Cost to cities for Occupiers exceeds $13 million

posted at 9:25 am on November 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Sure, the total cost calculated by the Associated Press on urban taxpayers may seem like a lot of money.  But ask yourselves this — aren’t stories like Poop Mountain worth a few dollars?

During the first two months of the nationwide Occupy protests, the movement that is demanding more out of the wealthiest Americans cost local taxpayers at least $13 million in police overtime and other municipal services, according to a survey by The Associated Press.

The heaviest financial burden has fallen upon law enforcement agencies tasked with monitoring marches and evicting protesters from outdoor camps. And the steepest costs by far piled up in New York City and Oakland, Calif., where police clashed with protesters on several occasions.

The AP rushes to put this in context:

Broken down city by city, the numbers are more or less in line with the cost of policing major public events and emergencies. In Los Angeles, for example, the Michael Jackson memorial concert cost the city $1.4 million. And Atlanta spent several million dollars after a major snow and ice storm this year.

Well, the notion of holding an Occupy protest does beat the bright idea of staging a municipally-funded concert to honor a middle-aged performer whose last civic engagement dealt with defending his prerogative to sleep with little boys in his bed, so the AP may have a point in that comparison.  However, Atlanta’s expense came from dealing with a legitimate and proximate threat to public safety, a force majeure, not an overextended drum circle or a prolonged bout of anarchist squatters on public land.  While cities obviously could not have planned for the protests in their budgets, they certainly could have ended them sooner than they did and saved themselves — and their constituents — quite a lot of cash.

In fact, the Oakland police union points out that they did clear out the protesters, only to have to do it all over again when Mayor Jean Quan reversed herself and encouraged the Occupiers to return.  All that did was to force police to spend even more money on a second clearing operation, and the bill will top $3 million:

In Oakland, where protesters temporarily forced the shutdown of a major port, the city has spent more than $2.4 million responding to the protests. The cash-strapped city, which had to close a $58 million budget gap this year, was already facing an uphill battle when Occupy Oakland began Oct. 10.

“The cost of the encampments is growing and putting a strain on our already fragile resources – police, public works, and other city staff,” said Mayor Jean Quan. “We will continue to be vigilant and ensure that public safety remains our first priority and that our downtown businesses are protected from vandalism. We will not tolerate lodging on public property, whether in parks or open space. It is illegal.”

Sgt. Dom Arotzarena, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association, said Occupy-related costs will soar past $3 million when it’s all said and done. The city, he said, had to pay more for mutual aid when police removed the encampment at City Hall for a second time on Nov. 14, nearly three weeks after its first early morning raid, leading to dozens of arrests.

“A lot of this could’ve been avoided if we stood our ground when we went in there in the first place,” Arotzarena said. “I know we would’ve saved the city a significant amount of money.”

It’s not just police overtime that’s costing the cities, either.  Los Angeles will have to pony up at least $200,000 to replace a lawn destroyed by the Occupiers, a fact that doesn’t appear to faze the protesters at all:

“We’re here fighting corporate greed and they’re worried about a lawn?” said Clark Davis of Occupy Los Angeles, where the city estimates that property damage to a park has been $200,000.

Ah, yes, they’re fighting corporate greed.  And how are they doing that? One can poke fun at Ben & Jerry’s and their “hippie” politics, but they fought corporate America by building an alternative to it while maintaining their political perspective.  The Occupy movement instead has been a two-month long festival of insipid self-indulgence, where chanting, making signs, not showering, and taking figurative and literal dumps on their communities replaces any kind of meaningful political action:

Since the camp was joined by dozens of tents that belong to the homeless, county workers and others have documented drug and alcohol use, public urination and defecation, littering, bathing in county restrooms, fights and more. Two pieces of artwork on display at the county building were vandalized – although county officials said it is not known who was responsible for it.

At least one incident on the county list wasn’t noted by the Sheriff’s Office: the discovery of an estimated 200 pounds of human feces near the county Veterans Memorial Building, just across the Water Street bridge from the camp.

The county called in a hazardous materials team to clean up the mess, and installed a security fence around the building, which is closed for renovations. There is no evidence that linked the excrement to the camp.

I don’t think it takes CSI: Santa Cruz to get a good idea where 200 pounds of feces originated.  According to one research paper at Stanford, that would represent the output of 400 people in a single day, or around 55 people for a whole week.  Unless Santa Cruz also has a second camp of people with inadequate restroom facilities nearby, I’d say that we can place our bets that the Occupiers were also the Evacuators.

Cities can take heart, however.  In Boston, most of the Occupiers have other plans for Thanksgiving.  Let’s hope they keep occupying their own homes for the weekend — assuming, of course, that their families put them through the proper delousing procedures.

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Broken down city by city, the numbers are more or less in line with the cost of policing major public events and emergencies.

So does this fall into the ‘emergency’ category?

Washington Nearsider on November 23, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Occupiers in Santa Cruz aren’t being green. Imagine the run off into the ocean? Where’s the EPA!!!!!!

jbh45 on November 23, 2011 at 9:28 AM

And here I thought these morons “cared about the environment”.

search4truth on November 23, 2011 at 9:34 AM

The economic impact of the proposed 12/12 port shutdown promises to skyrocket those numbers.

onlineanalyst on November 23, 2011 at 9:37 AM

They’ll be back in the spring. And if the cities have any sense, they will not allow them to get a foothold.

Then there will be the costs of the G8/NATO riots in May, the DNC riots in August, and the RNC riots in September.

Blake on November 23, 2011 at 9:38 AM

200 pounds of feces

Which they elected as their chief.

CurtZHP on November 23, 2011 at 9:38 AM

I read on Drudge these morons are planning on occupying Black Friday retailers. I used to work at Best Buy and worked several Black Fridays and can say with certainty: they have no idea what they’re getting into. Try standing in front of someone trying to get one of twenty 55″ TVs for $1000. They will feel the wrath of capitalism.

Meric1837 on November 23, 2011 at 9:39 AM

It’s like a country-wide Cristo art project from hell – for 13MM$

Thumps head – I could’ve had a Degas!

tomg51 on November 23, 2011 at 9:39 AM

They don’t even include cities like Sacramento in their figures, so my guess is the number is at least five times higher.

JeffinSac on November 23, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Okay, caught this line in the article.

The AP gathered figures from government agencies in 18 cities with active protests and focused on costs through Nov. 15,

These protest are happening in hundreds of cities, so if they are only counting 18, then my guess is it is ten times more then their estimate.

JeffinSac on November 23, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Yes, just like the tea party…

/s

WhoU4 on November 23, 2011 at 9:44 AM

http://goo.gl/ncUjB

Note: These are the women (Ketchup, Sunkist, & Sprite) whining about not being taken seriously and viewed as sex objects at OWS. HINT: if you want to be taken seriously don’t act like little girls with bubbles, swings, and stuff animals. If you don’t want to be seen as a sex object, don’t flash your t*ts.

Blake on November 23, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Aside from the cash outlays for police, I’ll be interested to see the post-OWS crime stats for the outer boroughs and upper Manhattan in New York, since it’s been noted that the two-month diversion of police personnel to lower Manhattan has coincided with a rise in murders and other crimes, possibly due to officers being required to babysit Zuccotti Park instead of patrolling their regular beats.

jon1979 on November 23, 2011 at 9:47 AM

I still say, tort suit. Joint and several liability, against every identifiable occupier, and the organizers, and their funders.

George Soros has deep pockets.

LarryD on November 23, 2011 at 9:48 AM

But it would “heartless” and “inhumane” to expect them to leave, much less legally compel them to do so.

whatcat on November 23, 2011 at 9:50 AM

The founding fathers gave their blood and treasure.

The loitering looters gave their urine and feces.

VibrioCocci on November 23, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Some may be heading home for the holidays, but others are staging a Black Friday protest of eevil corporations like>>>>>>>> Dick’s Sporting Goods and the Burlington Coat Factory. And yes, perennial favorite target WalMart is also on the list, as is Amazon and many others.

Apparently they won’t be satisfied until everyone is jobless and living in Obamavilles.

Buy Danish on November 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM

If I have to shovel anything, I picking snow.

Cindy Munford on November 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Ed, there is much more to come. They plan to disrupt Christmas, too.
Attention Walmart Shoppers: Be sure to bring your pepper spray.

bloggless on November 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Buy Danish on November 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM

How do they mess with Amazon?

Cindy Munford on November 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM

200 pounds of feces

CurtZHP on November 23, 2011 at 9:38 AM

And at this very moment, the leader of some fledging grunge garage band in Seattle that is desperately seeking a catchy band name is surfing the web, hits on to HotAir, and, upon seeing this post, has a revelation!

pilamaye on November 23, 2011 at 9:58 AM

The occupy groups are just like the Obama administration.They F’up everything they do and cost the taxpayer.

docflash on November 23, 2011 at 9:58 AM

200 pounds of feces

Did Michael Moore forget half of himself again?

Gatsu on November 23, 2011 at 10:01 AM

I peeked in at LGF. They were outraged!!! about conservatives not feeling sympathy for the pregnant demonstrator. Just based on her statement to the press, you can tell that she is lying. So, I googled her name and even the msm is reporting that she is a liar.

She lied about being kicked.
She lied about being run into with a bike.
She lied about being pregnant.
She lied about miscarrying.

Blake on November 23, 2011 at 10:02 AM

If anybody happens to be in one of these stores being targeted by OWS on Black Friday, be sure to take a camera. The Youtube clips of OWS crybabies being overrun by Black Friday shoppers will be priceless!

RebeccaH on November 23, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Numbers are fun. Let’s compare law enforcement and cleanup costs for OWS versus those of tea party demonstrations.

a capella on November 23, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Ed, there is much more to come. They plan to disrupt Christmas, too.
Attention Walmart Shoppers: Be sure to bring your pepper spray.

bloggless on November 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM

LOL. That oughta be fun. Some scraggly protestors trying to impede the mad rush of determined WalMart shoppers when the doors open early the day after Thanksgiving. My son’s MIL wouldn’t even be slowed down. She’d leave a bloody trail behind her.

a capella on November 23, 2011 at 10:14 AM

I’d be surprised if anything happens. Most will be at home. The only ones crazy enough to do this will be few in numbers.

Blake on November 23, 2011 at 10:22 AM

It’s like a country-wide Cristo art project from hell – for 13MM$!

tomg51 on November 23, 2011 at 9:39 AM

But, even Cristo knows when it’s time to pack it up and go home.

Fallon on November 23, 2011 at 10:39 AM

How do they mess with Amazon?
Cindy Munford on November 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM

I guess they’ll do an online boycott, refusing to use their pricey MAC computers to make purchases via Amazon. For a bunch of people who are supposedly distraught because they can’t find jobs there’s a huge contradiction in staging a boycott of products they are theoretically too impoverished to buy.

Buy Danish on November 23, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Ed, there is much more to come. They plan to disrupt Christmas, too.
Attention Walmart Shoppers: Be sure to bring your pepper spray.
bloggless on November 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM

I’m seriously thinking of picking up some cans of Silly String to use in self-defense against these jackasses if they interfere with my liberty to come and go on as I choose.

Buy Danish on November 23, 2011 at 11:10 AM

The Occupy movement instead has been a two-month long festival of insipid self-indulgence, where chanting, making signs, not showering, and taking figurative and literal dumps on their communities replaces any kind of meaningful political action

“God bless them.” — Nancy Pelosi

RobertE on November 23, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Cost to cities for Occupiers exceeds $13 million….

…drug and alcohol use, public urination and defecation, littering, bathing in county restrooms, fights and more. Two pieces of artwork on display at the county building were vandalized….

…an estimated 200 pounds of human feces…

WOW! OWS really IS just like the TEA Party rallies.

TugboatPhil on November 23, 2011 at 11:13 AM

200 lbs of feces

Correction. Micheal Moore is at least 475 lbs.

Urban Infidel on November 23, 2011 at 12:43 PM

“A lot of this could’ve been avoided if we stood our ground when we went in there in the first place,” Arotzarena said. “I know we would’ve saved the city a significant amount of money.”

Or, as Rudy Giuliani said, the NYPD should have banned tents and sleeping bags on the first night, declared a 10 PM curfew and cleared out the park.

They would have had to sleep at friends’ apartments or in hotel rooms (OMG, they’re paying money to those EEEEEVIL corporations!).

Steve Z on November 23, 2011 at 1:27 PM

The money can be raised by arresting the occupiers and then hitting them with a huge fine. Fine enough of them and you might get a budget surplus.

DAT60A3 on November 23, 2011 at 1:45 PM

DC mayor is now talking about asking the federal government for money to pay for the costs imposed on the city by the squatters.

forest on November 23, 2011 at 2:20 PM

These protest are happening in hundreds of cities, so if they are only counting 18, then my guess is it is ten times more then their estimate.

JeffinSac on November 23, 2011 at 9:44 AM

And over 1,000 countries.

RDuke on November 23, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Occupiers in Santa Cruz aren’t being green. Imagine the run off into the ocean? Where’s the EPA!!!!!!
jbh45 on November 23, 2011 at 9:28 AM

Indeed. Stockyards have to adhere to standards that to which these slobs couldn’t or wouldn’t meet. Poor Gaia… to have worshipers such as these.

/s

ya2daup on November 23, 2011 at 2:51 PM

What’s a mere $13 million to municipalites which have had to lay off people, cut back on city services, and close libraries early so the little ones don’t get an after school puppet show?

It’s all to support people who have homes but prefer to tresspass instead and use the squad cars as toilets. Now that’s free speech!

madmonkphotog on November 23, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Take names and tell them the cost will be added to their student loan.

mixplix on November 23, 2011 at 4:48 PM