Occupy SF campers reject city's offer to relocate tents

Examiner file photoThe Department of Public Works is demanding the Occupy SF camp vacate Justin Herman Plaza and suggested it move to an empty school.

It was decision time Tuesday night for the campers of Occupy SF, after Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru made them an offer to stay put and risk additional police raids or move to an abandoned school in the Mission district.

The decision: We’re not moving.

During the group’s nightly general assembly, members made it clear they would not accept the offer.

After Nuru submitted the detailed proposal to several campers at the growing Justin Herman Plaza tent city Tuesday afternoon, he said The City’s intent is clear.

“We want our park back,” Nuru said, “and we are going to get our park back.”

Nuru added that The City needs to prepare the park for Christmas with tree maintenance and restoration of the lawn.

Under the agreement for the proposed new camp at 1950 Mission St. between 15th and 16th streets, city inspectors would have access to the site at anytime, including inside tents. No drug use, drinking, public urination or defecation would be tolerated, and no minors or animals would be allowed to stay there.

The offer drew mixed reactions from campers, some of whom view taking the deal as giving in to the will of city leaders after months of tension and periodic police raids. Others think it’s a good move to secure a more stable site.

Some suggested that if campers moved to the Mission school, they also could maintain a presence at Justin Herman Plaza, which is near the target of the movement’s anger — the Federal Reserve Bank and the Financial District. The agreement does not directly address leaving the plaza, but mayoral spokeswoman Christine Falvey suggested that a continued presence on The Embarcadero wouldn’t be acceptable.

“That is not the intent,” Falvey said. “The mayor has said since Day One that longtime overnight camping there is not sustainable.”

Although The City and Occupy SF members have been in talks to discuss ways to keep the camp clean and safe, tensions have been growing. The Department of Public Works sent a letter Monday outlining several points of contention, including camping in areas identified as off-limits, the unauthorized movement of police barricades and the growth of the camp beyond the 100-tent limit.

“Unfortunately, I am not seeing an appropriate response from the camp as a whole,” Nuru wrote in the letter.
The agreement for the new space is in effect from today to May 29.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

Proposal to Occupy SF

Cost
$2,500 plus utilities (who will cover cost has yet to be determined)

Rules

  • No stoves, flammable liquids or acid batteries
  • No pets or other animals
  • No minors
  • No panhandling or loitering
  • No mattresses or furniture
  • No hot food prepared on site
  • City inspectors have full access, including inside tents
  • No drinking or drug use
  • No public urination or defecation
  • No loud noise between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Sources: Human Services Agency, San Francisco Unified School District

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