The San Diego City Council and Occupy San Diego: How the City put the Cart before the Constitution

by on November 4, 2011 · 2 comments

in Civil Rights, Politics, San Diego

The City’s position is pretty damn clear- Occupy San Diego is a threat to business and business must be protected at all costs and above all other things such as protected freedom of speech and the right to assemble.  While City Council President Tony Young has not responded to Occupy San Diego’s request for a resolution despite three weeks of an Occupy presence at council and myriad phone calls, the City has moved remarkably quickly to “help vendors displaced by Occupy San Diego.”

Hot dog vendor Lete Soto addressed the council during the non-agenda item period, and Carl Demaio jumped in, in violation of the rules for public comment- “No discussion or action on any matter of non-agenda public comment shall be permitted.” He requested a report from Real Estate regarding the city’s obligations to the vendors, information about rent abatement and to state his concern for the vendors. Council President Young said he would refer the matter to the mayor’s office, but DeMaio nevertheless managed to shamelessly pimp off of the non-agenda public comment moment. Or perhaps the councilmembers where shamefully silent when Occupiers spoke about police abuse,  not at all inclined to refer the matter for internal investigation nor express sympathy for those arrested.

On Wednesday, 11-3-11, the City said they would help the pair of vendors even though Linda Jenson, who has closed her coffee cart has never filed a police report according to the U-T article.   Now that is one quick redress of grievances.

Interestingly enough, when I have called council offices, asking support for Occupy SD, I have been asked on a number of occasions to consider “the other side,” which those offices have been hearing.  The other side consists of the plight of the two cart vendors.  But the “other side” is a transparent argument to delegitamize and stereotype the Occupy San Diego movement, and clearly not an attempt to address how the City will make peace with our Constitution and the presence of the Occupiers.  That is very bad faith negotiating indeed.

I have personally patronized the coffee cart- on many occasions, and the hot dog cart as well, and I have participated in a march with 2,000 people which launched the Occupy San Diego effort. I have also spent time in the Civic Plaza with hundreds and hundreds of other Occupy supporters.  Coffee carts and hot dog carts and Occupy San Diego are not mutually exclusive nor should they be.  We are ALL the 99%.  Our elected representatives have shown no interest in assuring the continued presence of all of us—quite the contrary.

It is shameful when the City of San Diego quickly and resolutely affirms contract law, as it applies to the cart vendors, and ignores the contract that we as citizens have with our government to exercise free speech, freedom of assembly and the right to petition redress of our grievances.  Hot dog vendor Ms. Soto, in her comments before council, asked for “more arrests, more fines” and that the City not support Occupy San Diego and its “consequences from the freedom of speech.”  Our City seems to be listening. Yes, they are more than willing to put the cart before the Constitution, and that is shameful.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar mr.rick November 4, 2011 at 9:25 pm

The Occupy movement just might need a comfortable place to occupy for the winter. At the next G.A. someone should suggest we invite all the disparate Occupyiers in freezing locales to winter in our fair city. That ought to shake up the dumb asses running this burg up. It sure would be a nice gesture. Make some new friends, come up with some new ideas to let these idiots know we aint’ joking. Bloomberg is waiting for cold weather to kill off OWS. They could winter in So. Cal. and go back to NY with a tan in april.Not to mention a new attitude.

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avatar Frank Gormlie November 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Anna, thanks for picking up on this – how DeMaio pimped the non-agenda item for his own political gain, and the whole disparity in how the OccupySD activists were treated.

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