Posted on 14 November 2011.
LIBERTY PLAZA, NY – I spent from 9-30-2011 to 10-5-2011 in NYC with Occupy Wall St. at Zuccotti Park (Liberty Plaza). I arrived Saturday about 1:30 AM EST from LAX on a Delta airplane. After riding the subway the rest of the night I located the Occupy Wall St. Group at Zuccotti park at first light. It looked like the Occupy group had received a soaking from the rain that had fallen that night. They were all under colored traps. It was wet, cold and a light drizzle of rain was falling. I found out later that it is best to cover yourself completely to stay dry and warm by breathing the warm air under the tarp.
My name is Leonard C. Tekaat. I am a retired small businessman, financier, investor, author, and economic scholar, with over forty years experience in the world of home financing and housing investment. I have a special life-time California teaching certificate. I am 67 years old and a great-grandfather. I am the Chairman of a special Committee For Economic Reform and A Better Economic Future. I have been working, since the early 1980s to change the guiding policies of our economy. I was an Occupier before Occupy was cool and didn’t know it. In 1981, during the first Great Reccesion, I started writing a book, Inflation The Economy Killer–How to create, control and stop high inflation, which discusses a flaw in our economic guiding policies that were created during the early twentieth century and have been used extensively since the 1960s in our economy and the world economy. The book was published in March of 1982 by International Economy Publications. This flaw in our guiding policies is what is causing the wealth gap to continually widen between the 1% and the 99%.
I arrived at the Park at about 6 am Saturday the 1st of Oct. 2011. I started the morning by checking things out and reading the cardboard signs that were taped to the walls and laying on the ground. There were a few police standing on the sidewalk and sitting in cars across the street. It was quiet except for an occasional delivery truck accelerating from the traffic lights on Broadway and at the other intersections at the other side of the park. About 7 am people began to stir. I found a place to stash my carry on bag and settled in.
The six days that I was with the Occupy Wall St. group I slept on the ground on a small backpack air mattress, under a tarp. I slept fairly well. Most nights I didn’t get to sleep until around 12 am, because of the activity and noise level. There was music being played, dancing going on, General Assembly meetings and continuous conversations between occupiers, visitors and supporters. The park was alive with the passion of democracy and economic debate. The air was filled with the love of humanity, mother earth and the universe.
I ate the same food they ate, which was good and healthy food, thanks to the kitchen work group. Oh, I guess I’d better fess-up I did give McDonalds a little business. All the Occupiers, homeless people and I send our thanks, to all the donors. All your donations are greatly appreciated. I went to the bathroom down the block at McDonald’s. We all would like to thank the owner, employees and manager of the McDonald’s franchise for their patience and effort to accommodate our needs and immediate pressures. There were no showers available other than the rain. I didn’t see anyone strip to take advantage of that opportunity. The security forces at the airport had taken my half empty toothpaste and my half empty shaving cream can, so I had to replace them at the store.
The time that I was in the park was spent talking to Occupiers, and news reporters about the People’s Economic Recovery Plan. There are two parts to the Plan. The first part is to revive the economy and put people back to work by increasing aggregate demand. With aggregate demand increased, businesses large and small will start hiring more people to satisfy the increase in customers. The second part encompasses changing the guiding policies that create the deep recessions and high inflation cycles that are so damaging to the middle class and the working class’s financial condition. The continuing cycles of high inflation and deep recessions continues to increase the gap between the 99% of the population and the 1% supper rich. Through the lobbing and election contributions, big business and the big banks have gained the ear of Congress even though the people on the lower part of the economic ladder out-number the supper rich 10 million or more to 1.
It is my belief that it is better to create an economy were people have the opportunity to provide for themselves. In this way they can work to increase their wealth to close the gap between the rich and the poor. Currently the guiding policies create deep recessions and high inflation cycles or dangerous speculation bubbles that pop and create deeper recessions like the one we are currently experiencing, where many of the people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder lose everything they have earned after many years of working to increase their standard of living.
Of all the people I talked to, even the police officers, that are also on the economic ladder, agreed the Plan would reduce the unemployment and foreclosure rate and improve the efficiency of the economy to create real wealth and maintain the standard of living for all of the citizens of our great nation.
I was interviewed on camera by 4 or 5 national and local television stations. I met and talked to Matt Miller from Bloomberg News, Dylan Ratigan, from MSNBC, Paula Reid a digital journalist with NYC, CBS News and other host and reporters from other stations. I gave them all additional written information about the Plan and also contact information. I have not heard back from them yet.
Some people gave me their business cards so I would be able to contact them later. I talked to newspaper journalists that did not give me their name or contact information. I should have asked, but it was very hectic with the crowds, and the news people looking for stories to beat their publication deadlines. There were reporters from other countries that were involved in getting the story they wanted.
There were website owners and video cameras everywhere, recording this historical plea for help and understanding from the citizens of the USA that are hurting the most from the financial crisis, that created the Great Recession of 2008. For every Occupier that was staying at the park, they were a representation of the tens of hundreds of thousands that could not get to the park, that had lost so much by way of the financial crisis and the Great Recession.
I marched with the Occupiers down Broadway and across the Brooklyn Bridge. I watched helplessly from the top of the bridge walk-way as a group of marches were stopped and then blocked from the rear and between the bridge and a fence. We learned later that 700 people had been arrested for walking peacefully on the side road after following a few policemen down the road. I was in the front section of the group that had taken the correct route.
I moved to the very front of the march where the grandma brigade , in their yellow vests, was marching. I managed to get beside a policeman and explain my recovery plan after he asked what I was protesting about. I told him I wasn’t there to protest anything, but to draw attention to the problems of our economy and society. After I explained how the Plan would work to him, he agreed that the Plan was better than what the Federal Reserve and the Federal Government were doing, because their plan had not created a strong enough recovery to decrease the unemployment rate very much and it put everyone further in debt to the government.
I talked about the Plan at a couple of General Assemblies, where people are able to express their views, make announcements, suggestions, and report on the activity of the working groups. I explained to them that I had traveled more than 3000 miles to join their demonstration and provide them with the information, I thought they needed, to form a united voice to improve their world and their children’s future. I proposed that a working group be put together to formulate policies that would decrease the unemployment and foreclosure rate, which will improve the economy, housing is intertwined with so many other parts of economy and societal problems. I had to leave before this occurred because of pressing responsibilities at home. But other groups have been formed to tackle the increasing economic and societal problems facing the people of our nation.
I had the opportunity to speak at the news conference that was held in front of NY City Hall. There were a small crowd of reporters and about 6 to 8 people that spoke. When it came my turn to speak I explained that the people at the bottom of the economic ladder were the people most affected by the deep recession and how we could improve our economic policies, to change the policies that were causing their misery. I explained how the “Big Boys” the “Political Connected” and the “advantaged” got the “Gold Mine” and the middle class and the working class had gotten the “Shaft”.(Bill). I explained that they, sooner than later. were going to pay for the mess the Government, Big Banks, irresponsible home buyers and refinancing homeowners had created, with higher inflation or higher taxes.
The day before I was to catch a plane to come home, I paid Staples Office Supply stores to print and laminate two sets of posters that copied the flier for the Plan and the About Page on my web site titled ” Is the Sun Setting On Our Economy”. Because of complications it took all day to create the posters, so I did not get to display the posters that day. I made arrangements with Ian and Kathryn, a nice couple I had met at the park that understood how the Plan would work. They were willing to get involved and display the posters each day they were at the park. They said they liked the plan because it was a plan that has a balanced approach to economic recovery and all parties involved were giving a little to facilitate an economic recovery.
Wednesday the 5th of Oct. 2011, I had a reservation for the flight home at 11:15 in the morning. I figured that I would have to leave the park by 8:30 to take the subway and the bus to get to Laguardia Airport on time. I missed my flight on the flight from LAX and I didn’t want to repeat that mistake again.
The morning I was to leave I woke up at about 6 am. I figured I had sufficient time to set up one poster display before I had to leave. I used the posters I didn’t give Ian the night before to set up a display on the sidewalk next to the center steps facing Broadway. While I was setting the display up several pedestrians stopped and read the Petition and the Setting Sun page. Some of the people were in a hurry and did not have time for me to explain in more detail the Plan I was purposing. The two men I was able to talk long enough, to give more details, liked the Plan and were willing to support it. One of the people I talked to was George Tillman an Affiliated Broker MLS with Eagle Real Estate out of Memphis TN. After he learned more about the plan he agreed it would help the real estate market and improve the economy. The other person I talked to in length about the Plan was John A. Haerty. He works in NYC, in the global investment sector. He was well versed on economic principles and said he understood what I was doing, and that he would support the Plan, and sign the Petition. He also said, “He would tell all his friends and contacts to do the same.” I talked to him again on the phone, on Thursday, the day after I arrived at home. He said, “He had a little trouble logging onto the White House site to vote on the petition but he was going to try again after I gave him all three web addresses.” I had posted two additional petitions the White House site. He said, “That the prospect of changing the Pledge Of Allegiance was an interesting idea. He said, “ He would checkout the other petitions and probably sign them after he read them.”
The majority of the Occupiers at the park were in their mid twenties or younger. There were older generations there also. They truly believe in what they are doing. They must, to endure the conditions that they are living with in the park. At no time did I feel that I was at risk. All the Occupiers I talked to were smart and eager to express their views. They were pleasant to talk to and were helpful.
I would like to give a special thanks to Brendon, He is one of the security personal, a tall well build, bald headed young man with military training, that helped me in many ways. He stands at the entrance of the media center answering questions politely and with patience to all that inquire and want to tell their story. I told him my story and he understood the Plan perfectly, the benefits of it and what it could mean to our nation if implemented, he became a supporter of the Plan. He surly is a premium Occupier.
On the trip home I met Kay Long in Memphis TN. He was in the seat beside me on the flight to LAX. We got to talking. He said he was unemployed at the moment, and was collecting unemployment insurance. He mentioned he had worked as a real estate appraiser during the bubble years of the housing bubble. He told me that he had been to a dedication of the rehab of an old walking bridge in Arkansas, that was hosted by his best friend, that was attended by former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary. He was very proud of the pictures of him and the former President together. They looked like they were enjoying themselves. They had big smiles on their faces and Bill had his arm high up around Kay’s shoulders. Kay said that it would be good for me to get to met his best friend after I explained the Plan to him, Kay liked the Plan a lot. He posted the WH web page address to my petition on his facebook page. He wrote on his wall that he supported the Plan and the Petition 100 percent and asked all his family, friends and contacts to sign the petition and then post the information on their facebook pages to have their friends sign the Petition. Kay was very nice. He was smart and I would like to get to know him better. We exchanged contact information, so he could contact me after he talked to his best friend about the Plan. He thought it should go right to the WH as soon as possible. Since his best friend has political connections he figured they could make it happen. I will be calling Kay back in the near future after he gets caught up with his sleep. He was very tired on the fight back.
I enjoyed every minute of being at Occupy Wall St. I wish I could have stayed longer. I am going to try to gain support to occupy Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the bottle neck that is keeping millions of underwater mortgages from being modified and homes from being bought and sold. If they would agreed to purchase the mortgages with the terms I outlined in two of the Petitions, the banks would offer the new mortgage terms to the primary home buyers and home owners that want to refinance their mortgage. If they restructured (refinanced) all the mortgages they hold in their portfolio, the economy would improve, the unemployed would be employed and the Federal Debt would decrease without large cuts. I am going to need your help and all the members of Occupy Wall St to change economic policies, to increase economic opportunities so the working class and the middle class can work to improve their financial condition, helping to end the misery and decrease the large gap between the impoverished 99% and the riches 1% in our economy. Larry liked the idea of changing the Pledge to include the words responsibility and opportunity on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/leonardctekaat/ I need everyone to be proactive and click the link and sign the Petition at http://wh.gov/b9G. We will need all the support we can get to make it happen, so share this info with your friends, family and contacts. Go to www.whitehouse.gov/ click the contact the President button and leave a link to this article. If he gets a flood of links someone will pass it on to President Obama or one of his economic advisers. We can do this! Let’s make all seven Petitions links go viral! Share all six other links http://wh.gov/bUT http://wh.gov/bUB http://wh.gov/bUK/ http://wh.gov/bUO/ http://wh.gov/bU9/ http://wh.gov/bUX/ Sign all seven petition to make a real difference in our future!
The Plan is a practical private sector recovery plan that does not cost the tax payers a dime and posted at www.recoverygovforthepeople.wordpress.com/ and www.foreclosurecrisissolved.wordpress.com/ Thanks.
Leonard C. Tekaat
Occupy Wall St. Occupier
member, in full support of the
movement, For inquires or comments