OccupySF is worth the investment

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Thirteen labor and community leaders wrote to Mayor Ed Lee Nov. 17 asking him not to evict the OccupySF protesters. The message of the hand-delivered letter: It's worth the time and effort the city will have to make to allow the encampment to remain. It was signed by Conny Ford, OPEIU Local 3, Bob Offer-Westord, Coalition on Homelessness, Pilar Sciavo, California Nurses Association, Elizabeth Alexander, SEIU 1021, Rev. Carol Been, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, Steve Williams, POWER, Gabriel Haaland, SEIU 1021, Tim Paulson, San Francisco Labor Council, Kate Huge, La Raza Centro Legal, Gordon Mar, Jobs with Justice, Forrest Schmidt, ANSWER, Shaw-San Liu, Chinese Progressive Association, and Mike Casey, UNITED-HERE Local 2.

Here's the full letter:

Dear Mr. Mayor:

Occasionally a movement takes hold of the imagination of a people, resulting in major social and economic shifts in public policy. Thirty to forty years ago, such a movement driven by a coalition of the religious right and corporate America and spearheaded by the National Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, changed the course of our nation for the worse.

With the election of Ronald Reagan and scores of corporate-backed politicians since then, our nation has seen a reversal of the progressive gains made in the decades immediately preceding 1980, from the New Deal to the War on Poverty.

In yesterday’s meeting, you and several city department heads questioned whether it is “worth the investment” to meet and work with the SF Occupy movement to address certain health and safety issues. We think it is.

The national Occupy Wall Street movement has brought dramatic focus to the disproportionate concentration of wealth and power held by the top 1% of America.  They have drawn broad attention to the devastation wrought by Wall Street upon communities throughout the country:  home foreclosures, record unemployment, attacks on immigrants, union busting, school closures, social service cutbacks, etc.

Over the years, in our own city, a number of legendary movements and causes have led to meaningful and lasting progressive change. The 1934 General Strike and the I-Hotel are but two examples. These and other struggles such as the Civil Rights movement are iconic not based on whether they resulted in victory or defeat, but because these struggles inspired and trained a new generation of organizers and activists committed to economic and social change.

Whether the Occupy movement is helping usher in yet another shift remains to be seen. But of this we are certain: the City of San Francisco working with Occupy SF to support their vision and work is “worth the investment.”

Provocative police actions in Oakland resulted in unnecessary injuries and threatened the very safety of the community they’ve sworn to protect.

We appeal that you not shut down the occupation of Justin Herman Plaza and continue to meet, daily if necessary, in order to work through the issues connected with Occupy SF.

Comments

The Occupiers are breaking various laws and the City could face a huge elgal liability if there are lawsuits based on SF not upholding the law.

So as much as some groups feel some sympathy with some of their aims, they have to go, else the rule of law has little meaning. There can't be one law for Occupy and another law for the rest of us.

Would SFBG be so supportive if the encampment was KKK?

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 3:28 pm

with tax payer money, a part of the progressive platform.

Of course a non progressive endorsed camp would be met with open hostility and indifference. If .02% of any camp expressed some non PC view on immigration these same people would be howling about the whole group.

Paying attention to progressives and their behavior that works to their advantage at every turn is entertaining.

Posted by matlock on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 4:03 pm

And he may be subject to a lawsuit if/when it is found that Occupiers are, indeed, expressing their freedom of speech. Occupy Wall St may have recently, but in Boston, in the '80's, protesters won that argument.

Posted by 415raechill on Nov. 21, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

FWIW, this is the most popular web article in the WSJ today:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405297020361140457704435257911382...

Posted by The Commish on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

I didn't read the article because anyone that is trying to bring Obama into this movement (there is no love for Obama at any Occupy, trust us) is just so wrong on basic facts that what they say really doesn't matter.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

@Guest,

You're right, I wouldn't read that rag if you paid me. And Commish is just another right-wing troll. I wouldn't listen to him either.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 4:44 pm

Simmer down. It's always worthwhile to know other perspectives, not just bury your head in the sand as to other sides of an issue. WSJ has the largest circulation of any newspaper in the country now, so a lot of people read what they write.

Posted by The Commish on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

Ooh, the WSJ Editorial Page whining about Obama and OWS. That 's not news. What is news is that the spell is broken.

Losers.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 7:30 pm

The citizens of the city have chosen to not have a mayor that represent this minority group of special interests and their half baked conspiracy theories.

What these groups represent is the:
Leadership of unions, not really the members themselves.
Race shouter groups who claim millions of people not interested.
Religious people who base their views on appealing to what they think ghosts think, also when religious people have crazy right wing views the left howls about getting religion out of politics.

It is an assortment of people who rely on the government for everything they have and don't want the gravy train to come to an end. From first person experience these types of people also feel entitled to the government in the same way they bemoan the right wingers who do same. The way a parasite feels entitled to the host. This is also odd in that the same class of Chris Daly local leftists felt so enlightened every time the Board of Supes would pass a policy statement once a year against the annoying pro-life marchers.

This shouldn't be about the politics of the occupy people, they should stay or go based on legal concerns. A protest camp should not stay because of the sense of monumental entitlement and revealed world view that our cities leftists have. A better reason would be that the city is respecting their free speech rights, as long as the protesters adhere to some basic things.

Posted by matlock on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

Calling Occupy "Obamaville" is silly and shows how brain dead the writer was to the reality of the situation. But here's the thing: The very fact that the WSJ has to cover this, and has to acknowledge what the Occupiers are talking about (the gross economic injustice in this country) is a huge step. Before Occupy, almost nobody was talking about the wealth and income gap. Now everybody is.

Posted by tim on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

writes like Tim Redmond.

Posted by guest on Nov. 23, 2011 @ 10:05 am

I agree that the Occupy movement is worth the investment. But remember when the conversation was about Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan, etc? And now we have MF Global going belly up after handing out generous bonuses to their CEO's, mostly former execs with Goldman Sachs.

Or how about the way money has corrupted the political process absolutely? On the Keiser report, Max talks about how members of Congress get rich thru "honest graft". That's right, insider trading is a no-no for you and me, but it is entirely legal for members of Congress.
For instance, Nancy Pelosi has participated in 8 IPO's, including some that had business before the House when she was speaker. Since that time, her net worth has tripled. John Boehner invested in several health care stocks shortly before killing the public option.

http://maxkeiser.com/2011/11/17/kr211-keiser-report-simple-thieves-hones...

As one commenter said,
"Its three strikes and you out 25 – Life if your a young black man in America. This keeps money in governors pockets because they have the next IPO for the private prisons."

"And they allow their buddies who give them insider info on that same IPO to defraud there costumers and the punishment no way fits the crime."

"We need to Take the OUR Governments back from these people."

If you ask me, that's why the Occupy movement matters. But let's not forget the conversations we should be having.

Posted by Lisa on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

Do our progressives think that the city should spend tax dollars on this or do they think the city should just leave them alone to do their own thing?

Do our progressives think we should be using tax dollars to help continue these protests, although they get outraged when tax dollars are spent on enforcing this nations laws around immigration. Are they like pro-lifers who get worked up over tax money going to abortion but don't mind it when it goes to spending money on losing lawsuits around forcing other people's kids to pray in school or teaching pseudo science around creationism?

Just wondering here, how much do we all owe your entitlement?

Posted by matlock on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

The choice to handle OccupySF with policing is a discretionary, political choice.

There is no more of a threat to public order and health at OccupySF than in the Mission or TL.

By its response, power cedes authority and legitimacy to Occupy.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

Feel free to get back to us as to why this movement has lower approval ratings then the tea party. Any time...

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

1600 locations feature our events. Food for the destitute, shelter for the homeless, nurses and doctors to treat what ails. Those who don't support us today, eventually will, as few people have any sort of security, any sort of respite. Most Americans are only two paychecks from being on the street.

Posted by Elise Mattu on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 11:44 pm

The abortion clinic destruction, oops, I mean bank destruction sort of makes your last line there a bit, um, colorful.

Posted by matlock on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 10:41 pm

Liberal Media:

http://online.wsj.com/article/AP6db3dbdfd7c3443f8cf590455adff539.html

ALBANY, N.Y. — Most New York voters don't believe the Occupy Wall Street movement has a clear message or represents 99 percent of Americans, but they support the demonstrators' right to stay in public parks around the clock, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The Siena College poll showed 45 percent of voters statewide have a favorable view of the movement, whose encampment was removed from a New York City park Tuesday by police. Forty-four percent have an unfavorable view, up six percentage points from a month earlier.

However, 57 percent of those polled said the demonstrators should be able to stay in the parks all day and all night, while 40 percent say they should not.

"Voters clearly support First Amendment rights," Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

And I do understand that as the epicenter of the movement NYC voters carry special weight. But this isn't trying to be a NYC movement, it's trying to be a national movement, and nationally it's suffering from a nosedive in public approval.

Posted by Longtime Lurker on Nov. 18, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

The data that are out there are the data that are out there. Reading this poll, you've got to know that NY State is 19m, 8m in NYC. That non-NYC 11m is moderate to conservative. If there is 57% support for Occupy to remain in Zuccotti in NY State, then that probably means that in NYC there is north of 80% support to balance out the more conservative upstate respondents.

It would not be out of the question to conclude that similar percentages of Californians and San Franciscans would fall in as New Yorkers did.

Even if 2/3 of San Franciscans support free speech in this case, that is several times more than voted for Ed Lee for mayor.

Ed Lee is in a no-win situation. Either he cracks down with militarized policing and Occupy grows stronger or he does nothing and Occupy grows stronger.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 19, 2011 @ 9:11 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 19, 2011 @ 7:05 am

Building and Construction Trades are often the most conservative components of the labor movement. It is awesome to see the BCT present and in support of Occupy!

Posted by marcos on Nov. 20, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

be occupying a shower anytime soon?

Posted by Chromefields on Nov. 21, 2011 @ 12:17 pm

... yet another infantile interjection from an idiot.

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Nov. 21, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

For your infantile interjection.

Posted by Chromefields on Nov. 21, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

fuck off, you pathetic little piece of breathing shit.

Posted by anonymous on Nov. 21, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

It makes no sense to get so angry at the internet machine. Perhaps some anger-management counseling would help you. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Posted by Chromefields on Nov. 21, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

Sophomoric - yes, but, considering the apparent level of his comprehension, probably the most appropriate response to his inane babblings.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MAqG6BObmc

Posted by Patrick Monk. RN on Nov. 21, 2011 @ 4:13 pm
Posted by Aragorn on Nov. 21, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

People should be swayed by your ideas on their own merit, not because you adopt my persona.

Posted by Aragorn on Nov. 21, 2011 @ 6:10 pm