Councilman Bill Rosendahl to Occupy L.A.: "Time To Move On"
A day after the Oakland P.D. unleashed tear gas on their Occupy movement, L.A. Councilman Bill Rosendahl is saying that it's time for Occupy L.A. to wind down.
"It's not an appropriate place to stay forever," Rosendahl told KABC. "They've made their statement. I agree with their statement, but it's time to move on."
At last count, Occupy L.A. has about 370 tents on the lawn outside City Hall. The organizers seem to have no intention of going anywhere.
"I'm not personally open to leaving. I don't feel many people are," said Joe Briones, one of the movement's spokesmen. "If we just pack up and go, it's like, 'Why did we set up in the first place?'"
As of now, there are no plans to force the Occupy L.A. encampment to leave, said Peter Sanders, spokesman for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
"The mayor said last week that the protesters are welcome to stay, but they don't have an open invitation to stay indefinitely," Sanders said.
City officials are meeting almost every day to discuss Occupy L.A. So far, the city has spent about $60,000 on police overtime and other expenses, Sanders said. The lawn has been damaged, as has the sprinkler system, he said.
Mario Brito, one of the Occupy L.A. liaisons to the city, said the movement has been working cooperatively with LAPD and other city agencies. He said Rosendahl's comments were "news to us."
"I'm gonna assume that my friend Councilman Rosendahl was misquoted," Brito said. "And I would remind the city that what they did in Oakland did not squish the movement. It just grew the movement."
At a union rally two weeks ago, Rosendahl said he supports Occupy L.A.
"They're expressing the same feelings we felt in the 60s," he said. "Hopefully it will translate to election politics in 2012. I don't want to see disillusionment and violence... I'm worried what happens in one week or two weeks. The young people could get frustrated and it could turn into anger and confrontations."
"My position regarding Occupy L.A. has remained consistent from the beginning -- as long as there is no threat to public safety or public health, and they cover city costs incurred by their protests and maintain the peace, then I support their right to express themselves in this manner."And here's the ABC7 video of Rosendahl saying "it's time to go." (It appears he was not misquoted.)
Update 2: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants some new restrictions to bar people from the City Hall lawn, as a preliminary step before moving Occupy L.A. someplace else. It's not clear what's wrong with the current restrictions, which already bar people from being in city parks after 10:30 p.m. That law hasn't been enforced for a while now. Seems like the mayor is confused on that point.
Villaraigosa also repeated his earlier statement that the "occupation" can't go on indefinitely.
Update 3: There's no immediate plan to kick anybody off the lawn in the next couple days, says spokesman Peter Sanders. Longer term, the city is looking for some alternative site -- no idea where yet -- for the protesters to move to. "We're still talking to them," Sanders said. "We're not gonna cut off dialogue."
Also seems like if the Occupy L.A. folks wanted to actually move to the sidewalk every night at 10:30 p.m., they could indeed stay indefinitely...
Simone Wilson contributed to this report.