Oakland Chamber Calls Out Mayor, City Leadership On Occupy Oakland

By Joseph J. Haraburda, President & CEO, Oakland Chamber of Commerce

Dear Mayor Quan:

The lack of action has caused the occupy situation to speed out of control.  The vandalism, business losses and general fear is NOT an acceptable condition for our great city.  What is your plan?
 
The general strike and protests have been terrible for the City of Oakland. It is not peaceful to attack places of business, causing customers and employees to fear for their safety, breaking windows and preventing people from going about their daily business. Employees fear coming to work.  Productivity is down.  Businesses are losing income and their ability to remain viable is in jeopardy. New employers are turning their backs on Oakland just moments before signing new leases.
 
While many protestors are peaceful, the situation that you have allowed to develop makes it easier for violence to erupt. Hiding among campers and protestors, vandals commit acts of property destruction and violence that hurts us all. Leadership is required.   
 
The overnight encampment in public space should be ended immediately. Unfortunately after the good work of the police on October 25 to clear the camp, the City's failure to act to stop new tents from going up effectively acts as permission to camp. We all have a right to free speech.  We all also have a right to enjoy public space, use roads and public transportation, go to work and shop without being assaulted. 

It is incumbent upon city leaders to protect all these rights - for all citizens, including police.

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