It may have been a very smart decision to back off- especially after protesters started cleaning up themselves last night.
I say this without consideration to politics, but with much consideration to keeping the peace.
Not sure what role Mayor Bloomberg played in all this, but he has made it clear the protesters can stay as long as the law isn't broken. I think it might border on sexism to assume that because the Mayor's companion happens to be on the board of directors of the company that owns the plot of private landm he would have some influence over her or the board.
But the appearance of a conflict is what fuels public perception, and there is certainly something of a perception that the two entities the company and the Mayor are playing political footsy.
Again it seems hard to imagine one influences the other, but public perception is what matters.
Back in the day, and I've told this story before during a segment I did for Good Morning America back in 1996 I was part of the negotiations to secure a campsite for up to 500,000 people expected to protest Pres.
Nixon's re-nomination during the Vietnam War. The Republican Convention was slated for San Diego, and I was in then-Mayor Pete Wilson's office when he summarily dismissed the notion of giving City-owned land for the protesters' encampment.
The convention was eventually moved from San Diego to Miami Beach after a scandal involving Nixon's Attorney General and some questionable contributions by a corporation called ITT. But before that happened, it seemed clear to many that Mr. Wilson, who later became a U.S. Senator and then California's Governor would have to offer some place where hundreds of thousands of anti-war protesters would be able to stay. He certainly didn't want them wandering the streets.
In the GMA story I did 24 years later, when the Republican Convention was returning to San Diego, I pointed all this out to Mr. Wilson, who was then the Governor. He didn't seem to agree with my assessment. Perhaps time affected his perspective on all that. Or maybe it affected mine.
Regardless, making the encampment the issue takes it all to a higher and not always better level. So tonight, the protesters can stay.
There were arrests today, as a few demonstrators clashed with police.
We'll have the latest on the controversy and the Occupy Wall Street movement, tonight at 11.
Also at 11, we're taking a closer look retail outlets where business is booming, especially in these tough economic times. $30 billion in sales last year. So what's the deal? Do outlet malls really offer better deals? And what about the quality? Consumer Reports digs deeper for us.
And finally a note about our Eyewitness News colleague and friend Stacey Sager. She is so brave and remarkable, as any long-time viewer knows. In the late 90's, Stacey preventatively had a double mastectomy because of her family's history of breast cancer; her grandmother battled it, and it killed her mother at the age of 44.
Earlier this year, Stacey, after having two children, decided to go in for genetic testing to find out if she had an above-average risk of ovarian cancer. She found out a lot more than that; doctors discovered a rare cancer in her fallopian tubes. Stacey, who went in for tests, got out with her uterus, cervix, lymph nodes and some stomach tissue removed.
They think they got it all. We hope they got it all. In the meantime, Stacey is, like she did 13 years ago, telling her story. And it's inspiring others. You can CLICK HERE to see Stacey's stories and to see her online chat today.
We love her.
We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with his weekend AccuWeather forecast and it might take a tough Friday night of rain to get us to Saturday and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.