Oakland apologizes to 'Occupy'-hit businesses

Damage in Oakland the day after thousands of anti-Wall Street protesters took to the streets on November 2, 2011.
November 4, 2011 11:26:43 PM PDT
In-between the Occupy demonstrators, the police and the politicians are the Oakland businesses who say they can't stay in the city if the demonstrations continue.

Things were quiet on Friday and there was no new word from city officials, but there is a sense that things in downtown Oakland must come to a head at some point. In the meantime, business leaders are complaining loudly that they've seen enough of "Occupy Oakland."

Banks in downtown Oakland are boarding up two days after windows on bank buildings were shattered during all-day demonstrations. A spokesperson for Chase Bank told ABC7 the decision was made on Friday after more demonstrators showed up near 20th Street and Webster.

Oakland Chamber of Commerce President Joe Haraburda says many businesses in the downtown area are feeling abandoned by Mayor Jean Quan. Haraburda says three big lease deals have already been lost since Occupy Oakland began with more phone calls coming in on Friday.

"Earlier today, I met with a CEO who said, in the future, he is re-thinking whether to renew leases," said Haraburda. "He said, 'I want you to know, we're not looking to Oakland to do business.'"

But Dan Siegel, advisor to Mayor Quan, says the mayor is trying to balance the interests of many.

"She's being pressured by the business community, by the police department, by the people at City hall," said Siegel, "but her position seems to be that she agrees with what the Occupy movement is doing and wants to see it succeed."

So far, the city's received 15 requests for help from businesses that were damaged on Wednesday.

Tully's Coffee was looted and windows were broken. A city team visited the store on Friday.

"I'm glad that they're reaching out. They should," manager Shari Rivers. "At the end of the day, this all falls on Jean Quan and the decisions that she's made."

On Thursday night, the city council discussed a resolution to offer long-term help to the campers. With or without it, some say they're here to stay.

"Some people will leave," said demonstrator Marvin Williams. "The core people who are die-hard for the movement are not going to leave."

Oakland has yet to release complete numbers as to the amount of damage that was done to buildings and businesses this past week, and how much all of the damage has cost the taxpayers.


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