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Emails From Oakland Employees Show Attitude on Occupy Went From Acceptance to Alarm

| March 1, 2012
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The former encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza (Michelle Gachet, KQED)

Journalist Thomas Peele and database producer Daniel Willis from the Bay Area News Group have been posting dozens of emails about Occupy Oakland, culled from a set of 1,200 sent by Oakland city officials during the period when the Occupy encampment took root at Frank Ogawa Plaza, up to the first police raid on Oct 25. The emails were obtained under the Public Records Act.

As Peele writes, the emails were sent by “the people assigned to decide how to deal with protesters and shape the city’s image under an increasingly glaring spotlight.”

Here are nine extracts from the emails, in chronological order, which show the evolution from support to alarm in the city’s attitude about the encampment.

Oct 11, 2011

“The [protest] activity is protected and to the best of my knowledge we have not had incidents. I stopped by on the way out last night and we have many friends in the crowd.”
–Former Deputy Mayor Sharon Cornu

Oct 17, 2011

“This is a very dangerous situation and one that exposes the City to liability if another person needs our assistance and we cannot provide it. This will only get worse as they feel more empowered to challenge authority. I recommend that discussions begin to remove the campers from the plaza.”
–Jeffrey Israel, Former Deputy Police Chief

Oct 18, 2011

“Demonstrators were initially cooperative, but the City has been growing increasingly concerned about public health, safety and crowd control issues. We appreciate that you and others have brought those concerns to our attention, and we are informing the demonstrators of our requirement to address those concerns as a condition of our peaceful coexistence.

Attached is the latest flyer being delivered to demonstrators this morning. We have also set up a section on our homepage where these instructions will be posted so that as participants join the demonstration they will have a place to reference the rules.”
–Karen Boyd, Oakland Communications Director

Oct 18, 2011

“The flyer did not go over well. They consider any OPD attempt to escort marchers an escalation. They indicated they have burned all notices and intend not to ever comply because the city has not asked for compliance but attempted to direct the occupation. ‘Any attempt to favilitate the march will be considered an escalation and lead to riots’”
–Arturo Sanchez, Assistant to the City Administrator

Oct 19, 2011

“I think the time has come to end the encampment on the Plaza. Your memos to the campers illustrate the range of public health and safety issues that have been occurring. I think the encampment served its purpose in drawing attention to national issues that many of us are also concerned about, but I don’t think that maintaining this tent city in downtown Oakland is likely to have futher impact on Wall Street. Instead, it has become a serious blight in the middle of our downtown and is negatively impacting surrounding businesses and the legitimate activities of other Oaklanders. Perhaps most importantly, it is costing the City considerable money to manage.”
–Pat Kernighan, Oakland City Councilmember

Oct 23, 2011

“Looks like the Occupy Oakland movement has impacted a business. I can’t click thru to read article as IndyBay.org has been blocked by IT.”
–Harry Hamilton, Community and Economic Development Agency

Oct 24, 2011

“I saw mention of subscribing to Occupy Oakland texts in this Digital Journal article. I’m wondering if OPD intell has signed up?
–Harry Hamilton, Community and Economic Development Agency

Oct 25, 2011

“Dear City Council President Reid and Members of the City Council,

This morning at 4 am, the Oakland Police Department will enforce the “Notice of Violations and Demand to Cease Violations” issued on Friday, October 24 to persons staying overnight in Frank Ogawa Plaza and Snow Park related to the Occupy Oakland demonstration…

[T]he City can no longer assure adequate public health and safety at the Plaza. The Administration and OPD have planned this operation in a manner that is mindful of the various marches and scheduled events that have taken place on the Plaza and downtown over the past two weeks as well as seeking to minimize disruption to the daytime population in downtown Oakland, including City employees, businesses and merchants…

The City remains committed to respecting free speech as well as maintaining the City’s responsibility to protect public health and safety. Peaceful daytime assembly will continue to be allowed between 6 am and 10 pm daily, but no camping or overnight stays will be permitted.”
–Deanna Santana, City Administrator

Oct 25, 2011

Subject: Phone call feedback

“The folks calling are not happy about the take down of camp, most from out of the area. But their calls are based on inaccurate information and really based on twitter feeds where occupy Oakland made a lot of false claims.”
–Arturo Sanchez, Assistant to the City Administrator

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Category: Law

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  • Harun

    why not post the email that show Police Chief Howard Jordan knew that crime in Oakland dropped 19% while the Occupy Oakland encampment was there? He knew this a still repeatedly claimed crime was on the rise because of Occupy.