City Losing Patience with Occupation

In response to the ongoing Occupy San Jose protest at City Hall, the city is once again changing its stance on where protesters are allowed to camp and asking the public to stop donating food to occupiers. A memo sent Thursday by the city manager’s office to Mayor Chuck Reed and the San Jose City Council says the city has stepped up its effort to remove Occupy San Jose, which is now nearing its 50th day.

However, what new efforts are being taken is unclear. In his memo, Ed Shikada, an assistant at the city manager’s office, cites a significant increase in vandalism and drug use at City Hall and adjacent parking garages, as well vehicle break-ins and graffiti. However, the memo states that 26 citations have been issued and 15 arrests have been made, which are similar numbers to those provided last week by police.

The city seems to be backtracking on its stance that protesters can move their tents across Santa Clara Street after 11pm to avoid breaking a city ordinance that forbids camping on the City Hall plaza. “Demonstrators have been moving their camp form the Plaza and lodging on the street at night, and this is also not lawful,” Shikada writes. Throughout the occupation, the city has been strict to enforce some policies while letting other violations slide.

Also in his memo, Shikada describes two assaults that involved four individuals on Tuesday. In his assessment, the violence is an example of the conditions getting worse outside City Hall. However, there have been no detailed media reports of any such incident, and reports indicate a previous fight involving Occupy San Jose was started by suspects not associated with the occupation.

Shikada notes toward he end of his memo that the city will continue to monitor the actions of Shaun O’Kelly, known as Cracker, who has been atop a 36-foot wall at City Hall for more than three weeks.

24 Comments

  1. if SJ had anything close to San Francisco, Berkeley, NY or any other major city, as far as protests we would see the city burning.  We no longer have the public safety personnel to protect us. 

    This city has let us down.

    Turn on any local news program, or read any local newspaper and you will likely find Mayor Reed pitching his pension reform plan as enthusiastically as Ron Popeil pitches his Chop-O-Matic on late night television.  Relentless in his pursuit, he is now waving next year’s projected budget deficit of $78-$115 million like a bloody shirt.

    In his November Newsletter, before moving on to more important issues like gifting millions in city owned assets to the A’s, he quickly dismisses a pension reform proposal presented by 5 of the city’s unions, including police officers and firefighters, which could have saved San Jose taxpayers nearly a half billion dollars.

    To explain his decision, Mayor Reed indicates that the plan would provide zero immediate savings in the next fiscal year. This assertion is ridiculous on its face.

    Would police officers seriously be willing to move into another pension plan with a lesser benefit, requiring them to work an additional 5 years, give up their sick leave payouts and reduce their cost of living adjustments if it saved no money?

    Just one aspect of the plan, the POA’s offer to forgo arbitration on whether their 10% pay cut is one time (just for fiscal year 11/12) or ongoing, would have saved the city $30 million next year and every year going forward. Please click here and review the proposal for yourself.

    Additionally, the mayor has chosen to adopt new actuarial assumptions, which no other city or pension plan utilizes, that effectively make San Jose’s future deficit situation look worse. This is what he means in his November Newsletter when he says many of the savings in the union proposal were erased by, “changes in assumptions to reflect modern conditions.” The very mention of the term “actuarial assumptions” has probably put some of you to sleep. This is a complicated issue, which can easily confuse a casual observer, and the Mayor is using this complexity to his benefit. The facts are that the cutbacks are significant and the savings are huge.

    Why would he want to do this you ask? Mayor Reed made it clear long ago that he had no intention of negotiating any part of HIS pension proposal with employee groups. Whether we are talking about pension reforms, or the medical marijuana ordinance, our Mayor has an inability to compromise—his mantra of governance can be summed up as “my way or the highway.” While I find this mentality extremely troubling, his false characterization of our pension proposal is just beyond comprehension.

    Mayor Reed has repeatedly said he values city employees, but just has trouble paying for them.  Actions speak louder than words. All that City employees feel coming from this mayor is open contempt and disdain. I sure don’t feel valued based on the following section from Reed’s Pension “reform” ballot language:

    Section 9: Disability Retirements

    (a) An employee is considered “disabled” for the purposes of qualifying for a disability retirement, if all of the following is met:

    (i) An employee cannot do work that they did before; and

    (ii) It is determined that the employee cannot perform any other jobs described in the City’s classification plan because of his or her medical condition(s); and

    (iii) The employee’s disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

    In other words, according to Section 9 (a)(ii) of the Mayor’s plan, if a police officer is shot during a bank robbery and is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, she would not get a disability retirement as she might be able to wheel herself into the mail room to sort mail.

    That’s not reform Mayor Reed, that’s contempt for those who put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of your constituents.

    Mayor Reed has clearly adopted a win at all costs mentality over this issue, and has no problem sacrificing some truth here and there to achieve his imperious view of the greater good.  Sadly, the route the Mayor has chosen will result in long legal battles, which ultimately could see the city saving no money, all because Mayor Reed is unwilling to partner with the City’s employees to collaboratively find solutions.  Whether it’s a new brand of math bought in to make his case look stronger or direct misrepresentation of the facts, it’s all become business as usual for Mayor Reed.

    • Thank you for clearly explaining your position without the rhetoric and vitriol that usually harms the credibility of some of the writers. 

      As you seem to understand these issues well, I have a question maybe you can answer. I understood that the Mayor concluded that the savings by the union proposal are too uncertain because it is unknown how many employees would actually opt into the second tier. I understood that both the Mayor’s and the union proposal included a second tier. If that is true, then why is the Mayor’s proposal certain but the union proposal uncertain?

      • Don’t know what happened to this Sites posting format but the “name” field has vanished. I have made a couple of posts and SJI has assigned a random name.  REGARDLESS of whatever name appears in bold type above this post I AM the one and only MEYER WEED! (Mayor Reed’s arch-enemy)

        @thankyou: “…If that is true, then why is the Mayor’s proposal certain but the union proposal uncertain? …”

        This is Mayor Reed’s biggest personality flaw: Mayor Reed’s arrogance causes him to dismiss all points of view other than his own utterances!   

        Mayor Reed SAID his ballot measure was certain and that the union’s proposal was uncertain. PERIOD. End of Story. Reed said it and you (yes you “Thank You”) and all the rest of “you” must simply accept it as indisputible/undisputible/undenialble FACT – deal with it, don’t question it…

        There is no negotiation with Mayor Reed. He (the City) will “listen” to other points of view but only for purposes of attacking that “other” point of view.

        Reed more like a “benevolent dictator” than a “tyrant.” “Benevolent” meaning that he allows opposition to voice opinion and continue to exist but only exist on his terms.

      • the proposal by the 5 unions (including SJPD & SJFD) would have saved the City of San Jose $500 million inside of 5 years. the Proposal Gave the City everything it asked for. This Mayor and City Manager NEVER had any intention of Negotiating in good will. Their only goal was to push it to the limit and then Ask for a special Ballot measure ( that will be paid for by the citizens of San Jose). followed by many (multiple) lawsuits that sure to come , and again the residents of San Jose will be on the hook for the cost of lawsuits, thanks to City Administration. Add this with the fact that the Mayor is giving away Millions in Real Estate to a Billionaire , along with shifting RDA debt to the General Fund . the Dishonorable Mayor is not only the worst Mayor but the most Corrupt in San Jose History. Everyone agrees that there must be pension reform , no one will deny that fact . So why will this “Bully ” of a mayor not allow Open public discussions with all parties involved.  because then he has to come clean about all his Lies and Deceit . San Jose would be so much better off ………without Mr Burns

  2. Well, if they call the Police, expect a 3 to 5 hour response time.  Wait, Slap my ass and call me silly.  The Mayor and council will always get a police response.  I was thinking like a commoner.  The average citizen will be on and 8 to next day response when this situation takes place. 
        Break glass in time of need.  And yes were still going to cut your pay, medical, overtime, payjobs, retirement, sicktime and members!

    • you have an officer assigned to you for driving you around the city and accompany you on trips.  Our COP cannot even answer a few questions, we have a 92 million building in moth balls, you want to claim a fiscal emergency and cut retiree benefits which have served 25+ years.  And cut their COLA’s to zero, even through they have payed for this out of their weekly cheeks.  Not of the city budget!

      Please get your priorities in order.

  3. I’ll donate food to whomever I want to donate food to.  Whatever crime that is happening near city hall is the same crime that has been happening there – because people get DRUNK downtown or because the economy is getting worse (poverty and crime are best friends).  It has nothing to do with the Occupiers themselves.

  4. Simply gather up all of your broken or burned out curly light bulbs, put them in brown paper bags (made from recycled paper), and donate them discreetly to the nearest Occupy Whatever encampment.

    Give the smelly nihilists and trust fund children a few days to trample them into a toxic, mercury laced dust cloud, and then call the EPA’s Superfund Emergency Clean-up Hotline.

    Hazardous material clean-up crews would be on the scene faster than Barbara Boxer can say Environmental Crisis, and all the grifters, vermin, trash, feces, used condoms, and the top six inches of topsoil would be removed and gone in a flash.  And no human activity would be permitted on the site for fifty years.

    Problem solved.

  5. The City’s decision to oppose Occupy San Jose is noteworthy, considering it is constructed around existing statutory law of the lowest rank. The City has, so it seems, come out of the closet to embrace the idea that laws—even lowly infractions and misdemeanors (the kind of acts that garner fines, not jail time) are so deserving of respect that the local citizenry can expect no quarter for violating them.

    On the one hand, I can see the sense behind the City’s position: public structures are designed and constructed for a particular purpose, thus making foolish the notion that they can be surrendered to the whims of a segment of the population that answers only to itself. The problem is that in order for me to see what’s on that one hand I had use my other to shield from my vision the capricious manner with which the City of San Jose has treated other laws over these past few decades.

    How is it possible to respect the City’s opposition to the Occupy San Jose activities of its citizens given its longtime support of the Occupy San Jose activities of foreigners here illegally? If the City can say it’s okay for illegal aliens to occupy our neighborhoods, schools, hospital beds, job sites, soup kitchens, jails and prisons, how can it not be okay for the local citizenry to occupy a plaza that was, significantly, constructed with funds confiscated from those same citizens? If the City can award to illegal aliens the right to use our institutions however they see fit, and tolerate the widespread lawbreaking of foreigners who have no right to be here, how can it condemn a tiny little bit of lawbreaking by citizens expressing their political outrage?

    Personally, I’d like to see the Occupy movement take over City Hall and give those arrogant bastards in residence a taste of their own politics of chaos. I want to see protestors occupying the council chambers, taking over the City Attorney’s office, and standing atop the City Manager’s desk, offering to lead, manage, and defend this city for wetback wages. Let’s see trash on the floors, graffiti on the walls, and self-proclaimed Day-Bureaucrats clogging up the hallways waiting for work. Let our compassionate “leaders” experience what sanctuary really feels like, up close and personal, as experienced by those law-abiding citizens who’ve lost their jobs, had their wages undercut, been criminally victimized, and suffered as their schools and neighborhoods went to seed.

    The way I see it, City Hall makes a damn proper target for political ire, given the mountain of political deceit upon which it was built. I’d almost wish for its complete destruction, except I’m pretty sure the idiots in charge have somehow found a way to underinsure it the way they’ve underinsured every other damn thing within their reach.

    • That was the best 1-2 combination since Sugar Ray.
      First Do I Have To Think Of Everything with an inspired bit mocking the Occupiers. Then a brilliant post by BS Monitor perfectly illustrating the corrosive hypocrisy of the City. Thanks boys!

      Watching this tussle between idiot occupiers and idiot politicians is sort of like watching a game between the Dodgers and the Yankees. You can’t figure out which team you hate the most.

      JG

    • I’d bet the farm that no-one at The Taj Gonzal (or any other governmental entity at any level) has ever even started to tally up the hard dollar cost of goods and services provided free to illegal immigrants.  That would not be PC.

      But if one did add up all the freebies government passes out to them, I’d wager the real cost of tomatoes and lettuce would be at least $6.00 per pound.

  6. In their never ending assault on what at one time was the nation’s premier law enforcement agency, the City has done it again. Yesterday on the consent calendar they approved moving forward with the rental of Police Department employee parking for Cirque du Soleil.

    This time it’s different. Now that the city no longer owns the property on the east side of San Pedro, they are seeking to rent parking space from the county, thereby reducing whatever funds they would collect. But that’s really insignificant.

    What matters most is their perverse math. In the memo that the below link connects to, it is asserted that by forcing PD employees to park in parts unknown the city will collect $100,000 in rent and $86,000 in attendee parking fees. The income is offset to the penny by the projected $186,000 in production costs the city will incur. No gain there whatsoever.

    But wait, the white knights of the Office of Economic Development have forecast that Cirque will be solely responsible for $20,000,000 in economic activity for the city during their less than three month run, including $170,000 in sales tax revenue. Not bad, but there are no restaurants in the immediate area and there’s really no place to spend money (outside of bail) in the neighborhood. Who in their right mind would actually fall for this BS? Looks like clowns aren’t restricted to Cirque. Attendees will spend almost $6,000,000 per month where?

    PD employees pay the price (again) while the city will see no real economic gain at all. Nice work Chuck.

    Please don’t take my word for this. Read the memo and decide for yourself.

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/Agenda/20111115/20111115_0209.pdf

  7. the few million in land is nothing. the city will dumb well over $150,000,000 building the infrastructure to the A’s stadium. With a project positive return of $1.7 millions a year. just to make the math easy we will skip the cost to service the loans, the outstanding bonds that need to be paid off on the land they give away. at this rate it will take well over 80 years to break even. we can assume that those numbers will go up and down. and the rate to break even is closer to 100 years plus. there is a good chance Chuck will have passed on and if he is a budhist he will be reborn and passed on again before the project is close to breaking even. Lets not forget that the stadium will be torn down and rebuilt at least once before the initial investment is repaid.  Petes calls this investing and both of they state no city funds will be spend on this project. I guess they also forget the City has spent tens of millions just trying to get the A’s to san jose before getting approval.  Oh wait chuck is a job creator when the project is done he will have created at least 40 jobs selling peanuts and beer.

  8. I for one will continue to protest with, bring tarps, and hot chocolate to Occupy San Jose. They keep the area clean, are peaceful, and respectful. I have been down there several times and have never seen trash, fights, drug use, or anything unlawful.

    If the Little Saigon folks weren’t kicked out for exercising their 1St Amendment right to freedom of expression, and their right to protest something they believe in, neither should Occupy San Jose.

    Unlike foreign countries that protest in a violent way, these protests have been peaceful. This is America, and we are founded on the right to Freedom of Speech. I think the Occupy movement is vital to bringing attention to matters that need to be addressed. Ignoring the truth won’t make it go a way.

    • @KAthleen: “…several times and have never seen trash, fights, drug use, or anything unlawful…” 

      Just because you didn’t see fights/trash/drug use and drug use is something that typically isn’t done in the open)  when you were there doiesn’t mean that it wasn’t going on.  Because it is implied that there were times when you weren’t there means you can’t say for certain that these things were or wre not going on.

      I can tell you with verifiable certainty that OSJ members themselves called the police to resond a number of times over violence and drug use. I can also tell you from speaking to OSJ members onsite that they related anecdotes of fellow members being violent towards one another, using drugs and drunkenness and having to be hyper vigilant about cleaning up after the less considerate trash leaving foul smelling members among them which cause strife and violence.  None of those phoneys will tell you about it becasue they don’t want to let anyone know about what really was going on insid OSJ. Shaunn – unofficial spokesperson is also the unofficial historian….

      –  OSJ Neighbor

      • OSJ,
        Agreed. I’m just stating what I saw when I was there on several different occasions.

        Having said that, I must say that I completely disagree with some of these folks camping out at the Mayor’s, Rick Doyle’s, and Debra Figone’s homes. As we all know, there are nut job fringe groups out there that are injecting themselves into this movement, and I am concerned about the safety of the Mayor, our City Manager, and our City Attorney.

        If Occupy SJ members want to remain credible, they need to distance themselves from these whackos, or they will lose a lot of support. Mine included.

  9. Last week a place I was volunteering at called the SJ po-po’s 3 times in an hour to report a belligerent and violent individual. In a two hour span no cops showed.

    Thankfully the individual was talked down and left.

  10. I am part of OSJ. Figone had 2 months to issue a permit, give us an area where we were safe, follow precedent, negotiate in good faith, etc. and refused to do so. She went out of her way to try to muzzle free speech, forcing us into unsafe conditions.

    Today, Shaun/Cracker and the rest of OSJ took the Occupation to Reed and Figone’s homes because they’ve made sure our Occupation has no home. Whose home/job will we go to next? Who knows. We are a MOVEment.

    Perhaps it’s time to get serious about negotiating in good faith. We are the cleanest, safest, most courteous Occupation in the Bay Area and we deserve to be treated as such.

    Free speech isn’t a luxury/privilege, it’s a right—not doled out by permit. All city workers, PD/FD, veterans, homeless, unemployed/underemployed, uninsured, those about to be foreclosed on/homeless, etc. are the 99%. Stand with us! Join us for General Assembly Wednesday @ 7pm, Sunday @ Noon.

    • > negotiate in good faith. . . .

      Negotiate?

      Negotiate what?

      What do the smelly grifters, sociopathic nihilists and spoiled white trust fund children of Occupy Whatever have that the elected officials need negotiate for?

      Should the city government negotiate over how much lawlessness it should allow?

      Should it negotiate over who gets the privilege of being lawless with no consequences?

      NOT!

  11. Occupy San Jose is a source of pride for our City. There is a feel-good story here that the media has not told, because “if it bleeds it leads” is supposed to get higher ratings. Everyone DOES realize that our occupation is different than what you see on TV, right?

    Consider this:

    – how would it look for the 10th-largest city in the US to NOT have an Occupation?

    – OSJ protests have been peaceful and without vandalism. There is usually a designated liaison to communicate with police when they arrive, and SJPD (to their credit) has corresponded by carrying out their orders from City Hall in an orderly way without brutality.

    – OSJ has caring relationships with local businesses, even cleaning restrooms across the street and buying toilet paper and paper towels for them, and referring sympathizers. No smashed windows and trashed facilities here! We know the difference between a taqueria and Goldman Sachs.

    – OSJ volunteers have taken away their trash bags to avoid overflowing existing cans. Hot water and hot food get shuttled in drive-thru style, and they haul items away at night. This is Burningman-style leave-no-trace behavior.

    – OSJ runs an open-air classroom with local experts coming to educate people about how govt and finance work, to spread understanding of exactly how we were all fleeced and what can be done about it.  Also history of social movements, and other topics.

    – OSJ publishes an informative newsletter.

    – OSJ has reached out to ethnic groups and found areas of common interest (not hard to do), increasing ethnic harmony a bit in our City.

    – OSJ has a clear message that national financial wrongdoings have cost San Jose a huge amount of revenues and diminished the City’s present and future in obvious ways. City Hall has every reason to embrace OSJ’s cause, not oppose it.

    – OSJ has suffered the stress of unrelated locals (including homeless and some mentally-ill) latching on while OSJ was in limbo without a perimeter or a permit, and they have shown that they are willing to call the cops when it makes sense. It would be worse to not call for help. No OSJ members have been aggressors in incidents, it has been unwelcome people each time.

    It’s hard to see any political upside in fighting OSJ, and there could be considerable downside in terms of legal and police costs. It makes much more sense to grant a permit for a sensible and manageable 24/7 site, and embrace it as a source of pride.

  12. City Manager Figone will never issue OSJ a permit for a sensible and manageable 24/7 protest site

    She runs city government to include code enforcement, fire department, environmental services ( sanitation / garbage and police departments and has record of selective enforceemnt and granting permits to friend but not those she disagrees with – you and OSJ

    Have some OSJ speak at Council’s Open Forum at end of Tueday’s public meeting which is broadcast on Comcast cable and Civic center TV   You will get warm welcome from some Council members, silence from others and watch Figone reaction to see her ”  my way or the highway attitude”  that you aand OSJ are up against like rest of city employees and police officers

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