How a Public Bank Could Free S.F.’s Money From Wall Street

by Public Bank LA
in News
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Cities like San Francisco looked at ways to separate taxpayer money from fossil fuels but realized there was a limit. In two big ways, North Dakota both shined a light on a problem and offered a solution — one that eventually brought Jackie Fielder, an indigenous Defund DAPL organizer, to help form the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition and take it to the state with similar-minded folks in Los Angeles.

“The narrative shifted,” says Trinity Tran, co-founder of Public Bank LA, of battling Wells Fargo lobbyists while pushing for divestment. “It was pretty apparent that this is literally the people versus Wall Street. This is a permanent form of divestment.”

In 2017, then-Supervisor Malia Cohen was intrigued by the idea and established a public bank task force. Cohen’s status as a San Francisco moderate showed it wasn’t a pie-in-the-sky idea but something for governments to seriously consider.

“I know it’s sort of a culture shift to think about a public bank and what does that mean,” Fewer says. “I never thought San Francisco would be moving toward buying or acquiring PG&E assets. This is very similar to the path toward public banking.”

Continue reading in SF Weekly.

Governor signs legislation creating public bank

by Public Bank LA
in News
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California State Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco), joint-authors of Assembly Bill 857, and local leaders applauded Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing AB 857 into law on Oct. 2.

“California is starting a national conversation by embracing a public banking option,” Santiago said. “People are sick and tired of going broke over the corporate ways of doing things. This new law prioritizes communities and neighborhoods by empowering localities to use public dollars for their own public good: from investing in affordable housing projects and building new schools and parks to accessible loans for students and businesses. I applaud the governor for breaking the toxic cycle of Wall Street’s predatory practices.”

“The public’s money should be used for the public good,” Chiu said. “[The] signing sends a strong message that California is putting people before Wall Street profits. We finally have the option of reinvesting our public tax dollars in our local communities instead of rewarding Wall Street’s bad behavior.”

“With a public banking system, California cities will be able to more effectively and affordably take on projects on the scale that the issues of the day call us to do – from building more affordable housing, to constructing more resilient infrastructure to ensuring the cities that our children and grandchildren will inherit are prepared for a changing climate,” added Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, 10th District. “Today, California is challenging the notion that we’re stuck with the big bank status quo that has exacerbated the rising inequality throughout our state and country.”

Continue reading on Beverly Press.

This Fall, Measure B was Defeated. But Public Banking is on the Rise.

by Public Bank LA
in Updates
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Alison Malisa, California Public Banking Alliance. On November 6, responsible and sustainable economics was on the ballot in Los Angeles in the form of Measure B. Measure B was arguably one of the most important midterm ballot items in the country. For the first time in ninety-nine years, voters had the opportunity to approve by referendum a measure in support of public banking. Without funding, and virtually without precedent, Measure B was the first time many voters had even heard of public banking.

The last time a public bank was on the ballot, it was 1919 and in North Dakota, when 61,495 voters established the only other public bank in the history of our fifty states. Ninety-nine years later, thanks to the laudable efforts of a small group of unfunded activists, the success of the Bank of North Dakota, and the growing need for a common sense and bipartisan solution to the financial crisis, public banking was finally up for a vote again.

This time, over a quarter of a million Angelenos gave their thumbs up, garnering over 43% of the vote in favor of this little-known strategy for local governments to recapture wealth and reinvest it in the community. That is why the public banking movement is celebrating a growing momentum of support. The reality of instituting a bank supportive of people and the planet is becoming ever more tangible.

Continue reading on Medium.

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