Saying, “It’s about the 99% fighting back against the 1%,” a new group was formed this week by members of Redwood City’s local chapter of the Occupy movement. Calling themselves “Occupy Saltworks,” the residents have issued a 12-point statement opposing agribusiness giant Cargill’s massive bayfill development project on the grounds that it would, amongst other things, clog local streets with traffic, harm the environment, hurt union jobs connected to the Port of Redwood City, and impact the low-income communities in the adjacent mobile home parks.
The group’s first action, as reported by the Palo Alto Daily News, was to take their protest straight to the steps of Cargill’s development partner, DMB Associates’, local offices on Monday afternoon. With signs saying “Save Our Bay” and “Stop Cargill & DMB,” they were joined by residents and supporters from other Occupy groups in the Bay Area in calling on the City Council to put an end to the Cargill Saltworks development.
State Senate candidate Sally Lieber spoke to the crowd, urging them on, while fellow-candidate and current Assemblymember Jerry Hill tried to distance himself from the $12,000 in campaign contributions he has received from Cargill’s developer DMB – more than any other legislator in the state. Hill told the Daily News that he didn’t like the current development proposal – not because it is in the bay, but because he found it “too dense” – and Hill indicated he might support a revised plan to build housing in Redwood City’s restorable salt ponds.
Later in the day, the Occupy Saltworks group took their protest to the Redwood City City Council meeting, where they read off their statement and urged the Council to prioritize affordable housing and growth in the downtown area, rather than building thousands of luxury houses on the Bay.