Mayor Quan gets shouted down at forum

December 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Members of the Occupy Movement, shouted down the mayor of Oakland Thursday night and they were quickly escorted out of the building. Mayor Jean Quan wasn't even in her own city as she was getting heckled. She came to San Francisco for a public forum where she faced a hostile crowd.

It seemed like people in the audience completely ignored requests for civility. Almost every time Quan spoke, she was heckled or shouted down. It was a tough crowd, very different from other forums put on by the Commonwealth Club, which tries to keep things respectful.

It was supposed to be a civil discussion about the Occupy Movement, but for Quan, it was anything but. Some members of the audience who appeared to be part of the Occupy Movement stood up with their backs turned whenever she spoke, while others interrupted her, calling her a liar when she said Downtown merchants lost business during the occupation of Frank Ogawa Plaza.

"They lost 40 percent of their business during that time," said Quan.

On the panel itself, Quan was outnumbered. The mayor was the only city representative while three of the panelists were protesters of the Occupy Movement. Together, they defended the decision to disrupt operations at the port of Oakland on Monday.

"I do want to diffuse any myths out there that the media's spreading about us being economic terrorists. The true economic terrorists is the one percent," said Diana Macasa from Occupy SF.

The Commonwealth Club put together the forum and organizers had a hard time keeping things calm. The situation reached a climax when Quan talked about the violence that occurred during the general strike on Nov. 2nd.

"What the nation saw was the few seconds where a group of anarchists, a very small group, broke into buildings, started setting fires and that's all the nation saw," said Quan.

People in the crowd stood up and said, "Sorry Mayor Quan. That's a misrepresentation of anarchism in all its forms."

The protesters who stood up during the forum were eventually kicked out. The interruptions, however, continued. But Mayor Jean Quan appeared to have no regrets for showing up.

"I've been in tougher situations. I've been bullied before, but I thought it's really important, this is a chance to have a dialogue," said Quan.

After the panel spoke, the audience broke off into smaller discussion groups and members of the panel were invited to take part, but Quan quickly left to avoid further heckling.

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