Occupy Oakland: Many Views Of A Wild Week

Now that this first really wild and crazy Occupy Oakland week has come to a close, this space has rounded up the first set of video interviews of Oaklanders on the issue, and with more to come.

The first video is the interview with friend and Oakland District Four Councilmember Libby Schaaf, which was made just before the Tuesday night protest that led to violence between protestors and police. In it, Libby explains that she’s on the side of the Occupy Oakland Movement, but is concerned about public safety. But after that Tuesday night, Councilmember Schaaf was more concerned for Oakland itself because of the total uncertainty of where “all this is headed.”

One person who’s never at a loss for words on any subject is Oakland’s journalist Sanjiv Handa. Sanjiv said the whole thing with Occupy Oakland “got out of hand from the get-go,” and said that the City of Oakland and the Mayor ignored the protestors “early on.”

He also says there are “three or four competing factions:” the Occupy Oakland people, and the Unions, including SEIU and the Oakland Education Association, also known as the “Teachers Union,” all with messages and agendas that are, at times, at cross-purposes.

Handa claims the police cost for Tuesday was about $80 per hour and there were about 400 to 500 police officers.

But on the matter of public sex by protestors, Handa just cracked a big one about how he informed the Occupy Oakland people of the 40,000 condoms stored in the press office in Oakland City Hall. They are a huge fire hazzard of rubbers of “different colors” and not used since the Administration of Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, who gave out the condoms as part of an HIV-prevention effort.

Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente was kind enough to talk with me about the Tuesday events of violence after they happened at a Tuesday night press conference. He admitted that being one of the people who called for police action against the protestors was an “uncomfortable” position to be in for a labor union leader as he has been. But as an elected official Ignacio believed it was important to show a concern for public safety.

I’m pretty sure his views are a lot more tempered now. But then, we’re talking about Ignacio.

This video is of a number of conversations with people who were protesting on Tuesday night and who were on the re-opened Oakland City Hall Plaza on Thursday night. The basic consensus was that Oakland Mayor Jean Quan over-reacted, but that’s old news now.

As for Mayor Quan, a number of people around town are calling for her to resign. The noise calling for that is much louder than even I anticipated it would be.

Stay tuned.

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