Seattle City Council member Nick Licata gets Occupy Wall Street.
While most of the council has remained suspiciously quiet—while there's a goddamn revolution happening in this country—Licata is releasing the draft of a resolution today endorsing the ambitions of Occupy Seattle. Based on a similar resolution passed in Los Angeles, Licata's measure declares support for the protesters' right to peaceably assemble, asks to reconsider the city's banking practices, and calls on Congress to pass a raft of measures that help workers.
Several council members have reportedly weighed in, but it's unclear if they support the Occupy movement or if which of them have contributed language to the draft. I've got a call in to Council Member Tim Burgess, the most conservative member of the city council, to see if he's supports this lefty measure. The council could take a vote by October 30.
This part of the resolution stood out to me: "The City of Seattle will review its banking and investment practices and ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community."
Who does the city bank with?
The city banks primarily with Wells Fargo, according to City Budget Director Beth Goldberg. "In September, we deposited on average $4.7 million per day into our account at Wells and spent roughly the same amount," she says. The city averaged a balance of $18 million in an overnight account last month. It's unclear where the city holds its savings (I have an email in to find out). Goldberg points out that the Washington State Public Deposit Protection Act places parameters on the types of institutions the city can bank with, which "essentially limit us to use only the largest banks, including Wells Fargo."
The complete text of Licata's resolution appears after the jump.
A RESOLUTION supporting the peaceful exercise of the First Amendment carried out by “Occupy Seattle,” asking our Congressional leaders to generate solutions for economically distressed Americans, and pursuing legislation to promote responsible banking practices in Seattle.
WHEREAS, Seattle residents like citizens across the United States, are alternately angered and frustrated by the continuing economic crisis that threatens individual’s and our city’s fiscal stability and our community’s quality of life; and
WHEREAS, “Occupy Seattle” is a peaceful protest and is fueled by Seattle residents and people from throughout the region from all walks of life who have come together to support the national movement started by the “Occupy Wall Street” protests; and
WHEREAS, additional “Occupy” protests have taken root across the Country, and across the globe and are a growing movement with the shared goal of urging residents to peaceably assemble in public spaces in order to create a shared dialogue to address the problems and generate solutions for economically distressed people; and
WHEREAS, the roots of the Occupy Wall Street and Westlake protests are various, including unemployment, growing income disparity, banking system failures, stalled earning power, tax systems that take more discretionary income from the very poor than the very rich, ongoing health and wealth disparities, and lack of accountability; and
WHEREAS the causes and consequences of the current economic crisis erode confidence in the social contract upon which the Constitution of the United States of America is based; namely, the ability of Americans to come together and form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for all, allowing every American to strive for and share in the prosperity of our nation through cooperation and hard work; and
WHEREAS, today large corporations and wealthy individuals hold undue influence and power in our country; and
WHEREAS, our economic system now witnesses more than 25 million Americans seeking work; more than 50 million Americans living without health insurance; and, more than 1 in 5 American children growing up in households living in poverty without sufficient resources to meet basic survival needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter ; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a “CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report – United States, 2011” revealing that income inequality in the United States is the highest in the world among any advanced industrialized nation, with wide-spread inequities in U.S. health outcomes by income, race, and gender; and
WHEREAS, over the past 30 years, gains in our economy have accrued largely to top income earners - largely the top 1%, who now control 40% of the wealth in the United States and own half of the country’s stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, with the 400 richest Americans at the top controlling more wealth than the 180 million Americans at the bottom, all in great part due to policies that are changeable like education investment levels, health care access and tax rates; and
WHEREAS, one of the largest problems dragging down our economy is the foreclosure crisis, with many owners struggling to obtain loan adjustments and too many banks with flawed review procedures; and
WHEREAS, Washington State has been particularly hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis, ranking 17th in the nation, with more than 132,000 mortgages foreclosed between 2009 and 2012 and 30,000 families in Washington have lost their homes to foreclosure last year— an increase of 70%; and
WHEREAS, in Washington State, one in every 129 homes is in some phase of the foreclosure process, with King, Pierce, Snohomish, Clark and Spokane counties experiencing the highest rates of new foreclosure starts. In September 2011 alone, 1 in every 910 housing units in Washington State received foreclosure filing and 1 in every 897 housing units received foreclosure filing in King County; and
WHEREAS, the cost of the foreclosure crisis to Washington communities, homeowners and local governments between 2009-2012 is in the range of $3.7 billion, in addition the lost home equity wealth due to nearby foreclosures between 2009-2012 is estimated at $19.5 billion, with an average loss of equity per home of $9,259; and
WHEREAS, people from all walks of life, whether economically comfortable or jobless, recognize the destructive effects of current conditions and the political gridlock that allows disparities to continue to widen; and
WHEREAS, local governments are straining under the weight of responsibilities and needs and demands for basic support services at a time of declining tax revenues as a result of budget cuts by the state and federal government.
WHEREAS, Americans can and must resolve the divisive economic and social realities facing our nation in a peaceful way that honors our commitment to democracy, equality and justice, and;
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SEATTLE, THE MAYOR CONCURRING:
Section 1. By the adoption of this Resolution, the City of Seattle recognizes and supports the peaceful exercise of First Amendment Rights by “Occupy Seattle.”
Section 2. The City of Seattle will review its banking and investment practices and ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community. The Council may consider future legislation to promote responsible banking to ensure accountability and provide an incentive for banking institutions to invest more in our City, particularly with regard to the efforts of banking institutions to stabilize the housing market.
Section 3. The City of Seattle requests our Congressional leaders to generate solutions for economically distressed Americans, specifically:
1. Enact President Obama’s efforts to create jobs.
2. Create tax reform that fairly taxes those who can afford it most and does not place undue burden on lower income individuals.
3. Invest in domestic infrastructure.
4. Retain or increase community-building block grants for local schools and social services.
5. Protect public education from devastating cuts and prevent tuition levels that prevent fair access to higher education.
6. Reduce the deficit by trimming costs and raising revenues through progressive, fair taxation policies.
Adopted by the City Council the _____ day of _____________, 2011, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this _____ day of ________________, 2011.
President __________ of the City Council
THE MAYOR CONCURRING:
Filed by me this ______ day of _________________, 2011.