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Report: Occupy LA Cost Cash-Strapped City $2.3 Million


Occupy LA cost Los Angeles taxpayers at least $2.3 million, according to a city report issued Friday.

The $2.3 million tab includes more than $1.6 million in overtime pay for police and more than $125,000 for park infrastructure repairs. It does not include the full cost of restoring the lawn outside Los Angeles City Hall where protesters camped for two months, though an earlier estimate had pegged that number around $400,000, the Associated Press reported.

Police raided and cleared out the encampment late last month, arresting more than 200 protesters. That action cost more than $700,000, local CBS affiliate KCBS reported.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, who wrote the report, noted that more than $590,000 would have been spent regardless of whether there had been any occupation, the Los Angeles Times reported. That means Occupy LA tacked on an additional $1.7 million to the city's $72-million budget shortfall projected for the current year.

“In isolation, the cost is manageable. But in the context of a $72-million problem, it only made our challenge bigger,” Santana said.

The $2.3 million amount is only the latest projection of the cost of the Occupy Wall Street movement to taxpayers. In November, the Associated Press reported that it had cost cities nationwide at least $13 million.

City Councilman Dennis Zine, a former police officer, told the Associated Press he was stunned by the report's estimate and "had no idea it was going to be that high."

"We're $70 million in debt," he said. "This is just money we don't have that's being expended because of what Occupy LA has done. What they've basically done is cheated taxpayers out of services. I don't know who wins."

Zine was among city leaders who initially expressed support for the Occupy movement: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke glowingly of the movement and even handed out ponchos to demonstrators on a rainy day.

As the number of demonstrators grew, Villaraigosa said the city would accommodate the protests before ultimately saying they weren't sustainable.

Villaraigosa has called for budget cots to offset Occupy LA's cost to the city, according to KCBS.

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