Small business owner to get rent credits from city

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The city Wednesday offered rent concessions to the owner
of a Civic Center Plaza coffee cart, who claimed that harassment by Occupy San
Diego protesters forced her close up shop.

“I think it's awesome,” Linda Jenson said of the offer.

Jenson has operated the cart for four years in front of the Civic
Theatre, serving city workers during the day and playgoers at night.

She said she had to close down on Oct. 24 after she was threatened by
protesters and followed home. Her cart, she said, was in a pool of urine from
people who had set up a tent city in the plaza.

“It was terrifying,” said Jenson, who conceded that she did not file a
police report.

The city is offering to waive her rent for October, not charge her until
her cart is back in operation and give her a rent credit to cover the cost of
professional cleaning of her equipment, according to city spokeswoman Rachel
Laing.

Her lease with the city is for $1,000 per month or 15 percent of gross
receipts, whichever is more, Laing said.

It is not known if Letty Soto, the operator of a hot dog cart that also
operates in the Community Concourse, will receive the same benefit. Her lease
is with a private firm that owns the Civic Center Plaza office building.

Soto, who has operated the cart since 2001, also had to shut down last
week. She said she lost thousands of dollars last month, and will not return
until the protesters are gone for good.

Soto said she was “shaking” just being back at the plaza, where both
cart operators spoke to reporters, because many of the people who caused her
trouble were still there. Jenson, also visibly upset at times, said the same
thing.

However, several Occupy San Diego protesters stepped up to offer the
women cash and hugs during the news conference organized by Councilman Carl
DeMaio.

DeMaio arranged a fundraiser for the women for Monday at 6 p.m. at
Downtown Johnny Brown's restaurant, located in the far corner of the plaza, and
encouraged San Diegans to offer donations. Both need more than just rent
credits to get back on their feet again, he said.

Kyle Haverback, of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, said
it was “fishy” that DeMaio called the news conference, noting that he's
running for mayor.

“It's in his interest to demonize this movement,” Haverback said.

Categories: KUSI