A sequence of events leading up to - and possibly related to
- the abrupt resignation of Richard Connor from MaineToday Media today.
June 2009 Richard Connor buys the Portland Press
Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal, and Central Maine Morning
Sentinel from the Blethen family. The deal involves part ownership by the
members of the newspapers' employee unions, as well as investments from major
real-estate developers in the Portland
Richard Connor has resigned from MaineToday Media, according to a report on the company's website and an email that just went out to union members.
Al Diamon at DownEast has info on machinations relating to the departure here: http://www.downeast.com/media-mutt/2011/october/mainetoday-media-executive.
A couple dozen folks came out in the rain - before it turned to sleet overnight - for the OccupyMaine "We Shall Not Be Moved" march, partly responding to the chemical bomb thrown at the camp over the weekend, and partly (and perhaps slightly ironically, considering the title and song choice for the march) marking the official, well, move of the Occupation from Monument Square to Lincoln Park.
Based on my observations, conversations, and reading of Occupation reports from around the globe:
Despite mainstream media incomprehension, the message of the Occupy movement is extremely clear and lucid. It is creating a parallel, alternative society that cares for humans, represents humans, and provides for humans - using systems free of corporate influence and corruption.
An explosion elsewhere in downtown Portland an hour before the bombing of the OccupyMaine tent side has police thinking that Sunday morning's attack was not necessarily targeting the protestors specifically, according to Acting Chief Mike Sauschuck. In a statement to reporters today, Sauschuck said there have been no arrests, but said investigators have some physical evidence of the bomb, which contained household chemicals and perhaps a reactive substance like aluminum foil in a plastic Gatorade bottle.
Here's the OccupyMaine announcement; we're working on finding out more, and will post here as available.
Press Release - Lincoln Park Campers AttackedEarly Sunday morning, around 4am, the members of the Occupy Maine camp at Lincoln Park woke up to a loud explosion. Witnesses who were awake said a car driving by slowed down, and lobbed an IED over the fence.
A protest will target Bank of America's Monument Square branch at noon today. Loosely affiliated with the Occupy movement, the effort will draw attention to corporate greed and Bank of America's high profits and low (or zero) tax bills, according to organizer Bill Digiulio. It is also in support of a resurfacing idea called the "Robin Hood Tax" or the "Tobin Tax," a tax on all financial transactions that could be used to fund bank-stabilization funds so taxpayers wouldn't be on the hook for any future bank bailouts.
The OccupyBangor Facebook page has a couple really interesting posts aimed at those who criticize the Occupy movement for its leaderless nature, and/or are unclear about its message. While everyone involved in the Occupy movement accepts that everyone has different reasons (or at least different priorities of reasons) for participating, these are good primers that will give you a good introduction into the thought processes and mindsets of many of the Occupy folks I've spoken with.
The folks at the OccupyMaine GA last night talked about a couple of interesting weather-related developments.
First, they're looking for an indoor space to serve as a warm, Internet-connected base for the winter. A couple prospects are out there, and cost and proximity to Monument Square are important. If you've got such a space (or - and this is my suggestion - know of an indoor public one that could be Occupied), drop them a line at occupymaine@gmail.
Here's a memo Portland Newspaper Guild president Tom Bell sent to union members at the Press Herald this afternoon. There will be 33 layoffs; and the union is (at long last) getting a peek at the financial records of the company it partly owns. And, uh, sorry about that last line, there, Tom...
The company is eliminating 53 Guild positions.
First, an update on the whole "permit" debacle/miscommunication - if the Occupy folks are able to verify independently what I reported in my previous post, then they say there is no issue between them and the city. And they asked me to stress in my writing that the Occupy people are very grateful for the city's cooperation, including the police, fire, and parks and recreation departments.
Portland's chief spokeswoman says there is no need for concern about attempted city restrictions on the OccupyMaine group's activities, despite a strongly worded press release the OccupyMaine group issued earlier today suggesting otherwise. "I think there's some confusion," says Nicole Clegg, the city's communications director.
Conflict with city authorities is in the wings in Portland, on the sixth day of the occupation of Monument Square.
After a cold night in their tents at Lincoln Park, the OccupyMaine folk are back drumming and holding signs in Monument Square (there is a light overnight presence in the square too, so the occupation doesn't end there, and rather has a second location at the tent colony).