“Bloomberg in sheep’s clothing”

Facing eviction, occupiers accuse Boston Mayor Menino of deception

Topics: Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Boston, Joseph Merino, Occupy Movement, ,

"Bloomberg in sheep's clothing"Occupy Boston on the eve of eviction (Credit: AP/Steven Senne)

BOSTON — “A Bloomberg in sheep’s clothing” was how Boston occupier John Ford described Boston Mayor Thomas Menino as 150-odd anti-banker protesters chucked placards, folded tarps and prepared for a midnight dance party on the pitiful parcel of exhaust-choked public land where 300 colorful tents once bloomed.

John Ford, the camp librarian, was echoing a common sentiment among occupiers that the Boston mayor had played a deft hand politically by only pretending to be sympatico with their cause, all the while planning to remove their tiny tent town at his personal discretion, as a Suffolk Superior Court judge gave him the power to do, finally, on Wednesday

A beat down of some type seems unavoidable, quite possibly by Thursday night, and certainly by Sunday, according to rumors coming out of City Hall. Meanwhile, city officials are sticking to the official story line that they have no immediate plans to remove the protesters as some other cities have done, including New York City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, but the protesters have all been put on notice that the nightsticks and pepper spray could fly any time.

“Tonight, if we don’t choose to fully decamp,” said Ford, “And not everyone is choosing to decamp.”

It was Ford who read from the court’s decision during its general assembly Wednesday night. He strained with every sinew to suppress his rage against the mayor for his two-faced charm offensive. Protesters uniformly felt Menino had been speaking from both sides of his mouth, fretting publicly about fire hazards even while preventing the campers from installing military-style fireproof tents that would’ve prevented fire hazards. Then Menino got the city fire marshal to do his bidding in court, describing the encampment as” a tinderbox.”

“They’re violent in New York,” Ford observed. “But here in Boston they’re much craftier about it. Here they’ve just been freezing us out slowly, and the levels of collusion were astounding, between the city inspectors who bound our hands, to the judge that said we were a permanent community.”

Ford denied that. “We always said we were building a community that would be here as long as it was effective. “

The mayor had little choice but to show his chubby public face of patience to a fare-thee-well, if only because his Democratic working-class base supports the protesters wholeheartedly, according to a widely reported Boston Globe opinion poll.



In Boston the police have identified with the 99 percent more than their counterparts in New York City. One anonymous group — Occupy the Police — sprouted online from within the Boston Police Department. So it was all the more remarkable that Mayor Mumbles, as Menino is affectionately known, was able to depict the encampment as a peace-and-safety issue, a slowly escalating contest of wills between the filthy protesters and the ever patient Boston cops.

It was a story line that played well in the local media and a strategy that would ultimately win favor with Judge Frances McIntyre. The current restraining order was repealed, McIntrye ruled yesterday, “because while Occupy Boston protesters may be exercising their expressive rights during their protest, they have no privilege under the First Amendment to seize and hold the land on which they sit.”

“Soon, I hope,” said one cop on duty, smiling wryly, when asked by a protester when they were all going to get around to arresting one single banker.

“More than 5,000 occupiers jailed,” the protester said. “And not a single banker? What’s up with that, guys?”

The cop shrugged, flexing his nightstick, as if to say he knows who signs his paycheck: Why, Mayor Mumbles, of course.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 22
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Talking Heads, 1977
    This was their first weekend as a foursome at CBGB’s, after adding Jerry Harrison, before they started recording the LP “Talking Heads: 77.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith, Bowery 1976
    Patti lit up by the Bowery streetlights. I tapped her on the shoulder, asked if I could do a picture, took two shots and everyone went back to what they were doing. 1/4 second at f/5.6 no tripod.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Blondie, 1977
    This was taken at the Punk Magazine Benefit show. According to Chris Stein (seated, on slide guitar), they were playing “Little Red Rooster.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    No Wave Punks, Bowery Summer 1978
    They were sitting just like this when I walked out of CBGB's. Me: “Don’t move” They didn’t. L to R: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradley Field, Liz Seidman.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell + Bob Quine, 1978
    Richard Hell and the Voidoids, playing CBGB's in 1978, with Richard’s peerless guitar player Robert Quine. Sorely missed, Quine died in 2004.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bathroom, 1977
    This photograph of mine was used to create the “replica” CBGB's bathroom in the Punk Couture show last summer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So I got into the Met with a bathroom photo.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Stiv Bators + Divine, 1978
    Stiv Bators, Divine and the Dead Boys at the Blitz Benefit show for injured Dead Boys drummer Johnny Blitz.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977
    “The kids are all hopped up and ready to go…” View from the unique "side stage" at CBGB's that you had to walk past to get to the basement bathrooms.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Klaus Nomi, Christopher Parker, Jim Jarmusch – Bowery 1978
    Jarmusch was still in film school, Parker was starring in Jim’s first film "Permanent Vacation" and Klaus just appeared out of nowhere.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Hilly Kristal, Bowery 1977
    When I used to show people this picture of owner Hilly Kristal, they would ask me “Why did you photograph that guy? He’s not a punk!” Now they know why. None of these pictures would have existed without Hilly Kristal.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Dictators, Bowery 1976
    Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators with his girlfriend Jody. I took this shot as a thank you for him returning the wallet I’d lost the night before at CBGB's. He doesn’t like that I tell people he returned it with everything in it.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Alex Chilton, Bowery 1977
    We were on the median strip on the Bowery shooting what became a 45 single sleeve for Alex’s “Bangkok.” A drop of rain landed on the camera lens by accident. Definitely a lucky night!

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery view, 1977
    The view from across the Bowery in the summer of 1977.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ramones, 1977 – never before printed
    I loved shooting The Ramones. They would play two sets a night, four nights a week at CBGB's, and I’d be there for all of them. This shot is notable for Johnny playing a Strat, rather than his usual Mosrite. Maybe he’d just broken a string. Love that hair.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Richard Hell, Bowery 1977 – never before printed
    Richard exiting CBGB's with his guitar at 4am, about to step into a Bowery rainstorm. I’ve always printed the shots of him in the rain, but this one is a real standout to me now.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Patti Smith + Ronnie Spector, 1979
    May 24th – Bob Dylan Birthday show – Patti “invited” everyone at that night’s Palladium show on 14th Street down to CBGB's to celebrate Bob Dylan’s birthday. Here, Patti and Ronnie are doing “Be My Baby.”

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Legs McNeil, 1977
    Legs, ready for his close-up, near the front door of CBGB's.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Suicide, 1977
    Rev and Alan Vega – I thought Alan was going to hit me with that chain. This was the Punk Magazine Benefit show.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Ian Hunter and Fans, outside bathroom
    I always think of “All the Young Dudes” when I look at this shot. These fans had caught Ian Hunter in the CBGB's basement outside the bathrooms, and I just stepped in to record the moment.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Tommy Ramone, 1977
    Only at CBGB's could I have gotten this shot of Tommy Ramone seen through Johnny Ramones legs.

    Once upon a time on the Bowery

    Bowery 4am, 1977
    End of the night garbage run. Time to go home.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>