After the Monday morning raid on Occupy Oakland, the city's downtown plaza is open to all the other taxpayers who want to use it -- finally. Much to the relief of Mayor Jean Quan, who is still facing nonstop criticism and a potential recall, no squatters came back to pitch a tent last night on Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Instead, some 500 or so protesters met peacefully at the plaza for a
general assembly last night; they talked about plans for helping to reestablish the
Occupy camp in Berkeley as well as another citywide strike on Nov. 19.
That's not to say Oakland isn't still reeling from the effects of the five-week occupation, which resulted in two police raids, declining business, and a shooting death near the camp.
Just looking at Monday's raid alone: Oakland crews reportedly cleared out 27.8 tons of debris and 8.2 tons of green waste from the former camp site. Monday's operation will cost Oakland -- a city that recently laid off part of its police force -- as much as $500,000. City officials say they will have to dip into Oakland's reserves to pay the bill. So while the protesters' demands for the city were unclear, their demands on the city were all too clear.
While Quan is far from blameless, she issued a statement after yesterday's raid that sums up just how ineffective Occupy Oakland had become:
The encampment has been a tremendous drain on our city. During one of the recent demonstrations, we had 179 public safety calls for service that went unanswered because of the demonstrations downtown. We've had increased drug dealing, sexual assaults -- all of this was occurring in a one-square block encampment. For weeks now we've been trying to meet with the organizers of the encampment and there is no clear agenda or demands. We remain one of the only cities that has not had a representative committee to work with. Our community's already strained resources -- our police, our public works and other city services -- have been pulled away from serving
Oakland residents who ARE the 99%.
In total, the city has spent $2.4 million responding to Occupy Oakland since the first tent was pitched. What a waste of money for a city that's been a true victim of the financial crisis in which squatters proclaim to be protesting.
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