Mayor Mike McGinn's statement on Westlake Park protest
I support the efforts of the protestors at Westlake Park to address this country’s economic situation. In my budget speech last week, I stated:
"We are facing unprecedented inequality in this country. It is always true that bad times are harder on the poor. But we have not seen income inequality this great since 1928, the year before the Great Depression started. The top 1% control 34% of the nation's wealth. The top 10% control 2/3rds of the nation's wealth. It is an unprecedented grab by the most powerful to get a bigger share of a shrinking pie."
I also support the right to protest, and I support the right to protest at Westlake Park. Individuals and groups are welcome to continue exercising free speech rights.
Like all of our parks, Westlake Park is owned by the people of Seattle. No one group can use a park to the exclusion of others, no matter how worthy the cause. Day in and day out, Westlake Park is heavily used by the public. In the coming days and weeks there are several events and protests that have received a permit to use Westlake Park. This includes a group with a permit to mark the ten year anniversary of the war in Afghanistan and a group with a permit to mark International Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Erecting tents in the park has the effect of displacing others who have a right to be there. Therefore, we will be asking those who have set up tents in Westlake Park to remove them.