More destruction, more businesses to support

15 Jan

Earlier this week, I felt very concerned about the Oscar Grant protest that was to take place last night. Though I knew the organizers meant well and would attempt to keep the peace, a smaller faction of protesters was distributing this flyer, featuring an image of a brick breaking through a window.

I got so worried that I emailed the flyer to Council Members Nadel and Kaplan, as well as the Mayor’s office. I would have emailed it directly to the Oakland Police Department, but, of course, there’ s no email address to be found on their website.

I received responses from all three offices almost immediately. Nancy Nadel promised to forward it to OPD. Rebecca Kaplan forwarded me a message from the protest organizers that explained how they were training hundreds of volunteers to provide security for the protest. The Mayor’s office responded, promising that they were working closely with OPD and the protest organizers to ensure that there would not be a repeat of the destruction that happened last week.

So I started to think – maybe it’s going to be different. Maybe OPD learned from their mistakes and would be able to stop destruction before it started or at least before it became widespread. I left my office at 6pm and saw police everywhere, and not just randomly walking around. They clearly were in a pre-planned formation, blocking off certain streets.

I walked over to Radio and felt pretty safe, though I did keep watching the clock, still having some apprehension that when the planned protest ended at 7:00, chaos would follow. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. A small fringe group refused to leave the 14th and Broadway intersection and moved into City Center, where they smashed many windows with all sorts of objects.

I heard about this happening and sat tight at Radio until it had calmed down enough that I felt safe to walk to the bus stop. I actually didn’t realize how bad it had been until I turned on the news when I got home and saw the widespread destruction.

With some help, today I updated the list of businesses that were vandalized on January 7th, adding the businesses that were hit last night. It’s a bit overwhelming to see just how extensive the list is and how geographically widespread the businesses are.

I hope you will join the effort to support these businesses. You can visit them anytime, or you can join the group on Yelp that is organizing an outing tomorrow (Friday night). Also, Oakland merchants are joining together this Saturday, the 17th, to support businesses on 17th Street. The street will be closed to car traffic and it sounds like it will be a fun afternoon.

3 Responses to “More destruction, more businesses to support”

  1. monkeearmada January 15, 2009 at 5:50 pm #

    In part its sad that it has to come to this, but if not for the few who chose to vandalize after the march was over MSNBC would never have even picked up the story. It’s a crime that more focus is placed on a handful of Anarchist and street thugs causing a ruckus than on the fact that a man was shot and killed by a member of law enforcement. I was at the protest yesterday and left long before the mayhem began. I felt the whole protest was a bust because more was being said about how we didn’t need anymore violence than about Oscar Grant. I live 15 minutes away from the Fruitvale BART where he was killed and I would like to know that riding the train isn’t going to one day cost me my life. I support Oakland businesses already and would have no problem supporting those that support the community. I’m not from around here and I have been shocked to learn how many police killings have been overlooked.

  2. Navigator January 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm #

    Becks,

    You’re doing a great thing. Keep up the good work. Hopefully, the Shorenstein Company which owns City Center will pick up the tab for the damage. I’d hate to see the business owners stuck with that bill.

    I have to say that I was very disappointed by the way the Oakland Police Department handled the security of City Center. This was a very small group of thugs running wild and destroying everything in site. The Oakland Police department could have easily secured that retail filled area. Anyone with any common sense would realize that vandals and possible looters would be attracted to that area.

    Also, I found it completely disgusting that a camera man for a local television station was following the hooligans around City Center as they performed for the camera. In another instance, a still photographer, was being videotaped by a local news channel taking pictures of a few thugs vandalizing an SUV on the street. These media people obviously had no fear for their safety as they followed the hooligans around from one destruction site to another. These hooligans fed off of this irresponsible media which was waiting around licking its chops for the violence to begin.

    This is absolutely disgusting. Was there a Director on site yelling “cut.” I’m tired of seeing Oakland used by a few mindless thugs as a ratings generating entity for the opportunistic San Francisco media. The media needs to take some responsibility for inciting these morons with their bright lights. Next time, take your cameras and bright lights to Union Square, as the hoodlums rampage through “banging” ( SF either has stronger windows, or weaker thugs) on windows and scarring the tourists, as they did in your last “demonstration.” Where are THOSE videos? Next time keep your glamorous bright lights on your side of the Bay, or at least, leave when the cops tell you that, “Oakland is closed for business.” Oakland can’t afford your circling helicopters and your bright lights any longer.

  3. Mike January 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    I have to say, I’m surprised that Indy Bay is just as bad as the rest of the non-independent media.

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