Councilman DeMaio Questions City’s Obligation To Small Businesses Affected By Occupy San Diego
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
A San Diego councilman asked today for a report on what obligations the city might have regarding two small businesses whose owners closed up shop at the Civic Center Plaza because of the Occupy San Diego protests.
Carl DeMaio suggested at a City Council meeting that the operators of the hot dog cart and coffee cart might be due rent credits or other assistance from the city.
His request was forwarded to the mayor's office.
Letty Soto, the owner of Brooklyn Dogs, told the council she lost regular clients and was "threatened verbally'' by protesters. She also had equipment stolen and her car smeared with blood, she said.
Soto described her enterprise as "a small independent business'' that is her only source of income.
Last week, the woman who owns the coffee cart had to close after a confrontation with protesters, which was captured by television news cameras.
The protesters, part of a loose-knit nationwide movement against perceived corporate greed and government corruption, came under heated criticism from public speakers before the City Council for the first time.
Samuel Huerta said he has videotapes that show the protesters "party all night and sleep all day'' and are so loud after dark that many downtown homeless have moved away from the area.
"I have witnessed the members of Occupy San Diego disrespecting our San Diego police officers every day,'' Huerta said.
The number of protesters at the downtown Community Concourse has dwindled to just a few since their unauthorized tent community was cleared out by police early Friday morning.
Christopher McKay told the council during the open comment period on non-agenda topics that "a serious independent investigation'' of "police brutality'' was necessary because of Friday's raid.
He said that just like a "very few'' Occupy San Diego members have caused trouble, so have a "very few'' police officers.
Occupy San Diego member Chase Fite asked city officials to grant them a "sanctioned space,'' which he said would reduce tension with police and allow officers to return to their normal law enforcement duties.
Supporters of the protest movement renewed their demands for a resolution of support, but for the second week in a row, no such declaration was on the agenda.