Occupy at forefront of Bay Area economic summit

February 14, 2012 12:44:47 PM PST
The Occupy movement's financial impact on two major Bay Area cities was front and center Tuesday as the mayors of Oakland and San Francisco attended an annual summit on the region's economic future.

They both have lots of challenges this year, which has not exactly been smooth sailing so far. The two mayors have two very different cities, but they say they are both linked by a lot more than just the Bay Bridge. They are linked financially and economically, amongst other things.

One predominant question for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan centers on what she is going to do about Occupy Oakland protesters. The business community wants to know if she can pledge to keep businesses running and keep the port open. It is essential to Quan's five-point plan for the city which includes developing retail and expanding the port.

Quan told attendees that Occupy is not just Oakland's problem. "It's the blessing and the curse of being so centrally located. We watch the Occupy demonstrators come off of BART, literally. Most of them are coming off of BART. Many of them come from the city, from Berkeley, from the whole Bay Area, and so, it is not just an Oakland problem. It is a discussion that, I think, has to be in the whole Bay Area," she said Tuesday morning.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee told the crowd he is going to focus on job creation in San Francisco, especially in the high-tech sector around the Mid-Market and South of Market areas. The city already has Twitter and Zynga, but Lee wants more. He is pledging payroll tax reform, money for streets and parks, and he is also excited about the America's Cup races and the lasting change it may bring.

"We're very lucky that this yacht race, one of the world's most watched sailing races, has turned a corner with us, allows for this private investment of over $100 million to be invested in our piers," Lee said. "We haven't seen that kind of investment in several decades."

Lee is positive the races are going to mean a profit for San Francisco. A report released week suggested they might actually cost the city money, but Lee says tweaks can be made so that this does not happen.

As attendees left the breakfast Tuesday, they all received a fortune cookie; after all, it did feature two Asian mayors. All of the, said the same thing: "Oakland and SF are partners developing Bay Area prosperity."


Load Comments