Hundreds of teachers will be among thousands expected to
participate in the general strike organized by Occupy Oakland today.
Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint said teachers are being allowed to join the general strike as long as they provide prior notice to their supervisors so that proper supervision can be arranged for students.
Flint said 268 requests for leave were made by teachers in the
district -- about 10 times the average number for a single day. Substitutes will be arranged to supervise students in the teachers' absence, Flint said.
He said students are expected to report for school as usual and
that absences will be considered unexcused. Students will have an opportunity to engage and learn about the social movement in the classroom and after
school, Flint said.
The entire staffs of at least two schools -- Bridges Academy and
Maxwell High -- are planning to honor the one-day strike.
Oakland city workers who want to participate in the strike have
been asked to request approval from their supervisors and use leave or a floating furlough day, or take time off without pay -- sick leave won't apply.
City of Oakland spokeswoman Karen Boyd said Tuesday that despite the general strike, "The city of Oakland is open for business, and we urge businesses to stay open."
She said Oakland police "will facilitate peaceful marches downtown and elsewhere" and "we anticipate that the marches will be peaceful."
Joseph Haraburda, president and CEO of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, said local businesses near the encampment in Frank Ogawa Plaza are struggling and regular customers have stopped showing up at some.
"We're disappointed that the city has allowed the Occupy Oakland residents to reside in downtown Oakland and in the City Hall plaza," he said.
In response to a group of Oakland residents that is seeking to
recall her from office, Mayor Jean Quan says, "Oakland is on the move and we are making progress together."
In a statement filed with the Oakland City Clerk shortly before 5
p.m. on Monday, Quan said, "The last thing we need is a divisive and expensive recall election."
The group of residents filed a recall petition against Quan with
71 signatures last week. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has verified that 59 of the people who signed the petition are registered Oakland voters, meeting the requirement to move forward.
Once the Oakland City Attorney's Office authorizes the recall
campaign, proponents will have 160 days to try to gather the 19,800 signatures, representing 10 percent of the city's voters, that will be needed to place it on the ballot.
In her statement, Quan said, "In 20 years of serving Oakland, my
only agenda has been to work hard for our diverse city. I consider it a sacred trust."
Quan said that in her 294 days as mayor she and her administration have balanced the budget and negotiated pension reforms so she could rehire 36 police officers, secured a federal grant for 25 more officers and held eight town hall meetings with 3,000 residents and a neighborhood safety summit with more than 1,000 participants.
She said she has also developed a coordinated crime reduction plan with other agencies and community partners "to focus on the 100 blocks where 90 percent of violent crime occurs.
In addition, Quan said she has led China trade missions and
regional and international meetings to promote the Port of Oakland and has secured an agreement on a $400 million development at the Port that will bring in $200 million in federal and state grants and create 3,000 jobs.
Quan listed a website to fight the recall effort but it isn't yet
active. The site is www.QuanWorksForOakland.com.
Meanwhile a resolution expressing support for the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that also asks for force not to be used against the demonstrators in San Francisco was approved Tuesday by the city's Board of Supervisors.
The resolution, introduced last week by Supervisor John Avalos and amended Tuesday by Supervisor Scott Wiener, asks Mayor Ed Lee and the Police Department to "ensure that there will be no unnecessary use of force to dislodge the Occupy SF demonstrators."
The board voted 8-3 in favor of the resolution, a supermajority
that could override a potential veto by Lee.
Avalos said it was important for the city to go on the record in
support of the movement, which started in New York City in September and has spread nationwide.
The demonstrators cite the economic disparity between the richest 1 percent of the population and the other 99 percent, and are calling for increased regulation of banks and Wall Street investment firms, among other demands.
He said police raids, such as the one last week at the encampment in Oakland, only serve to energize the protesters and lead to tensions about how the public spaces should be used.
Several supervisors criticized the actions of law enforcement
officials during last Wednesday's protest in Oakland, which included the use of tear gas and other projectiles, one of which seriously injured an Iraq war veteran, triggering even more protests and the reestablishment of the encampment there.
Among the amendments made to the resolution by Wiener Tuesday was the addition of the word "unnecessary." That amendment was passed by a narrow 6-5 vote.
He said the extra word was necessary because "I don't think it's
appropriate for us to tell the Police Department ... no matter what happens, you cannot use force."
Mark Farrell, one of the three supervisors to vote against the
resolution along with Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd, said he supported the goals of the protests around the country but did not want to establish a precedent for future demonstrators.
In Sonoma County, Occupy Santa Rosa participants face a deadline when their occupation at City Hall must end -- the protesters have been at City Hall since Oct. 15.
On Saturday, city officials gave them permission to camp overnight in violation of the city ordinance until Tuesday.
The city council Tuesday evening voted 7-0 to direct City Manager Kathy Millison and representatives of Occupy Santa Rosa to meet and try to reach an agreement when the camping must end.
The city council will vote on the terms of that camping permit
next Tuesday. Occupy Santa Rosa plans to remain at City Hall until Dec. 24.
City officials, who are considering a Nov. 7 deadline, are
concerned about the lack of portable toilets at the City Hall site.
Dozens of Occupy Santa Rosa participants attended Tuesday
evening's meeting to defend their rights of free speech and assembly.
Council members agreed but said the issue was the overnight
"I'm not comfortable turning a blind eye to a city ordinance when
it's convenient," Vice Mayor John Sawyer said.
"I'm not willing to ignore the ordinance. I wasn't elected to do it," he said.
"This can't go on forever," Councilman Scott Bartley said
regarding the occupation at City Hall.
"You'll lose your power and authority and your message. People
will say 'It's just those people camping at City Hall.' As a community, we need to have a closure to this. The risk is the public grows tired of it and it loses its impact -- that would be a tragedy," Bartley said.
Allison Berk, a teen member of the council, said overnight
camping might not be the best way for Occupy Santa Rosa to keep alive its message about corporate greed and the imbalance of wealth in society.
She suggested daytime rallies and marches and supporting political candidates in tune with the Occupy movements' message.
"This is nothing," one Occupy Santa Rosa supporter said of the
Santa Rosa occupation. "You haven't seen the people yet. Treat them with respect."
"We had an Arab Spring. I guess we're having an American Autumn," one woman said.