Open Letter to Schaaf and Company

Categories: Local Business Liaison Committee, Open Mic

Dear Elizabeth Schaaf, Chamber of Commerce, et al…,

Liz… Lizzy, your attempts to destroy Oakland’s business community have not gone unnoticed, so consider yourself, henceforth, on notice. As you proceed lockstep with your predecessor realize, we dealt with her too.

I do wish we had a chance for a proper introduction. Perhaps your recently greased FBI associates will be kind enough to share their files with you, but as you’ve no security clearance of any importance, and as you may be neither willing nor able to perform the “favors” necessary to sidestep such formalities (at least in a timely manner), here is what you need to know about us, the wealth creators of Oakland.

We are Oakland Grown, ACCE, CitySlickers, Black Panthers, NoBAWC, vendors with easy-ups, bootleggers, sex-workers, artists, musicians, hackers, organizers, security, and freelancers, and we keep Oakland in the black.

The LBL’s first unapologetic act of ribald An-Cappery happened to fully contradict the unsubstantiated insinuations of the Chamber of Commerce. And kudos to them for their thorough study of sister Rand. There’s no way anyone could blindly fumble into such flawless emulation of her most degenerate misanthropes. You have painted yourselves (CofC) as the passengers on her train, and that’s right martyrly of you, right martyrly indeed. Personally I would have selected from her protagonists or their chosen lovers… but what do I know (ey!)? To the matter at hand, as more and more money flows into Oakland, why have certain, long-standing businesses been closing? What is the impact of protesting? Why do some businesses stay boarded up months, while others are re-glassed by dawn? How much of this vandalism is caused directly or indirectly by OPD? What is the impact of OPD, from their idle vehicles flashing lights at people trying to drink, to their media optics as an armored blue horde spewing poison gas, to pulling guns on Black teenagers in the middle of the day (and in full view of techies, no less!)?

October of 2011, we exposed the Chamber Of Commerce for what it was, a Chamber of simpletons, legacy riding frat-boys of zero acumen, with the least understanding of commerce. They hired EMC Research to help promote the narrative that the Occupy was bad for business. It just so happened we were already casing the block, rooting through the books of over a hundred businesses. We put our best nerds on it, and were pleasantly surprised to find out the Occupy actually increased commerce (overall). Despite your FBI friends best efforts, we were able to expose the lies of the chamber, and began plotting our next act of shameless wealth creation.

November 2011, as the tear gas was settling, your predecessor was informed by a group of entrepreneurial women, we would be taking the streets. Your predecessor began muttering something about permits, for which we had no use. Informing her was a mere courtesy. We simply needed to block the street next to Latham Square (or in its current form, the Latham Rubble Pile), in order to hold a street fair of commerce and culture. Art, genuine food, and original works of music filled the street. It was a Black Friday event, tasteful and dignified. I’m sure you’ve never seen anything like it. It certainly wasn’t… (oh, how can I put this delicately) District 4. There was no Thomas Kinkade or smooth jazz. It was a very lucrative and beautiful protest. We decided to make it a monthly event.

May Day 2012, we demonstrated a technique some call Riot-Lining. After demonstrating their wonton prowess at indiscriminate destruction in the SF Mission district, the same ruckus crew showed military discipline and surgical precision in Oakland, only targeting those who hurt the community (cops, banks, Starbucks, etc). Police cars on fire, the perpetual tinkling of shattered glass, explosions in every direction, and in the morning, not one instance of community property being harmed. No local businesses. No civilian cars. Just the ill-gotten property of pigs. The intent and purpose was clear: buy local, and dispose of those who’s agenda is not in line with a prosperous Oakland. Christ is well known for flipping the tables of money changers. He also slaughtered a bunch of pigs one time; casting out demons, as it were.

Following this success, we set out to establish our monthly event by the same means (“whatever’s clever”). We took your Art Murmur and turned it into a 50,000 person event, featured in the New York Times, hosting hundreds of vendors, extending the entire length of downtown to Latham Square, with exhibitions art and culture that made Burning Man look like a tailgate party. We created more economic stimulus than Obama, who’s campaign headquarters we deemed to be an impertinent misuse of prime commercial real estate. It was Riot-lined and closed the very next day, making room for a community mindful, culturally engaged, politically radical, shoe store (SoulSpace, which has always partnered and prospered in full with the protest community).

We formed a committee to manage First Friday, for the economic benefit of all. The city tried its best destroy us. They stole money, but worst of all, they lied to us. There’s tons of money. It’s the easiest thing in the world to acquire. What can never be recovered is the young person’s life who was lost because of a complete lack of EMTs, and OPD’s orders to bust everything apart at the absurdly early hour of 10pm.

Elizabeth, we told you we needed EMTs because with 50,000 people such need is inevitable (heart attacks, seizures, overdoses, etc). You and your affiliates lied about recognizing this need, and never provided them.

We will be taking back First Friday. We do not want your help. You are advised to stay out of our way. We will be replacing your plebeian carnival treats (your kettle corn and funnel cakes) with the affordable international cuisine we initially provided at the 50k First Fridays. We will provide the space for artists, musicians, creators of all sort, to profit and contribute. Do not seek us. We know where you will be. That being said… see you next Tuesday.

Dictated but not read,
JD Atwater


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