Mayor Jean Quan released the following statement today related to Occupy Oakland, highlighting the economic cost to the city and calling for the protesters to negotiate for a “peaceful resolution.”
Oakland is a city of the 99% and last Wednesday’s peaceful demonstrations showed support for the broad goals of creating job and reducing income inequality. However, as a city, we are carrying a disproportionate share of the burden. Overnight camping and the continued presence of a small, unsafe element are impacting both local businesses and our neighborhoods.
Local businesses are hurting because of vandalism and reduced patronage. Neighborhoods are hurting because city services already stretched by budget cuts face additional demands responding to emergencies downtown.
We are a city of the 99%. Oakland has the highest rates of unemployment, poverty and foreclosures of the major Bay Area cities. We are struggling under the weight of budget cuts at the local, state and federal levels. While we support the call for broader participation in political and economic democracy, we cannot ignore violence, property destruction and health and safety issues in Frank Ogawa Plaza.
This situation is costing us real jobs. We can’t afford to lose a single job.
Oakland has demonstrated its support for the 99%. Now is the time for the encampment to show its support for Oakland.
We call, once again, for dialogue between representatives of the encampment and the city to move toward a peaceful resolution.
We ask the many Oakland individuals and organizations who have shown their concern to reach out to the encampment directly.
And, we call on protesters to assure Oaklanders that further demonstrations will be peaceful and that violent demonstrators will be isolated.
Mayor of Oakland
Apropos of Quan’s statement, the Downtown Oakland Association and the Lake Merritt/Uptown District Associations, two community benefit districts (neighorhood groups of businesses and property owners), yesterday sent this letter (pdf) to Quan, criticizing her decision to let the encampment at Frank Ogawa re-form and expressing frustration that…
…our efforts to fund improvements and improve parks and public spaces, all designed to attract new businesses and create opportunities for new entrepreneurs and employees in Uptown and Downtown, have been threatened by weak, confusing and inconsistent messages from the City in addressing the ramifications of the Oakland protest.