Saturday, October 29, 2011

The City Needs to Let #OccupyBoston Winterize

Privately and among friends, my thoughts have turned toward winter at #OccupyBoston often. It's clearly a huge undertaking to camp out in winter for any stretch, but to do so indefinitely is much harder.

#OccupyBoston's been weighing the winter and its options for a while, too, but I think it's well past time for the city to step up and help make it possible for tent city to continue by easing up on some of the restrictions.

The requests for needs that have been going out point at some of the things the city could do.

Here's one of the more telling quotes from that piece:
We only need prepared foods. Our food preperation area has no electricity, no heat source, and no running water, so we cannot cool, prepare, cook, or re-heat complex dishes. Please only donate prepared foods!
Allowing the protesters to have a generator or two for electricity and an area in which to prepare foods, including a heat source, is eminently reasonable and can be done safely. It's a project that could help smooth over hurt feelings over the raid a few weeks back and is an opportunity for Mayor Menino to get over his gaffes about his intolerance for civil disobedience. The city could then listen to Occupy Boston and make sure the set-ups for generators and a heating source for food preparation are done safely.

They should also allow the protesters to set up some areas for staying warm, the sort that any outdoor MBTA location will have equipped. Stricter rules for safety would be needed for those, but there's no reason why reasonable ones couldn't be come up with.

The protesters and protests aren't going away, even as the winter comes in. All the cities around the country have been talking a lot about the "safety" of the protesters. If cities like Boston really care about that, they'll let the Occupy movement winterize -- otherwise, all too many of the 99% are willing to risk frostbite to achieve results.

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