The OccupyDC protest has cost Washington DC taxpayers $1 million over the last two months. The cost has been calculated to be about $22,000 per day. The city has paid for sanitation costs which have exceeded $6,000.
More than twenty local police officers are stationed around the clock at the site. That doesn’t include a three-hour standoff last Saturday night in which 13 protesters were arrested. Nor does the $1 million cover a U.S. Park Police sweep of the protest tents following a White House shooting by a disgruntled 21-year old from Idaho.
Finally, the tab also doesn’t count the destruction of the sod at McPherson Square where the protesters have encamped. Earlier this year $437,000 in federal stimulus money was spent to re-sod and “restore” the park which is part of the National Park Service. That money, it seems, was another stimulus project that went to waste.
Affected municipal officials should do a similar cost analysis of every Occupy encampment; some of them are larger, dirtier, and more costly than #OccupyDC. It’s equally important to account for the costs to local businesses who have suffered vandalism and loss of business, and to the employees that have suffered reduced wages or layoffs.
Who should foot the bill? There’s quite a rogues’ gallery of persons and groups who have lent their support to #Occupy: George Soros (via the Tides Foundation and MoveOn.org), the SEIU and other labor unions, Frances Fox Piven, Adbusters, the Muslim Brotherhood, the CPUSA, the American Nazi Party, and the Democratic National Committee itself (not that any Democrat mayor would hold his own party accountable for damage done to his city).
And then there’s Obama’s favorite vehicle of “community organization”: Acorn.
But you thought Acorn was dead and gone. Oh, wait…
Did an ACORN front group plan and execute last week’s bizarre “Occupation” of a San Francisco Bank of America branch?
As you’ll recall, nearly 100 people were arrested after storming into the bank, chanting slogans and attempting to setup camp indoors. Now, following this incident, some are wondering if an ACORN front group may have been behind the organized chaos.
We already know that the staged protest was organized, in part, by ReFund California, a group that describes itself as, “a state-wide coalition of homeowners, community members, faith leaders and students working to make Wall Street banks pay for destroying jobs and neighborhoods with their greedy, irresponsible and predatory business practices.” This is the same group that also organized a protest at Cal State University last week.
But who is behind ReFund California? Among the coalition’s “partners,” which includes unions and like-minded groups, is the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE). This group, which is likely unknown to most, was covered in-depth in JudicialWatch’s “The Re-branding of ACORN,” a report that focuses upon covert, ACORN front-groups. Here’s what the report had to say about ACCE:
ACORN CA has become the Alliance of Californians for Community
Empowerment (ACCE), incorporated on December 8, 2010. ACCE maintains seven offices in California. According to Secretary of State records, the registered agent of ACCE is Amy Schur, who is also the organization’s executive director.
Schur was formerly the lead organizer for ACORN CA and was a member of ACORN’s management council. She reportedly knew of the embezzlement of ACORN funds by Dan Rathke, but chose to inform neither the ACORN board of directors nor law enforcement about the crime.
Lead organizer in the San Diego office is David Lagstein, former lead organizer for ACORN in Michigan. ACCE board member Edgar Hilbert was also formerly with ACORN CA member. ACCE took over the office space previously occupied by ACORN CA at 3655 So. Grand Avenue, Suite 250, Los Angeles, CA 90007.
Left to themselves, municipal governments will most likely absorb the costs of #Occupy and try to recoup it from their already beleaguered local taxpayers. The fact that the cities allowed the Occupiers to set up camp in the first place without demanding any recompense, would weaken their case if the cities were to sue the sponsoring organizations to recoup their costs.
That’s why it’s time for us to demand that our city governments clear out the #Occupy camps without further delay, to require parade permits and fees for any further protests (under the same terms that Tea Party groups were required to observe), and to begin billing the sponsoring organizations for policing, cleanup, and other costs that #Occupy has foisted on the rest of us.
What local businesses can do
There’s nothing to stop local businesses harmed by #Occupy from getting together and suing both the city government that allowed this public nuisance to continue, and the organizations sponsoring #Occupy in their area. Set up a neighborhood chamber of commerce, or get together with your local Tea Party group, and make it happen!