(en)Flamingo Update: The Nuts and Bolts of Living, November 16

Lyn Gerry (redlyn@loop.com)
Sun, 16 Nov 1997 10:24:55 +0000

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Flamingo Update: November 16, 1997

The Independent Nation of Flamingo aka the squat at the abandoned Flamongo Motel in Santa Monica, California is settling in and working on the details of self-management.

Fifteen or so rooms have been opened and cleaned, and are giving shelter to a growing number of people in need. About 40 people are estimated to be living at the Flamingo as of last night. A common room for food and supplies has been established, a portable outhouse donated, and jugs of water made available.

A building engineer has donated his services, and made an inspection of the building yesterday. He determined that it is basically structurally sound and is free of vermin. More will be known as additional rooms are opened for new residents.

There have been no further threats of arrest by police in the past few days, perhaps because of the widespread coverage the Flamingo continues to receive locally, as well as on the Internet. A member of the Santa Monica City council, Mike Feinstein (Green Party) was among the people who paid a visit to the Flamingo yesterday. Even the large mainstream Los Angeles daily, the LA Times, provided a sympathetic article (which in the case of the Times, means that they did not portray protesters as lunatics.)

One of the residents of the the Flamingo posing, in his words, as a "member of the public" said he questioned a member of the Santa Monica Police Department regarding their intentions toward "the homeless people at the Flamingo Motel." The cop replied that this was a "political protest by an organized group, not just homeless people."

Leaving unchallenged all of the offensive assumptions in that statement, it seems reasonable to conclude that the city knows that deploying police against people with nowhere to get out of the rain -- who are organized, do have cell phones and computers -- could have serious political fallout. What everyone is wondering is how, or whether this will change on Tuesday, when the County says it will open the official cold weather shelters. These shelters by the way, are located in National Guard armories and only open when the temperature is scheduled to drop below 40 degrees F, or a 50% chance of rain is predicted.

Last night, the Flamingo held its first community meeting to discuss issues from safety with candles, the question of the future of the squat and how to keep it going, the issue of police and so on. Meetings will continue as people discuss how to organize a functioning society within this fragile environment. Much cleaning also still needs to be done and repairs continue.

People able to help with materials,tools, labor or cash to improve the physical environment would be much appreciated. One thing which would greatly improve life at the Flamingo is a generator. Another portable outhouse, or several would be a great help to maintaining some form of civilized sanitation. Infectious diseases are always a problem, and the communiity is trying to advise systems to protect the health of residents. Anyone with ability to assist in these areas would be greatly appreciated.

Food is always very welcome:)

There has been a great deal of mutual aid and moral support from people all over. The people at the Flamingo wish me to convey their appreciation of your support.

One of the things sent to the Flamingo was a document discussing guidelines for successful squats written by Tom Boland of Homefront 88, based on his experiences of what worked and what didn't. Thanks from the folks at the Flamingo -- people have been reading and discussing -- and debating -- the document

The Flamingo welcomes new residents and visitors, and helpers.

It is located at 1733 Ocean Ave Santa Monica, CA near the corner or Pico Blvd -- next to the Pacific Shore Hotel enter through the back alley ________________________ http://www.radio4all.org http://www.radio4all.org/freepacifica

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