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<b>9 a.m.</b>

The dirt was still cold from the night. The fog hung heavy. The portable toilet that protesters had asked the city to approve had been delivered in the dark. And Occupy Santa Rosa was, as it had been since last Saturday, in place outside City Hall.

"This is a job just like any other; we're just not getting paid," said James Ludeman, 49, an electrical engineering student at Santa Rosa Junior College.

He'd been there for much of each day since the event began last weekend with a march of more than 2,500 people, part of a growing nationwide expression of sometimes vague, sometimes specific anger that was ignited by Occupy Wall Street in New York.

Occupy Santa Rosa — whose Oct. 15 kickoff was the nation's sixth-largest such demonstration — stirred slowly Thursday. Some people strolled up, grabbed a few pastries and walked away.

A young man in a blanket dozed in a chair. The scheduled yoga class was not held. A man drove up, dropped off a bag of oranges, and left. Ludeman and two women flashed signboards at passing traffic, earning occasional honks.

His sign read:

"Want Demands? End the Wars. Tax the Rich. Stop Corporate Rule. Honor the Earth."

A few sleeping bags, medical supplies, a stack of cardboard to be fashioned into signs lined the wall of the city's Community Development Department offices.

<b>10:30 a.m.</b>

A clean-cut, middle-age man, who said he was a federal employee and didn't want to be identified, criticized the political system. It favors, he said, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans who, according to the New York Times, take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976.

Nearby, Karl Kummerle, 18, of Galt — a small city near Sacramento quite unrelated to John Galt, the hero of "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand's paean to unfettered capitalism — wrote: "What We Want" on a new sign.

"I'm hoping to instigate in the public's eye a sense that they can take small steps toward change that aren't too radical," Kummerle said, calling for people to take their money from national banks and deposit it in credit unions, which are owned and controlled by their members.

<b>12:15 p.m.</b>

Reports circulated that a group of business-person types walking between City Hall and the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce had delivered lunch to the protesters.

An alarm on Marian McDonald's smartphone reminded her to feed her parking meter. The retired nurse from Sebastopol was at the Oct. 15 demonstration.

"It's about the rule of the people, not the money," said McDonald, 67. "If the Arabs can demand democracy, so can we."

Jim Schissler, 66, a retired AT&T technician, waited for his wife, an attorney. He'd come down from Windsor to "be another face here," he said.

"The people who can come in the day are very young, or homeless," he said. "They're kind of placeholders until the middle-class workers can come. And they do come."

He marched on Saturday and came on Tuesday evening, too, staying through to Wednesday morning to ensure an overnight presence.

"We need to re-regulate Wall Street," he said. "And totally get the big money out of politics, the lobbyists and corporations. It's corrupting everybody, the people don't stand a chance."

He said not to mistake him for an anti-capitalist.

"I'm absolutely for capitalism," he said, "but capitalism needs some restraints because once the greed sets in you can't stop yourself."

Soon Denise Schissler, 57, on her way to the federal court, arrived.

"I wanted to support the 99 percent, which I am a part of even though I'm an attorney, which isn't really represented in Washington," she said.

It was a reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement's often-used slogan, "We are the 99 percent," designating themselves as anybody but the richest Americans.

<b>5:45 p.m.</b>

The Occupy crowd had grown, as had the volume of passing traffic and the number of horn honks.

Karyl Averill, 34, had a conversation with a Santa Rosa police officer with whom, years ago, she had worked, delivering pizza for a local restaurant.

The stay-at-home mother of two is the demonstration's police liaison. She stays at City Hall overnight, when disagreements with law enforcement are considered most likely to arise. So far they haven't, she said.

"They have been really fair," she said of the police, adding, "They're a part of the 99 percent who we're fighting for."

She had arrived at about 3:30p.m., when the daily General Assembly starts.

The meeting was still going, about 25 people in a circle to discuss subjects including night-time security, a city prohibition on "standing structures," and the health ramifications of staying up all night.

As 6 p.m. ticked past, the gathering grew to about 50 people and the assembly pondered the Glass-Steagall Act, the 1933 banking reform legislation.

Dave Modesto of Santa Rosa listened, his 3-year-old daughter in his arms, worrying about her future. The links between institutions such as European Union, International Monetary Fund and Federal Reserve Bank trouble him.

"Right now, we're so totally globally connected, it's a dangerous situation because if one falls, we all fall," said the 28-year-old meat wrapper.

<b>8 p.m.</b>

It was getting dark and the ranks of protesters waving signs on the corner of Santa Rosa Avenue thinned to four. About a dozen others foraged among food bins on City Hall's steps or smoked cigarettes across the street. Preparations were made to show a documentary film on the side of a building.

The US Bank sign said it was a mild 57 degrees, but people wore coats or wrapped themselves in blankets, bracing for the cold to come.

Joy Helstien, 56-year-old Sebastopol massage therapist, said she drove to Santa Rosa after work and planned to stay about three hours.

She stood on the sidewalk, just out of sight of the mall. She wore a fleece jacket and her sign read: "Everything is fine. Keep shopping."

<i>Staff Writer Paul Payne contributed to this report. You can reach Staff Writer Jeremy Hay at 521-5212 or jeremy.hay@pressdemocrat.com.</i>

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