Mayor Nutter: 'Things have changed'

PHILADELPHIA - November 13, 2011

The mayor was gentle but firm, saying conditions in Dilworth Plaza are getting worse and the protestors are not cooperating with city officials.

"We do not seek confrontations with Occupy Philly," Mayor Michael Nutter said during his Sunday afternoon press conference.

Mayor Nutter says after 39 days of camping out in Dilworth Plaza, Occupy Philly is becoming a public health and safety hazard.

The mayor says the occupiers are split on whether to move to Thomas Paine Plaza across the street so the city can start long-planned $50 million renovation of the city hall area; a project that will generate 1,000 jobs.

The mayor says Occupy is violating the health codes that were agreed upon before they were granted a permit to build the now sprawling tent city.

"Occupy Philly has changed. We're seeing serious health and safety issues playing out on almost a daily basis," said Mayor Nutter.

There was a reported rape in one of the tents Saturday night, but the suspect has been released pending further investigation.

The mayor says he will beef up the uniformed police presence. He says problems of litter, fire hazards from rigged up heating units, and growing human filth, are making the situation untenable.

"We must reevaluate our entire relationship with this very changed group," Mayor Nutter said.

The mayor's tone was somber and measured. He purposely did not set any deadlines, saying he wants to avoid any confrontation that could become violent.

Some Occupy residents acknowledge the mayor's concerns, and say they would be willing to move off Dilworth Plaza.

"My understanding is that the decisions that have been made at the general assemblies are more in favor of taking a stand here in Dilworth Plaza, but I'm very willing to move," said Jarrod Williams.

"We don't appreciate the craziness and the chaos, but we're trying so hard to make our light shine over that," Elizabeth Levinson.

There is trouble all around Occupy Philly, even as they press their demands that the economic system and government be reformed.

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