How about a meetup within a protest? July 2, 2007 8:41 AM   Subscribe

I've submitted this to Projects since I think the issue has nation-wide interest, but I also wanted to shout out to the Baltimore & D.C. area mefites whose backyard this is happening in and invite you all to come along. If you haven't been following the Silver Spring photo debacle covered by the Washington Post, DCist, DC Metblogs (disclosure: that's me) and others, you might not be aware of our planned gathering on July 4th. We've scheduled it at Noon so you still have time to leave and head off to whatever BBQs and fireworks watching you have planned for the evening and the location is just two blocks from the Silver Spring metro.
posted by phearlez to MetaFilter Gatherings at 8:41 AM (17 comments total)

For that matter, if you don't have other evening plans for the 4th you're welcome to come to what my darling girlfriend and I (assuming I'm not in jail - she says she won't bail me out till after her party) are hosting at her place in Crystal City. Email me directly (it's in my profile) if you're interested - we usually walk over to the lawn near the Pentagon (about 1m) to watch the DC fireworks.
posted by phearlez at 8:41 AM on July 2, 2007

I'll be there in spirit - I used to to live in Takoma Park, and remember Silver Spring when it was still kind of rundown and crappy....but public property. Have fun!
posted by rtha at 9:01 AM on July 2, 2007

You did see this, right?

I have the feeling that since they've bowed to the pressure of the intarwebs, there's not much chance of arrest.
posted by god hates math at 9:35 AM on July 2, 2007

Huh. This explains a lot about why that area's always felt like an outdoor mall to me-- it legally is.
posted by Tehanu at 9:50 AM on July 2, 2007

GHM - that's our site, so yeah, seen it.

Their attempt to diffuse the situation by saying they'll 'allow' photography without any recognition of any public rights - including not just photography but assembly whether it be discussion, pamphleteering, campaigning, etc - is not, in our opinion, an acceptable resolution to the problem. Particularly since their lease specifies a requirement to provide access.

So the potential for arrest comes if they decide to make an issue if we hand out any literature or in any other way send a message that their solution isn't a solution.

I do not, in fact, expect to be arrested, though I wouldn't necessarily mind.
posted by phearlez at 9:59 AM on July 2, 2007

I hadn't heard about this. Completely nutty! Thanks for info. *adds RSS feeds* I'll make an effort to show, somewhat unlikely though.

p.s. Rockville kicks Silver Springs's ass.

posted by and hosted from Uranus at 10:36 AM on July 2, 2007

that's our site, so yeah, seen it

Ahh, didn't quite make that connection. (this is what happens when you browse the web half-assedly from work) I hadn't seen the response, either.

I wish they would rescind their policy, and someone would get arrested, though - I'd like to see this get hashed out in the courts, so there'd be more clarity around the issue. This kind of public/private partnership limbo is really creepy, and I don't like it one bit.
posted by god hates math at 10:44 AM on July 2, 2007

This just doesn't seem kosher to me. Pimping your pet issue on Metatalk and promoting a meetup during your protest (thereby giving the protest a seemingly larger base of support).

I have no idea what you are actually protesting, but this seems like an odd use of the site.
posted by dios at 11:33 AM on July 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

There will be canine prostitution too!? *steps up efforts to make it*
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 11:55 AM on July 2, 2007

I went back and forth on it, and I did my proper pimping on Projects where it belonged. However I feel like despite a good concentration of DC mefites we've been light on meetups (though there have been two recently, so perhaps we're bucking the trend).

I finally decided that this is an issue that seems enough in line with the majority of Metafilter's lefty leanings that it justified making an overt invitation. I think you're being unfair in claiming I'm trying to give this a seemingly larger base of support - I wouldn't expect anyone who didn't support the goals to come out!

If you want to accuse me of anything, I'll totally cop to a selfish desire to have a DC meetup that I know I'll be able to make - I've been unable to go to the last two and it bummed me out.

For what it's worth, any local MeFite who doesn't support the goal is still welcome to the evening's bbq in Crystal City, just email me for information.
posted by phearlez at 11:56 AM on July 2, 2007

Off-topic, but I submit that support for freedom of speech, assembly, etc., does not require (or necessarily correlate with) "lefty leanings". Those are inalienable rights all Americans should feel responsible to protect.

Frankly, too many people these days are protesting fake, trumped-up issues so they can feel like they're "raising awareness" or something. This one actually seems like a legit beef, and I wish I were in the DC area to back you up. Best of luck.
posted by SuperNova at 3:17 PM on July 2, 2007

I should be around.

I understand that this is a demonstration, but I'm unclear on the ultimate goal. Do you want Silver Spring to reclaim Ellsworth Avenue as public property? Do you want to say that land that appears/functions as public should be under public regulation? Any action item for the city?
posted by zennie at 3:31 PM on July 2, 2007

The lease deal precludes Montgomery Country from simply reclaiming the property and it may be (our more lawerly interested parties are reading it more closely) that they have the right to buy out the property at lease's end for yet another of those magic $1 bills, at which point the matter is pretty well settled as it being private property.

Until that time, however, the property is leased under terms that include requirements for public access and provision of easements. We think that it's only fair and right that when a public street is developed - and the lease specifies that the public will be provided access - that said access be under the same terms as any other public street. Freedom to assemble, to have a dialog, wear a shirt with an unpopular statement, take a picture, carry a placard. To do things that are restricted by laws, not the interest of a private corporation.

I've got no problem with public-private partnerships existing. I've got no issue with corporations acting in the interest of their shareholders and making money. I just don't think we should allow deals where the general citizenry has to act in the best interest of a corporation.

Every one of us involved in this has different hot-buttons on this. For me, this is less about the specifics of this one case and more about raising awareness that these kind of private-public partnerships are becoming more and more common and showing the kinds of issues we need to be concerned with and perhaps better spell out in our contracts.
posted by phearlez at 6:51 AM on July 3, 2007

So, you want to say that
1. People should have as many rights and freedoms on the government's leased land as they have on public streets, when the lease provides for public access, and
2. Tenants should be made aware of this in the contract?

I'm not sure what you mean by "these kind of public private partnerships." Does that have to do with the development?

I'm not trying to give you a hard time here. It's just that when you put on a demonstration, it's important to be as explicit as possible about what you want and why they should care. Otherwise, people think you're overreacting.
posted by zennie at 10:10 AM on July 3, 2007

Zennie and I met today and hopefully I or someone else answered her questions to her satisfaction. We had the world's smallest meetup.
posted by phearlez at 2:58 PM on July 4, 2007

Oh yes, quite satisfactory. A++++++ WOULD PROTEST AGAIN. ;)

And cheers to Jamie Raskin, who was very patient in answering all the extra questions.
posted by zennie at 8:43 PM on July 4, 2007

posted by exogenous at 6:19 AM on July 31, 2007

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