Possible new location found for 'Occupy SF'

November 24, 2011 12:27:54 AM PST
The City of San Francisco is facing the threat of a lawsuit from businesses near the Occupy San Francisco encampment at Justin Herman Plaza. On top of that, there's talk of a new home for the protesters.

Occupy San Francisco wore out its welcome at Justin Herman Plaza long ago as far as some neighboring hotels, restaurants and other businesses are concerned.

"The threat of a lawsuit has been presented to City Hall," said Ken Cleaveland with the Building Owners and Managers Association. "They are quite aware of it -- the mayor and the Board of Supervisors are quite aware of a lawsuit."

Cleveland says the encampment at the nearby plaza has caused financial losses.

"We're saying enough is enough," Cleveland said. "It's time to move the camp."

Department of Public Works Director Mohamed Nuru has talked to campers about relocating and recently took some of the protesters on a tour of the former Phoenix Continuation High School in the Mission District. Some demonstrators told ABC7 they have no intention of setting up tents there.

"I saw the space, we're not visible," said protester Prince Falling-Darlying. "If we're not visible then how are we going to get our message across?"

The site is owned by the school district, which would have to agree to lease the land. School Board President Hydra Mendoza told ABC7 that "at this point, everything is so preliminary that there really isn't anything to say."

That's what Mayor Ed Lee said as well.

"It's really just talk right now," Lee said. "I don't know any details. I'd have to wait to see if agencies of the city have been talking with them about ideas."

A shop manager in the Mission says the school grounds might be alright.

"I would not mind it as long as it was peaceful, safe and the area stays clean," said Sam Madback with Fida's Market.

Then again, the protesters say no way.

"They are trying to shove us away," said one protester, "and we're not going anywhere."

A source within the school district says the school would say no way to the use of the land for that purpose as well. The occupiers also said on Wednesday they have a new economic vision and plan to launch their own credit union. However, they say they will need $7 million to get it off the ground and that some have pledged a significant amount.

ABC7's Leslie Brinkley contributed to this report.

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