Oakland Needs a Public Bank!

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

We’d love it if your organization (business, nonprofit, neighborhood association, church, union, etc.) wants to sign our letter of support.

Up-to-Date Situation

It seems that the City of Oakland, in its infinite wisdom, is likely to fund $75,000 of the $100,000 we need to do a feasibility study. This determination was postponed from the July 18 City Council meeting to the September 19 City Council meeting. We’ll issue a call for participation closer to the time … unless it is somehow postponed again.

Meanwhile, Councilmembers Larry Reid and Noel Gallo made public promises on June 20 (details of what happened below). We’d like to make sure they remember their commitments. If you’re in their districts (and even if you’re not) call and remind them of what they said (video to come):

Larry Reid:

I’m going to work with the City Administrator to see whether or not in fact some of those folks that I think that will truly benefit from having the Public Bank help us to get where you want to be. So I hope you don’t take my “no” vote as my final vote, and I support those who believe in, who truly believe in what they’re fighting for.”

Noel Gallo:

“I just want to publicly state, wanting to thank the Bank of Oakland supporters, and work with you to making calls starting tomorrow in terms of trying to raise the money to pay for the Study.”

How We Got Here

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.

Why Do We Need Wall Street?

Maren Poitras made a video that makes many of our arguments for us.

Thanks to Maren for putting this together. Send it to your city councilmember, or your mayor if you’re not in Oakland. Also, if you haven’t already done so, please sign our petition to the City Council!

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

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