Dear Business Leader,
This morning at approximately 4:30 a.m., the Oakland Police Department enforced the “Notice of Violations and Demand to Cease Violations” issued on Friday, November 11, to persons lodging at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza related to the Occupy Oakland demonstration.
From the outset of the demonstration, which began a month ago on Monday, October 10, the City of Oakland has focused on three clear goals: 1) facilitating the protesters’ right to free speech and peaceful expression, 2) maintaining public health and safety, and 3) crowd control.
City staff has been trying to communicate with the protesters from the outset of the demonstration, which began as a peaceful demonstration that was supported by many of the City’s elected officials, was funded by labor and enjoyed widespread support by many progressive groups and individuals as an outgrowth of the national and international “Occupy Wall Street” movement.
Our goal has been to facilitate individuals to remove their tents, cooking facilities, and belongings, and to leave cooperatively. We partnered with community allies to help facilitate communication with the protesters regarding their departure, and we partnered with Alameda County to provide services to assist those with housing and behavioral health needs. It was only until this week, with the help of community dialogue, that we were able to obtain communication and facilitate partial voluntary removal in the Plaza.
However, as of Sunday evening, a majority of protesters were still lodging in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and given unfortunate occurrence of Thursday evening’s homicide, the City could not assure adequate public health and safety in the plaza. The complexity of securing an adequate level of mutual aid has been a challenge, and has impacted timing of the City’s response. We are fortunate that law enforcement agencies have made themselves available to provide this service, which has been coordinated by the County Sheriff's Office.
We have instructed City staff working around Frank Ogawa Plaza this morning to delay their arrival at to 10 am. We are sharing this information with Downtown Businesses so that you can use discretion on whether to delay your work day based on your assessment of the situation. I greatly respect the commitment and support that the business community has shown during these events and appreciate your patience this past month. The City of Oakland is fortunate to have such a dedicated, resilient, and engaged business community. We know that these have been trying times for your business and for Oakland’s economy in general. We are committed to working with you now and into the future to strengthen Oakland’s business climate, create jobs, and grow the economy.
We will continue to provide updates as they become available; news releases will be posted to www.oaklandnet.com throughout the day for additional information to assist with your decision-making process.
Deanna J. Santana