OccupySF appeals to City Hall, but the standoff continues

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Frustrated by repeated late-night police raids on their encampments and empty statements of support by top city officials, hundreds of protesters with OccupySF entered City Hall today – under the watchful eyes of a large police presence with riot gear at the ready – to testify at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The meeting began with the scripted monthly question time session with Mayor Ed Lee, who was asked by Sup. Jane Kim – whose District 6 includes the OccupySF encampment, which she visited for a couple hours last night – to “describe the plan that our offices have been developing” to facilitate the OccupySF movement.

But in Lee’s response and in exchanges with journalists after the meeting, as well as Guardian interviews with people in both offices, it doesn’t seem city officials have a coherent plan for carrying out Lee’s contradictory goals of supporting the Occupy movement and keeping sidewalks and parks clear of encampments.

Kim seemed to acknowledge as much later in the meeting when she said voiced support for OccupySF and for city officials who object to tents, kitchens, and other basic infrastructure that the month-old movement needs to continue. “We’re all struggling to figure out the best way to accommodate it,” she said.

Lee’s message was even more muddled, saying he supported the movement and agreed with its economic justice message. “From the very beginning, I have fully supported the spirit of the OccupySF movement,” Lee told the crowd, transitioning into reciting a litany of economic development efforts with little relevance to the demands of the movement.

“Then don’t send the police in to destroy it,” a protester shouted from the audience, which was filled to capacity and had a line out front and an overflow room. “We are working with you,” Lee responded, but then went on to complain about the lack of consistent contacts in the leaderless movement and emphasizing his bottom line that any kind of encampment with infrastructure is an impermissible violation of city codes.

“I need to make sure our public spaces are open to be used by anyone,” he said. Later, his Press Secretary Christine Falvey clarified the mayor’s stance by saying he supports the message but not the movement: “The tactic of camping overnight, he does not support.”  

Afterward, talking to reporters, Lee couldn’t really explain why the police needed to do their raids in the middle of the night, why San Francisco is cracking down on conditions that are being allowed in many other Occupy cities, or how the movement might be able to avoid future crackdowns if it continues, ignoring questions about where OccupySF might be able to go to avoid police raids.

Sup. John Avalos, who has been working to try to mediate the dispute between OccupySF and the city, responded to Lee’s speech by calling it “very frustrating. I’m alarmed that he is moving toward nightly standoffs with the Occupy movement.” Avalos says he supports protesters’ right to peacefully occupy public spaces and acknowledges their need for basic supplies to do so, calling the current standoff, “unsafe for both sides.”

“I’m proud to say that we are the 99 percent,” Sup. Eric Mar said, echoing the movement’s mantra and saying he would defer to Avalos’ leadership to create a “resolution strongly holding the police accountable for the crackdowns.”

Avalos had invited OccupySF participants to raise their concerns during the public comment portion of the meeting, and he said that he plans to use their input to form a resolution or plan for how the city should accommodate a movement that six of the 11 supervisors professed to support at the meeting.

When the long line of OccupySF protesters finally took to the microphone for public comment, they made it clear that the issue wasn’t as complicated as some city officials were trying to make it.
“It is outrageous and inhumane to see our camp raided in the middle of the night by San Francisco Police,” Magic, a middle-aged woman and lifelong activist, told the supervisors, closing with, “This can be a celebration or a battle, but we will not back down.”

Several speakers were dismissive of city claims to be protecting public health and safety, noting how dangerous the midnight confrontations have been, saying food and shelter are basic human needs, and noting how peaceful and cooperative OccupySF has been with the escalating series of city demands as the protest’s numbers have grown.

Michael Goldman said police have asked them to return to the sidewalk in front of the Federal Reserve, where they are densely packed in what he called unsafe conditions. “We have too many people to fit in front of 101 Market,” he said.

That was what prompted the move to nearby Justin Herman Plaza, where police cracked down Sunday night, citing a violation of the park’s 10 pm curfew. Another protester who works at the Ferry Building angrily noted that even before OccupySF began, he regularly watched city crews chase the homeless away from the site at 3 am with water trucks.

“We are a peaceful and nonviolent people and we do not deserve to be treated this way by our city and our country,” he said.  

“They were waiting to be talked to and not just run over by the police,” said iconic San Francisco activist Father Louie Vitale, who gestured to the waiting protesters and said, “We’re very proud of these people, very proud.”

It was a point echoed by others like local resident Andy Blue, who said, “They are doing a great service to this city and the world.”

Comments

Very pleased with the massive turnout at City Hall today from the Occupy movement, which I support. It might be wise, since the movement is staging regular General Assemblies and weekend marches, weekday editions too, to consider weekly Occupy actions at the Board.

Heck, I'd support Occupy forces sitting in at key offices at City Hall on Tuesdays, creative use of public comment and other forms of vibrant activism. This Board, with few exceptions mainly Avalos, and the current Mayor need to feel the breath of the protesters.

One Supervisor in dire need of rethinking his priorities is Scott Wiener.

From bogus claims the Castro residents clamor for tinkering with the ballot process to unneeded anti-nudity legislation to the introduction today of a bill pertaining to professional dog-walkers (?!) to ignoring the problems with the Harvey Milk Plaza rainbow flag on _public space_ long ago handed to the merchants and bank group and out of control of the wide LGBT community, Wiener shows his disrespect for the grassroots and a wide spectrum of folks who don't own houses or have big bank accounts.

OccupyCityHall?

Posted by MPetrelis on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 7:46 pm

Most GLBT people don't give a shit. And some of us want to be able to enjoy the parks and parklets without having to stare at some man's saggy ass or wrinkled dick while we're doing so. I'm sick of nudists in the Castro dominating the public space.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

making you stare, henty. work your issues out on daddyhunt.

Posted by marke on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

We are a society who's accepted norms include wearing clothing, particularly covering one's genitalia. That is pretty much a universal norm across all continents and cultures, excepting very, very few. Nudity in public spaces outside of events like Folsom Street Fair is intolerable and I bet if you were to poll San Franciscans you'd find nearly 90% were in agreement with me.

The fringe too often defines political debate in this city - like with the anti-circumcision measure which was opposed by nearly 80% in a poll shortly before a judge removed it from the ballot. Enough is enough.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

extremely interested in other people's genitalia.

Posted by marke on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

I'm a gay man.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

"The fringe too often defines political debate in this city - like with the anti-circumcision measure which was opposed by nearly 80% in a poll shortly before a judge removed it from the ballot. Enough is enough. "

If we amputate childrens' eyelids we can reduce the risk of bacterial conjuctivitis by 30% and eliminate morning crusties. Sounds like good public policy to me. Also, Catholic priests are being oppressed, their practice of raping deaf orphans deserves equal protection as a religious tradition.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

The state of California quickly put an end to your fringe attempts to ban male circumcision. Kinda didn't get what you bargained for when you began this absurd crusade - did you?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

With good reason, too.
When is something going to be done about all this judicial activism?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

and you know it. And regardless of "this judicial activism" the legislature banned local initiatives addressing this subject. The people opposed the measure, the judiciary opposed the measure and the legislature opposed the measure.

Fail, fail AND FAIL.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

just google it if you don't believe me...

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

hey guest, the hostess called out for you, 'bitter, party of one.' it was great to see 100 folks show up on september 11 to remember mark bingham and all who died on that day. your contention that no queers care about the flagpole issue is wrong-headed.

Free the flag!

Posted by MPetrelis on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 1:26 pm

Steve, please start another post so that we can all have a conversation about what went down on the streets over the last few days and in Shitty Hall today.
I have no problems with Petralis, marke and however many guests they care to include, obsessing over their sagging posteriors, shrinking limp dicks, and public exposure of tag nuts, but not here in this post - please.
I am kinda ashamed to admit that today was one of the first times I've experienced Mr Ed 'live'. I'm still flabbergasted and 'collecting myself'. I had no idea he was that ineffectual, he can't even read from Willie'nRosie's prepared script.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 12:38 am

they cannot officially condone illegal behaviour. So it's not hypocritical for Lee and the Supes to register approval of the protests while clamping down hard on illegal encampments, tresspassers, creating a nuisance and obstructing the police.

This movement will not endure if the protestors keep breaking the law. They want to be compared with the Tea Party, but the Tea Party held legal, approved rallies and then dispersed.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 5:17 am

According to you, exercising my 1st Amendment rights is illegal.
And speak for yourself, #OccupySF has absolutely no desire to be compared to the Tea Party.
Where are the tea partyers now: getting sold out by their corporate masters.

Posted by Freeman on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 7:29 am

Occupy movement would gain the same traction as the Tea Party.

1st amendment rights are not absolute. There are many situations where that right is trumped by law.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

Oh, really?

Why don't you name the "many situations" ?
Or, alternately, shut the fuck up.

Always enjoy hearing from anti American pigs whose first concern is limiting the freedom of other Americans!

Posted by meatlock on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

or at a city hall meeting.

See how that works out for you. All public spaces but your free speech is suppressed, trumped by rules and laws.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

You are responding to my dim witted stalker.

Posted by meatlock on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

But the markets are closed and I feel like roasting a limp mind.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

I find it personally amusing, but don't really see the point in dignifying the posts with a response

Posted by meatlock on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 7:44 pm

The Supreme Court has held on more than one occasion that no one may “insist upon a street meeting in the middle of Times Square at the rush hour as a form of freedom of speech” (Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 85 S. Ct. 453, 13 L. Ed. 2d 471 [1965]). In most instances a commuter’s interest in getting to and from work outweighs an individual’s right to tie up traffic through political expression.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 23, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

Our country was founded on the right of people to resist the government and its laws when they are hostile to the public good, as our predatory economic system most certainly is. Honestly, go back and read the Declaration of Independence, or even just the First Amendment to the Constitution, which enshrined its basic principles of liberty and self-determination. The namesake of the Tea Party was an illegal protest that was more costly than the peaceful Occupy movement (and it doesn't need bodies in the street because it has piles of corporate cash and the fealty of a major political party). Protest movements from women's suffrage through the Civil Rights Movement all broke local laws and ordinances, just like people's revolutions from the fall of the Soviet Union through Arab Spring uprisings. Those with Occupy correctly realize that nothing will change by simply working within the corrupt two-party system, and they are using time-honored and constitutionally validated tactics that are far more important than the right of the city to shut down a little-used park at 10 pm. Seriously, Guest, learn some history and get some perspective.

Posted by steven on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

Tying up large numbers of police to protect City Hall and other institutions from mobs leaves the bad guys free to rob and steal.

Thanks a lot.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 4:17 am

When Wall Street steals our present and future, you say and do nothing, hypocrite.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 8:21 am

... Are on Wall Street and in Washington, DC.

Posted by deanosor on Oct. 21, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

because the occupiers are making them work and videotaping them while doing it. They will apply maximal pressure on Room 200 under these circumstances even as they are killing the budget with OT rates we are paying them.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 8:15 am

Vote for any State Attorney general or city district attorney candidates who pledge to issue criminal arrest warrants for the Wall Street Gangsters who looted America!!!!!

Demand every SF District attorney candidate to make the pledge!!!!

Posted by GuestSf T Party on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 10:04 am

Support the occupy movement! Jail the Wall street gangsters and their corrupt Democrat and republican politicians who aided and abetted their looting of America!!!

Posted by GuestSf T Party on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 10:06 am

Couldn't agree more.

Posted by meatlock on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

"Cop's are angry because the occupiers are making them work and videotaping them"

No, they aren't. They love all the overtime pay.

They are cruising to retirement on six-figure pensions at age 55...

VOTE YES ON D

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

More to follow, maybe, on BOS meeting, if i can keep on fingering. For now this will have to suffice.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLR4iZJLgc4

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

Thanks Patrick. I've never heard of this new-fangled thing called the "YouTube." You've really changed my world!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

So glad I could help rescue you from the miasma.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

h, marcos, eric, greg et al; I'm about to throw a bunch of chum in the water so all the little hagfish will have something to suck, feel free to take a bite.

OCCUPY SAN FRANCISCO
In the brief 120 seconds that my government graciously allows me so that I can participate in the farce of Public Comment and Participatory Democracy, I tried to condense decades of frustration into one incident and a related question - to whic I already knew the answer.
RHETORICAL QUESTION
Why can certain groups freely engage in certain behaviors/activities whic render others subject to harassment, arrest and incarceration.
PRESUMPTIVE ANSWER.
Because we, and these activities are not free. Certain groups have access to power and financial assets that enable them to 'grease the wheels'; purchase favors, insurance, bonds and acquire permits.
INCIDENT.
Police raids on OccupySF. These incidents are NOT about Public Health and Safety.
RESPONSE.
This is one of the central themes of the International Occupy Movement. 'We The People' do not have the financial power to challenge the multi-national Corporations and Bankers; buy politicians; fund favorable legislation; re-write and re-interpret the Constitution; or pay 30 pieces of silver to circumvent local ordinances.
My understanding is that the rationale given to justify these attacks; by SF Police Chief Suhr, and Interim Mayor 'he who speaks with forked tongue' Mr Ed; is that certain local ordinances were being violated, including; lodging in a public space; preparing and serving food; using an open flame to prepare food; use of wooden pallets that constituted a fire hazard; stringing tarpaulins for minimal weather protection; violating Sit/Lie, which we were assured would never be used for political purposes or to target 'less desirable' groups; and, my favorite, erecting tents. I acknowledge that many of these actions may have violated city ordinances, but ONLY because no permits had been obtained NOT because they constituted a threat to Public Health or Safety. These same activities occur regularly in San Francisco, in public and private spaces, but generally only after the wheels have been greased and the right recipients get their due recompense.
I was at the BOS meeting on Tuesday and witnessed Mr Ed's stumblong and stultifying performance in Question Time. I confess that I had never bothered to listen to him live before, partly because I believed he was a man of his word and reluctantly 'serving the people, also because he was absent from most of the Mayoral forums. I now understand why. The poor man could barely deliver his prepared speech in a coherent manner. He may be a 'nice man' and a solid bureaucrat, but MAYOR !! - God help us. He will never be anything more than a mouthpiece for the sharks who threw him in the deep end, he will end up sleeping with the other dead and discredited fish they have sacrificed. Mr Ed, please, collect your well deserved pensions; spend time enjoying your real family; reclaim your legacy, integrity and self respect; you are not ready for prime time.
In response to Supervisor Kim's question about his plans to 'accomodate' OccupySF he essentially parroted the SFPD position, mumbled some pablum about supporting the people's right to protest, a bunch of other off-topic cliches, but there were two particular comments that grabbed my attention'
The first was that the SFPD actions were in part to protect the Health and Safety of the protestors and ensure they didn't get sick and require medical attention. As a health professional I fail to see how depriving people of warm food; a wooden pallet to raise them off the cold wet concrete; shelter from the storm, etc, in any way contributes to their well being or good health.
The second, and in my mind at least, most revealing statement that illustrated how totally co-opted he is; how unfitted to lead our city through the difficult days ahead; unprepared to advance any kind of consensual policies that will serve us all. I quote:-
"We can't allow the erection of TENTS on public property that obstruct the public right of way"
I was astounded. Of course Il Dulce was long gone before we had a chance to respond, probably had a pub crawl with Willie'nRosie to prepare for. But when my 120 seconds came up I remarked that if he had bothered to go out on his balcony beneath the gilded dome and cast his eyes towards the Bay, he couldn't help but notice an enormous structure that looked suspiciously like a TENT, Occupying UN Plaza, almost completely blocking the public right of way, plus a number of scarce parking spaces. { I must confess that I was pleased when more than one Supervisor broke decorum and 'cracked up.} On my way back to MUNI I noticed many wooden pallets both inside and outside this TENT. I have no idea what event this TENT has been erected for; I doubt many of care or could afford to attend; but I do hope that no food is going to be prepared, served or sold; but if it is I hope that no open flames, not even a votive candle under a chafing dish are going to be used. How exactly do a few PUP TENTS and tarpaulins on a particularly wide section of Market Street create more of an obstruction than a MEGA TENT occupying the UN Plaza. How does an open flame in front of the Federal Building present more of a fire hazard than one in front of City Hall.
The answer of course is that they don't. The difference is that whoever is sponsoring this event had the money to purchase exemptions from these ordinances and restrictions.
DON'T LIE AND BS THAT THIS IS ABOUT WITH PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY
It is about restricting the people's freedom of assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of petition.
We can take care of and 'police' ourselves without midnight raids from brownshirts. It has been reported that some of the SFPD officers were visibly distressed when they had to carry out the orders of 'The White-shirts'. I can empathize with them. I think we all at some point, I know I have, felt compelled to 'do things' we were not comfortable with, simply in order to 'survive'. But these officers are our employees and sworn to serve and protect us. They are caught between a rock and a hard place, but they are also part of the 99%. "Just following orders" was no defense at Nuremberg and it is no excuse in San Francisco. I don't know if Officers are assigned to, or volunteer for these 'black-ops', it would be interesting to know. I think many, if not most, are just 'trying to their job'; some may just need the overtime to pay their mortgage; but I think some of these midnight marauders have a more sinister agenda, like the thug Officer P****a, who is reported to have said to one of the protestors, "I just can't wait until I get a chance to beat your faces in".
There are many occasions when corporations erect giant TENTS on public property, especially in front of OUR City Hall. These 'activities' they engage in that 'violate city ordinances' are not a treat or danger, provided they cough up the cash. The money that has been paid out to city workers in overtime alone, reportedly tens of thousands of dollars already, could have been better spent in protecting the rights of the protesters and ensuring their, and our, health and safety, instead of trying to harass, silence and displace them.
I appreciate that all the Supervisors sat through Public Comment. I recently slammed Supervisor Kim here for being MIA, I'm glad that she now appears fully involved, thank you. There were only four Supervisors who did not express support for OccupySF and the people's right to protest, not surprisingly they were Elsbernd, Chu, Farrell and Wiener.
Briefly two other items of interest to me.
Reference was made to the fact tat 'renovations' to the Chamber were almost complete and that Supervisor's and staff could soon use the new ramp to access the speakers podium 'with dignity'. Of the two main entrances to City Hall only one allows the general public to enter 'with dignity', at the other one those of us who are at least somewhat disabled have to use a lift to reach the main floor. If that is considered adequate for the masses, why did we need a million dollar ramp to nowhere for the few. That money could have been better spent providing hover-rounds for current and future truly disabled persons, not just to provide PR and satisfy the vain-glorious aspirations of one privileged member of the 1%.
In other news. Supervisor Wiener, who always has his finger on the pulse of the times; and his next campaign contribution; apparently plans to follow up his atrocious Props E & F, (which would give politicians the ability to alter or negate the expressed will of the people) by addressing another critical quality of life issue. Regulating and taxing dog walkers, especially those who walk more than a certain number of dogs. I just wonder if there will be some kind of criteria based on size, weight, lovability. For example would I get taxed more for walking 6 adorable, loving, little Lapsos than 3 snarling Pit Bulls. Just asking.
Today's Updates.
Apparently folks representing OccupySF tried to get some kind of permits today but were turned away.
Apparently California Nurses Union set up a First Aid TENT today but the SFPD has orders to take it down. In the name of Health and Safety I presume.
OK thats it, if you made it this far, phew.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

I seriously doubt that the hagfish will have the intellectual capacity to read all of it.

Ed Lee really did reveal himself to be an oafish tool at question time when he told everyone that he supports the "spirit of the protest" but made no commitment to stop sending police under the cover of darkness to attack people and steal their belongings.

Ed Lee is a shameful disgusting smear on the history of this great city.

Posted by matlock on Oct. 20, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

... don't think we are usually 'in agreement' are we ? I appreciate feedback and constructive criticism. Didn't expect much response from the usual bottom feeders. Think you're correct, anything beyond a brief paragraph containing few words of more than two syllables is taxing their comprehension, let alone formulating any response beyond 'your mother wears army boots'.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 21, 2011 @ 11:38 am

progressive stalker.

Posted by meatsack on Oct. 21, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

Care to elaborate sack of 'whatever'. Oh excuse me, e-lab-or-ate that was FOUR syllables- in ONE sentence !!, fugghedaboudid. Didn't mean to stress you out.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Oct. 21, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

meatsack > scrotum.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 8:57 am

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