Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Chamber's Letter to Mayor Quan

1 November 2011

Dear Mayor Quan,

Oakland is, was, and always will be open for business. We stand with the leaders of Oakland’s small and large employers to urge your continued support for peaceful protest while respecting other’s rights to conduct business without fear of violence.

As you know, protestors have planned Wednesday as a General Strike. There is a fog of uncertainty surrounding this effort and our members, and the business community at large wants to support you and the city at this critical time. However, we do not yet see what it is you want from the business community.

At its most grassroots level, we are concerned for the mothers and children, and even grandmothers, who plan to come to Oakland to conduct their regular business – shopping, banking, doctor’s appointments, or visiting a museum. At its broadest level, we are concerned that our community’s employers, the ones who provide the jobs to our local economy, are closing for the day or must face a day of great uncertainty. Your lack of clarity is putting our shared future in Oakland at risk.

We want to be clear, should Wednesday’s planned protests go awry, someone will need to be held accountable.

We share your sentiment to find constructive ways to help grow Oakland. To that end, we respectfully request that you:
-          Be clear and concise in your requests to the police, to businesses, and to the protestors on your expectations tomorrow. We do not want to see a repeat of the violence, yet we want to see an end to the fear and uncertainty.
-          End overnight camping in Frank Ogawa Plaza. It remains a visible manifestation of your lack of clarity and leadership and places public safety at risk.
-          Immediately work with us to continue to drive support for Measures I and J as a meaningful way to raise much-needed revenues and provide public safety. Let’ s be clear, the business community has endorsed these measure, but your vacillation have put their passage in jeopardy
A united Oakland isn’t hard to visualize – it has already happened. Oaklanders from every part of the community recently gathered to make it clear to Lawrence Berkeley National Labs that locating in Oakland was a smart and sensible home for their second campus. We can have that again, but you must lead the way.


Joseph J. Haraburda
President & CEO

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