OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 12: Occupy protestors march at the Port of Oakland on December 12, 2011 in Oakland, California. Following a general strike coordinated by Occupy Oakland that closed the Port of Oakland on November 2, Occupy Wall Street protestors are attempting to shut down all West Coast ports in Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The Oakland City Council will vote tonight on a resolution that would direct City Administrator Deanna Santana and Mayor Jean Quan to use "whatever lawful tools we have" to stop future shutdowns at the Port of Oakland.
Occupy Oakland protesters disrupted operations at the port in a demonstration last week as well as during a "general strike" on Nov. 2.
The resolution, authored by City Council members Ignacio De La Fuente and Libby Schaaf, states that the port "is an important economic engine" that generates more than 73,000 jobs throughout the region and $462 million in annual tax revenues.
Schaaf said that she helped write the resolution because "there are ample opportunities for people to protest in ways that don't harm other people."
She said the protest last week hurt truckers, longshoremen, and transportation logistics workers at the port, as well as farmers and factory workers who raise or produce goods that are shipped through the port.
"Many people don't get paid when the port is shut down -- it's a unique harm," Schaaf said, noting that many of those who work at the port are paid by the day or the truckload.
She said that as the city looks at developing the former Oakland Army Base adjacent to the port, "It's important that we send the message that the port is open for business" because shipping companies that are affected by port closures could choose to take their business elsewhere.
Schaaf said the measure is "a direction to use a harder line and prohibit protesters from hurting workers and stopping commerce."
But she said the resolution "is not about creating new laws or stopping lawful assembly and free speech."
The measure calls for "enforcement of all state laws and municipal code regulations and requirements to prevent future shutdowns or disruptions of any port operations."