Occupy L.A. is long gone, but the cleanup bill is coming due for taxpayers. And not just taxpayers in Los Angeles. The stimulus measures that President Obama has been pushing would send money to cash-strapped cities like L.A., in order to avert police and teacher layoffs. And the cost of the protest eviction and cleanup will likely result in more city budget cuts, according to Mayor Villaraigosa:
Repairs to City Hall’s lawn where the Occupy group set up camp on Oct. 1 will require an estimated $400,000. The police action to clear out the encampment on Nov. 30 cost more than $700,000.
Additional expenses are attributed to hauling away debris from the camp, and cleaning up graffiti that defaced City Hall marble walls and trees.
Mayor Villaraigosa says more budget cuts will be necessary to offset the costs.
L.A. Weekly rightly notes the budget cuts could create an interesting dilemma for the labor unions, which have been major supporters of the Occupy movement but also tend to be the loudest protesters of any budget cuts. Will the unions side with the Occupiers? Or will they break with them and criticize the city’s purse-string-tightening? Or maybe both – I can actually imagine the OWS activists being clueless enough to protest the L.A. budget cuts that they’re responsible for.