‘GET OFF MY LAWN!’ Irvine soaks OCCUPY protesters who are legally on park lawn; $1000s of damage to electronic equipment




Reports from the scene are that, this morning over a period of 45 minutes starting at about 9 a.m., the City of Irvine turned on the sprinklers in the segment of the lawn outside of its City Hall where protesters have spent the past week.  Protesters have been on the lawn during “park” opening hours between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. continuously since early last Saturday, Oct. 15., and have spent each night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. continuously on the sidewalks adjacent to the lawn at the corner of Harvard Avenue and Alton Parkway.

Protesters were lawfully assembled there this morning as part of the Occupy Orange County protests.  The 45-minute soaking, interrupted two or three times for 2-3 minutes apiece, presumably destroyed thousands of dollars’ worth of electronic equipment (including amplifiers, a television, and laptop computers) as well as a 5000-watt generator.  This equipment was described as “drenched,” as were the blankets, sleeping bags, and other daytime camping equipment that had been moved onto the lawn.

Demonstrators had been given no warning of the impending watering of the lawn during the time that the park was open.  They were particularly surprised to be drenched because so far they have been entirely law-abiding and had not even begun to engage in civil disobedience.  Faced with an extremely unusual willingness of protesters to follow the law, Irvine has taken a step that other cities have only taken when they have faced civil disobedience.

This correspondent, as part of the Civic Liaison Committee for Occupy Irvine, had met with Irvine government and police officials on Thursday and participated in an hour-long follow-up teleconference on Friday.  At that time the City of Irvine was informed that Occupy Irvine was happy to work with the city to ensure that they could move around the expanse of lawn, of which they occupy only a small portion, as necessary to provide lawn care, and that pledges had also been made to fund re-sodding the lawn as need be.  Sprinklers at the “park” have, over the past week (and reportedly before) been used only during the hours that the park has been closed.

Photographs of the scene outside the City Center will be forthcoming soon.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)