San Francisco's Occupy contingent voted last night to stay put on the relatively luxurious bocce ball grounds at Justin Herman Plaza, thereby shooting down the Mayor's offer to move to a pre-blighted block out of the public eye on Mission Street. Suddenly taking a hard stance after tweeting friendly reminders to occupiers over the past few weeks, DPW Director Mohammed Nuru told the Examiner: “We want our park back, and we are going to get our park back."
Had the campers accepted the city's offer and decamped for 16th and Mission they would have also agreed to give the city access to inspect the camp, including inside tents, whenever they please in addition to the bans on drug use and public defecation that are (technically) in place at the current camp. Effectively, the invitation to move would have set up something less like a refugee camp and more like a gulag. (Minus the work, of course.)
Although some occupiers were in favor of moving to a "more stable" site in the heart of a working-class neighborhood, living outdoors near a notoriously sketchy part of town seems like it would invite even more shady characters — the types of hangers-on the camp has been trying to shoo away recently. And then there's the matter of being in the public eye. As one protester told KTVU, "I feel we'll be more of an inspiration and generate more political power and support from the public if we're able to continue this occupation in defiance of the police and the city."
Previously: Mayor Lee Wants to Move Occupy SF to Sketchy Mission Block