Those grumbling about the caliber of people camping out at Justin Herman plaza can't be thrilled about the latest wave of demonstrators drawn to OccupySF: politicians.
Last night a near-quorum of the Board of Supervisors squatted along with the squatters, which brings the OccupySF movement to a strange place indeed. A group notable for its lack of tangible goals or demands now has the ear -- if not the cell phone numbers -- of a platoon of the city's most powerful elected officials.
And, for those officials, what, exactly, does it mean to "support" OccupySF? And can you do so at night while passing tax breaks for large corporations during the day?
Of course you can!
Supervisor David Chiu is currently in a committee meeting, but his legislative aide, Judson True, said the so-called "Twitter tax break" and others like it are actually serving the interests of the 99 percent. Giving Twitter, for example, a big break on its taxes keeps them in town, keeps the jobs they'll create in town, and keeps the business they'll bring to mid-Market in mid-Market. "It's simply good for the economy and good for the city to keep Twitter here, keep jobs and growth here."
Fair enough. But being as the folks camping out on the street now have politicians wading into their ranks, it'd be interesting to see how many of them requested large tax breaks be given to corporations in order to spur a trickle-down effect of prosperity -- but only in certain retail corridors.
has expressed that he doesn't want a permanent encampment on his turf.
The clock is ticking.
Update, 3 p.m.: Supervisor David Campos says he supports the protesters' right to peaceably assemble -- and doesn't believe the supposed health hazards mentioned by those who'd like to see them gone justify a forcible eviction.
As far as aiding the Occupy movement beyond the simple act of occupying, that's complicated. "There are larger issues that go beyond what happens in the city and county of San Francisco," he says. "The kind of systemic change they're calling for in terms of corporate accountability and protecting the public vis-a-vis corporations and Wall Street calls for a great deal of involvement from people who haven't been involved before."
This will require "a lot of work." It cannot be accomplished by merely occupying Justin Herman Plaza. But, Campos notes, this is just the beginning. "What the specific outcomes are, I don't know. I don't think [the occupiers] themselves know. But I think the recognition is, what's happening is not working for us."
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