Just as soon as it came—on Tuesday, to be exact—last night police evicted residents of the new Occupy Oakland encampment on the 2000 block of Peralta Street near Mandela Parkway. Set up in an empty lot, occupiers claim the space has been vacant for years, which they thought gave them the right to camp there. No so. This prompted the landowner to file a complaint with the city. Oakland police moved in a little after 5 p.m. on Wednesday to clear out protesters.
But who owns said lot, exactly? A landlord who, while sitting on vacant property, owes $12,824.51 in back taxes. Noted reporter Susie Cagle has more:
The property has been owned by Brian Collins, senior vice president at a local commercial real estate firm, Henry Wong, and a limited liability partnership between Mehrad Dokhancy and Patricia Phneuf, which likely includes other silent partners, since 2006, when they bought it from the city at auction. The multiple parcels which made up the lot were combined, according to the Alameda County assessor, as of June of this year, but were always owned by this group. They are currently $12,824.51 behind in their property taxes on the lot, which is assessed at around $445,000 (they paid about $415,000). Since 2006, those property tax bills have been sent to a suburban house in the windy hills of Lafayette, 13 miles from the 21st and Mandela property, in Dokhancy and Phneuf’s names. It looks like a really nice house.
Anyway, police cited and released 14 people, arresting one for trespassing. "Tents, sleeping bags, cooking stoves, books, clothes and food were scattered on the street outside the lot after the police action, and the crowd grew angrier and angrier at police," reports Oakland Tribune. "Protesters called officers 'pigs' and more colorful expletives and chanted, 'Go solve a crime, stop wasting time.' "
Meanwhile, the Occupy Oakland website shifts focus to honor noted BART Police Department victim Oscar Grant on New Year's Day. OOers plan to meet at the Fruitvale BART station (where Grant was accidentally shot dead by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle) on January 1 for a rally. "While the case is over and Johannes Mehserle is back on the streets, the Oakland community has not forgotten the unarmed father who was murdered three years ago," notes Occupy Oakland. "The memorial march is in honor of Oscar as well as other victims of police brutality and murder."
[via Oakland Tribune]