Superviors and labor leaders challenge Lee's OccupySF stance

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Mayor Lee ducks out of an Oct. 27 press conference after reasserting his opposition to tents at OccupySF
Steven T. Jones

Mayor Ed Lee has put the city and its police force on a collision course with not only OccupySF, but also several members of the Board of Supervisors and top labor leaders who support the movement and want the city to allow its encampment to continue.

They spoke at a special hearing of the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee that was convened by Chair John Avalos this morning, supporting a resolution that Avalos created to allow OccupySF to have tents and other infrastructure that Lee opposes. The resolution – which is co-sponsored by Sups. Eric Mar, David Campos, and Jane Kim – was approved by the committee and is set to be considered by the full Board of Supervisors tomorrow (Tues/1).

“It is something I am wholeheartedly supporting because it is an expression of great frustration and concern about the economic system,” Avalos said. “We need to speak with a greater voice about changing our economic system so it works for the many and not just the few,” Avalos said, explaining why he is “wholeheartedly supporting” the OccupySF movement.

But Avalos said he's been frustrated that Lee and the police have raided the camp twice and are threatening more, something that Avalos has been trying to mediate since the first raid on Oct. 5. He also said the city should learn from Oakland that using the police force to stop the movement only makes it stronger.

“If we were to try to stop it from happening, it would just encourage more people to take part in it,” he said, noting that more midnight raids are dangerous for both police and protesters. “We have to figure out as a city how we're going to facilitate, encourage, and accommodate this movement.”

But instead, Avalos said Lee's stand against allowing tents or an kind of encampment, while claiming to support the message OccupySF, has created a tense standoff. “I've seen very mixed messages come out of this administration,” Avalos said, adding that nobody believes police statements that the massing of SFPD cops in riot gear on Oct. 26 was only a training exercise.

Mar said OccupySF deserves tremendous credit for holding the space and being responsive to the health and safety concerns raised by city officials. “I've seen a transformation in the movement in the last three weeks that is truly impressive,” Mar said. “I've also seen, during the General Assemblies, an incredible exercise in democracy.”

He also disputed accusations that the camps are dirty and that the movement is unfocused. “Don't believe the hype from the mainstream media but look at the messages coming out of this movement,” said Mar, who was wearing a “We are the 99 percent” sticker.

“We should allow OccupySF to do what they're doing,” Campos said. “It's good for San Francisco.”

Campos also called out Lee and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan for ordering violent raids on the peaceful encampment, disputing the idea that “somehow it's okay for us to spend the limited resources we have on these kinds of police actions...I hope we don't have Mayors Quan and Lee wasting resources that could be better spent elsewhere.”

During the public comment portion of the hearing, each of the more than two dozen speakers supported the resolution.

“What this resolution does is it calls on the other supervisors and the mayor to decide how they want to deal with OccupySF,” said Gus Feldman of SEIU Local 1021.

Representatives of several labor unions and the San Francisco Labor Council that have voted to endorse OccupySF spoke at the hearing, include Ken Tray with United Educators of San Francisco, who gave a rousing speech in support of the movement.

“The times have changed and the political landscape has shifted,” Tray said, ticking off a long list of reasons for supporting the movement, from San Francisco's long tradition of advocating for progressive change to the fact that “the schoolchildren of San Francisco are being denied resources because the 1 percent refuse to pay their fair share.”

Frank Martin del Campo of the SF Labor Council displayed the bruises on his arm inflicted by police during the raid on the Occupy Oakland, saying “this was an attempt to criminalize dissent...It represents the politicization of the police.”

Labor Council Executive Director Tim Paulson said, “I just want to be clear that we are the 99 percent....We want Occupy San Francisco to be there 24/7.” He and others say the Occupy movement is highlighting deep economic inequities that the labor movement has long been raising as well. “OccupySF has called the question on really important issues we've been struggling with for years,” said Gabriel Haaland of SEIU Local 1021

“Here is a peaceful protest being answered with violence,” said Pilar Schiavo of California Nurses Association, which has been supporting the occupations. This is an important political struggle, she said, and “It's time for the mayor to decide what side he's on.”

Many speakers focused their criticism on Lee, such as Brad Newsham, who said, “Any official who would send in the riot police to deal with this camp does not deserve to be mayor of San Francisco.” He said the city should set an example for the country by formally allowing the encampment to continue, and he turned to the young protesters in the room and said, “Hold your ground and we'll try to get your back.”

Sean Semans, an active member of OccupySF since the beginning, thanked Avalos and the other progressive supervisors for “saving us when nobody would,” and he expressed frustration with the Mayor's Office.

“The mayor still doesn't recognize us, he won't come down and see the work we're doing,” Semans said. “We can do all kinds of work when we're not fighting to protect our First Amendment rights.”

He was part of an OccupySF delegation that met with Lee last week, and Semans said the mayor offered to help get the protesters rooms in SRO hotels or meals from local soup kitchens, showing that he has a fundamental misunderstanding about what this occupation is about.

As Semans said, “It shows what we're dealing with here.”

Comments

But if I were Lee, I'd let this ride until after he's elected. The "movement" has already stalled and seems more concerned about it's own survival more than achieving any real change. It's become self-absorbed.

And either the "movement" will self-destruct thru drugs, squalor or petty crime. Or else it will be ignored or closed down in it's own time. Lee has time on his side and my advise to him would be to let it slide for another week.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 6:37 pm

Spoken as someone who clearly hasn't visited the camps and taken any effort to create an informed opinion, Guest. I don't think Lee or anyone is seeking your advice.

Posted by steven on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 9:34 am

I don't need to visit a camp to know it's illegal.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 11:10 am

Which Lee will veto and which the Board will be unable to override.

Don't progressives ever tire of these useless, meaningless gestures or is rhetorical masturbation their only means of communication?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

One, board resolutions aren't subject to mayoral veto. And two, these political leaders are actually seeking a solution to this standoff, unlike the mayor who seems content to just issue hollow threats.

Posted by steven on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 9:36 am

It dont matter what you all say, he's gonna get elected

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

Lee drops every poll as the election draws near.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

Like a DJ drops a record? Or "Lee drops IN every poll"?

Posted by guest on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

I haven't heard of any. Are they being hushed up because they don't favor any given candidate?

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

the BC poll that was consistent with the earlier polls, showing Lee with over 30%, a clear 20% ahead of the next-placed candidate, Herrera.

I don't blame Marcos for trying to talk down a candidiate he doesn't like, but lying about polls isn't cool.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 8:37 am

Come on - you're a smart guy.

Smart enough to know that you can't just proclaim some bullsh**t and expect people to believe it. There has been NO poll showing Lee's lead deteriorating.

Posted by Sambo on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 8:58 am

that is so easily and obviously refuted?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 11:15 am

Who else would stand up to the steady governmental creep of petty laws being enacted and enforced?

Posted by matlock on Oct. 31, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

The real 99% are the silent majority who aren't camping on the sidewalk, and who will vote for someone else.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 8:38 am

Actually, Avalos came in third with 7.4 percent of first round votes in the BC poll three weeks ago, and that was before a series of scandals hurt Lee and Avalos increased his citywide stature and name recognition by working with OccupySF and get lots of media coverage. And we have indeed heard about at least two internal campaign polls that show Lee's support dropping. I've also seen polls that place popular support of Occupy in the high 60s.

Posted by steven on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 9:46 am

The way he got rolled by Prop C is just embarrassing...So much for sticking up for rank and file workers and retirees.

He doesn't deserve to be mayor.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 10:01 am

Actually, John Avalos authored, championed and passed mandatory local hiring legislation even though it meant a huge battle with the building trades which cost him their support in this election. Avalos also stood firm against the outrageous, gentrifying and destructive real estate projects of Wall Street developers in the Bayview Hunters Point and Parkmerced. When most San Francisco supervisors gutlessly supported those projects, John Avalos had the spine to refuse. Needless to say, those Wall Street developers are donating to other candidates, but not to John.

Avalos is in fact, the most courageous and principled candidate running for mayor.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 11:01 am

because it could take a vote away from the candidate most likely to beat Lee - probably Herrera or Adachi.

That's the dilemma here.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 11:12 am

So your claim looks pretty bogus on its face.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

That's right up there with "most people believe that . . " or "it is well known that . . ".

Where is your poll evidence?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

Pay closer attention. The fact that Adachi has chosen to attack Avalos with desperate specious nonsense around public financing, is the indicator which shows that Avalos is on the move. Otherwise, Adachi wouldn't waste precious resources, and risk credibility, going after him.

Especially when we take into account that mudslinging is -particularly- dangerous in a ranked choice election, and can lose you votes.

Which also tells us that Adachi is likely seeing his campaign going south badly and is now trying these desperate attack tactics just to try to stay afloat.

That's -real- evidence brother.

Anyone who depends on polls in this complex election, is fooling themself.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

Do you actually believe all the stuff you write...? (That was an IE btw - not that you would be concerned with facts.)

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 3:00 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

It is pretty funny watching the Lee campaign trying to spin a three week old Bay Citizen poll as fait accompli that Lee is still ahead and going strong. The last poll I heard of had Avalos a close second and gaining fast, which I don't doubt after OccupyOakland.

I prefer Willie Brown's analysis to Ed Lee's (as usual, actually?)......

"Every poll we've seen has Ed Lee as the front-runner in the San Francisco mayor's race, which, if history is any indication, means the guy is in trouble.

As far as I can tell, under ranked-choice voting, the candidate with the most first-place votes after Round 1 rarely comes out the winner."

Ed Lee's No. 1 spot may not add up on election day

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/23/BA111LKC50.DTL

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

Is that a secret poll by any chance?

Horseshit. Every published poll has Avalos 5th or worse.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

Good lord this is absolutely *bizarre*.

Repeating false info back and forth to one another does not make it true. This is like the fifth or six claim on here today that Avalos is gaining fast all based on.... absolutely nothing. For the millionth time, can any of you link any poll what-so-ever that shows Avalos with anything more than a whopping a 7%??

Simple question - not that hard. Steven and Tim, you guys are more than welcome to supply this mystery info too. And H's rumor he heard at Daly's Dive that somebody on Yee's campaign said that in an internal poll some unspecified candidate is leading Lee and it could by anybody DOESN"T COUNT.

Total freaks, lol.

Posted by Sambo on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

Oh, and by the way, secret polls I have acces to show Avalos support collapsing.

Isn't this fun?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 4:10 pm

Stuff like this that goes unrefuted:
"As far as I can tell, under ranked-choice voting, the candidate with the most first-place votes after Round 1 rarely comes out the winner."

"...in ranked-choice voting, the object is to be on everyone's betting card. It doesn't matter if it's win, place or show."

Utter and complete HORSESHIT.

Not too long ago, the preferred criticism of IRV was that the winner is always going to be the same person who finishes first. Now, when we have a couple of examples where that didn't happen, the criticism seems to be that the first place vote-getter doesn't win under IRV (!!!) Do these people have no shame?

Willie goes on to list a few cases where the first place vote getter didn't win (Perata, Reilly, Sweet (!!!), and says this is the norm.

First of all, this is not the norm. Most of the time the first place vote-getter wins. And when they don't, it's for a very good (democratic) reason. In both Perata's and Reilly's case, it's because the majority of the electorate wasn't ideologically aligned with the candidate, but that vote was split. IRV allowed it to coalesce again. That's the way IRV *should* work!

And Willie's preferred candidate Lynette Sweet??? -this is where he really rolls out the whoppers. Lynette Sweet did not win, place OR show! Had there been a traditional runoff, it would've been between the top 2 vote-getters, NEITHER of which were Willie's whore Lynette Sweet.

Folks, IRV isn't magic. It's not alchemy. It's not some random number generator. It's a remarkably clever, simple way to elicit voters' true sentiments in a single election. And Willie's no fool. He understands that, and he understands EXACTLY how IRV works. But he just wants to perpetuate the zombie lie that IRV is incomprehensible. It's pretty obvious what *his* agenda is. That doesn't mean that *we* have to amplify and perpetuate it!

Posted by Greg on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

Greg, what about the phenomenon of "exhausted ballot?" I'm trying to learn more about this system.

It seems that an IE supporting Ed Lee was using a plastic template to mark one candidate and leaving the others blank.

I am assuming that the volunteers would go back later to mark the other choices left blank since "exhausted ballots" are a primary cause of "majority failure."

see

My question is who do you think the other two candidates will be that the volunteers are instructed to mark? Will they be marked along strictly racial lines, or will the non-profits in charge mark candidates they feel will most represent their interests, or can the IE achieve both goals?

I think Chiu and Adachi?

I expect whoever the IE selects for the votes left blank will do surprisingly well and I wonder if it will distort the predictions of the BC simulation?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

Wait Greg!!! Adachi is Japanese!!!

Are their three Chinese candidates that could please both the chinese communist party and the non profits??

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

But here's the serious answer.

The IE that was doing this doesn't care a whit about helping voters. They just want to elect Ed Lee. That's why they told voters to only vote for one person. Sure, it doesn't hurt Ed to vote for someone else, but it doesn't help him either. Sure, it may create exhausted ballots if Ed isn't in the top 2 finishers (unlikely). But none of that is their concern.

They're not there to help voters fill out ballots the way the voter might want.

They're not there to make sure IRV works well. In fact, if they hate IRV, maybe they even want to discredit it as a nice side benefit (though I think they could care less).

They're not there to elect a slate of Chinese candidates, or non-Chinese candidates, or progressive candidates, or moderate candidates.

They're out there to stuff ballots for Ed Lee. By hook or by crook. Period.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

If what you say is true there will be more exhausted ballots than predicted from past irv elections?

If what I say is true there will be fewer exhausted ballots than predicted?

Either way, perhaps an indication of how deep the fraud went?

Personally I disagree with the BC poll because I think there will be fewer exhausted ballots than would be obtained from an honest sample, but according to you there will be more exhausted ballots, so either way the BC poll was not accurate, at least regarding exhausted ballots.

Plus, I don't think there are three Chinese candidates that would please the CCP.

And I think Leland Yee will do worse than projected simply because neither the CCP nor the non profits are that into him.

Unlike Beyond Corn, I have some projections right now....

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

Plus Adachi being Japanese means he gets zero available blank votes. He will also fare less well that projected.

Herrera will do better than expected and reading the tea leaves so will Avalos.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 6:15 pm

So does this mean anyone can now camp in city parks for free? Costs me $18 for a spot in Yosemite and they don't even have food delivery.

Posted by BeckyBayside on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 8:59 am

I've been wondering that for a while now.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 9:16 am

If you had visited any occupy sites you would notice that the tents are actually self-supporting and do not require tent pegs

Posted by CROSBY on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 10:46 am

Ed Lee is stalling.......that is the issue. The guy nances around patting himself on the back more than any pol I have witnessed.

And the SF cops are not the 1%. How many of the 99% retire with 100K pa pensions? Even most in the 1% struggle to make that happen. The cops and firefighters are left wing when it comes to their pay/benefits.

The occupy movement is about separating money from politics. How about SF unions execute their own separation from money and politics. They are pay for play thugs, as bad as corporations.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 10:39 am

Why rush? Get the election out of the way, and then let inertia, bad weather and short attention spans allow the campt to dwindle inot obscurity.

While they were closing down banks there was some urgency. But now their survival has become the issue - they'not affecting real life at all.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 11:14 am

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Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

This is what democracy looks like...

Posted by Aragorn on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

Leave OccupySF alone would be the wisest course of action.

City politicians compare it to "Camp Agnos" but there is absolutely no comparison whatsoever.

I was in SF during Camp Agnos. There was an entire MOUNTAIN of stolen bike parts at Camp Agnos, right in front of city hall.

I had bike parts or my entire bike stolen 3 times in 3 months, and when I went looking in that huge, truly gigantic accumulation of stolen bike parts I found my stolen front rim. I called a cop and we went to retrieve it, but the officer said since I could not identify the rim as mine there was nothing he could do.

The campers looked armed to me, like members of an organized heroin drug gang. It just wasn't worth it to take them on knowing the cops could just as easily arrest me as them. I just let it go.

Until election time that is.

If you don't see organized gangs of mentally ill serious drug addicts and parolees guarding mountains of stolen bike parts you will not have anywhere near the backlash from OccupySF as you did with Camp Agnos.

I understand the situation after the earthquake, with uninhabitable hotels, but if Art Agnos could not understand the frustration of watching roaming gangs of dangerous and deranged felons accumulating stolen merchandise by the mountain load, he is just as profoundly out of touch as Ed Lee if he decides to bust up a camp of economic protestors with tear gas and rubber bullets after the worst financial disaster since the great depression.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2011 @ 2:50 pm