Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Outside agitators demand "forceful action" to oust Occupy Oakland

The Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown District Community Benefit District Boards of Directors called on Mayor Quan to evict the Occupy Oakland camp. They take credit for making the Downtown area the cool hipster place it is, and they claim that the protests are ruining their little multi-cultural Neverland.
It is extremely frustrating, then, to see that our efforts to fund improvements and improve
parks and public spaces, all designed to attract new businesses and create opportunities for new entrepreneurs and employees in Uptown and Downtown, have been threatened by weak, confusing and inconsistent messages from the City in addressing the ramifications of the Occupy Oakland protest.
-The Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown District Community Benefit District Boards of
Business is all about buzz, and Oakland got more Buzz now than it ever has. There have always been protests, riots, rats and drug abuse. Every real Oaklander knows that this city has long had major problems with police brutality, homelessness, and mental illness. The Occupy Oakland movement hasn’t created any of these problems. In fact, we’re talking about how to address them, and we’ve called international attention to them. Apparently, the business community is really clueless about the city that they are trying to exploit.
I for one can say that I don’t hang out in downtown Oakland at night very often anymore. I’m a parent, not a hipster. The skyrocketing rents forced me to move my family even further East as the business community turned downtown Oakland into East Emeryville.
Don’t get me wrong, I like that downtown and the lake areas are now bustling with newcomers who have both disposable income and cool places to spend it. However, the business community needs to understand that Jerryfication may have gotten a lot of shiny new buildings constructed, but the real character of Oakland (diverse, multicultural, conscious, radical, futuristic, easily mobilized) is what filled up those buildings with people who were willing to flood the streets the night after we got shot and teargassed. It’s the business community, not the city, that has learned nothing from past riots. Riots happen, and we move on, and people still flock to come here and be a part of this community.
It is true that I didn’t spend any money downtown on the night of the 25th when the city was blowing $1 million brutalizing its own citizens in defense of a patch of dead grass, but I did get my wife to come out the next night to the GA, and afterwards we went and had a beer and some food at a downtown establishment. That’s something we haven’t done together in years.
Every smart business person knows that you need to create a market more than you need to create a product, and Occupy Oakland has IN FACT created a bustling market in Oakland. Maybe not IN the camp itself, but certainly the restaurants surrounding the city center who have something interesting to offer are doing all right considering the economic collapse that triggered the occupy everything movement (the business community also conveniently forgets to address the fact that the collapse came first, not the other way around).
The business community needs to look into its own city’s history to learn that none of this is anything new. It’s just bigger, more organized, and more focused.

Or is that what they’re truly afraid of?

It’s time for bold leadership and forceful action, not unending social experimentation. We call upon the Oakland City Council and the Mayor of Oakland to step up and provide cohesive, common sense leadership ‐ before it really is too late.
-The Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown District Community Benefit District Boards of

Oakland is alive and thriving.
It’s too late for the old paradigm (infinite growth Ponzi). If you want to cater to lamos, then maybe Oakland isn’t the best market for you.
We’re headed into the future. You’re welcome to join us if you’d like.
Otherwise, stay out of our way.