I sense Oakland is tired and resting, perhaps trying to heal, after the recent events surrounding #Occupy Oakland. Old friendships and their elasticity have been tested, perhaps new friendships have made, too.
Out of a City of roughly 400,000 residents about 10,000+/- Oaklanders protested (maybe more from other cities), and about 400 +/- people wreaked havoc here (80% from out-of-town) and 350 +/occupied 65% from out-of-town (actually slept in tents) BTW, I am open to better numbers if they are to be had.
What has been on my mind is my perception that few media sources acknowledge Oakland’s tolerance and open-mindedness. Is that not one of the great things our city offers in our list of positives? Oakland hosted Occupy in many ways.
Ok, so our leaders permitted the protest without a permit, plan, or police protection (This is not really a good thing) and apparently the general strike event planners packed and left as it got dark taking no responsibility to clear the event, leaving a troubling environment, yes a chaotic scene, in which laws were violated, streets taken over, public property, private property were impacted and as an unintended consequence; public safety was compromised, small business revenues suffered, the image of our town has been sullied. Not all of the vandalism was at night grocery and bank windows were smashed and plenty of graffiti were filmed during daylight hours. Time has since passed but all freshly remembered.
We now question the disposition of the future of our town. I think, feel, and believe, in fact may go as far as saying I know, it is time for Oaklanders’ to retake the “middle” and insist that our municipal government enforce the rule of law, fairly and consistently, to all who reside, and “visit” our fair City. Tolerance and open-mindedness has it limits and we residents have rights as well.
No one person does great public work on their own. No one. Many minds, many hands, many points of view, and many hours of time on task to make and keep our city. Our city’s future is a great public work in the making is it not? so much promise, so much potential and such an important history to preserve, honor, protect, and defend.
Oaklanders we need to move forward together. With so many active residents, non-governmental organizations, businesses and natural resources – deep water port…we need to find a way to share the future and capture the promise Oakland California offers us. Let’s find our center, our balance, by trying harder to listen to one another. Each must do their part.