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STAFF EDITORIAL: Quan’s doublespeak doesn’t fool us: Occupy Oakland is not the problem

On Thursday night, a man was shot and killed near the Occupy Oakland encampment at Oscar Grant (or, Frank Ogawa Plaza).  Not surprisingly, many mainstream news outlets — including the New York Times -— misreported this as being the reason Mayor Jean Quan called to disband the Occupy camp.

Quan had already called for protestors to “leave voluntarily” before the shooting occurred — but more importantly, there is no evidence the shooting had anything to do with the Occupy Oakland camp or protestors.

However, this didn’t stop Quan from using it as an excuse to further justify her reversed decision.  That night she released a press statement saying: “Tonight’s incident underscores the reason why the encampment must end. The risks are too great.”  Well, Mayor Quan, that sure is interesting, considering the only link between the shooting and the camp is its two-block proximity and the false correlation drawn by
misinformed reporters.

In fact, Occupy Oakland residents cancelled the one-month anniversary birthday party they had planned to hold a vigil for the shooting victim, and Occupy medics were the first to treat the fatally injured man, as reported by Oakland North.  How exactly does that demonstrate too big a risk?  We’re a little confused.

Also confusing in Quan’s statement is her vague advice to the Oakland community, suggesting that they “demand peace and reject violence anywhere.”  The result of Quan’s reversed decision will undoubtedly lead to another 4 a.m. face-off between Occupy residents and the police, violently forcing the protestors out of their homes at the Plaza.

It seems like Quan’s statement is doing exactly the opposite of demanding peace and rejecting violence. But hey, maybe it’s just us.

Sure, Quan is in quite the quandary; she sees her coffers draining, she’s hearing the people of Oakland angrily demand her resignation and she’s being pressured by the City to uphold the status quo and force the protestors out — but that doesn’t make us less outraged while reading her disingenuous press releases.  Citizens of Oakland are supposed to be outraged that Occupy is “costing” the city $3 million — but that’s only the case because Quan and other officials are choosing to squander money on paying police to work overtime because of a mostly non-violent movement.

Quan’s bogus statements haven’t been the only thing we’ve read lately that have made our blood boil:  We are collectively horrified by the San Francisco Chronicle and other news publications who have been repeating the mantra of “Occupy Oakland is ruining small business!”  The mainstream media narrative — which we find to be the result of lazy and irresponsible reporting —  has become widespread and easily believed by those only learning of the movement secondhand.  Some news organizations, like Oakland  Local, have bravely dug deeper than surface ironies to present a more thoughtful and complicated picture.

Occupy Oakland is not the problem, and the protestors living there should not be  forced to leave their homes once again.