Oakland Mayor Jean Quan made a new plea to Occupy Oakland protesters Tuesday. She asked them to designate official representatives to negotiate with the city and to take steps to limit violence at future protests.
Quan issued a statement saying that the encampment, which city officials say now includes around 180 tents, is hurting local businesses and stretching an already tight city budget.
The statement called for a dialogue with representatives of those camping at Frank Ogawa Plaza to "move toward a peaceful resolution," and encouraged individuals and organizations concerned with the encampment to reach out directly to protesters. She also asked protesters to ensure that further demonstrations are peaceful and that violent protesters are "isolated."
Quan said Oakland is a "city of the 99 percent," but the protest is costing it jobs. On Friday the city issued a statement that the encampment and protests had cost the city more than $1 million as of Oct. 28.
"Local businesses are hurting because of vandalism and reduced patronage," Quan said. "Neighborhoods are hurting because city services already stretched by budget cuts face additional demands responding to emergencies downtown."
"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," she added.
Quan's statement echoes one issued by the Chamber of Commerce on Friday, which stated that sales have dropped 40 percent at some businesses due to the Occupy Oakland protests. Customers, employees and clients reported feeling afraid and harassed downtown, chamber spokesman Paul Junge said.
The Chamber met with Quan on Friday to discuss its concerns, and said in a statement that it would "hold her responsible for the peaceful and successful resolution to this encampment."
City Administrator Karen Boyd also issued a statement today asking members of the public to step forward with any evidence of vandalism or destruction of property on the morning of Nov. 3, as the city is "preparing to take appropriate legal action."
The city released a list of problems with the encampment including tents placed on public walkways and hardscaped areas, numerous fire hazards, and sanitation problems with food waste, cardboard and inadequately maintained portable toilets. Public works employees have been cleaning up graffiti and vandalism on a daily basis, and the city has provided homeless outreach services at the encampment twice a week for the past three weeks, officials said.
"The City of Oakland is concerned about conditions deteriorating during the time that City offices will be closed for the upcoming mandatory business closure day on Thursday Nov. 10 and Veterans Day holiday on Friday Nov. 11," Boyd said.
Here is the release from the city of Oakland on the state of Frank Ogawa Plaza:
Status Report on Frank Ogawa Plaza Encampment
Oakland, CA —The City of Oakland is asking the public to come forward with video or any other type of evidence they may have in their possession that shows vandalism or other destruction of property on the morning of November 3. Police continue to compile charges against those arrested for illegal acts, and the City is preparing to take appropriate legal action. Video and other evidence can be submitted to Sgt. Inez Ramirez in the Oakland Police Department Identification Section at (510) 238-3268.
The public is reminded that if they feel they have been a victim of or have witnessed police misconduct they may file a complaint with either the Internal Affairs Division of the Oakland Police Department at (510) 238-3161 or with the Citizens Police Review Board at (510) 238-3159.
The following is an update regarding the public health and safety conditions that the City is monitoring on a daily basis on Frank Ogawa Plaza related to the encampment.
Number of Tents at Frank Ogawa Plaza:
- About 180 (up from 165 on Friday, November 4)
- Tents continue to be placed on public walkways and hardscaped areas, further infringing on the public space.
- The Oakland Fire Department responded to two fires in the encampment overnight.
- Firefighters report that the camp occupants are confrontational and hostile to firefighters.
- Daily fire inspections continue to reveal ongoing potential fire hazards, including use of highly combustible materials, portable stoves, butane and LPG tanks, heat-producing Halogen lamps located next to combustible materials, egress routes blocked by new tents, and electrical hazards due to the use of: extension cords, solar panels, and batteries.
· Food waste on ground not hygienic and may pose a health threat by being an attractive nuisance to vermin.
· Improper storage of cardboard and food waste.
· Inadequate maintenance of portable toilets.
Public Works/Infrastructure Issues:
- Daily clean-up continues of graffiti and vandalism.
- Daily power washing of Plaza and grounds.
Point of Contact in Occupy Oakland:
- Occupy Oakland has not designated an "official" representative or group of representatives with whom the City can communicate.
- There have been individuals who have come forward, but no one official.
- Mayor Quan put out call in a statement this morning for representatives to be established for the purposes of communicating with the City, as demonstrators have done in other cities throughout the country.
- For the third week in a row, DHS has set up homeless services outreach from Operation Dignity on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 pm to 6pm.
- In all we have provided shelter services (to those who voluntarily agreed) to about 16 men at City Team shelter at 7th and Washington. The service includes shelter and food.
- The winter shelter will open on November 15.
- Costs through Friday, October 28, 2011, are estimated to be: $1,002,000
- These are preliminary estimates at this time and are subject to change.
- Costs by category:
- Personnel (overtime) costs: $737,000 through October 28, 2011
- $700,000 for Oakland Police Department staff
- $28,000 for Public Works Agency staff
- $9,000 for Information Technology staff
- Hard costs (supplies, equipment, etc.): $265,000
- Personnel (overtime) costs: $737,000 through October 28, 2011
§ $70,000 for Oakland Police Department
§ $70,000 for Public Works Agency
§ $25,000 for glass replacement for damage to plaza buildings on 11/2/2011
§ $100,000 for information technology security enhancements to the police department web site
The City of Oakland is concerned about conditions deteriorating during the time that City offices will be closed for the upcoming mandatory business closure day on Thursday, November 10 and Veteran’s Day holiday on Friday, November 11.
Bay City News contributed to this report.