Los Angeles — Occupy Wall Street may claim small-business owners as members of the 99 percent, but from Oakland, Calif., to New York, many local enterprises are asking the protesters to pack up.
On Tuesday, members of the commercial business district in downtown Oakland sent a three-page letter to Mayor Jean Quan, demanding that the protesters go. Five city council members held a press conference Wednesday reaffirming the demand.
“The impact of the urban encampment has been very negative,” says Paul Junge, public policy director for the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Three businesses with commitments to new leases in the downtown area, which would have brought in some 350 jobs, backed out of their agreements in the past three weeks, he says.
“We are aware of dozens of small businesses in and around Frank Ogawa Plaza where the tents are, reporting 40 to 50 percent losses in the past three or four weeks,” including clothing stores, coffee shops, and conference spaces, Mr. Junge says. “People don’t like walking around down there, it makes them nervous ... they are taking their business elsewhere.”
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