Jean Quan Resists Use of Police on Occupy Camp
by Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross for the SF Chronicle:
Even after the bandanna-wearing, rock-throwing, fire-starting fringe demonstrators took over a downtown Oakland building and blocked off a street late Wednesday, Mayor Jean Quan did not want police to intervene.
Instead, Quan asked that police hold off on any confrontation until daylight – or, barring that, send in negotiators to try to work out a peaceful resolution.
“She didn’t want to incite the anarchists any more than they already were,” said one source who was in the city’s emergency operations center when Quan stunned the assembled staffers with her comments.
Finally, interim Police Chief Howard Jordan, with the backing of City Administrator Deanna Santana, made the call for police to take action. Both were in the emergency center with Quan.
The following day, at a press conference with Jordan and Santana, the mayor praised police for their handling of the situation, while a stone-faced chief and city administrator stood by her side.
Quan’s command center call was the latest example of the mayor’s resistance to using police force on demonstrators, a position that is being reinforced both by her closest advisers and her family.
In fact, eyewitnesses say Quan’s husband was among the banner-wavers blockading the port in a nonviolent action earlier Wednesday.
Since the disastrous finale to Occupy Oakland’s general strike, Quan has become more vocal about the nonstop protest movement’s economic drain on the city. She now says the camp might have to move from City Hall.
Meanwhile, the tents remain.
Even City Council members who were initially sympathetic to the campers are starting to change their tune – leaving the activist mayor more isolated than ever.
Quan said at a press briefing the day after last week’s riot that she was still hoping for a “peaceful resolution” to the Occupy encampment outside City Hall.
But when asked what her idea of a peaceful resolution was or how it might be achieved, Quan said, “I don’t know.”