Saturday, November 19, 2011

Occupy Oakland

2011-11-17 "War", a suggestion of the Juche Buddhism Collective:
Calling forward an all out winner in this battle royale on the mortgage crisis: I wanna take all your homes... move the masses into "Occupy Oakland" type camps or utilize the already in place FEMA camps...

2011-11-19 "Occupy Oakland plans new camp" by Justin Berton from "San Francisco Chronicle"
Members of Occupy Oakland promised to open a new encampment today on a vacant lot in the city's Uptown neighborhood, drawing a mixed reaction of concern and praise from residents and parents at a nearby school.
Occupy Oakland campers, who were evicted from Frank Ogawa Plaza on Monday during a predawn police raid, voted Wednesday to resettle five blocks north at Telegraph Avenue and 19th Street, in a lot next to the refurbished Fox Theatre.
Mayor Jean Quan's office released a statement Thursday saying police are aware of the group's plan and have "a strategy in place to prevent the establishment of any new encampments."
The group plans to move in at the end of a march through downtown that begins at 2 p.m. today at Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall.
Tim Simons, 28, an organizer with the group, said Friday that Occupy activists had picked the site because groups representing businesses in the area - including the Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Merritt-Uptown District Association - are "our enemies."
Simons said the chamber's motives are influenced by banks and large corporations, noting that board members are employed by Visa, Wells Fargo and AT&T.
The business groups pushed for Occupy to be evicted from its first camp at 14th Street and Broadway, Simons said. "They're out here trying to make a buck in this neighborhood through gentrification," he said. "They need to know we're here, too."
The Uptown district has undergone a renovation in recent years with the opening of urban lofts, bars and restaurants along with the Fox Theatre.
Joseph Haraburda, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said although several board members work for large companies, others are self-employed and a majority of the group's members are businesses with fewer than 25 employees.
"To target larger companies as 'the enemy' is misguided," he said.
Haraburda said larger companies have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to nonprofits that help food banks, after-school programs, and arts and cultural groups.

Mixed reaction -
Several residents and parents from the 650-student Oakland School for the Arts, which borders the vacant lot's 19th Street side, attended Occupy Oakland's morning news conference in a park next to the lot. Some welcomed the activists, while others confronted them.
Zappa Montag, 42, whose daughter attends the school, said he agrees with the ideals of the movement - he's frustrated with economic inequality - yet fears that an encampment would attract both criminals and a heavy police presence.
Montag said he participated in Occupy Oakland general assemblies and had visited the former encampment regularly, where he was unsettled by what he described as a volatile atmosphere.
Hard to support
"I feel like I'm stuck in the middle," Montag said. "A lot of us support the movement, but it's hard to support the reality of what the encampments become."
Simons said Occupy Oakland would address those fears and asked the residents to participate in the camp's settling.
"This camp will have its own unique character," Simons said. "If people's concerns are about safety and students, then those concerns are our priority."
Johannes Wallmann, 37, who has lived in a loft that overlooks the proposed camp site for three years, said he could not justify supporting the movement without supporting a tented community.
"We can't buy into this Nimby concept," Wallmann said. "Obviously, it would be great if this happened somewhere else; it would always be better somewhere else. But this is a movement that's happening in our community. And we support people who are being proactive in the community."

The other Occupy -
Occupy Oakland has maintained another outpost at Snow Park near Lake Merritt. Since Monday's eviction at Frank Ogawa Plaza, the number of tents there has grown to 60 from 40, even as police handed out eviction notices.
Marjorie Rice, 50, said police had told her to move into a shelter before Monday. She expects a sweep to come by then.
"Maybe I'll go tonight, get out of the rain," Rice said, adding that she enjoys seeing more people at Snow. "More folks to talk to, more stories to hear."

In San Francisco, a public works employee sprays disinfectant around the perimeter of the Occupy camp, which remains in Justin Herman Plaza along the Embarcadero. The city has spent more than $625,000 on the encampment in the past two months.
Credit: Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle

2011-11-19 "Occupy Oakland seizes vacant lot for encampment; Occupy activists seize vacant lot to set up tents" by Erin Allday and Rachel Gordon from "San Francisco Chronicle"
Rebellious Occupy Oakland demonstrators cut through a chain-link fence and tore down no-trespassing signs in a vacant Uptown neighborhood lot Saturday night, setting up a new encampment in bold defiance of Mayor Jean Quan.
"They obviously don't want us at the plaza downtown. We might as well make this space useful," said Chris Skantz, 23.
The dirt-covered lot at 19th Street and Telegraph Avenue, next to the refurbished Fox Theater, is five blocks north of Frank Ogawa Plaza, where Occupy Oakland demonstrators were ousted in a predawn police raid Monday.
The evicted demonstrators announced two days later that they planned to resettle in the Uptown area, an emerging neighborhood of trendy lofts, restaurants and bars, after business leaders urged city officials to shut down the camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of City Hall. Quan's office said Thursday that no new encampments would be tolerated.

Protesters get past officers -
Police set up a perimeter around the new site Saturday, but hundreds of demonstrators, who had just concluded a march through downtown and the Lake Merritt neighborhoods, got past officers with ease and without confrontation. During the march, they shouted criticism at banks, one of the objects of their larger protest against economic injustice.
 They cut through the fencing with wire cutters and tore it down completely before quickly setting up a dozen tents on the property, which is owned by the Oakland Redevelopment Agency. Several hours later, as rain fell, the number of tents had grown to about 30. Volunteers at a makeshift kitchen served drinking water and vegetarian curry over rice.

Festive mood -
The mood was festive. Protesters danced to music blaring from a sound truck. Police said late Saturday night that no one had been arrested.
It was unclear how Oakland officials would respond as the night wore on.
"They're certainly able to protest, but they will not be able to camp there," said Darolyn Davis, a spokeswoman for the Quan administration.
She did not say whether police would be ordered to dismantle the encampment. Occupy Oakland representatives also were elusive in announcing their plans. But one said the lot probably wouldn't be occupied more than a night or two.
Sherbeam Wright, a nearby resident, was not happy that the demonstrators showed up.
"I supported Occupy Oakland. At this point I don't know what they stand for anymore," she said.

S.F. moves in on tents -
Earlier in the day in San Francisco, city officials moved in on two Occupy SF encampments set up near the waterfront.
Public works crews arrived at the compound at Justin Herman Plaza a little after noon to remove dozens of tents set up illegally on a narrow patch of muddy grass along the Embarcadero. They allowed the larger encampment in the public plaza's interior to stay intact - for now.
Authorities also persuaded protesters to voluntarily take down more than 20 tents in front of the Federal Reserve Bank at 101 Market St. in the Financial District. But some larger tented structures serving as information and reception centers for the local Occupy movement stayed put after a small group of nonviolent resisters stood in front of them with linked arms, keeping city workers at bay.
"We don't want to use force," said San Francisco Public Works chief Mohammed Nuru, the city's point person on the Occupy SF encampments.
People at the Justin Herman compound were more cooperative as several participants quickly shook off their tarps, packed up their tents and moved to other locations within the encampment. But about three dozen public works employees wearing blue disposable jumpsuits, gloves and protective masks over their noses and mouths removed tents when people didn't move fast enough.
City officials said the belongings would be stored rather than thrown away if people wanted to retrieve them later. The crews carrying large garbage bags also picked up accumulated trash and wooden pallets that filled up four pickup trucks.
Police were present but remained in the background.

Conditions set forth -
The crackdown, which Occupy SF representatives were warned of in advance, came after the San Francisco Department of Public Health declared the encampment a public health nuisance on Thursday, paving the way for it to be cleared out. Public works officials also issued a set of 11 conditions that they said must be met if demonstrators had a chance of staying.
Among them: There can be no more than 100 small tents, spaced at least 2 feet apart, and they will not be permitted on the plaza's two bocce ball courts or grassy areas; pathways must be kept clear; health and fire inspectors, as well as animal-control officers, must have full access; and other health and safety standards must be met.
"There are still major areas of noncompliance," Nuru said Saturday as he stood on the edge of the encampment surveying the scene.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who has taken a cautious approach in dealing with the Occupy camps, said he hopes to avoid violent skirmishes between police and protesters, like those experienced in Oakland and other cities.
"I'm trying to think a little long term here of how everyone can get to a point where everyone has some degree of satisfaction out of what we do," he said.
The Occupy SF communications team issued a statement describing the conditions set by the city as unachievable.
"We believe that these demands are merely a strategic harassment aimed at silencing the voice of the movement," the statement said.

Occupy Oakland demonstrators tear down the chain-link fence around a vacant lot at Telegraph Avenue and 19th Street. Credit: Photos by Michael Macor / The Chronicle

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