I can’t decide if this is knuckling under to the illegal occupation, or a clever strategy to get rid of them.
Los Angeles officials have offered Occupy L.A. protesters a package of incentives that includes downtown office space and farmland in an attempt to persuade them to abandon their camp outside of City Hall, according to several demonstrators who have been in negotiations with the city.
The details of the proposal were revealed Monday during the demonstration’s nightly general assembly meeting by Jim Lafferty, an attorney with the National Lawyers Guild who has been advocating on behalf of the protest since it began seven weeks ago.
Lafferty said city officials have offered protesters a $1-a-year lease on a 10,000-square-foot office space near City Hall. He said officials also promised land elsewhere for protesters who wish to farm, as well as additional housing for the contingent of homeless people who joined the camp.
Presumably that’s public land. Do the taxpayers who own it get a say, or is Mayor Villaraigosa now a feudal lord empowered to dole out the public’s property on his whim? As for the office space, 10,000 square feet in downtown Los Angeles can’t be cheap. The occupiers would get it for a buck. Who would really get stuck with the true tab?
The LA mayor is a Democrat, the occupiers are liberals. We know an offer like this wouldn’t happen if the Tea Party tried camping out in downtown Los Angeles. So I’m going with “knuckling under.” But:
Lafferty, who said he talks regularly to Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, said police “have said that the day is growing near when they will not allow the occupation in its present form to continue.”
This offer may be the carrot that precedes the stick.