Occupy New Port Richey Taking Shape

Activists and others form a movement.

Article originally reported and writtebn by Alex Tiegen November 25, 2011

Occupy Wall Street protestors are camping out in tents in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan's financial district.

A small number of Occupy Tampa members have stayed overnight in Kiley Gardens Park recently, and some protestors have reportedly brought sleeping bags and blankets to a sidewalk.

There were no tents or sleeping bags to be seen in Sims Park on Sunday, Nov. 6. But Occupy New Port Richey members had assembled, and they were discussing the future.

This is what the recently created movement looked like when members met for a general assembly on the east bank of the Pithlachascotee River:

  • About 36 people seated under and around a picnic shelter discussing ideas for activism and tossing out ways to let people know the movement exists. A table set up with the remains of a pot luck meal.
  • Port Richey resident teaching the members hand signals used at general assemblies.
  • A couple people equipped with Guy Fawkes masks, which are common disguises among Occupy protestors.

People arrived in the afternoon and left around dusk.

“We’re not really discussing 24-hour occupation,” Hadley said in an interview afterward. They’re not talking about “setting up tents,” she said.

A Local Movement Takes Shape

Since Occupy Wall Street protestors first set up camp in Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17, other Occupy movements have sprung up in cities across the country and abroad.

Occupy Tampa held its first rally Oct. 6.

Occupy New Port Richey was started by a group of people who attended the Occupy Tampa efforts, said , of Holiday. The long drive was rough, Stewart said.

People in the group from Pasco County talked about addressing local issues, like foreclosures and the pill crime epidemic, as well as showing solidarity with other Occupy protestors and discussing national topics.

The demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its offshoots in other states and nations have been difficult to define, some report. 

Many members say they are protesting multinational corporations and big banks. And their influence on government. And corporate greed.

Protestors identify themselves as belonging to the “99 percent,” in reference to the claim that 1 percent of the U.S. population controls 40 percent of the nation's wealth.

Occupy protestors say their movements have no leaders, although people do act as moderators and facilitators.

Stewart is the founder of an open-source website that seeks to connect people interested in permaculture and environmentally sustainable living. 

He said his opinions are in line with those of Occupy Wall Street members.

“As people, we can’t have a conversation with our government anymore,” Stewart said. “The corporations drown us out.”

The 99 Percent

Occupy New Port Richey includes members known for activism in the Tampa Bay area.

They are:  , a Port Richey resident and founder of American Youth Movement 22211; , a Land O' Lakes resident and a founder of Citizens for Sanity; Blake Westlake; an Elfers resident who says he founded the Occupy Tampa Facebook page; and , who has protested representation of Native Americans in the Chasco Fiesta street parade and other issues.

Sunday was the fourth Occupy New Port Richey meeting.

The general assembly centered around coming up with ideas for how the movement proceeds.

“We’re learning the process, so we’re baby-stepping our way through today’s general assembly,” Hadley told members.

Mitrovich suggested going to a local Bank of America for a day and getting as many of its customers to leave as possible. Members had "infiltrated" a Bank of America foreclosure workshop in Tampa the week before and interviewed people there.

Stewart talked to the general assembly about recent visits to the home of Jim Kovaleski,, and a farmers market that was started at by the owners earlier this year. 

He is in favor of having a "stronger local economy," he said in an interview.

Afterward, the movement announced on its Facebook page that it is holding a rally in Sims Park on Friday, which is when a lot of Veterans Day events are planned, as well as carpooling to Tampa to join Occupy Tampa for a march there.

Hadley is a self-described activist and mother who is unemployed and “unemployable,” she says. She said the foreclosure crisis has left homes vacant and open for crime.

Hadley is interested in showing that the image of the Occupy movement is not always that of hippies. She said she's a fiscal conservative.

"We have people who have voted Republican here," she said. 

Around the same time she said that, people were called to say goodbye in a kumbaya circle-style formation. 

"This is why people think we're hippies," she said.

Upcoming activities

  • Occupy New Port Richey meets for a general assembly and pot luck at at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

phyllis November 09, 2011 at 02:30 PM
IMO I think each occupy movement should have 2 parts-1 being very locally sensitive and the other being an intergrater to the state/national level. We need to make ourselves- locally-as strong as possible creating examples that work so others can follow them and also have someone checking on what others outside our area are doing that work
dennis November 10, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Start in washington you clowns,,,,,your worthless local hippy fest mentality is going to get alot of people hurt,,for that you are 100% responsible.....
phyllis November 10, 2011 at 08:19 PM
haven't you ever heard of peaceful demonstrations--thats what real adults do
Angela November 11, 2011 at 07:00 AM
Dennis, with all due respect, Occupy New Port Richey is certainly not going to endanger people with our weekly pot luck meetings, free gardening classes, economics and political lectures and community outreach. If drum circles, potato salad and financial discussions cause you to panic, you might want to skip our weekly meetings. Everyone else, please join us and help put our community and our country back into the hands of the people.
Diane Carlstrom November 13, 2011 at 05:39 AM
Is our hippyfest mentality going to result in millions of foreclosures, long term high unemployment and a growing chasm between the classes or is that something that has already happened due to too much power being put into corrupt hands? "We" had nothing to do with those things but at least we are trying to do something about them instead of kicking back in the lazy-boy with a 6 pack and some burgers bitching about the state of our economy. DC is all about revolving doors and billions of dollars being spent buying politicians and policy. I am not so sure Occupy wants to be a part of the toxin that has reached all of us.
Jason Smith November 18, 2011 at 06:29 PM
I want to thank everyone involved locally in the occupy movement for getting out of their homes and away from their comfortable political party bubbles to take the time to talk to fellow citizens about problems in our society that we all want to see solved. You are true patriots. I'm looking forward to joining you for one of your pot luck dinners soon.
phyllis November 24, 2011 at 12:32 AM
they keep sending this same thing out with no updates WHY
Sharen Snyder November 29, 2011 at 05:55 PM
When, what, and where is the next New port Richey meeting? I would like to check it out.
Alex Tiegen November 29, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Occupy New Port Richey meets for a general assembly and pot luck at Sims Park at 2 p.m. on Sundays.
Kathleen December 02, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Diane Carlstrom, you "hippyfest mentality" may not result in millions of foreclosures -- (my house went at short sale - Thanks Barry!!!). But it is skyrocketing the cost of public works and law enforcement that the WORKING class and event the WEALTHY citizens must fund. It's getting old and the "mob mentality - woe is me -- somebody owes me because they have more than I do attitudes" are just getting very OLD.
Kathleen December 02, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Who pays for the security and cleanup?
Angela December 13, 2011 at 06:06 PM
We don't need security and we clean up after ourselves.


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