SF Supes Support OccupySF

A resolution expressing support for the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that also asks for force not to be used against the demonstrators in San Francisco was approved today by the city's Board of Supervisors.

By Dan McMenamin
|  Wednesday, Nov 2, 2011  |  Updated 11:05 AM PDT
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IMAGES: Occupy SF at City Hall

Mat Luschek

Occupy SF protesters discuss their ideas in "tent city" in Herman Plaza, in downtown San Francisco.

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A resolution expressing support for the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that also asks for force not to be used against the demonstrators in San Francisco was approved today by the city's Board of Supervisors.

The resolution, introduced last week by Supervisor John Avalos and amended today by Supervisor Scott Wiener, asks Mayor Ed Lee and the Police Department to "ensure that there will be no unnecessary use of force to dislodge the Occupy SF demonstrators."

The board voted 8-3 in favor of the resolution, a supermajority that could override a potential veto by Lee.

A spokeswoman from the mayor's office today said the mayor "was not focused on the resolution."

She said the mayor is working on finding "a solution where people can protest and the public plaza can be accessible to everyone--clean and safe."

Avalos said it was important for the city to go on the record in support of the movement, which started in New York City in September and has spread nationwide.

The demonstrators cite the economic disparity between the richest 1 percent of the population and the other 99 percent, and are calling for increased regulation of banks and Wall Street investment firms, among other demands.

"I see the consciousness that's changed across this country as a very good thing," Avalos said.

He said police raids, such as the one last week at the encampment in Oakland, only serve to energize the protesters and lead to tensions about how the public spaces should be used.

Several supervisors criticized the actions of law enforcement officials during last Wednesday's protest in Oakland, which included the use of tear gas and other projectiles, one of which seriously injured an Iraq war veteran, triggering even more protests and the reestablishment of the encampment there.

Among the amendments made to the resolution by Wiener today was the addition of the word "unnecessary." That amendment was passed by a narrow 6-5 vote.

He said the extra word was necessary because "I don't think it's appropriate for us to tell the Police Department ... no matter what happens, you cannot use force."

Mark Farrell, one of the three supervisors to vote against the resolution along with Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd, said he supported the goals of the protests around the country but did not want to establish a precedent for future demonstrators.

"It's a slippery slope to go down, what camping will we allow in our public spaces," Farrell said. "That's not a slippery slope I'm willing to go down."

The approval of the measure was met with applause in the chamber from dozens of "Occupy SF" demonstrators who had attended the meeting.

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