OAKLAND -- Monday's protest that shut down much of the Port of Oakland will be the last of its kind if several City Council members get their wish.
The council's four-member Rules and Legislation Committee voted unanimously Thursday to press ahead with an urgent resolution directing city leaders "to use whatever lawful tools we have" to prevent future shutdowns or disruptions of port operations.
"I think it's embarrassing for the city, for the mayor, for the port and for the council to keep saying that we're not going to let this happen, but then it happens anyway," said Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, who co-sponsored the resolution with Councilwoman Libby Schaaf.
The resolution, which will go before the entire council for approval Tuesday, alarmed Occupy organizers, who said the directives risked renewed confrontations between police and protesters.
Oakland port officials estimated that at least $4 million in economic activity was lost Monday as thousands of protesters descended on the waterfront disrupting six of the port's seven terminals.
While several cities cracked down Monday on similar port protests, including Seattle, where police used flash-bang grenades to disburse crowds, Oakland officers employed a nonconfrontational approach.
"We were completely hands-off," Oakland police union President Dom Arotzarena said. "At the end of the day, it's up to the politicians to decide what they want to happen. If they want us to crack down on Occupy, that's up to them."
The resolution could result in police being more forceful enforcing trespassing and obstruction of traffic laws against people protesting without a permit.
"We are not doing anything to prevent free speech," Schaaf said. "But people were prevented from earning their wages. That is not acceptable, and that is not going to be tolerated in the city of Oakland."
Occupy organizer Barucha Peller said there are no plans to shut down the port again and that council members were more concerned with protecting elites than the rights of protesters.
"The port is a public place," she said. "Anyone should be able to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest what the 1 percent does at the port."
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.