Occupy Oakland Regroups After Second Eviction; Deputy Mayor Sharon Cornu Resigns
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Tuesday, 8:32 a.m. The Bay Citizen talked to Sharon Cornu, now a former Oakland Deputy Mayor after resigning yesterday:
In an interview, Cornu said she remained “a big fan of Jean Quan.”
“I have supported the mayor’s actions on Occupy Oakland. I think through this very very difficult time, her leadership has been important in showing a way forward that included a balance between first amendment rights and public safety,” Cornu said.
In a statement, Quan did not say why Cornu decided to resign, only that she “has been a tremendous asset to my administration. We wish her well and Im [sic] grateful for her contributions.”
“I will restructuring my administration and making additional personnel announcements in the coming days,” the mayor wrote.
Cornu was the second Quan administration official to bail in one day. Earlier, her legal adviser and longtime friend Dan Siegel resigned, criticizing the raid of the Occupy Oakland encampment in Frank Ogawa Plaza.
And in the damned-if-she-does, damned-if-she-doesn’t category: Two weeks ago, communications consultant Nathan Ballard quit because Quan wasn’t tough enough on the protesters. From Matier & Ross on Sunday:
“It was not the right fit, and I wish her well,” Ballard said.
Bottom line: Ballard – who has lots of law enforcement clients – was frustrated by antipolice voices in the administration and knew the gig was up once the city let the Occupy Oakland camp return to Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Deputy Mayor Sharon Cornu has resigned, effective immediately, the second member of the mayor’s team to submit her resignation just today. Mayor Jean Quan’s legal adviser and longtime friend, Dan Siegel, also resigned today over the mayor’s handling of the Occupy encampment.
In a statement, Mayor Jean Quan wrote, “Sharon has been a tremendous asset to my administration.
We wish her well and I’m grateful for her contributions. I will be restructuring my administration and making additional personnel announcements in the coming days.”
Asked for more details, Quan’s spokeswoman Sue Piper said in an email, “It’s a personnel issue.”
6:46 p.m. KQED’s Peter Jon Shuler reports that the general assembly is peaceful, and people he spoke to have mixed emotions about bringing tents back to the plaza. He spoke with Boots Riley, local hip hop artist and active organizer in the local Occupy demonstrations, who said he wasn’t aware of any plans to bring tents back tonight.
After welcoming people “home,” the evening’s discussion turned into a bit of a business meeting, Shuler says. Announcers read out emergency numbers for medics and legal assistance, and as Joshua Holland reports, breaking into smaller “neighborhood assemblies” that meet in different spaces but under the same principles of Occupy Wall Street.
Shuler says there is significant police presence on the edge of the plaza, but they are dressed in regular uniforms — no riot gear, no helmets. However, an police incident commander tells Shuler that the Plaza will be closed at 10 p.m.
The City and police have stated repeatedly today they would not allow any camping, but would allow people to peacefully assemble throughout the day.
Listen to Shuler’s report from 6:00 p.m. when the group of about 500 began to gather in Frank Ogawa Plaza.
6:15: p.m. At the general assembly, speakers announced a plan to meet at 14th Street and Broadway Avenue at 2:30 p.m. to march to UC Berkeley in support of the “Occupy Cal” group.
Also planned for Saturday, another march will begin at that same intersection at 2:00 p.m., reports Joshua Holland from AlterNet. Reporter Emily Lofits tweets that a working group to organize that march will be held tomorrow at 6:00 p.m.
KQED’s Peter Jon Shuler is on the scene, and will send us updates.
5:10 p.m. After being evicted for the second time, Occupy Oakland supporters regrouped this afternoon at the Main Public Library.
Police estimate the crowd is about 500 people, currently on the march toward Frank Ogawa Plaza. Local ABC TV affiliate KGO-7 has a videographer walking with the crowd, but hasn’t made the streaming video embeddable.
KGO has provided this video of a press conference with Mayor Jean Quan this afternoon, regarding the dissolution of the Occupy Oakland encampment.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Riot-clad law enforcement officers cleared out Oakland’s weeks-old anti-Wall Street encampment just before dawn, arresting Occupy demonstrators and removing tents from a downtown plaza after issuing several warnings over the weekend. Protesters appeared to put up little resistance and officers could be seen calmly leading some demonstrators away in plastic handcuffs. Officers made 32 arrests during Monday’s raid, Police Chief Howard Jordan said, adding that there were no reports of injuries to officers or protesters.Full article
2:28 p.m. Scott Olsen, the Iraq War vet injured in one of the violent clashes between police and protesters after the first time the encampment was cleared, has been discharged from the hospital.
Here is Olsen’s Google Plus page, on which he posted this statement yesterday:
I’m feeling a lot better, with a long road in front of me. After my freedom of speech was quite literally taken from me, my speech is coming back but I’ve got a lot of work to do with rehab. Thank you for all your support, it has meant the world to me. You’ll be hearing more from me in the near future and soon enough we’ll see you in our streets!
2:25 p.m. It was a tough day for Occupy Eureka as well. Thirty-two arrested as police cleared out the encampment for the second time.
2:15 p.m. Here’s our reporter Caitlin Esch’s video of police dismantling the Occupy Oakland encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza early this morning:
When asked why today’s raid appears to have gone so much more smoothly than the one on Oct 25, Quan only said, “You know, Howard Jordan, Deanna Santana, the city administrator, and I are a new administration, and we’ve been working together very closely on this.”
Some quotes from the mayor, from the show:
On why the raid occurred
It’s not the sanitation issues, it was the violence in the camp—the recent murder, the sexual assault, the open fighting, the drug dealing. That in the middle of the heart of Oakland. I don’t think anybody wants that kind of situation in their community or in their neighborhood. Frank Ogawa Plaza really is a symbol of the whole city where everyone should come, be able to use it peacefully and that’s not what it was anymore.
On violent protesters
The Bay Area has a group of- of people who want to make their political organizing fighting and confronting the police and that’s unfortunate and they hide within the peaceful demonstrators.
On the impact of the protest
I think that’s what Oaklanders are saying now, that we’re tired of this. That these demonstrations have cost us real services, real impact to the community.
On the cost to the city
I’m not alone here, I was on a conference call with 18 other mayors and you know, a city like Oakland, we don’t have the extra taxes that San Francisco has. We are really the 99 percent. We have high percentages of people who are unemployed and – and in poverty. So these expenses are really going to hurt the community.
1 p.m. Photos from today’s raid in our Occupy Bay Area Flickr pool.
11:40 a.m. Official statement from Jean Quan today:
I’m very grateful that this morning’s effort went so smoothly and peacefully. We’re here this morning because Occupy Oakland has taken on a different direction from the national movement.
It was no longer about the abuses of the financial institutions, foreclosures and to the unemployed. At the encampment we’ve had repeated violence, we’ve had a murder. I don’t want any more people to die before this comes to an end.
The encampment has been a tremendous drain on our city. During one of the recent demonstrations, we had 179 public safety calls for service that went unanswered because of the demonstrations downtown. We’ve had increased drug dealing, sexual assaults—all of this was occurring in a one-square block encampment.
This is not what Occupy Wall Street is about. In addition to the violence at Frank Ogawa Plaza, the city cannot afford for our small businesses and vibrant downtown to lose hundreds of jobs and nearly half of their patrons.
For weeks now we’ve been trying to meet with the organizers of the encampment and there is no clear agenda or demands. We remain one of the only cities that has not had a representative committee to work with. Our community’s already strained resources– our police, our public works and other city services –have been pulled away from serving Oakland residents who ARE the 99%.
We took every step we could to resolve this peacefully. We planned the removal as carefully as we could and made repeated attempts to make sure that all campers who wanted to leave voluntarily had the opportunity to do so.
We met with multiple groups during the last week. And we are grateful that many took advantage of the opportunity to leave peacefully. I also want to thank the many churches and community groups who stepped up to offer alternative housing and to encourage the camp to close peacefully.
As the Mayor of Oakland in this very difficult situation, I’ve tried to do what is right for the City and for the safety of our people at every step. I am asking for people–even those who disagree with this decision–to respect the City’s right to close the encampment and for demonstrators not to engage in destructive acts. It is time for us to work together on the issues that unite us.
I want to thank the Alameda County Mutual Aid police departments and our own police, public works staff and other city staff who have also worked hard to keep this peaceful.
Yesterday, Caitlin Esch talked briefly to Zachary Running Wolf, a protester who is perched up a tree on 14th Street between Broadway and Franklin, on the edge of the plaza. Esch sent her recorder up to him in a basket. “We have a gas mask, eye protection,” he said. “We have ability to take rubber bullets. We’re ready for this. We have extra food. We have water. We’re able to survive 7-10 days without being resupplied.”
When he says “we,” it’s the royal we, says Caitlin Esch. “He said he thought more tree-sitters would join him, but none did.”
The Chronicle is reporting that “Howard Jordan said police were contacting prosecutors for guidance as to whether tree-sitting constituted ‘lodging’.” It’s a No Lodging ordinance that is being enforced on Frank Ogawa.
10:17 a.m. Statement from the Oakland Police Officers Association, offering thank yous to Howard Jordan, Deanna Santana, and even the protesters. Conspicuous by her absence on this list: No thank you to Quan.
On behalf of the 645 Oakland police officers we represent, Oakland Police Officers’ Association would like to thank our Police Chief Howard Jordan and City Administrator Deanna Santana for their leadership in the peaceful removal of the occupier encampment. We are also appreciative of the mutual aid provided by law enforcement agencies from throughout the Bay Area.
To the Occupy Oakland protesters: “Thank you for your peaceful exit from Frank Ogawa Plaza – it was greatly appreciated by all,” said Sgt. Dom Arotzarena. “We respect your right to peaceful protest, and urge your continued willingness to abide by the law.”
10:00 a.m. Caitlin Esch, our reporter on the scene this morning, was at the encampment both pre-raid and post-raid. She said the rain had created a lot of mud, so the protesters had covered it over with hay. The smell was extremely strong, she said.
In general, she said the scene was “not pretty,” both before and after. “There was stuff strewn everywhere. Garbage and debris, mattresses, water bottles, sleeping bags, food…”
Esch noted the marked difference between the way police approached this raid as opposed to the first one on Oct 25.
“At 5:22 a.m. police started making a series of dispersal orders. I counted at least 10 in the next 35 to 40 minutes before they moved in and started making arrests. But by that time just about everyone who wanted to leave had left.”
In the Oct 25 pre-dawn raid, police gave a five-minute warning, which by some accounts was more like two to three minutes, before they moved in.
Esch also talked about the group of 12-13 inter-faith religious protesters who chose to be arrested. “They were gathered in a semi-circle, singing ‘Amazing Grace’ and ‘We Shall Overcome,’ surrounded by candles in little plastic cups. They refused to leave, but were peaceful as they were arrested. They had declared their tent a sanctuary, hoping that would save them from arrest.”
9:40 a.m. KQED’s Joshua Johnson interviewed Jean Quan this morning. A transcript follows the audio:
Joshua Johnson: I understand that you were able to walk through the encampment this morning after the police shut it down again. Is that so? And if so, what did you see?
Jean Quan: You know, what you’ll see is that there has been quite a lot of squalor there. I listened to your morning report and I listen to it every morning. The reality was that the reason we closed the camp was because of the violence and the safety issues. We had a murder earlier this weekend. There had been repeated reports of violence, drug dealing, and sexual assaults. And that’s become a real problem of the movement. And um, over the weekend, many of the peaceful demonstrators had left the camp.
JJ: Has there been any progress investigating that murder?
JQ: You’ll have to talk to the police chief.
JJ: I imagine it’s been tough navigating supporting the protesters and being the face of the government’s authority. You and a number of city officials including the Oakland police officer’s association have said that you support the 99%. Many of you have said you ARE the 99%. But the reality is that you are also the mayor who has a fiduciary and a legal responsibility to keep the city safe and orderly and on time and on budget. How have you navigated that and do you think it may get easier now going forward?
JQ: You know, being a mayor is never easy. A lot of people know I have an activist background. On one hand, I support a lot of the movements involved. On the other hand, I’m the mayor of the city and have to guarantee safety and what’s good for the economy in Oakland. So it’s been very tough but I’ve made every decision based on what I’ve thought was best for the safety and the economy of the city. The Occupy Oakland movement has probably cost the city millions of dollars, took away precious police officers out of my tougher neighborhoods. That are facing violence. And we just had to end the encampment.
JJ: Some of the chatter on Twitter that we’ve been checking out this morning would suggest that at today’s General Assembly, they’re going to reconnect around 4 o’clock, I believe it is near the Oakland Public Library, and may decide to re-re-Occupy the plaza. How long do you see this going on? Where the squatters show up and you kick them out and they show up again and you kick them out again and they show up again. How do you make an end game to all of this?
JQ: Well first of all, there is a group of the peaceful demonstrators who realize that they were not getting any organizing done who have left and they’re over at Snow Park and are looking for a private space. Similar to Wall Street. Wall Street is actually in a private park and so this is supposed to be about the organizing and not about encampments. That’s a tactic and not a solution. The Plaza is a public space. It belongs to all of Oakland and we’ll allow people to gather there for free speech- they can continue to have their general assemblies, but they’re not going to be allowed to camp.
JJ: There had been reports this morning from the Chronicle that your legal adviser Dan Siegel hadresigned. He posted on his Facebook page and his twitter feed the same note. It says quote, “No longer Mayor Quan’s legal adviser. Resigned at 2 AM. Support Occupy Oakland, not the 1% and its government facilitators,” unquote. Your reaction to that?
JQ: Dan and I are old friends from the old days. He was working on one project for me. I thank him for that work. People move on, I’m moving on. Today I’m really focused on some job creation, working with our federal police monitor. I’m doing the work of the city and you know, he and I will have our differences over the years.
JJ: To people who may be looking at Oakland and saying- what is it about this town that seems to be facilitating this? There are plenty of Occupiers in other cities. What do you think it is about Oakland that has made this A) fertile ground for the movement, and B) so intransigent to try and get the Occupiers to leave?
JQ: You know, Oakland really is a city of the 99 percent. And we’ve been the birthplace of many movements for peace and justice. I think the problem we have is we have a very large intransigent group of people who were more into fighting the police and making the plaza the issue rather than the issues of the 99 percent movement. And I’m hoping that people are beginning to see that and separating themselves off from people who are sometimes violent and um, continuing with the work of organizing.
UPDATE: #OccupyOakland camp at Snow Park will not be raided today, police chief says.
— California Beat (@californiabeat) November 14, 2011
UPDATE: 32 protesters arrested at #OccupyOakland camp site, city says. One protester remains perched on tree at plaza.
— California Beat (@californiabeat) November 14, 2011
8:45 a.m. Quan’s chief legal adviser, civil rights attorney Dan Siegel, resigned today over the police action.
8:38 a.m. Live now: Oakland City leaders hold press conference. Watch live here.
7:55 a.m. At 9. a.m., Mayor Jean Quan is scheduled to appear on KQED’s Radio’s Forum. Listen live here or on-air at 88.5 FM.
Update 7:50 a.m. KQED reporter Caitlin Esch reports the scene is quiet. Police are blocking off Frank Ogawa Plaza. Fewer than 100 protesters have gathered at 14th and Broadway, and their numbers are dwindling.
KQED’s Ian Hill has been pulling from Twitter and the web since the police action began early this morning. He gathered the material below…