camp-have-fires-and discos. Hmm. seems like no rules. And the thing is, homeless drunks get trespassing summons for camping, having open fires and open containers in public parks and on streets.
And now, all the money that Occupy it bitching about people having too much of, is paying to guard them and their new-found homeless drunk friends, that are too lazy to go and get what is given to them without being able to bring a flask, can or bottle along.


Yes, we are keenly aware that the homeless suffer from addiction problems, and that some of them behave badly. After all, we are living side by side with them in the park. Clearly you are aware of those issues too.

However, we are also getting to know them as people: how they got there, what they hope to do to get off the street, and what their barriers to doing that are. Each situation is unique. Many of them don't collect disability or any other form of government assistance. Perhaps if you got involved with them one-on-one as people rather than collectively as a "clowns" and "drunks" you'd see things a little differently.

Yes, Occupy is there. We are dealing with them, doing what we can to help, and we are seeing progress. I helped a 60 year old man with terminal cancer and 2 months left to live find a donated blanket so he could be a little more comfortable on a frigging park bench! What are you doing? Why do you care if we help the homeless, are kind to drunks, or have campfires? And "Discos?"? Really? You think we are having discos?!?

I've got a resume from one of the homeless guys there who wants any kind of work he can find... have you got one for him?

Occupy is not "bitching about people having too much [money]". What we are is deeply troubled by the corruption of government by powerful corporate interests. We are upset that billions in taxpayer money was spent to bail out banks but they won't loan money to ordinary people unless they they have stellar credit ratings, even though they get nearly free loans from the Fed. We think that those same banks paying their top people billions in bonuses after a bailout is obscene.

And we feel that telling someone to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps is just cruel if they don't even have boots.

Well Said!!!!!

I am not angry with people who use welfare.
I am not angry at Wall street who use the rules to their advantage to make money.

I am angry at the Government that writes the rules allows exploitation by both the very rich and the very poor.

When Wall Strret breaks the law people get hurt and the Government needs to enforce the laws. When the cretins that abuse the entitlement system break the law they need to be thrown out too. The reason is that there are limited resources to help and the cretins consume more than their fair share.

We need to accept that we went ten steps forward and now have to take five steps back. It is no different than driving uphill in the snow. Americans are not starving. The people in the park are only addicted because they have access to what they want and crave. If they were on a desrerted island with no alcohol or meth they would get better. A person with lukeiema or cancer should be so lucky.

Most people who call themselves poor still live better than the average Charlottesville family of 1960.

If people can come here from mexico speaking no english and make it then so can an american who speaks the language and has an education.

Bill, I largely agree with your last post. In particular Occupy Charlottesville wants to see that the government enforces the laws and holds the people who lie, cheat and steal accountable. At the moment we are focused on the financial sector because their fraud and incompetence caused a major recession, after which they took huge government bailouts, paid themselves million dollar bonuses, and then proceeded to raise fees and commit fraudulent foreclosures.

By comparison, the welfare cheats are small potatoes. We can deal with them after we have taken care of the really big problems.

Ken Jamme- so what do you do? Sit on your butt and expect the world to come to a stop so you can get off?

The rug has been pulled out from under me 5 times in the last 10 years and I am not middle aged. All good positions which I worked toward for years. Never asked for a thing, bitched and moaned a little after being let go, but moved on and found the next position, then had everything pulled out again. Never took anything for granted.

Today, I am on my last "work for someone else" job and have crossed trained to make it on my own in 18 months. Work weekends now to perfect my skills. Gee, a 7 day work week!

You have to love it when these college graduates say there is no work. WTF? It is all for the youngin's, not the old coots like me.