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2011-11-15

Top Aide to Oakland Mayor Resigns over Occupy Raid: Mayors, Police Are Doing Wall Street’s Business

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Dan Siegel, former chief legal adviser to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. He resigned Monday over her order for police to raid the Occupy Oakland encampment.

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The raid in New York City came one day after police officers cleared the Occupy Oakland encampment in California and arrested 32 people. Two prominent members of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s team have resigned over the past day. Hours before Monday’s raid, legal adviser to the mayor’s office, Dan Siegel, resigned to protest the city’s crackdown on the Occupy movement. Last night, Deputy Oakland Mayor Sharon Cornu also stepped down. "I’m horrified as to what happened in Oakland yesterday and in New York today," Siegel tells us during our live broadcast. "The people who are working for these mayors and police and so on are doing Wall Street’s business for them, and we need to stand up against it." [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We continue to update you on what is happening both in New York—again, a surprise raid on the Occupy Wall Street encampment took place just after midnight today. More than 70—several hundred people were arrested. Zuccotti Park was cleared out. Tents, books, all were dumped into dump trucks by sanitation workers, trashed entirely. We also are following Occupy movements all over the country, including Occupy Oakland.

Occupy Oakland was raided just yesterday. Thirty-two people were arrested. Two prominent members of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s team have resigned over the past day. Hours before Monday’s raid, Oakland mayoral legal adviser Dan Siegel resigned to protest the city’s crackdown on the Occupy movement. And last night, Deputy Oakland Mayor Sharon Cornu also stepped down.

We’re going right now to the Bay Area to speak with Mayor Jean Quan’s former legal adviser, Dan Siegel.

Dan Siegel, welcome to Democracy Now! As we broadcast through this period in New York, when the Mayor, the police and sanitation workers have cleared out Zuccotti Park, you have protested what the Oakland mayor did. Explain why you have resigned.

DAN SIEGEL: I think it’s necessary for people in city government and people who support progressive politics to make clear their support of the 99 percent. I’m horrified as to what happened in Oakland yesterday and in New York today. The people who are working for these mayors and police and so on are doing Wall Street’s business for them, and we need to stand up against it. That’s why I stepped down.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, explain exactly what went into Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s decision to crack down on the Occupy protest, this after what has happened in the last weeks. Among those terribly injured was Scott Olsen, the Iraq War vet, hit by what’s believed to be a police projectile, knocked unconscious, bloodied at police feet, now has issued a statement—he can’t speak yet, it has been now weeks—supporting again the Occupy movement that he had been there supporting. Tell us what Oakland Mayor Jean Quan—what is her rationale? And you must have been in discussions to the end, ’til you resigned.

DAN SIEGEL: Well, you know, frankly, it’s hard to understand completely her rationale. She was very much pressured by conservatives on the Oakland City Council, by the Chamber of Commerce, by people who just find it difficult to accept the fact that people are protesting in City Hall Plaza, by people who find it difficult to have to look at homeless people and other poor people who have been foreclosed from their homes and would prefer they lived under freeways, out of sight. But I think she just caved in to the opposition to the Occupy movement, which is very—very sad, given this is a person with 40 or 45 years of progressive political history.

AMY GOODMAN: And what do you think of what has taken place in New York, as you observe from afar following the Oakland raid, right here in New York, just this—in the last hours, the clearing out of Zuccotti Park?

DAN SIEGEL: Well, you know, it’s [inaudible] people around the country have made a decision to crack down on the Occupy movement. We’ve seen it, as you say, today in New York, yesterday in Oakland, over the weekend in Portland and Denver and other places. And clearly, this movement is striking a nerve, because it is so powerful. And it seems like there must be some coordination, perhaps at the level of national security and the fusion centers and so on, to put the word out to local police and politicians that it’s time to move against us. But, you know, at the same time, I think this will be a losing strategy. Every time they hit us, our movement grows stronger.

AMY GOODMAN: Thank you very much, Dan Siegel, Oakland mayoral legal adviser, resigned to protest Oakland’s crackdown on the Occupy movement.

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