6 p.m., Dec. 7
Carl DeMaio's Fundraiser Deemed "Disgusting" and "Publicity Stunt" by Occupy San Diego Spokesperson
Last night, city councilmember and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio held a fundraiser at Downtown Johnny Brown’s bar and grill for the owners of a coffee cart and a hot dog stand who have shut down operations on the Civic Center Plaza, reportedly due to unsanitary conditions and intimidation from people perceived to be part of the Occupy San Diego movement which has been on the concourse and, more recently, the nearby east lawn since early October.
In an interview with Fox 5 News, DeMaio claimed that rent subsidies have been provided for the vendors for the past three weeks, a move which some critics say only encourages the businesses to stay closed.
Ray Lutz, an Occupy San Diego participant, activist, and 2010 Democratic Candidate for Congress in California's 52nd congressional district, said the event was sparsely attended and only served to undercut DeMaio’s claims of support for small business.
“This doesn’t help small business operate,” Lutz said during a press conference at the Civic Center Plaza this morning. “It helps them to close.”
Lutz argued that, contrary to criticisms of Occupy San Diego for being detrimental to local business (though Downtown Johnny Brown’s has reportedly seen a 60% boost in business since the occupation began), the presence of protesters can only benefit the small businesses.
“We had hundreds, sometimes a thousand or more people here in the square,” said Lutz.
“And what business, like if you’re a coffee shop, doesn’t want to have a few hundred or maybe a thousand people to sell coffee to?”
DeMaio's support team set up a table on the plaza despite strict enforcement by SDPD of a ban forbidding on any personal items, including American flags, from being placed on the plaza grounds.
Occupy San Diego participants promptly responded by setting up a table of their own across from DeMaio's.
Lutz calls the fundraiser a “complete failure” and “disgusting… this is not something you would expect from an honest to god mayoral candidate… putting these businesses out of commission so he can make some points on it.”
More like this:
- Occupy San Diego Activist Arrested Over Voter Registration Table — Nov. 29, 2011
- Occupy San Diego Responds to Raid, Inaugurates Occupy Mission Bay — Nov. 17, 2011
- Occupy San Diego to Take Legal Action Against City and Police — Nov. 9, 2011
- Occupy San Diego Pushes Vendors to Return — Nov. 5, 2011
- Food Carts Get a Little Push from City Hall — Nov. 3, 2011