Handful of protesters on county campus for ‘Occupy Everett’

The tents and hand-lettered signs sprouting on the lawn of the Snohomish County government complex are nearly 3,000 miles from New York City’s Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

Yet it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Everett has now joined the growing list of cities with an “Occupy” movement, said Arthur Esparza, 27, of Everett.

The city is the site of the Everett Massacre, he noted, an historic clash between labor and city leaders 95 years ago. “It has a pretty long history of activism.”

Esparza was among a handful of people who joined in the ongoing “Occupy Everett” demonstration Tuesday. About 120 people have shown up at different times since it was launched last week, he said.

Sitting on some steps on the edge of the encampment was 56-year-old Charlie Siefferman, of Everett, who said he also participated in the demonstration Monday.

Siefferman, who worked as an electrician, said he has been unemployed for more than two years. During that time, Siefferman said he has been looking for some way to express his opinion about his growing concern over corruption in government, and found it with the Occupy Everett demonstration.

Marilyn Shcolnik, 60, who lives in unincorporated Snohomish County near Lynnwood, said she admired those who had slept overnight in the tents. They withstood brisk winds and temperatures that dipped into the 30s.

Shcolnik said she had visited the Occupy Seattle demonstration three times. “I was very excited that it was coming to Snohomish County,” she said.

Shcolnik said a number of issues drew her to join the demonstration. She said she has seen the foreclosure sales of homes on the courthouse steps and people going without health care because they can’t afford it. “People felt alone,” she said. “Then they find out other people are concerned.”

Kay Johnson, 64, of Snohomish, said she had never before participated in a demonstration.

“We have to get the money out of politics,” she said. “I believe … our president, Congress and the Supreme Court have been bought.

“I feel like I’ve been silenced,” she added. “The important thing is this is a place to be heard.”

Albert Postema, 46, of Snohomish, said that he and his daughter went to New York City earlier this year and visited the Occupy Wall Street protests. He went to the Seattle demonstration before coming to the Occupy Everett protest.

Postema, a produce farmer, sells his crops in both the Snohomish and Pike Place farmers markets.

He praised the county for providing a portable toilet and having sheriff’s deputies check the site. Snohomish County Sheriff’s spokesman Kevin L. Prentiss said there have been zero problems since it started. “No issues at all,” he said.

After participating in the Occupy movements in New York City, Seattle and Everett, what’s next for Postema?

“They’re starting to talk about an Occupy Snohomish,” he said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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