Los Angeles police officers and Occupy LA protesters clashed at ArtWalk, leading to 17 arrests and four injuries.
Downtown business owners asked the City Council Tuesday to step in and "do something" about what they called an assault on years of improvements in the district. Specifically, speakers accused Occupy L.A. and the Los Angeles Community Action Network of making areas of downtown dirty and unhospitable to residents and visitors, shaking the fragile advances the area has made.
Some, like Emma Chavez, were upset about the recent scuffle between protesters and police during ArtWalk on July 12th. Chavez, whose family has owned Ensenada Restaurant on Spring Street for 25 years, told the council her family has "seen the ups and downs of Downtown LA. We're very, very happy that the downtown has turned around."
However, she said, the events that night turned off customers who thought a riot was about to break out. "Artwalk is a very big night for our restaurant," she said. "We need it to make ends meet." As a result of the melee, she said, the restaurant served 50 customers that night instead of their usual ArtWalk crowd of 200.
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The lawn around City Hall, which was shut down after Occupy L.A. protesters were kicked out in November, is expected to reopen in 30 days.
The lawn surrounding City Hall will likely reopen in the next 30 days, and when it does, it will have the same rules regulating camping and the hours of operation as it did last fall when Occupy L.A. took over the park.
The Los Angeles City Council today clarified what constitutes camping, which has always been prohibited under city law. Park patrons will be allowed to use open-sided tents, bed rolls and umbrellas when the park reopens as long as those materials are not used for living accommodations and are removed when the park closes.
For now, the park will remain open from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Rules were in place last fall when Occupy L.A. protesters took to the lawn. At the time, Councilman Richard Alarcon authored a resolution in support of the movement.
“It was as a result of that resolution that we, by special permission, essentially allowed people to stay in the park,” Alarcon said.
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LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Debris and belongings of Occupy Los Angeles remain in the empty encampment at City Hall following the Los Angeles Police Department raid on 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. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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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)
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Mitchell Collier (C) and David Holtze (in white tee shirt) offer free food which they donated to demonstrators at the Occupy LA encampment in front of Los Angeles City Hall October 25, 2011. Demonstrators at the encampment are protesting bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. AFP PHOTO / Robyn Beck (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Occupy Los Angeles cost city taxpayers $4.7 million, with most of the money spent on policing last year's protests outside City Hall.
The Los Angeles Times says the LA Police Department spent $1.3 million monitoring protesters during the two-month demonstration, and an additional $1.3 million evicting them. Another $500,000 was spent by the Office of Public Safety, whose security officers protect city property.
The newspaper cites a report presented Friday by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana.
The total is $2 million higher than an estimate made in February.
The Times says the updated figure reflects recently reported police costs and the bill to rehabilitate City Hall Park and several monuments damaged by protesters.
The city has received more than $400,000 in donations and rebates for the restoration project.