Banking on the Public Option: Will LA Lead the Way for People-Owned Banks?

by Public Bank LA
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By: Glenn Daigon, Who.What.Why. Glenn Daigon talks to Trinity Tran and Ellen Brown on Los Angeles establishing a public bank - an issue its residents will vote on in the fall.

If Los Angeles were to establish a public bank — an issue its residents will vote on in the fall — one of two things could happen.

In the opinion of plan proponents, a public bank would free the city from predatory Wall Street institutions and save taxpayers a lot of money. That money could then be used to fund needed projects, such as affordable housing, infrastructure, renewable energy, and small-business expansion.

Opponents of the proposal, on the other hand, predict that such a bank would be a disaster. Untethered from market forces, the “public” bank might make loans to the politically connected without regard to profitable returns. Critics argue it would be so inefficient and poorly managed that city taxpayers would eventually be forced to bail it out.

Granted, even public approval does not mean LA will get a public bank. Other local, state, and federal hurdles need to be cleared before such a bank could be up and running.

Nevertheless, the vote on the measure could have implications far beyond the city or even California. If the proposal passes this November, it could jumpstart other efforts by cities and states around the nation that are currently considering setting up their own public banks.

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What If Banks Were Publicly Owned? In LA, This May Soon Be A Reality.

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By: David Dayen, Huffington Post. Voters will decide in November whether to take city money out of the hands of big banks. David Dayen covers the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rally in Los Angeles. Featuring Trinity Tran, Dave Jette and Phoenix Goodman of Public Bank LA.

Trinity Tran is a powerful speaker. Addressing a rally in downtown Los Angeles for New York congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 33-year-old activist and organizer thundered, “We are witnessing the emergence of a solution, from profit and greed to collective prosperity. We can empower our community from the ground up. It’s time to take our power back.”

Tran’s organization, Public Bank LA, is leading the revival of an idea that had largely been discarded until the financial crisis. In November, Los Angeles voters will have the opportunity to approve a public bank for the city. If the measure passes, it would become the first government-owned bank developed in the United States since 1919.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's L.A. fundraisers were more about raising consciousness than money

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By: David Dayen, Los Angeles Times. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's L.A. fundraisers were more about raising consciousness than money.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the probable next member of Congress from New York’s 14th District, barnstormed through Los Angeles with two fundraisers last week. But I hesitate to call them fundraisers. They weren’t held on the Hollywood Hills balcony of some showrunner for prestige TV. They weren’t showcases for one woman’s singular vision to personally revive the American left and solve the nation’s challenges.

They were organizing meetings — the kind that used to be held in the back of union halls and community centers when we still had unions, and communities. Ocasio-Cortez presented herself not as the savior of a moment but a small part of a movement, amplifying the actions of everyday activists toiling in relative obscurity on the ground. “This work doesn’t rely on any one person,” Ocasio-Cortez said at one event. “But the work needs every one person to act. That’s what collective movement-building is all about.”

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