OAKLAND -- The last time council members Ignacio De La Fuente and Libby Schaaf asked their colleagues to approve a resolution aimed at preventing protesters from disrupting the Port of Oakland, all they got was an hour's worth of impassioned speeches from the protesters.
But the duo was back at it Thursday, pushing the same resolution through the council's Rules and Legislation Committee. It's scheduled to go before the full City Council again on Feb. 7 -- more than a month after council members tabled the first resolution.
"I'm one of those people that believe we have the responsibility ... to protect the major assets in the city and to protect jobs," De La Fuente said.
Occupy Oakland spearheaded port protests on Nov. 2 and Dec. 12, disrupting terminals and costing the port several million dollars in lost revenue.
But Occupy supporters recently have turned their attention away from the port, instead focusing on weekly Saturday night marches in downtown Oakland against alleged police brutality. Approving the resolution could backfire, Occupy supporter Barucha Peller said, because Occupy protesters might want to show that "people can demonstrate at a public place where the 1 percent makes its wealth."
Last year's protests did not cost the port any customers, but they made it harder to attract new business, said port spokesman Issac Kos-Read. He added that the port is formulating a plan with government and law enforcement officials to remain open during future protests.
The resolution again calls on the mayor and city administrator to "use whatever lawful tools we have ... to prevent future shutdowns or disruptions of any port operations." That language drew concerns last month that it could lead to more clashes between police and protesters, and police estimated that it would cost $1.5 million to ensure that the port stayed open.
Schaaf said the resolution was merely a policy directive, not a call for a massive, city-funded police response. "It is meant to demonstrate our seriousness to keep the port open," she said.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.