City leaders support right to protest in concourse

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A sampling of San Diego political leaders has found
support for protesters camping out on city property at the downtown Community
Concourse in the “Occupy San Diego” movement.

Protesters representing various causes, but generally opposed to
corporate greed, gathered at the plaza adjacent to the City Administration
Building, Golden Hall and Civic Theatre on Friday and intend to stay for the
long-term.

“I think expressing your First Amendment rights is a healthy thing,”
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said before the start of the City Council meeting.
“I don't have a problem with it.”

Enforcement issues are being handled by the San Diego Police Department,
and it appears the officers have a good relationship with the loose-knit
protesters, Goldsmith said.

A spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sanders said the police and fire departments
were working with the protesters to keep the area safe and clean.

Detective Gary Hassen, of the San Diego Police Department, said there
have been no arrests, nor were there any significant disturbances or
significant incidents until mid-afternoon today, when a man plunged to his
death from a nearby parking structure. It was not immediately clear if the
victim was connected to the event.

City Councilman Todd Gloria said the concourse was often just “a large
void,” so he was happy to see people using it to make their points.

“I'm supporting largely what they're saying,” Gloria said of the
protesters. “It's representative of what I'm hearing when I'm out in the
community.”

Councilman Carl DeMaio said his constituents are also concerned about
“excesses in the corporate world” and are frustrated by bailouts.

“I just think that most of us are frustrated with the behavior on Wall
Street, but let's focus on solutions,” DeMaio said.

The demonstration coincides with a production of the musical “Hair” at
the Civic Theatre, which runs through Oct. 23. The next major event at Golden
Hall is the San Diego Family Expo on Oct. 22.

Gloria said hoped the protesters will “stay peaceful and be good
neighbors” to patrons at the events.

Categories: KUSI