Oakland council doesn't vote on port measure

December 21, 2011 12:39:41 AM PST
Oakland city leaders don't want another day of lost business at the port. To make sure it doesn't happen, they're talking about asking police to respond more aggressively the next time.

It appears the shippers are the force behind the resolution. Port officials say they're threatening to bypass Oakland because of uncertainty around the port.

"These one day closures are effecting them at the rate of two and a half working days because of the time it takes to get caught up on delivering containers to them," GSC Logistics spokesperson Andres Garcia said.

Port of Oakland officials estimate the last Occupy protest that shutdown the port on Dec. 12 cost waterfront operations about $4 million.

"They get paid by the load, so if they get stuck in there, they make no money," trucker John Bertelli said.

Reacting to the Occupy demonstrations has cost the city about $2.5 million in police overtime.

"I did everything we could to keep the port open; we kept most of it open most of the day," Mayor Jean Quan said.

But Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente believes Quan could've done a lot more. That's why he's pushing a resolution to direct the mayor and city manager to use more aggressive police measures to prevent a future shutdown.

"Do you really want to precipitate another confrontation between the Oakland Police Department and the Occupy movement? I think not," Oakland resident Geoff Collins said.

Despite lost wages, the Alameda Labor Council, representing unions who want better working conditions, came out against the resolution.

"It targets the rights of freedom of speech and the First Amendment rights," Alameda Labor Council spokesperson Josie Camacho said.

The discussion fell apart when Occupy Oakland protesters targeted the free speech of Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar Benjamin.

"You know for people who advocate the right to free speech you're certainly giving this man the right of free speech," City Council President Larry Reid said.

Reid said at first he was not going to support the resolution because it was too broad but after the behavior of the protesters at the meeting, he changed his mind.

Late Tuesday, the resolution was tabled due to a procedural issue. The next step is likely that the item will be taken back to the rules committee and will be considered as a normal item for council to consider and not as an urgent item to be fast tracked.


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