In light of the broken windows of the Genoa Restaurant (2832 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR. 97214) caused by the anti-police brutality march on Monday, February 6, 2012, I propose a new fund to be added to Finance to help compensate local businesses hurt by vandals before, during or after any rallies and marches by Occupy Portland. (dubbed “Insurance Fund”) In addition, for this specific case, I propose a full or partial compensation ($300 worth of damage) from the General Fund to the restaurant owner (Michael Garofola, 503-238-1464) for repairing costs to replace the broken windows.
The reason why I am proposing this is to show the local business owners of Portland that we are non-destructive to the city and that are not against their livelihoods, and to begin the step to take responsibility for the wrongdoings that may have created distance and misunderstanding of who we are to the general public and ourselves. (a PR thing) Despite that it was autonomous individuals not part of the movement that have engaged in these needless acts of destruction for Monday night’s march (which was not an official Occupy Portland event, though was on the event calendar), the responsibility to administer justice and make things right still falls on our hands. While it won’t be the vandals giving back to the victims, (and while this may in fact enable them to continue their reckless acts) it can help bridge the gap between the working class and business owners of Portland and Occupy Portland, and invite over potential members and financial support along the way.
The proposal specifically addresses local businesses unique to the city of Portland and its metropolitan areas, not to chains or “big box” retailers. If vandalism were to occur in these businesses (say, to break windows of a big bank or to mess with the ATMs), the question of compensation would become incredibly complicated and touchy, and this proposal is not meant to bring on such controversy.
It does not have to be full compensation, it can be just a little as a token of apology to the business harmed (along with an email or letter to the business stating apology and our real purpose).
Keep in mind that if the lack of funds might restrict compensation, if we take the step to do it anyways, it may pay us back in the end with more people, local businesses, and funds. (in other words, this may be excellent for our karma)
The bare minimum of this proposal is to set up the “Insurance Fund” online alongside the rest of the funds so people can donate; if the agreement of compensation for the specific case cannot be reached, while significant effort will be made, it can be dropped.