City to Reimburse Coffee Cart Owner

San Diego government has offered rent relief to owner of coffee cart located near Occupy protests

San Diego has offered rent relief to the owner of a Civic Center coffee cart, who said the throngs of protesters at Occupy San Diego deterred customers and harmed her business.

Linda Jenson owns Centre City Coffee located in the plaza. Less than a week after protesters moved into Civic Center Concourse, she said she was already concerned about her business. She and her son have owned and operated the cart for five years.

In the first three days of the occupation, Jenson estimated that she lost 70 percent of her usual business. Many employees in the city buildings around the plaza bought coffee at her cart, but since protesters moved in, the employees were intimidated by the surroundings, she said in an October 12 interview with NBCSanDiego.

Jenson said she supported the Occupy movement at first, but when she began witnessing the behavior of the protesters, she grew angry. She described the campgrounds as “more of a drug scene than a protest,” and said she often caught protesters urinating on her cart.

“If this is indicative of their movement, I don’t support it anymore,” she said.

The disturbances forced Jenson to close her business.

The city decided she will not be charged for rent in October, and also won't be charged for rent until her business is back in operation. She will also be given a rent credit equal to the cost of professionally cleaning her cart.

The announcement came after Tuesday's city council meeting when Councilmember Carl Demaio asked if the city owes the renters some sort of assistance.

Occupy SD activists have been protesting since early October and camped out in the Civic Center open area. Police later apprehended many of the protesters at the end of October during a late-night sweep, resulting in more than 50 arrests. Some protesters have claimed the police were brutal during the raid.

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