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Will cleanup after Occupy LA be too expensive?

Occupy LA - December 3, 2011

Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Protesters from Occupy LA walk down 1st Street in front of the closed-off City Hall park that they camped in for nearly two months before being removed on Tuesday.

Occupy LA - December 3, 2011

Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Protesters from Occupy LA gather outside the Police Administration Building after marching from Pershing Square.

Los Angeles Police Move In To Evict Occupy LA Encampment

Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images

Members of the Los Angeles Police Department patrol the park in front of City Hall in downtown in the early hours of November 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Protesters remained on the City Hall lawn despite a deadline, set by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to dismantle their campsite and leave the park which the city declared closed as of 12:01 am November 28th.

Villaraigosa and Beck

Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck talks to members of the media in front of City Hall in downtown in the early hours of November 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Protesters remained on the City Hall lawn despite a deadline, set by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to dismantle their campsite and leave the park which the city declared closed as of 12:01 am November 28th. 1400 members of the Los Angeles Police raided the park this morning and removed or arrested all of the Occupy LA protesters. (Photo by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Police Move In To Evict Occupy LA Encampment

Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Members of the Los Angeles Hazmat team prepare to clean the park in front of City Hall in downtown in the early hours of November 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Protesters remained on the City Hall lawn despite a deadline, set by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to dismantle their campsite and leave the park which the city declared closed as of 12:01 am November 28th. 1400 members of the Los Angeles Police raided the park this morning and removed or arrested all of the Occupy LA protesters. (Photo by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Police Move In To Evict Occupy LA Encampment

Mark Boster-Pool/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Police Department officers arrest a protester during the removal of the Occupy L.A. tent encampment outside City Hall in the early hours of November 30, 2011 in Los Angeles California.

Los Angeles Police Move In To Evict Occupy LA Encampment

Pool/Getty Images

Los Angeles Police Department officers arrest a protester during the removal of the Occupy L.A. tent encampment outside City Hall in the early hours of November 30, 2011 in Los Angeles California.

Occupy LA - November 29, 2011

Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

Arrested protesters from the Occupy LA movement are lined up on a curb next to the Police Administration Building while they are questioned.

Los Angeles Police Move In To Evict Occupy LA Encampment

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Los Angeles Police Department officers raid Occupy Los Angeles campsite in the front lawn of Los Angeles City Hall in the early hours of November 30, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Protesters have remained remained on the City Hall lawn despite a deadline, set by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, to dismantle their campsite and leave the park which the city declared closed as of 12:01 am November 28th.

Occupy LA - November 29, 2011

Eric Richardson / blogdowntown

LAPD officers in riot gear block off the intersection of 1st and Broadway, separating protesters inside the line from those on the outside of it at the start of enforcement actions to clear the Occupy LA camp at City Hall.


That kind of depends on how you price freedom of expression and assembly. Of course, you could argue that Occupy LA didn't need to freely express itself and assemble for quite so long on the lawn surrounding City Hall. According to the Los Angeles Times' L.A. Now blog, the cost of cleanup could hit $1 million

That's in the context of a city budget deficit that's projected to hit $200 million for the fiscal year.

So let's say it does cost $1 million to make City Hall look fresh and new again. That won't seem like much when the cost of cleaning up after the recent wind storm is taken into account. Pasadena and LA together could wind up spending $5-6 billion to take care of that mess. 

Still, Occupy is going to need to be mindful of these costs moving forward. America's large cities are facing post-financial crisis budget struggles. The movement probably understands that there are costs that people are willing to tolerate, associated with the exercise of rights. But people also have limits, when costs rise too high.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter.

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