Oakland Needs a Public Bank!

Check out our awesome new videos, from videographer and Friend of the Public Bank Maren Poitras.

As we move through the feasibility study and into next steps, we’d love it if your organization (business, nonprofit, neighborhood association, church, union, etc.) wants to sign our letter of support. We also encourage you to come to our meetings, sign our petition, and purchase one (or more) of our stylish t-shirts. We are happy to speak at your community or business event, and explain the value of public banking.

Check out our report on our successful forum–Public Banks Power Renewable Energy–plus video of the whole event.

Read the Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland mission statement.

Positive Developments Following City Council Approval!

The hits just keep on coming.

On October 3, the Richmond City Council approved a $5,000 contribution to the feasibility study.

On October 10, the County of Alameda approved a $25,000 contribution. So for our estimated $100,000 study, we now have $75,00o from Oakland, $25,000 from Berkeley, $25,000 from the County of Alameda, and $5,000 from Richmond, which means we have $30,000 more than we anticipate needing. This might usefully expand the scope of the study, or might make it possible divert some of those funds into the next steps. Either way, this is nothing but good news!

Global Investment Company,  the group chosen by the City of Oakland to do the feasibility study, is working with city staff to finalize the contract. Once that’s done, we’ll have a timeline for when they will be providing their responses to the City of Oakland — and to us.

We’ve also gotten some great press, including the Oakland Post for our City Council victory, and Shareable for the public banking and clean energy forum.

Oakland Approves Feasibility Study!!

Susan Harman: “We have slain all the dragons. Support the study now.”

On Tuesday, September 19, the Oakland City Council approved the $100,000 appropriation for a feasibility study for the Public Bank of Oakland. Susan Harman, leading public bank activist, held up a red dragon’s head and reminded the Councilmembers that we have slain every dragon they have asked us to kill, and now we deserve the hand of the princess the funded study.

The City of Berkeley has contributed $25,000 towards the cost of the study, and the City of Richmond and the County of Alameda are likely to contribute as well. In addition, we have contributions from some private donors, so we should be able to expand the study somewhat from its original design.

The study is scheduled to take ten weeks, once the final contract with the City of Oakland is signed, which we hope will be soon. Here is the final resolution with all supplements.

Enormous congratulations to everyone who worked to make this happen!

 

How We Got Here

On Tuesday, September 12, the Berkeley City Council voted by consent to fund the $25,000 that the City of Oakland asked us to find “somewhere else” before Oakland comes through with the $75,000 it has appropriated for our feasibility study, which is the first step towards the bank.

On the same night, the Richmond City Council meeting postponed its discussion of adding funds to the study, but we are optimistic that Richmond will choose to participate later this year.

On Thursday, June 29, in a very contentious and controversial vote, the Oakland City Council passed a new two-year budget. Thanks to a last-minute set of amendments from Councilmember Dan Kalb, $75,000 for the public bank feasibility study is in that budget.

The Council has asked that other groups fund the remaining $25,000.  In order to gain a Council majority to proceed with the study at the upcoming 9/19 meeting, we are asking for Friends to commit to donate to this cause.  If you are willing to donate any amount, please donate here or email us and act quickly if you can. Thank you for your support!

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On Tuesday, June 27, the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution supporting the Public Bank of Oakland!

Victory at the Finance Committee!

On Tuesday morning, June 13, the Finance Committee of the Oakland City Council voted 3-1 to approve our request for $100,000 to fund the feasibility study for the Public Bank of Oakland!

Councilmembers Kalb and Guillen, and Vice-Mayor Campbell Washington voted for the resolution; Councilmember Noel Gallo voted against, but expressed support for the concept.

Our friends from DOME-Huichin, a fantastic local group under native leadership, working for divestment from banks that support the pipelines, also had a victory at the same meeting, where they proposed an amendment to Oakland’s Linked Banking Ordinance which will make divestment easier. This amendment passed the Finance Committee and was forwarded to the City Council, although a date was not set.

 

The Public Bank of Oakland will:
  • Get Oakland out from under the control of nonlocal big banks
  • Reduce the cost of lending and borrowing for the City of Oakland and nearby communities that make use of the Bank
  • Solve the problem of millions of dollars in cash that the cannabis industry cannot legally deposit in private banks
  • Bring jobs, affordable housing, new small businesses and worker cooperatives, infrastructure, credit, and independence to our city