A new report saying that Occupy Los Angeles cost taxpayers $4.7 million -- almost double the estimate reported in February -- has reignited the Occupy debate.
In response to the new figure, two-thirds of which was spent policing the protest, Councilman Mitchel Englander suggested that maybe his colleagues should not have approved the encampment as they did through a resolution in October. "For every resolution or position the city might take, there's a cost,'' Englander said, the Los Angeles Times reports
Englander also cited the mayor's proposed budget, which calls for hundreds of layoffs to help close a $220-million budget deficit.
In contrast, the a blog on Daily Kos wrote that the Times article was biased because it did not relay the benefits that came out of Occupy LA, such as awareness of and response to the foreclosure crisis. One commenter criticized the Times story for not including the "value of all the free food, shelter, medical care, education and entertainment Occupy provided to the people of Los Angeles." Another wrote, "4.7 million is nothing compared to the millions of dollars in tax breaks that the 1% benefit from."
A report from Loyola Marymount University in early May found that 53 percent of Angelenos either "strongly agree" or "agree" with the Occupy movement and its ideals. In discord with the Times commenters, LAist suggests that the new $4.7 million cost figure might change the mind of some of those Occupy supporters.
Meanwhile, Councilman Richard Alcaron has proposed banning the use of tents in LA city parks, a move which he said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Attorney Carmen Trutanich support, KPCC reports.
“We had a multitude of issues that arose out of the tent issue – health issues, some criminal behavior,” Councilman Richard Alarcon said. However, one civil rights lawyer said that a tent "represents expressive activity" and is thus protected under the First Amendment.
Click through photos of the LAPD's raid on Occupy LA on November 29, 2011: