Occupy group hits H.B. City Hall


With boombox in hand, a megaphone and signs with messages like, “We are unstoppable, another world is possible,” members of Occupy Orange County have set up in Surf City.

Members told the City Council on March 5 that they had been thinking about making Huntington Beach their next stop. By March 6, the group had embarked on the rear of the Civic Center at the corner of Main Street and Yorktown Avenue.

Some onlookers honked, others just watched from their car windows or took photos on their iPhones.

The protesters, about 20 of them last Thursday afternoon, said they spoke with city officials and got permission to occupy Huntington Beach, as long as they don’t block any signs, don’t sleep on the corner and keep the area clean.

They say they want to make the world a better place, and stop corporate greed and high student loans.

“I can’t describe in words what I want,” said Laguna Beach resident Oliver Hart, 20, who hasn’t worked in two months, but said he has a job as a dishwasher at a culinary arts school. “But I want the opposite of what I see.”

Madison Carlson, 20, stood barefoot holding a sign that said “Occupy Wall St.”

The Kansas native said she can’t speak for everyone, but doesn’t like high student loans or the number of homeless veterans. She attends college back home, she said, but is on an independent study getting credit while pursuing writing a book about the movement.

Since March 6, when the group officially occupied Huntington Beach, members said they’ve been taking turns sleeping but didn’t say where.

John Sanz said he was in the Marine Corps for 10 years, retiring a gunnery sergeant.

“I fought for this government, and I didn’t get anything back,” he said. “There’s a lot of people who didn’t fight and aren’t anything back ... All these big banks got a bailout. I’d like to see my bailout.”

Sanz, who wouldn’t give his age, said he’s been homeless for seven months.

When asked why couldn’t he look for a job, Sanz said he has looked for work but cannot find any.

Councilwoman Connie Boardman said she’s not sure whether those who are currently sitting out at the corner are actual Occupy members.

“I heard that was a group of homeless people that have been tagging along,” she said.

But as far as Occupiers are concerned, Boardman said it’s their Constitutional right.

“They certainly have the right to assemble, and they have the right to free speech,” she said.

The Occupiers said they have a general assembly meeting at 7 each night in the parking lot at City Hall.

At that time, they speak about some of their concerns and will come up with resolutions for Huntington Beach to pass.

Twitter: @MonaShadia