The OccupyOakland Chaos Continues

Today I came across this: An Open Letter to the Citizens of Oakland from the Oakland Police Offiers’ Association. If you don’t feel like clicking the link, here is the text:

We represent the 645 police officers who work hard every day to protect the citizens of Oakland. We, too, are the 99% fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families. We are severely understaffed with many City beats remaining unprotected by police during the day and evening hours.

As your police officers, we are confused.

On Tuesday, October 25th, we were ordered by Mayor Quan to clear out the encampments at Frank Ogawa Plaza and to keep protesters out of the Plaza. We performed the job that the Mayor’s Administration asked us to do, being fully aware that past protests in Oakland have resulted in rioting, violence and destruction of property.

Then, on Wednesday, October 26th, the Mayor allowed protesters back in – to camp out at the very place they were evacuated from the day before.

Occupy Oakland Camp

To add to the confusion, the Administration issued a memo on Friday, October 28th to all City workers in support of the “Stop Work” strike scheduled for Wednesday, giving all employees, except for police officers, permission to take the day off.
That’s hundreds of City workers encouraged to take off work to participate in the protest against “the establishment.” But aren’t the Mayor and her Administration part of the establishment they are paying City employees to protest? Is it the City’s intention to have City employees on both sides of a skirmish line?
It is all very confusing to us.

Meanwhile, a message has been sent to all police officers: Everyone, including those who have the day off, must show up for work on Wednesday. This is also being paid for by Oakland taxpayers. Last week’s events alone cost Oakland taxpayers over $1 million.

The Mayor and her Administration are beefing up police presence for Wednesday’s work strike they are encouraging and even “staffing,” spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for additional police presence – at a time when the Mayor is also asking Oakland residents to vote on an $80 parcel tax to bail out the City’s failing finances.
All of these mixed messages are confusing.
We love Oakland and just want to do our jobs to protect Oakland residents. We respectfully ask the citizens of Oakland to join us in demanding that our City officials, including Mayor Quan, make sound decisions and take responsibility for these decisions. Oakland is struggling – we need real leaders NOW who will step up and lead – not send mixed messages. Thank you for listening.”

Oakland Mayor
Jean Quan
Here’s the short version: Oakland Mayor Jean Quan doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing. One week ago, she ordered the Oakland police officers to clear out the OccupyOakland encampments. The Oakland police did just that. And it was a complete mess – police critically wounded an Iraq war veteran and it made international news. The next day, Mayor Jean Quan allowed the protesters back into their original encampments. And a few days later, a memo was issued to all Oakland city employees notifying them that they could take the following Wednesday (November 2nd) off to support the OccupyOakland strike. With the exception of all Oakland police officers. No day off for them. To top it off, Oakland’s finances are a mess and with each new ill-informed and thoughtless decision that Mayor Quan makes, she plunges the city further into debt, wasting more and more of precious taxpayer dollars.

Now, if other local politicians spent less time trying to (artificially) support the OccupyOakland movement and instead put their time and efforts to really helping the struggling city, we might actually come to a solution – or at least get started on trying to find one.

[Thanks to Oakland Local for making the image of Mayor Jean Quan available, rikomatic for the Occupy Oakland Camp image, and Henderson Images for the Oakland Police image – I appreciate all of these being made available for reuse.]



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