We had a great night at the city council meeting. During the public comments section, 11 of around 20 speakers spoke in favor of public banking!
Next week, on Thursday 1/18 and Friday 1/19, city council will be deciding priorities for the upcoming year (time & location TBD). Public banking is the biggest possible pot of money that the city council can possibly go after: for the rebuild, for the homeless, for clean-up after the fires, etc. Please endorse our proposal, and come to the city council meetings on the 18th & 19th. We cannot afford to put this off another year.
One of our members spoke about how starting a public bank will help fund the rebuild of the City of Santa Rosa:
I am a climate activist working with the divestment team at Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock. We have joined with Public Bank Santa Rosa to urge the City of Santa Rosa to start a public bank as it is the ONLY way for the city to divest from Wall Street banks.
Now this proposal takes on a new urgency - as the city attempts to fund the rebuilding of infrastructure destroyed in the fires. A public bank offers huge financial gains:
It will help cut the cost of rebuilding Santa Rosa infrastructure after the fires IN HALF. This can be achieved by financing through the city's own bank, eliminating interest paid on bonds and returning the earned interest to the city's own operating budgets.
It will save millions in banking fees to Wall Street banks.
It can offer lower interest loans to homeowners wishing to rebuild after the fires.
It will help keep money in our city and county.
It's the only way the City of Santa Rosa and other cities and institutions can truly divest from Wall Street banks which invest in fossil fuels.
Profits can be used to finance clean energy projects and green, sustainable, more resilient rebuilding.
The public bank can profit from providing much needed financial services to the cannabis industry, and the profits can be applied to budgetary needs. If our county's cannabis dollars go to another public bank in the area, this financial opportunity may diminish at a time when we need it most. We must strike while the iron is hot.
We urge city council and the city manager to fund a feasibility study
right away, so we can reap these considerable benefits as soon as possible, so desperately needed by fire survivors. This is crucial to institutional divestment and to the rebuild of Santa Rosa. To everyone in the audience, please endorse our proposal at www.publicbanksantarosa.org/endorse.html.
P.S. Just how does public banking support Standing Rock? What is the connection?
As you may know, Native American leaders continue to call for divestment. However even if cities such as Seattle and San Francisco divest from fossil fuels, there is no bank big enough to handle their accounts. Unfortunately local banks and credit unions are only able to insure accounts up to $250,000. After the City of Albuquerque declared they were divesting from Wells Fargo, they received requests for proposals from 5 banks. Only Wells Fargo was able to fill all of the city's requirements, and the city has to return to Wells Fargo for now.
A public bank (a bank run by the government that serves the public interest) is the only option for cities which choose to divest their money from fossil fuel investments. This is why we at Sonoma Solidarity with Standing Rock have joined forces with the Public Bank Santa Rosa work group, and why Lakota People's Law Project actively promotes public banking. Note that in addition to the above local benefits, a public bank does not compete with local banks: it is a wholesale bank which can partner with local banks to offer lower interest loans.
Click here for more information about public banking.
See also the Mazaska Talks ("Money Talks") web site and Facebook page.