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Occupy Oakland Plans Wednesday To Shut Down The 1 Percent

Paresh Dave |
November 1, 2011 | 2:36 p.m. PDT


Occupy Oakland protestors want the rest of city to join them on the streets Wednesday, skipping work to send a message to corporations they say are caught up with greed.

Several labor unions said many of their members will ditch their offices and classrooms to be part of the protests. Among those members will be hundreds of teachers, which should be good news for substitute teachers looking to make some extra cash.

The full-day of events includes a march on Wells Fargo, a cook-out hosted by labor organizers, a rally at the main Frank Ogawa Plaza encampment and a visit to the Port of Oakland.

In an open letter to Mayor Jean Quan, the police officers' union said they had no idea how they were supposed to handle Wednesday's strikes. The union wrote:

The Mayor and her Administration are beefing up police presence for Wednesday’s work strike they are encouraging and even “staffing,” spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for additional police presence – at a time when the Mayor is also asking Oakland residents to vote on an $80 parcel tax to bail out the City’s failing finances. 

All of these mixed messages are confusing. 

We love Oakland and just want to do our jobs to protect Oakland residents. We respectfully ask the citizens of Oakland to join us in demanding that our City officials, including Mayor Quan, make sound decisions and take responsibility for these decisions. Oakland is struggling – we need real leaders NOW who will step up and lead – not send mixed messages.

The citywide strike would come a week after Oakland Police turned to tear gas, batons and other force to push the protestors away from their encampment. While police officials said their use of force was justified, they are investigating several cases where protestors suffered injuries.

Quan in an unrelated open letter to the city said she was meeting with police officials to ensure everyone's rights could be protected and the violence of last week avoided. Part of her message:

In the short term, I want to encourage everyone to support our small businesses, especially those in the downtown core who have experienced declining patronage. They are a part of the 99%, and they are essential to our local economy.

The Port of Oakland, not to be outdone, also threw in an open letter to the protestors. It explained the port's grim financial picture and championed the port's importance to the Bay Area economy. The port's executive director also said the protestors won't be blocked.

Since becoming aware of the proposed march to the Port, we have been engaged with our public safety and security partners at the local, regional, state, and federal levels of government. We are all emphasizing the need for a peaceful and respectful assembly and expression of free speech.


The demonstrations have some worried. The San Francisco Chronicle reported:

Council President Larry Reid said the encampment and Wednesday's strike were having a "devastating" effect on the city's image with business.

"We've worked hard to get this city on sound footing, to get the kinds of retailers that other cities have in their urban core," Reid said. "This sends the message to those that may have had an interest that we as a city of Oakland will allow these kinds of activities to take place. Nobody is going to open up businesses in downtown Oakland."

Quan, meanwhile, faces a recall campaign. She said Tuesday that holding a recall elecltion would further worsen the city's finances.

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