Occupy Oakland: Time to break camp


MONTCLARION: November 11, 2011

The fall of frustration is turning into the winter of discontent as Oakland bumbles its way through the latest round of civil disobedience. We can’t get a break in this town.

I took a stroll through Occupy Oakland the other day — and was, quite frankly, disappointed. I expected to see a lenticular cloud of pot smoke above “Oscar Grant Plaza” but the air was still and the campers were quiet. I guess 3 p.m. is early when you’ve been up all night.

Still, I can’t help but wonder if the whole thing will fizzle out when the weather turns foul. I hope so. These folks need to break camp and figure out a plan that supports the 99 percent — not drives them away.

In an open letter to Occupy Oakland this week, District 4 Councilmember Libby Schaaf cites these facts in calling for the encampment to disband: Three businesses pulled out of lease negotiations in downtown Oakland last week; the protest has cost our city more than $1 million to date and created health and safety problems that the protesters refuse to address; it’s stretched our resources so thin that one night alone, 179 calls to police on 911 went unanswered and the encampment has provided cover and opportunity for anarchists.

Schaaf also says rumors that the city wants to relocate the occupiers to Woodminster or one of several other Oakland sites are false and that she “unequivocally opposes” any unlawful encampment by this group.

Of course, it will be hard to convincethe protesters to leave, and using force will just cause them to dig in their heels. So I’m calling on the occupiers to declare victory and rally around the Buy American campaign to create income equity. Statistics show that if we each spend an extra $3.33 on U.S. made goods, it will create almost 10,000 new jobs in this country. It makes a lot more sense than smashing windows and spraying graffiti on struggling small businesses.

HIPPY HAPPENING: Rockridge BART is seeing a surge of hippies these days, thanks to the opening of “Hair” at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre. This play, by the way, has it all. It’s a ’60s flashback with electric music, psychedelic costumes and nudity.

ANIMAL TALES: Somewhere in Moraga, there’s a coyote that craved a burger from Carl’s Jr. Police at St. Mary’s College say a student was walking with a bag of fast food recently when a coyote suddenly appeared. The animal made a low growl and then grabbed the bag from the student’s hands and high-tailed it into the hills. Now that’s a wily coyote.

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