Democratic Mayors Nationwide Struggle To Manage Problems Caused By The Occupy Movement

Posted by | November 16, 2011 09:12 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

Everyone is aware of Occupy Wall Street being cleared out in the middle of the night before finally being allowed back in, but Michael Bloomberg is not the only mayor trying to shut down these protests. Mayors all across the country are struggling to balance the needs of the larger community with the right of these Occupy movements to protest:

The protest movement has hurt the quality of life in every part of the city, said Oakland Mayor Jean Quan.

In the past few days, the balance has tipped, said Portland Mayor Sam Adams.

We’re at a critical point where we must reevaluate, said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (pictured).

Worth noting here is that all three of these mayors are Democrats, and they are continually conference calling with fifteen other mostly Democratic mayors across the country to find ways to deal with the very real public safety and financial problems caused by the protesters. These are not partisan or political attacks on the movement; these mayors have very legitimate concerns that they must find ways to effectively manage.

Denver estimates its protest-related bill at $200,000 per week. Oakland has spent more than $1 million just to pay overtime for police officers, and businesses near Zuccotti Park say protesters have cost them a combined $500,000 in profits. These are not insignificant amounts of money at a time where local governments and local businesses are strapped for cash thanks to a stagnant economy.

Meanwhile there have been reports of sexual assault in Philadelphia, drug overdose in Portland, shootings in Oakland, and sanitation concerns related to the Occupy movement in every one of these cities.

So what actions should these mayors take going forward to effectively govern their cities, while still accommodating the constitutional rights of the protesters, and how can the Occupy movement cooperate with these city governments to ease the burdens they are creating? I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts. It is critical that the Occupy movement not become a burden to innocent people who could potentially be sympathetic to the cause, if they expect to survive in the long-term and maintain public support.

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