Participatory democracy is a theme being championed by the Occupy movement. Local Occupy movements have successfully petitioned their local governments to pass resolutions in support of solutions to a specific set of their grievances in places such as Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle, San Francisco, Butte/Missoula (Montana), Pittsburg, Pinal County (AZ). Such measures have also received setbacks in Richmond VA, Illinois State House, Astoria NY.
Occupy Las Vegas brought a similar resolution before the city councils of Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and the Clark County Commission today. You can read one of the resolutions here. The resolution was submitted in electronic and hard copy forms to all members of these elected boards. Members of the Occupy Las Vegas group were in attendance at all of these governing bodies’ meetings today to make statements during public comment.
Within these resolutions are actions that support the principles of the Occupy Movement and the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal, state and local levels; commit local officials to work with the community to take steps to minimize economic insecurity and destructive disparities in the County of Clark; and requests for our State and U.S. elected leaders to generate solutions for economically distressed Americans.
They were greeted with open and positive reception at these meetings. The nature of the discussion preceding public comment at Las Vegas City Council was very fortuitous for the Occupy Las Vegas people. The Council was discussing the blight caused by uncared for foreclosed homes. Mayor Carolyn Goodman even mentioned a neighborhood home that had a swimming pool which went uncleaned for sometime. She indicated that it was the number one suspect in a breakout of West Nile Virus in the neighborhood.
For Occupy Las Vegas, this is an opportunity to tie together talking points of the movement and actual political reality. Can the two come together here in Las Vegas? Let’s hope so. Local elected officials showing support is an important symbolic step for the movement.
It is my hope that the resolutions are carefully read and passed by these local bodies. Going forward, this is the kind of participation we need in government. Real grassroots participation is the only way for a democracy to be healthy. Hoping more and more people will occupy public comment, occupy emails to their elected representatives, and occupy the voting booth.