The Damage From Occupy Oakland: ‘People Are Afraid to Come Downtown’

Posted by on Nov 07, 2011 at 8:53 am

Take a bow, brave occupiers.  In a short period of time you’ve managed to destroy an already frail Oakland economy.

You must be so proud of yourselves.

Kevin Best and Misty Rasche remember when they had waiting lists for a Friday reservation at their bistro in the historic Old Oakland business district.

That was in 2007, before the recession hit and a series of angry protests that would come to define downtown Oakland.

Most recently, business at their B Restaurant & Bar has been harmed further since Occupy Oakland tents went up at City Hall on Oct. 10. Best and Rasche worry that the collateral damage from the protest may be the final blow for their restaurant.

“If we go two more months like this,” Best said, “it’s a wrap.”

Their restaurant is five blocks from the encampment. Businesses closer have suffered more, and not only from a loss of customers. Windows have been broken, street fires have been set, and graffiti has become part of the landscape, block after block.

Best and Rasche, West Oakland residents, don’t want to leave.

But as downtown business owners, they have been on a never-ending roller-coaster ride through the recession and the impact of high city unemployment rates, a series of high-profile protests and the disruptive demonstrations, and now Occupy Oakland, with its two tear-gassed melees in a little more than a week.

Despite it all, what may hurt most is the damage to the area’s image.

For a downtown that held such promise just a decade ago, it’s been painful journey.

“We own this restaurant because we love Oakland,” Rasche said. “You want to believe in it so bad.”

Since January 2009, the city has had three protests over the fatal police shooting of a BART passenger and one about cuts to higher education. The latest protest has been going for 27 days, including Wednesday’s general strike, which turned violent in the late-night hours.

The damage done by a small element of Occupy Oakland could have long-lasting effects on a downtown already struggling to overcome a bad reputation for business.

“Many, many Oakland residents … feel that this is disrupting every effort this city has made to have economic development,” said Councilwoman Pat Kernighan. “This has set us back 15 years.”

This is what liberalism does.  It destroys everything in its path.

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10 Responses to “The Damage From Occupy Oakland: ‘People Are Afraid to Come Downtown’”

  1. justin on 7/07/11 at 10:17 am

    I’m really not understanding why there isn’t a more strident outcry from the business owners in Oakland, Denver, NYC, etc?

  2. Earl on 7/07/11 at 1:14 pm

    Strident outcry from business owners? You remember prop 8? People who speak out against the mob are not forgotten, not forgiven (as anonymous says in the end of every video now)

  3. Jim Hlavac on 7/07/11 at 4:38 pm

    Excuse me Mr. Earl, but Prop 8’s passage did not cause endless weeks of violent rage against the system and capitalism by any “mob” camping out in public parks — over absolutely nothing but their inner rage at their own stupidity.

    Gay folks were upset, so they held a few marches, not even big ones, and nothing got damaged – no windows broken, no buildings burned, no people attacked. Also, not passing Prop 8 had significant business support. Including the vast numbers of entrepreneurial capitalist gay folks like myself. I do believe the right to smooch in peace without government intervention and oversight is a rather protected liberty, no?

    Meanwhile, as I keep reminding everyone — there have been 40 years of gay political protests, aka, “Pride Marches.” They are now held in over 1000 American cities, and 1000 cities all over the world — with tens of millions of protestors, aka gay folks. And in all these marches — not once was there any “mobs” wrecking the place, or asking for the end of capitalism, or demanding people’s wealth, or taking over parks for weeks on end. And we have never gotten round the clock breathless news coverage for having done this, that’s for sure.

    So, please, I’m as mad at the Occupy nonsense as you are, but don’t lump gay folks and our worldwide peaceful protests with this rabble. Thank you very much.

  4. Mark L on 7/07/11 at 10:14 pm

    “I’m really not understanding why there isn’t a more strident outcry from the business owners in Oakland, Denver, NYC, etc?”

    Umm. Maybe because the mayors have signaled that they are on the side of the Occucreeps? Why bother making an outcry when you figure that if you do (a) the cop will ignore you, and (b) city inspectors will target you? One man with courage makes a majority, as Andrew Jackson is reputed to have said, but it takes an awful lot of courage to stake everything you have worked for against a slim chance that a non-responsive city government will do something positive about your complaint, and is much more likely to make you a pinata.

  5. Rytas on 8/08/11 at 6:43 pm

    Elections have consequences. I hope the experiences of the past 3 years will be instructive and get people/voters to focus on things that actually matter: law & order, lowering the debt, tax rates, a civil society, defense–aka stuff democrats never consider.

  6. rabidfox on 12/12/11 at 4:42 pm

    The trouble Rytas, is that the majority of people in Oakland are NOT business owners.

  7. edge of the sandbox on 14/14/11 at 1:06 am

    It might just be that Oakland is that far gone. Yes, majority of Oakland are not business owners, and capitalism is suspect. The restaurant owners interviewed in that article had to proclaim that they still believe in Oakland. Why? Their business is not a charity for Oakland residents.

  8. memomachine on 20/20/11 at 10:44 am


    @ Jim Hlavac

    “Gay folks were upset, so they held a few marches, not even big ones, and nothing got damaged”

    They also threatened & held hostage an old lady that ran a popular restaurant because she does not believe in gay marriage.