We went to the Mecum car auction Saturday after all, where a '68 Corvette sold for $565,000, and as we were driving away from the Dallas Convention Center we espied a small encampment of sorts set up next to Robert Summers's 49 bronze Longhorns in Pioneer Plaza. There was one dude sporting a Guy Fawkes mask at Griffin and Young, but the rest of the gathering looked rather, ya know, college-quad -- just a bunch of folks sitting on blankets, tossing around the Frisbee, hanging out.
Turns out, they ain't going anywhere: The Occupy Dallas folks, who took their first steps Thursday, have sent a letter to Mayor Mike Rawlings, the city council, City Manager Mary Suhm and the police and fire chiefs in which they explain their mission ("our grievances are as numerous and diverse as our supporters"), say they're going to be there who knows how long, explain how they're good for tourism and and invite 'em all to come down and hang for a bit:
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Come take a walk throughout our campsites and talk with the citizens of Dallas to see for yourself what Occupy Dallas is about. Visit our Food Tent, filled to the brim with donations from local supporters and local businesses. Come play with the children at the Occuplay tent. Visit the Medic Tent and speak with the doctors and nurses who have volunteered their time. Visit the media tent and speak with the writers, bloggers, and journalists who are covering our cause. Attend a General Assembly and see direct democracy in action. Most importantly, come shake hands with our marchers and protesters, and find out for yourself what it is that we stand for.
Update at 4:50 p.m.: Frank Librio, City Hall spokesman, just sent a statement concerning Occupy Dallas and a permit for Pioneer Park. It reads in full:
The City is working with members of the Occupy Dallas group to obtain a special use permit for the Pioneer Plaza area near the Convention Center. The City is balancing this group's first amendment rights with a focus on protecting the protestors and the public -- like many other cities across the country experiencing similar protests.
The Dallas Police Department has only utilized on-duty resources to address the Occupy Dallas demonstrators. This is consistent with other demonstrations that have occurred in the city in the past and a function of the police department that is part of the current operating budget. The Police Department has provided a uniformed presence during the demonstrator's marches to ensure there is minimal disruption in traffic flow, no disturbances or violation of law and that counter protests do not develop that could lead to disorder.