One Year Later: Effects Of Occupy L.A.
Redesigned City Hall lawn
A physical effect the Occupy L.A. movement had on the city was the lawn renovation of City Hall. The $1 million renovation became necessary after protesters caused damage to the lawn, sprinkler system, a fountain and historic monuments during their two-month stakeout in the park. According to CBS Los Angeles, the park around City Hall reopened on July 19, almost eight months after police arrested hundreds of demonstrators, and closed the park. Demonstrators were initially evicted from the park in late November after cited reports of crime, drug use and inappropriate presence of children.
Financial expenses for the city
According to Southern California Public Radio, a report from the city administrative officer revealed that allowing the demonstrators to camp out on the City Hall lawn for two months has cost the city $4.7 million. As quoted in an online article for the Southern California Public Radio, Councilman Mitch Englander said, “When we’re in dire financial shape right now and cutting programs and slashing services and unable to maintain pools and streets and sidewalks and trees, we’ve got to look at these dollars. I mean, $5 million is a lot of money.”
Winter housing benefitted the homeless
The homeless in communities surrounding the Occupy L.A. demonstrations began to take up space in activists’ camps in late October. According to CBS LA, 7 percent of the campers were homeless. As the issues of homeless arose, and the city attempted to evict all protesters from the park, the Los Angeles Housing Service Authority announced the Winter Shelter Program for Homeless would begin on Dec. 1. However, as it became late November, many who had made the park outside City Hall their home still refused to leave. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wanted to ensure the homeless would have a place to go and offered 50 shelter beds to be available three nights prior to the beginning of the Los Angeles Winter Housing program.
Los Angeles unifies
Over the past year, thousands of people have come together to join the rallies for Occupy L.A. The movement has given residents a chance to stand united under one cause and have their voices heard. Gatherings in support of Occupy L.A. have continued despite the takedown of their camp outside the City Hall park. The organization still holds general assembly in Pershing Square every Wednesday. As the one-year anniversary approaches, Occupy L.A. plans to come together again to make a statement to the community. According to an announcement on the Occupy L.A. Facebook page, the organization is holding a One-Year Anniversary Direct Action Rally in Pershing Square, from Sept. 28-Oct. 1.
Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on the Occupy movement here.
Reach Staff Reporter Emily Goldberg here.