Valdez will be the stalwart of the OccupyCCSF for the next few weeks because, as he explained, finals are upon the students and the occupiers had to pack up and go study. Valdez said that he could afford to skip out on the rest of his classes and was committed to continuing the encampment “until the cops come.” He’s running a 50 foot extension cord from his tent to an outlet of Smith Hall, and so far, the campus police “have not provided resistance.” Valdez expects more students to return in January. So far, all the feedback he’s gotten during this occupation has been positive.
Forty-five protesters were arrested for illegal lodging in the pre-dawn raid. Their belongings were confiscated. No injuries were reported.
“The police came out of nowhere,” said a citizen journalist who documented the raid live on Ustream. “I was standing here, literally just a few feet from here when they [SFPD] came running from around the corner, up the side in a mass attack.”
In 1921, the California Legislature passed the Public Defender Act after Clara Foltz, California’s first female lawyer, spent years advocating for the creation of Public Defenders’ offices to provide legal assistance to poor people in criminal law cases. Later in 1921, responding to the Public Defender Act, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance creating the Office of the Public Defender.
Police moved in and ordered the protesters to leave the space, stating the plaza was closed for renovations. Most of the protesters complied with the SFPD order but a defiant group of 30 protesters remained following an SFPD clearing operation. One protester, Chris Jones, was injured during the forcible removal action. He was treated at the scene by SFFD paramedics and taken to hospital.
At noon today, activists held General Assembly in front of the Federal Reserve. Despite the ransacking of the encampment, spirits were high, and speakers were defiant. Activists made the point that there are several alternative locations for OccupySF already. A new focus on foreclosures is leading to the occupation of vacant bank-owned houses. Petitions were being circulated in support of “Josephine,” who is being evicted by Bank of America.
A crowd favorite was the live auction of a bike ride and lunch date with District 11 Supervisor John Avalos. Making the sound of a sheep, Supervisor Avalos announced his “BAAA” legislation: the Bike Access and Anti-theft Act, to be introduced in January. This Act will require commercial buildings to either provide space for parking bikes or to allow tenants to provide such space. The intent is to keep the sidewalks clear of bikes, and to keep bikes secure for their owners. (And, yes, there is a bike room in City Hall.)
The OccupySFSU students proclaimed solidarity with Occupy movements everywhere. In turn, several OccupySF activists participated in the students’ demonstration and helped set up the encampment at Malcolm X Plaza, which started its first night after the rally and march. Among the speakers was Sean Semans, who has been an OccupySF resident for weeks. He carries an 18-unit course load at SFSU. He explained that he cannot afford to miss any more school especially given the high cost of his education, so he is helping to set up the encampment at SFSU and will participate in the OccupySFSU General Assembly. Semans warned students there is a hidden cost associated with the fee increases: increases to the interest rate on unsubsidized student loans.
Former Supervisor Dan White, a Catholic conservative, gunned down Milk and Moscone in cold blood at City Hall when White learned he would not be reappointed to his seat following his resignation.
At his trial, an all-white jury was reportedly swayed by White’s taped confession and what became known as White’s “Twinkie defense.” The jury found White guilty of 2nd degree murder, a lesser charge that touched off a night of rioting dubbed the “White Night” riots following a serene candlelit vigil and march from The Castro to City Hall.
As we were leaving, we spotted some commotion around a sidewalk tree on the edge of the Plaza. We encountered “Robin,” a young man in his 20s, who is currently dwelling in a three-level tree platform which has been labeled “Ohlone Land.” Robin shouted down to us that “we are not coming down until Jean Quan agrees to let people camp at the Plaza again.” He explained that the platforms were built by Running Wolf and Black Foot, who wanted to have a presence in the Occupy Movement on behalf of Indigenous Peoples and their rights; to make a point that the City Hall complex is on stolen lands. Robin also pointed out that eco-justice issues need to have a more prominent place in the Occupy Movement.
Federal, state and local officials plan budget cuts instead of help. Human deprivation isn’t discussed in high places, only ways to grab more wealth and power. In plain sight, America’s no longer fit to live in. Neither are other Western countries, depriving the many for the few.
When I first arrived, a pow-wow of participants were engaged in introductions of the many organizations that were represented (Labor Council, ILWU, UHW, Coalition on Homelessness, etc). Individuals were invited to identify as newly visiting or having been with OccupySF for a while. The congenial crowd then did a run-through of linking arms and creating a human chain in anticipation of protecting the tents in front of the Federal Reserve.
According to final results published today by the San Francisco Department of Elections, Prop H failed to pass by 115 votes. The measure was previously leading with a small margin but failed after all ballots, including provisional ballots, were processed.
Citing health and safety issues, Nuru states, “The occupants of the tents and encampment on Market Street and Main Street, near the Federal Reserve, are hereby notified that they are in violation of City and County of San Francisco codes and must take down all tents and structures and vacate immediately.”
Sometime after OWS occupied Zuccotti Park, Brookfield promulgated rules, prohibiting, among other things, camping and/or the erection of tents or other structures; lying down on the ground, or lying down on benches; the placement of tarps or sleeping bags or other covering on the property; and storage or placement of personal property on the ground, benches, sitting areas or walkways which unreasonably interferes with the use of such areas by others. These rules were clearly aimed at OWS.
The decision appears to have been made in response to calls for election oversight following multiple reports of alleged ballot tampering in October by an independent group supporting interim mayor Ed Lee. The voter fraud allegations has triggered a preliminary investigation by District Attorney George Gascón.
According to an ethics complaint filed today, the Ed Lee campaign distributed two sets of illegal door-hangers over the weekend. The door-hangers, which were paid for by the Ed Lee for Mayor 2011 campaign, allegedly contained YES and NO endorsements for several measures on the November ballot.
While candidates for office may endorse ballot initiatives and appear on literature funded by ballot measure committees, ethic laws strictly prohibit candidates from using funds raised by their candidate committees to support or oppose ballot measures.
In addition to thousands of dollars worth of equipment stolen from the office located at 1800 Van Ness Ave, the thieves refiled through confidential campaign materials.