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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.”

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 8, 2011 @ 5:24 p.m.

Ray Lutz is an idiot.

What is HE doing (besides throwing fire bombs at Carl)


TerrieBest Nov. 9, 2011 @ 10:06 a.m.

In a recent publicity stunt, Carl DeMaio attempted to sell citizens of San Diego that 1 month of extra foot traffic created by Occupy San Diego resulted in loss of sales.

The story about the vendors' business failure has been covered elsewhere as a total misrepresentation of what actually happened.

Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio, got a lot of mileage out of cart owner Linda Jenson’s claims that her business failed because of Occupy San Diego. He staged a press conference and vowed to help her.

Very admirable except for the fact that Mr. DeMaio virtually ignored this woman’s plea for help for three years (as evidenced by the letter Jenson wrote in 2008 to newspaper, San Diego City Beat) and then saw and took an opportunity to discredit Occupy San Diego with it. He immediately staged a publicity stunt by offering money and the promise of a fund raiser to her now that it suits him.

Also not covered here is the fact that protesters filed by and handed the vendors money off-camera during DeMaio's press conference.

I have seen many of our Council Members down at the Plaza engaging their public but not Mayor hopeful Carl DeMaio. Mr. DeMaio chose to alienate and vilify those citizens who are begging to be heard. This is not the sign of a leader.

Carl DeMaio is unsophisticated, out of touch and disconnected with what San Diegans need. Please vote NO on DeMaio.


SanDiegoParrothead Nov. 9, 2011 @ 2:02 p.m.

Spoken like a true city union employee, or someone that's married to a union city employee, or has a family member in the union.

Carl's got you running scared... so here comes the slings & arrows....


Chad Deal Nov. 9, 2011 @ 1:36 p.m.

Jenson's letter from 2008 and a related Occupy San Diego press release are available here:


TerrieBest Nov. 10, 2011 @ 9:12 a.m.

Countering Carl DeMaio's recent publicity stunt to discredit Occupy San Diego, here's a small business that is thriving in the Civic Center: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2tu3eNIm_8&feature=youtu.be.


OccupyEarthNow Nov. 20, 2011 @ 1:06 a.m.

Great story on this giving more perspective than is normally seen on this, especially the video of the nearby thriving Downtown Johnny Browns who has no complaints.

I think it's pretty transparent and shameless the way DeMaio postured over this. DeMaio is only concerned about scoring political points not preserving anyone's livelihood.

One correction should be made on this. You refer to Ray Lutz as an Occupy San Diego spokesperson. By what basis are you calling him a "spokesperson"? It would have been more accurate to refer to him as an "occupier" or "media committee member".

Here he gave his own personal opinion (and I happen to agree with it) but there are many other voices there as well. There are no leaders.

Not to be mistaken I appreciate the great work Ray's done helping distribute information and how he gives a experienced voice to the movement here. Do more video interviews with him, but don't call him a "spokesperson".


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