Dear Oakland Officials:
Last night's events bring home why the Occupy encampment must be removed immediately. The City has utterly lost control of the situation and cannot maintain a safe and orderly downtown area. Businesses and business opportunities have been destroyed. The downtown area had been blighted, and the blight is only worsening. It does not matter that the majority of Occupiers claim to be peaceful and non-violent. The fact of the matter is that the emcampment is blatantly illegal, a blight, and an attractive nuisance. For example, it does not matter that the majority of “sideshow” participants are there to watch and not engage in any illegal activity. It does not matter that a corner drug house does countless transactions, most of which do not result in violence. That is hardly the point. The point is that illegal activity must be shut down, period.
While there may have been 4500 demonstrators yesterday, it is impossible to say how many were from Oakland. Given that Oakland has a population of 400,000 residents, in all likelihood, less than 1% participated in the demonstration. Only 5% of City employees participated in the strike. What does that tell you? The vast majority of Oaklanders DO NOT support Occupy Oakland. While they may support or agree with some of OWS’s goals, this is completely different than supporting Occupy Oakland’s illegal encampment, which is only serving to sully whatever valid message there may be.
At tonight’s meeting, you are likely to hear from numerous campers who have been violating multiple City ordinances. You will hear from anarchists, communists, vagrants and people with no vested interest in the long-term welfare of Oakland. The law-abiding citizens of Oakland, local business owners, and others will likely be far too afraid to even come to downtown Oakland tonight, given the riots that occurred earlier this morning, the thought of having to wade around the encampment just to get to the meeting, the possible retaliation for speaking out against the law-breakers, and the almost guaranteed uncivil behavior during the meeting itself. (Hisses, boos, insults, threats etc.) This is the crowd you have been catering to, and it has got to stop.
The proposed Resolution is blatantly offensive on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. “Unequivocally embrace” First Amendment rights? As previously mentioned, there are no First Amendment rights involved in camping, illegal soup kitchens, illegal Port-a-Potties, tagging, littering, or public urination. As for the 99% vs. 1% sloganeering, I am part of the 99% and I do not feel victimized by the economic system. Rather, I feel victimized by your lack of leadership. These people do not speak for me.
The Resolution recognizes injuries to the protestors, but provides no recognition whatsoever of the injuries to the taxpayers, the local small business, the injuries to Oakland’s public reputation, the injuries to police officers, or the insults and threats that they have endured, the damage to the lawn, the residents who have had to put up with excessive noise, the drivers and bus drivers who have been snarled in traffic, and the lost wages of employees and business forced to shut down.
The Resolution, in short, endorses the viewpoints of the 1% (the fringe, illegal campers), not the 99% (the hard-working, law abiding citizens of Oakland). The Resolution is insulting and embarrassing. Please reject it.