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( emilyliberty )

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Councilman DeMaio Questions City's Obligation To Small Businesses Affected By Occupy San Diego

Occupy San Diego members openly express their support for Centre City Coffee and Brooklyn Dogs, the family-owned vendor carts operating at the Civic Center, and will make a donation to both businesses in show of this support on Monday, November 7. Occupy San Diego will continue to exercise its First Amendment right to protest, which is trusted to be able to exist harmoniously with Centre City Coffee and Brooklyn Dogs.

Ironically, many at Occupy San Diego expressed the desire to see Centre City Coffee and Brooklyn Dogs actually extend their hours of operation to accommodate nightly General Assembly meetings. The majority of activists participate at the Civic Center occupation after regular business hours.

“Another small coffee and sandwich shop, not much larger than the coffee cart or the hot dog cart, took a different approach,” said Ray Lutz, Occupy San Diego Organizer. “When the manager overheard his customers talking about certain electronic devices and tools that they needed, he decided to offer those devices and tools. Over time, by listening to his customers and meeting their needs, the sandwich shop turned into an electronics shops too, which still has a small coffee and sandwich shop reminiscent of its original roots. Success is simple: listen to your customers, and give them what they want, rather than fighting with them and then begging for a hand-out from the city.”

It is unfortunate these small businesses were unable to capitalize on the large number of new people in their physical location as a result of Occupy San Diego, and disappointing to see our elected city council member, Carl DeMaio, publishing untrue and libelous statements about Occupy San Diego in the press. Many local businesses actually claim increased revenue as a result of Occupy San Diego's presence in downtown San Diego the past few weeks.

“I'm sure any business would appreciate a fundraiser in this down economy, but a handout from the city and the event planned by Carl DeMaio is more about getting publicity for his Mayoral campaign and tarnishing Occupy San Diego than helping business interests,” said Occupy San Diego participant Rick Halsey. “Other nearby businesses are up due to the new customers. These complaints make no sense.”

Occupy San Diego is aware Centre City Coffee and Brooklyn Dogs have been facing challenges in the Civic Center location for years. Centre City Coffee's Linda Jenson wrote on Tuesday, April 22, 2008 in a San Diego City Beat letter to the editor, wherein she stated, “I am one of the private businesses at the Civic Center and deal with...violent behavior (stabbings, beatings, robberies), drug and alcohol abuse and dealing.”

Occupy San Diego has created a welcoming space where people are provided basic medical assistance, food, and comfort regardless of housing status. Occupy San Diego calls upon our community to actively help address the homelessness issues at the Civic Center and in downtown San Diego.

November 4, 2011 at 3:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )