Despite Merchant Complaints, Mayor Lee Won’t Remove Occupy SF

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS / CBS SF) — Despite a couple of recent arrests at the Occupy SF encampment and a slew of complaints from nearby Ferry Building merchants, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said Wednesday that there were no immediate plans to remove the encampment.

“I think that’s premature at this time,” he said.

However, the mayor added that the demonstrators, located in Justin Herman Plaza at the foot of Market Street, would have to cooperate with the city if they want to stay there.

“They’ve got to help us—if they’re going to exercise their First Amendment rights, they have to help us with the complaints we’re receiving,” he said. “That’s the only way to avoid confrontations.”

Managers at the Ferry Building sent two letters to Lee and the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday complaining that the city had not adequately protected local businesses from crimes allegedly committed by Occupy SF protestors.

The merchants blamed a rash of shoplifting, vandalism and muggings at the Embarcadero marketplace on Occupy campers they said had run amok.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

The merchants noted an increase in laptop and cell phone thefts from their customers since the Occupy encampment arrived, and have called for around the clock policing to bring things under control.

Related Article: Oakland Groups Fed Up With Occupy Appeal To Mayor Quan

The letters complain that demonstrators regularly strip down and bathe in the building’s public restrooms and have even broken into the building in order to tap into its electricity to provide power at the encampment.

Board of Supervisors Chairman David Chiu said he deplored the crime wave, attributing it to rogue elements within Occupy SF. He said the city was working to get Occupy organizers to police the encampment themselves.

“Our cities public safety and public health laws absolutely need to be followed, and if that is not happening, then we’re going to have some real issues,” Chiu said.

Chiu is one of several supervisors who have delivered speeches of support at the Occupy encampment, gestures Supervisor Sean Elsbernd dismissed as posturing that must end.

“The appropriate response is to get the root cause of the problem out of the way. It’s time for Occupy SF to move along,” Elsbernd said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Barbara Taylor
  • Losersgohome

    What a site for sore eyes! The emcampment is a total disgrace to the city.
    National guard, Where are you?

  • Big G

    This is why you are not Mayor David, suggesting that they can police themselves. What is wrong with you Liberals that lead this city!! Get up & do your jobs & lead. You have over 750,000 citizens you represent & another 200,000 that commute everyday. Just wondering does the rest of us get any consideration into how this is being handled. Are there any real elected officals in the Bay Area that can actually lead instead of pandering to fringe groups!!

  • C B Ryan

    “Rein in.” The word is “rein,” not “reign”!

  • Jay

    David sounds like Jean Quon of Oakland…….just a lot of talks & no action.

  • Care B

    How’s all this going to affect what the City is trying to project to the tourists and the future America’s Cup. The major accomplishment of the encampment thus far has been to attract troublemakers to further drain the City’s dwindling funds. Funds that could be better used elsewhere to improve the City.

  • Anderson Mike

    Why don’t Asian mayors (SF and Oakland) have the balls to do what is right for their cities?

  • Arthur Bailey

    figures the socalled mayor is gutless and I”ll bet not one of them has a job or is even looking for one.I’LL bet you any amount of money most of them are just living off of our hard earned money on either welfare or unemployment and they are not looking for a job if you are out camping in downtown SF.Hey! A new advertizment for SF ” Come to san francisco where you can camp downtown for free ” All it will cost you is your selfrespect and get a police record.”

  • Tenderloin Joe

    The problem with people today is we have become selfish. Too many of us are only concern with what is good for me and damn everyone else. Those who are concern and want to make things better usually get a bad rap from the few who only think about themselves. The Occupy movement WAS a good thing, it represents the goodness of freedom of speech. Within the confines of the law, a group in our society was trying to make a point to benefit all. NOW this movement is turning into a joke. A hiding place for criminals to get a free meal, medical attention, steal from others, prey on the weak, etc. Once the excitement for this movement is over, those troublemakers aren’t going to leave. San Francisco and Oakland will be stuck with them because of the many benefits and help that both cities are famous for given away. There’s free meals, lodging, drugs, and money given away everywhere.

  • WASPy

    I’d advise anyone considering San Francisco as a vacation or business destination to AVOID it like the plague.

    SF, like ALL cities under Progressive rule, has become an open cesspool of crime, filth, corruption and degeneracy.

    • tim tim teroo

      I Call bull scheise.

  • tim tim teroo

    Conservative merica is the cess pool you speak of, sf is a glimmering jewel of a city, among the finest on earth.

  • Ed

    I think Big 5 has a sale on Baseball bats

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