LA faces millions in costs for Occupy damage

posted at 1:40 pm on December 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

The city of Los Angeles offered the Occupy movement one of its most comfortable venues. Not only did Occupiers get to bask in warm weather, unlike camps in New York City and Washington DC, they got a nice lawn on which to pitch their tents and a city administration that offered plenty of sympathy.  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa even offered them some farmland and 10,000 square feet of office space in trade for the City Hall lawn space, an offer that the Occupiers might regret not taking, in retrospect.

The city will also have its regrets as well.  The local CBS affiliate reported on Wednesday that the bill has come due for the costs associated with the Occupy protests, and taxpayers may be on the hook for millions of dollars:

The City of Los Angeles reportedly faces millions of dollars in expenses brought about by the Occupy LA movement. …

Repairs to City Hall’s lawn where the Occupy group set up camp on Oct. 1 will require an estimated $400,000. The police action to clear out the encampment on Nov. 30 cost more than $700,000.

Additional expenses are attributed to hauling away debris from the camp, and cleaning up graffiti that defaced City Hall marble walls and trees.

In the ultimate irony, Villaraigosa told the media that the only way LA can pay for the damage is to cut spending elsewhere, presumably since they can’t afford to hike taxes on businesses any more than they have already. The net result will probably be reduced services to Angelenos, which is of course the opposite of what the Occupiers claimed to demand in their incoherent protests.

Meanwhile, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the Occupy demonstration has come to an embarrassing end. By the time their permit expired, the three-month protest had dwindled down to two tents, which police demanded removed from the public park. One of the few Occupiers left claimed that he had a First Amendment right to remain encamped regardless of the permit, which is not true, and so a half-dozen or so police officers moved in to dismantle the “camp.” That’s when both tents grew legs and sprinted:

Back on the West Coast, the “mostly peaceful” Occupy Berkeley movement also ended with a whimper … a few of them, in fact:

Berkeley police cleared the Bay Area’s last major Occupy encampment peacefully this afternoon, following an overnight skirmish with protesters that resulted in two arrests.

The clearance followed an uptick in violence at the camp that included two sexual assaults and numerous drug and alcohol related incidents, police said.

On Wednesday, city officials warned the protesters, who had been camped at Civic Center Park since early October, that police would start enforcing the city’s ban on overnight lodging within 24 hours. Most of the 150 or so protesters left voluntarily, but a few dozen remained early Thursday morning when police and public works crews arrived to begin clearing the park.

Just how “mostly peaceful” was the Berkeley protest?

Around 12:30 a.m., two people were arrested when they approached the nearby police station with gas masks, crowbars and cannisters, Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said. One was arrested for public drunkenness and posession of drugs, and the other for resisting arrest, she said.

This entire exercise has been an exercise in facepalms, hasn’t it?


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