Rats, existing without permission

Speaking of rats, they’re a major theme of street artist Banksy:

“If you feel dirty, insignificant or unloved, then rats are a good role model. They exist without permission, they have no respect for the hierarchy of society, and they have sex 50 times a day.”

The Rat Occupiers

A letter to the Washington Post editor:

In his Jan. 17 letter, John K. Lambert urged that the Occupy D.C. protesters be evicted based at least in part on the fact that the site has rats. Let me assure him that the rats were here first. Since the dawn of civilization, rats have lived in cities underground, coming out at night to glean the food droppings of people, along with their teammates, the pigeons, a.k.a. “rats with wings.”

Occupy D.C. has moved into territory the rats had considered their turf. This is hardly a reason to deny the Occupy people their constitutionally guaranteed right to assemble and petition their government.

Charlie Garlow, Silver Spring

Round up the Rats!

The District’s Department of Health and Mayor Vincent Gray think McPherson Park has a rat problem. Maybe Occupy DC should look into a Pied Piper solution.

In 1964, when the District’s rat problem was far worse in black neighborhoods than white ones, Julius Hobson caged several rats, put them on the roof of his old jalopy and drove into Georgetown. He  threatened to set the rats free unless rodents were dealt with in all areas of the city. It worked.

Sounds like rats in the park are an asset, not a liability–a whole host of Occupiers should the Mayor’s office need Occupying.

And there’s Occupy Congress on Tuesday, January 17 too.

Mayor Gray to Park Service: EVICT Occupy DC

Mayor Vincent Gray wants Occupy DC out of McPherson Park, but so far the National Park Service is holding firm.

In a letter to the NPS, Gray cites the District’s Department of Health report on rat infestation at the camp and concerns about hypothermia. The Health Department director likened McPherson Park to a refugee camp, a comparison an Occupy DC media rep calls “totally inappropriate.”

The  Park Service for now isn’t budging. An NPS spokesman said, “First Amendment rights and political free speech rights are what are at issue here, and we have rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court here that apply specifically to the District of Columbia. We, as any other federal agency, have to abide by what the Supreme Court tells us.”

In the letter the mayor first reminds the Park Service Director that he had previously asked him for reimbursement for costs the District has incurred ensuring “a safe and peaceful protest.” Gray has estimated those costs at upwards of $1.6 million.

Mayor Gray may have decided that the condemnation by the Health Department gives him leverage to turn up the heat on the NPS. At first friendly to Occupy DC, then confused as to the group’s goals, he’s grown less tolerant of the two camps.

Occupy DC announced Gray’s eviction threat at its General Assembly this evening. McPherson Park and Freedom Plaza are gearing up for a big event next week in conjunction with Occupy Congress, which could bring thousands of protestors to the District.