Letter: A Safe Forum for Albany Residents Only on Occupy the Farm

Albany Patch welcomes guest columns and letters to the editor. See all the Gill Tract stories on Albany Patch at http://patch.com/bvbHo.

There has been a lot of discussion on The Patch about whether Albany welcomes or rejects the Occupy the Farm protest. I'd like a place where we Albanyans can actually just weigh in. I propose this space as a safe place to say whether you support the Farm of the Occupy the Farm movement, or whether you'd like the Farm to dismantle and leave for good. 

I hereby promise to respect Albany residents who disagree with me. I hope others will follow this lead.

Mostly I'm just curious. I don't think we have any real power in this forum to keep or change anything, as the real powers lie elsewhere. (Please, no commenting on that; I admit in advance I could be wrong; let's keep comments to a simple support or do not support.)

I'd just like to get a survey of Patch readers who live in Albany, a safe survey so people feel comfortable posting.

To vote, just say in the comments that you are a resident (honor system) and whether you support the "Farm" staying as it is, or whether you would like the "Farm" to completely leave.

Here's my vote, and it's only one person:

I'd like the "Farm" to leave, to be gone for good. 


Kirsten Schwartz

PS:  I'm not trying to deny anyone's freedom of speech, but to get a simple look at the feeling in Albany. There are other threads on The Patch to comment on. Thanks in advance for your tolerance.

Click the "Keep me posted" button below for updates about this topic. See all our Occupy the Farm-related coverage here.

Eryka Badu May 18, 2012 at 07:54 AM
Yo, when I called the Library on Tuesday, looking for the meeting to support the farm, you sent me and a bunch of other people to Memorial Park. You said it was over there. That some serious cold political action dog.
Eryka Badu May 18, 2012 at 07:59 AM
You have to register with the schools first. Bring your mortgage or your lease, PG&E, EBMUD. Tell Marla I said hi, then you get to vote.
Kirsten Schwartz May 18, 2012 at 03:01 PM
It still looks like the preponderance of residents ON the Patch who have COMMENTED here (I know that's not everyone in Albany, yes; I'm acknowledging that this is not a scientific poll) are in favor of OTF leaving and not returning. (As for some of the silliness that's started to happen, with the occasional flaming, is that unusual here on the Patch? Hadn't seen that before.)
Tim L May 18, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I'm curious if the author's use of "Occupier" in the opening sentence was intentional or merely a typo, cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democrat_Party_%28phrase%29 As an Albany resident, I trust neither UC nor OTF with long term stewardship of the Tract.
Emilie Raguso May 18, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Thanks for pointing this out! Fixed!
A Lincoln May 18, 2012 at 04:14 PM
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Keegan Roehr May 18, 2012 at 04:51 PM
"Annoyed at the hubris and self-righteousness of a group that thinks they can decide for me what would be best in my community, with no advance information gathering nor sharing on their part. " Amen!
Keegan Roehr May 18, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Albany resident, homeowner, parent, etc. I feel like OTF just alienated their choir, so to speak -- Albany is full of people who actually do support sustainable agriculture and urban farming -- with their unilateral decision to march in and take over. Such self-righteous hubris. Another vote for OTF to stay gone.
Mary Gibney May 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Eryka, that happened to me too, and I met some other people there who'd called the librarian and were told the meeting was at Memorial Park-- even as it was happening right in front of the library. Is that what reference LIE-brarians do? Decide what they want people to know?
Sarah Librarian May 18, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I am a high school librarian (not in Albany), I do not work for the Alameda County Library system.
Dover May 18, 2012 at 06:54 PM
"I met some other people there who'd called the librarian and were told the meeting was at Memorial Park" Let's pretend this isn't baloney, ASM. ;-} Does anyone else find it heartbreakingly sad that in this day and age, some poor, underprivileged trespassers STILL don't have access to Twitter, Facebook, the OTF site or the internet in general? I am weeping for their struggles. I think we should take up a collection. Perhaps a telethon is in order. They obviously need phones too. Pledge now!
Kirsten Schwartz May 18, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Pardon the multiple postings, but I need to make sure this is seen: ANNOUNCEMENT: I have been asked by the Rhetoric Dept. at Cal to emphasize some things I Have Already Posted: 1. I am not a UCB professor. I have never claimed that I was. 2. I am not affiliated with the Rhetoric Dept. at this time (although I still admire it and have friends there). 3. I got my Ph.D. from the Rhetoric Dept. in 1999. 4. I do teach for a program at Cal, but of course am not going to say which one, because I don't want another program to receive emails about me based on what I say here. I feel remarkably bitter and angry about this. It's a very low blow to go outside this discussion and involved people who have nothing to do with it. In fact, the Rhetoric Dept. has far fewer staff people than it did in 1989, when I worked there as staff; so by writing the department, people are putting a greater workload on UCB employees who are already too busy and not making anywhere near what they are worth. This is hardly "Occupy"-worthy. At least have the grace, if you must attack, to attack me here. To do it from your real name would make the attack something I would read.
Tak May 19, 2012 at 12:44 AM
I agree with you, and was also a supporter of OWS. However, I don't think that we should lump OtF in with the OWS group, mainly because while they /are/ "fighting" against a "higher power" (but really, universities should not be seen as higher powers, rather equal), they aren't supporting the same values that OWS has been. Back on topic, OtF also brought stress to friends I have that live closer to the Gill Tract than I do; what with the news choppers, amplified police voices, and all the other noise. I was also nearly involved in a traffic incident due to the person in front of me deciding to slam on their brakes /right/ before the light (at Marin and San Pablo) to read the OtF signs. /rant If UCB wants to work something out with OtF, by all means they can. It's their property and there's nothing we can do to tell them otherwise. Just shut the OtF protesters up and keep them out of Albany (how many of them were /actually/ from Albany, again?).
James Mink May 19, 2012 at 01:30 AM
Agreed; 3 items up on the agenda that relate the the Gill Tract. Wrote a longer post at http://albany.patch.com/articles/open-letter-let-sustainability-committee-study-gill-tract-before-further-action.
Ellen Hershey May 19, 2012 at 05:31 AM
I'm a longtime Albany resident. I support Occupy Wall Street because it has identified widespread injustices and corruption that government has been failing to address. I don't support Occupy the Farm, which has failed to make a coherent, credible case for why OTF should be allowed to grab land from UC. OTF should leave the Gill Tract alone and pursue its vision for urban gardening by legal means. The Gill Tract is not the only place where urban gardening can thrive.
Kirsten Schwartz May 19, 2012 at 12:26 PM
To clarify: people called and emailed the Dept. to complain about me. Sorry I left that out--but I believe that has ceased.
OTF OUT May 19, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Kirsten- Safe Forum for Albany Residents Only? Credentialism is not inclusive. Likewise grammar criticism ("sigh") must make some Albanyans feel unsafe posting. Anyway, OTF OUT OF ALBANY.
Ellie May 19, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Unbelievable! (And yet given the attitudes and methods of the OTF folks, totally believable.) Good job, OTF, keep winning our hearts and minds!
Kirsten Schwartz May 19, 2012 at 01:54 PM
OTF OUT: "Safe Forum for Albany Residents Only?" The point was to find out what people who actually live here think. Because OTF has used their "ties" to and support by the community but many commenters have been from outside Albany. "Credentialism is not inclusive"--what is your meaning here? "Likewise grammar correction . . ." Good point. But how much grammar does it take to simply note "I support OTF" or "I do not support OTF"? And I can only be responsible for my own grammar policing here; have I done that on this thread? Please quote me doing that so I can rectify things. You're right, that would make people uncomfortable, which is the opposite of what I intended here.
OTF OUT May 19, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Kirsten- Sorry, I spoke too strongly. I do want everyone from Albany to feel comfortable posting.
Helen May 19, 2012 at 05:29 PM
I live closer to the Gill Tract than the majority of Albany residents and I'm not welcome here either (so please forgive me for taking up space). I've been wondering though, if the banners, mayhem and traffic disruption were moved three blocks away to the Gilman intersection would Albany residents cease to be affected or concerned? I also wonder if UC Berkeley, and Berkeley students renting in the village are considered invasive outsiders. Don't worry, I won't vote and have no interest in becoming an "honorary Albanyan", but I have to say that people like Shelley White are not helping the city's reputation.
Kirsten Schwartz May 19, 2012 at 08:46 PM
No prob, OTF OUT: I want the comfort good, too. We have the same goal, and I appreciate your attempt to keep things that way.
JR May 20, 2012 at 07:56 AM
Albany resident going on 5 years, living close enough to the Gill Tract to have been disturbed by the helicopters and general kerfuffel. OTF out please. I'm a left-wing, crunchy granola, pro-sustainable food mom who gardens with her kids and believes in community gardening generally, and OTF completely alienated me with their misinformation, awful tactics and general idiocy. They're incoherent and misguided, at best-- at worst, they're malicious and destructive. I'm still pissed that those poor security guards have to sit in the field all night because of those morons.
Tatter Salad May 20, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Kristen - you have been both succint and cogent regarding the attempted theft of U.C. land. I thank you because frequently I've wish to post, but saw that you already spelled it out plainly... thank you!
Kirsten Schwartz May 21, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Thanks, Tatter--that is great to read. It's been quite a ride this last week. I do have to remind you, however (in all fairness, since I did this to Arwen) that my name is spelled differently than your fingers typed. A typo, perhaps? Anyway, thanks, dude.
John Kindle May 21, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Sorry Mrs. Kindle but Albany seems like a good town to raise a family and grow old in, I plan on being here for the long hall.
Dan Abbott May 22, 2012 at 04:34 PM
I'm an Albany Resident and I oppose the gill tract being turned into a urban farm. I think it should either stay as it is, a open air research facility, or be developed intelligently. I support smart growth. I support the 2004 master plan. I would also support mixed commercial/residential development (I dense block of housing in a urban area could save many acres of ag land that would otherwise be lost to subdivisions, e.g. brentwood). That said I don't have any object to the OTF folks and their protest, nor do I object to the police arresting them. Also, as an Albany resident, I don't think being an Albany resident is particularly important. Any change to the gill tract will have both positive and negative effects that will be felt by many people, not just those who live in Albany. We are a small town in a large metropolitan area, and need to consider the effect to everyone not just ourselves.
don May 23, 2012 at 06:08 AM
don May 23, 2012 at 06:14 AM
jackie what could you believe they could do for you when usda and forest svc are also here on this property who are you if you live here you would know all this don
don May 23, 2012 at 06:19 AM
i dont belive you live here are you renting short term like albany village kids vote all taxes in then leave having us pay it they should not be able to vote in city matters or some way take the tax burden with them when they move tired of free loaders don


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