Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin offered Tucson Occupiers a plea bargain recently. At a legal meeting last week, we defendants heard the details of the plea bargain (which wasn’t much of a bargain). It included multiple levels of monetary penalties and community service depending upon how many tickets a person had garnered. With over 700 citations issued to fewer than 200 people, many Occupiers are facing a serious financial and legal burden for camping in the name of free speech for the 99%. The defendants in attendance decided the city’s offer was not a good deal.

Occupy Tucson protesters during rush hour. (Image Credit: Pamela Powers Hannley)

Our legal team read a draft proposal as a counter offer. The Occupiers’ offer to the city included dismissal of the citations and establishment free office space downtown for Occupy Tucson for one year in exchange for dismantling the encampment and dropping the federal lawsuit against the City of Tucson and city officials (plus other details outlined below). I spoke in favor of this proposal last week because I believe that the Occupy movement nationwide has to decide on next steps. Office space gives the Occupiers a place to organize and move forward with causes that are important to the 99%— like fighting foreclosures and fighting the corporate takeover of our government.

This is not the end of Occupy; it is the next phase.