Official L.A.'s Double Standard: One for Occupy Protesters, Another for Those Who Don't Damage Public Property


Non-righty Los Angeles observer Joseph Mailander wants the money for L.A.'s post-Occupy cleanup to come from the staff budgets of its leading politicians. His argument:

[T]he damage the Occupiers did to City Hall's lawns and park space will [reportedly] cost the City between $300-$400,000.  The extra police hours will cost the City at least that much again, and perhaps up to three times that much.

What rankles here is that the City welcomed the Occupiers with such open arms–while making other groups with long histories of showing far more respect towards civic property– pay for use of civic services.

The Mayor originally welcomed the Occupiers and even bought them ponchos when it rained.  

Councilmember and Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti, then Council president, told the Occupiers to "stay as long as you need to."  

But when there are private vendors who solicit the use of civic property, these same civic figures increasingly ask the vendors themselves to pay for policing.  Garcetti did so with the promoters of Sunset Junction Street Fair, ultimately killing the 31-year-old festival because he couldn't shake the promoters down this year for an extra $240,000.  

Councilmember Jan Perry and the Mayor also shook down the food vendors of Downtown Art Walk for $8,000 an evening when extra policing became an issue there.  

[Public Works Commission President] Andrea Alarcon has become the City's point person for such capricious and often unexpected billing, even as her [City Councilman] father [Richard] mollycoddled the protesters along with Garcetti, Bill Rosendahl and many others.

But City Council and the Mayor didn't bill the Occupiers.

Whole thing here. Mailander reviewed Ralph Nader's Ayn Rand-inspired novel (!) for Reason in January 2010. Re-watch Reason.tv's classic (and prescient) video "Occupy L.A.: The Pro-Government Protesters?" below.