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Mayor Quan’s Husband Works Behind The Scenes To Relocate Occupy Oakland

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Protestors set up a tent at a new Occupy Oakland encampment in front of Oakland City Hall.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Protestors set up a tent at a new Occupy Oakland encampment in front of Oakland City Hall. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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OAKLAND (CBS 5) – CBS 5 has obtained a series of emails from Dr. Floyd Huen, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s husband and a long-time Oakland activist, brainstorming with fellow activists about how to shut down the Occupy Oakland encampment without the spectacle of violent police clashes.

The e-mails are posted in the BBON Google group – Quan’s so-called “Block By Block Organizing Network” – which consists primarily of neighborhood activists and Quan loyalists.

They provide a behind-the-scenes look at how much Huen is playing an active role in trying to resolve the Occupy situation, at times even expressing the mayor’s own frustration with her unique position: as a former activist who finds herself at odds with the movement.

Huen wrote: “I want to remind all of you that OO HAS NO NEGOTIATING TEAM. They are the only ones in the country that do not. You need to know how exasperating this has been for this type of encampment to exist in a city with a progressive mayor who is offering to help but nobody to talk to about it.”

In other e-mails, Huen implores his fellow activists to come up with a way to get the Occupy folks to move to an alternate city site. When some BBON folks seem to sympathize with Occupy Oakland’s determination to stay in Frank Ogawa Plaza, Huen tells them to “wake up” to the political reality of the situation.

Huen wrote, “I am afraid that some of the comments from my BBBON colleagues show how out of touch they are with Oakland right now. The City Council, which sets policy for the City of Oakland and in which the Mayor only votes in case of a tie, UNANIMOUSLY wants the camp moved, either voluntarily or involunatrily (sic).

“Wake up everybody. I actually feel that the Council does indeed represent the majority sentiment in Oakland. So comments about the importance of the movement AT THIS POINT will only be important IF we can get the encampment to move elsewhere and continue the movement at another site in Oakland.

“There is interest from among them to do that.

“Please focus on making this happen.”

When CBS 5 called Huen for a comment, he said, “I think I’d rather not speak to the media about this … we’re trying to keep our city safe.” Then he hung up.

In the e-mails, Huen said he had attended several Occupy general assemblies, but later decided to back off because of his high profile.

Huen urged BBON members to try to persuade the Occupy folks to adopt a “non-violence resolution,” but they eventually backed off that effort when it became clear that the Occupy folks would reject it.

During the e-mail discussions, some BBON members let Huen know they adamantly oppose a police raid. They propose several sites for relocating the protest site overnight, including the “occupation of foreclosed buildings.” Although the proposals would involve putting them in those buildings at taxpayer expense, they claim that would be less expensive than a police action — with the ensuing lawsuits sure to follow any violent clashes.

In another e-mail, Huen wrote, “This movement can continue without the camping, and certainly not in the official center of the city. It could continue at another site, perhaps indoors. A private indoor property would be the best so as to take the City out of it. The Occupy Wall Street occupies a private plot of land outdoors.

“I think OO should consider:
1. Continuing the GA without the camp. or
2. Finding an alternative indoor site, preferably private. A foreclosed property might even be good for the new owner to rent out; and the movement can raise the monthly rent and everybody wins.”

In his latest e-mail, Huen said he is helping plan an effort for community members to descend on the encampment to encourage Occupy Oakland to move to an alternate location.

Huen wrote, “Jose Dorado is proposing a community effort this weekend to go as a group to the camp to engage and express our concerns about it hurting both the image and the business in our city to add to the Mayor’s request that they move…”

The mayor’s husband took a high profile role in the Occupy movement’s general strike on Nov. 2. He was among the thousands who marched to the Port of Oakland, blocking the entrances and shutting it down for several hours.

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

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