We share our procedures and our minutes because, as one member put it, “people checking out an organization for either joining or vetting, it is comforting to see that there is a structure and a way to see what issues are being discussed.” Email addresses have been deleted. If you want to follow up on something here, email us.
1) Outreach Report Back: Outreach is continuing to gather signatures at events in Oakland. We gathered signatures at the First Friday event this month and are tabling at the SoOakland festival this coming weekend. Greg will be speaking about the Public Bank tomorrow at the Code Pink Presents “Active Hope” event. Susan is going to look up tabling at the Laurel festival. Margie is continuing her progress in reaching out to Neighborhood Associations, such as Allendale and Maxwell, as we seek their and all groups’ endorsements.
Outreach discussed ideas for fundraising at their last meeting as well but wanted to wait until the general meeting to decide our course of action. (See fundraising section for conclusion).
2) Treasurer’s Report (Craig Brandt): One new expenditure was approved ($22.95 to blow up [print] a poster of the Oakland Tree with money from our day of action).
Craig has received $600 in check donations for our goal to raise the $23,900 needed to cover the difference between what Oakland has allocated and what the feasibility study will cost.
Susan has received $600 in written pledges.
We’re waiting to hear from Maeve about what has been donated through Just Give to our non-profit fiscal sponsor HERA.
3) Next Meeting Location: We are no longer able to use the Greenlining Building for our meetings and are in need of a new home! Recommendations welcome! We are trying to be as close to BART as possible and of course stay in Oakland. Lou is investigating if we can reserve the back room of the Buttercup cafe in Jack London (near 12th street BART). Tentatively the next meeting location will be there, but if that does not work out we plan on going to the Omni space near MacArthur BART. Stay tuned for a follow-up announcement next week.
4) New Member Orientation and Introduction: We had one visitor, who had visited once before. She is an intern with the the State Board of Equalization under Fiona Ma. She said that Fiona Ma is very interested in Public Banking as a solution for the state’s finances as well. She asked various questions so she could report back on our progress.
5) Planning For September 19th Meeting: September 19th is going to be a pivotal moment for our movement. We need to demonstrate as much broad based support as possible to the city council so that they vote to affirm the funding they’ve already allocated for the Feasibility study. In that light, we are continuing to build our community organization support roster. We also voted unanimously to be able local community businesses as supporters on that list. The goal is to present to the City Council as broad based list of groups that support Oakland establishing a public bank. If you know of or have any connections to any community groups, churches, religious organizations, or businesses that would or do support establishing a Public Bank in Oakland plus contact Susan Harman.
Susan is planning for some theatrics as well for the meeting with a large dragon head. We’re currently looking for someone to donate a Warriors banner or pennant for that cause.
Carroll Fife of Defund OPD/Refund Oakland is meeting with Desley Brooks and is lobbying strongly for the Public Banks.
We decided that we need to continue reaching out to the no voters, Larry Reid and Noel Gallo. We did not conclude whether or not we should follow up with Noel Gallo and Larry Reid about their statement at the city council meeting where they would ask the Cannabis industry to come up with the remaining $25k. (Though feel free to keep making your calls to their offices!)
Craig is going to organize Friends of the Public Bank members to go to one of Noel Gallo’s monthly trash pickups. In addition to helping Noel Gallo’s cause we hope to meet members of his district and expose them to what a Public Bank is and try to earn their support.
6) Fundraising the $23,900 needed to cover the Feasibility Study Gap:
About two weeks ago, Rebecca Kaplan (Councilmember at large), wrote to Mayors in 6 cities asking for support funding the feasibility study. We need help following up with these Mayors! The cities Kaplan reached out to are: Alameda, Berkeley, Hayward, Richmond, San Leandro, and
Paul has volunteered to reach out to the mayor in San Leandro. To reach out, you simply need to call the mayor’s office ask if they have received Rebecca Kaplan’s letter and if they have ask if you can set up a meeting with their office. Email back to the public banking list with your progress and findings and we’ll find someone to go with you.
7) Raising Money Online: There was a good discussion about trying to utilize the benefits of social meeting in our campaign. There were ideas about having gifts for donors who reach certain levels and also perhaps giving special designation (Founder’s Circle etc). We want to start fundraising online by August 15th and the latest to have a solid month to run our fundraising Campaign.
The General Meeting voted unanimously to have the Outreach committee strategize the best way to launch this social media fundraising campaign that accepts . We are going to hold off calling petition signers that said they’d be willing to donate until we have a solid plan and launch the campaign no later than August 15th.
8) Relationship between our group and Divest/Build: Susan presented on the Divest/Build organization and cited the need for us to form a coalition of support with the Divest Group in Los Angeles who is eager to start a public bank as well as the community that is building in San Francisco. Nothing official was decided but we will continue reaching out.
9) Request for Meeting with DOME-Huichin: The DOME-Huichin group who advocates divestment in the City of Oakland has reached out to Debbie to see if we could have a joint meeting where we meet with their members to address their concerns they have about a Public Bank’s governance. Namely, they are troubled by the Bank of North Dakota’s financing of police militarization and the Dakota Access Pipeline.
We agreed unanimously to have Debbie continue talking with them and to find a time that’s in the evening or on a weekend where we can meet so that we can address their concerns. The more volunteers we can get for our cause the better!
Facilitated by Debbie Notkin
Notes by Maren Poitras
We approved the expenditures which were in place before we had a governance committee. Craig Brandt is authorized to send these expenditures to HERA for repayment. The approved expenditures are attached.
Feasibility study NOT in Kaplan-Brooks budget, (that we know of) although it is in ReFund Oakland’s proposal
Margie: we don’t necessarily need to get the $100K in this budget; should we try to amend City Charter to go around Council?
Focus now on strategy for next two weeks
Cathy: Council doesn’t want to fund study unless someone else contributes
Susan: Overwhelm them w/ organizational letters of support
Debbie: Should we wait until the September meeting?
Maren: What is the downside of encouraging a July 18 approval?
The council may be tired and reject it, haven’t had time to look for more funding
Sylvia: Which budget is $ for feasibility study from? 2016?
Debbie: Unclear, but apparently surplus from 2016
Administrator said money was committed to projects not yet ready
Dress is talking with cannabis orgs; said he may be able to come up with $15-$20,000
Berkeley passed resolution to partner
Exact copy of Richmond resolution
No mention of funding feasibility study (because thought that would be done, but did mention contributing funds to a business plan)
Susan: Kaplan asked Berkeley for $25K but Susan doesn’t think it will happen
Should we ask Richmond for $? Would not feel good about asking for > $1K
Christine: Not a charity. This is a feasibility study. Researching debt service for Berkeley and Richmond to calculate how much they might be able to save with PB (and how much they might buy in to feasibility study)
But we don’t have power to offer anything in return (like seats on the Board)
Paul: Precedence re: shared buy-in in inter-regional financial agencies
Cathy: Staff and Council asked about a Task Force and to include partner jurisdictions
Maren: Show Council how complicated it is to get other jurisdictions on board- to encourage council to fund feasibility study itself
Paul: Messaging: Not so much what you say but how you say it. Framing to council that they are burening tax payers to pay millions to Wall St. banks because they don’t want to look into the possibility of a public bank. And they are thus cutting x amount of public services.
Maren- concerned about councilmember willingness to sell off the public bank already (to private industry- cannabis, or other jurisdictions) for a tiny amount of money. The public bank would need to be stewarded like any other public resource. Just an argument that Oakland should fund the feasibility itself.
Council should understand have to put some money into R&D if you ever want to improve the current situation of ever-worsening budget shortfalls.
Debbie: Remember feasibility study might conclude that a Public bank is not feasible
Maren: Should we try to meet with CMs? Finding organizations they already trust to try to get a meeting with them.
Susan: But they keep refusing to meet with us
Paul: $56 million in interest should be framed in $ per constituent taxpayers because you weren’t even willing to try, also more $ for services
Dress: Who on Council should we approach?
Supporters: Kalb and Kaplan
Wishy-Washy: Abel and Annie
Swings: Lynette, Brooks, Reid
Craig: Happy to call Richmond and ask for $5K
Margie: Desley Brooks is too unpredictable, but should we ask other cities for $ if we don’t have license from Council?
Debbie: Staff thinks this is too much work, but working with other cities will increase the burden on staff
Cathy: Tom knows someone (the City Manager) in Richmond but wanted to check in with Susan/Craig
Susan: Not worth it because Council will make the decision
Cathy: We (with Tom) had a meeting on the calendar with Katano but they cancelled it hours before,
Brainstorming ally organizations that may be able to get a meeting with the swing councilmembers:
Christine: Lynette’s whole thing is housing and homelessness, also education
Something about Impact Oakland Fund?, Causa Justa, Violence Prevention
Craig: Will reach out to Nancy Nadel’s housing group
Susan will look up what that group is
Who’s in Larry’s ear?
Not clear – some churches, Allen Temple, Bethany Baptist.
Can follow up on his comments about failed community banks
Margie: Should we all cede time at next meeting to Cathy so she can present?
Sylvia: We need an answer to the “Task Force” question
Maybe suggest a Stakeholder Working Group
Cathy: Already called for in the study
NOT a substitute for the feasibility study – can offer do both at the same time
Maren: Strategy can be to encourage Oakland to fund the feasibility study itself on July 18, because for one we need the feasibility study to know whether a regional approach would be most beneficial for Oakland, before we start negotiating with cities to contribute funds.
We do not have the authority to enter into contract with Berkeley or Richmond, and negotiate a stake or benefit from the bank in return. And a lot more work for staff to have to negotiate with other cities for such a small amount of money $10-$20,000. Would also be much more work for them to construct a volunteer/in-house effort.
Conclusion: try all strategies at once.
Christine is working on a fact-filled proposal for councilmembers.
Susan (and others) are working on getting one letter signed by as many organizations as possible to present to members.
Contact ally organizations that may be able to get a meeting with swing councilmembers and use the opportunity to address any questions or concerns before they come up at the council meeting July 18. Encourage Paul Pryde* to attend meetings- to make the case to politicians in their own language☺
Susan contacting Nancy Nadel’s group to try to get meeting with Lynette
Churches for Larry Reid?
Suggestions for Desley Brooks?
Annie Campbell Washington?
Noel Gallo- supports ‘the concept’ but not convinced it’s worth spending any money
We voted not to pay to bring Tom Sgouros out for the 7/18 meeting and/or a possible meeting with City staff on that day or the day before, because it is all too uncertain. If study is approved, Tom will certainly come out in September.
Facilitated by Dress Wedding
Notes by Debbie Notkin
1) Report on Finance Committee, 6/13 meeting: At that meeting, we secured the votes of three of the four city councilmembers on the committee (Guillen, Kalb, Kaplan); Noel Gallo dissented. Katano Kasaine argued against the resolution, and then Rebecca Kaplan and about twelve of us spoke. The resolution was amended to include the specifics from the San Francisco task force resolution, and passed to the 6/20 meeting of the full Council.
2) Upcoming other than City Council meeting:
Susan reported that we have the votes for the Berkeley support resolution coming up on June 27, so lobbying meetings are not needed. We do have a meeting with Ben Bartlett, the lone holdout, on Saturday if anyone wants to come.
We discussed screening the Les Leopold 33-minute film. Outreach will look into a venue (possibly the Omni Commons) to screen it for a larger audience.
3) The governance agreements were circulated for initialed agreement by members. We will continue to circulate them until we have everyone’s (or almost everyone’s) initials. If you want to review them outside of a meeting before agreeing, they are on our website, on the Governance/Minutes tab on the right side of the home page.
4) We set our next meeting for July 10, at 5:30 p.m. Susan will check to see if we can continue to use the Greenlining site. If we can’t, either because this is one week off our two-week cycle or because our three months are up, we will probably default to the Omni Commons. We will publicize the location when we are sure.
5) Debbie gave a quick overview of what a public bank is and what it can do, for the benefit of new attendees. We will do this at every meeting.
6) New attendees were Monica, who heard about us from a cryptocurrency group and is working on gift economy concepts, and James, who is an intern at the Greenlining Institute.
7) We did significant work on strategy for the City Council meeting the next day, including our 4:30 public action of posting bills on the Oakland tree, and how we wanted to handle speakers, timing, etc. Since these minutes are being typed up after that meeting finished in a loss, most details are not included. However, worth noting: the tree action looked awesome, but there were no TV trucks to take advantage of it; the last-minute Facebook and MailChimp efforts drew at least one brand-new person; the shirts made us a very effective-looking group.
8) Two Sparkassen speakers will be in town in the early fall. One is the CEO of the banks, and Susan hopes to arrange an event with him at City Hall, presumably under Rebecca Kaplan’s sponsorship. The other event would be to connect the dots between Germany’s public banks and clean energy, and could well be done in cooperation with Sunflower Alliance and 350.org . Maren pointed out that we might also want to bring student debt and free college into that conversation, and bring in students and recent graduates. These events can’t be fully planned until the speakers give us dates.
9) We discussed how to work with Global Investment if the resolution had passed. We hope this discussion will be fruitful in the near future, even though it isn’t now. Maeve Elise is the person on the Global Investment RFQ who is most involved in our meetings and our structure, and Cathy is the point person for Global Investment and must be involved in all discussions. We hope to help GIC by being the organizers of neighborhood meetings in council districts, existing neighborhood organizations, and elsewhere. Once there is a formal contract between Global Investment and the City of Oakland (or whatever combination of entities fund the study), we also want a formal agreement between Global Investment and our group.
10) We agreed to use the simple logo of the stylized tree and the type from our old shirts. This is approved as a logo to be used across social media, t-shirts, and anything else that identifies our group.
11) We discussed getting materials translated into Spanish and Chinese, and a few suggestions were made, including Noel Gallo’s office.
12) Matthew reported on the Rob Bonta public meeting, which he said was primarily noise and self-promotion.
The governance proposal regarding removal of members and other details was approved unanimously, and has been incorporated into the governance document linked from the top of this page (https://friendsofpublicbankofoakland.org/about/more/records-of-our-meetings/governance-procedures/.)
May 22, 2017
Facilitated and notes by Maeve Elise Brown
Final Approval of Mission and Governance: Debbie presented both documents, explaining how they arrived at their most recent iteration. Members at the meeting voted unanimously to adopt both the mission statement and governance document. It was also suggested that rules regarding membership and who gets to vote be included in the final document (now done). Someone else noted that the governance document will, naturally, evolve over time, but that now we have a useful, adopted version to help frame our operations as FOPB.
The very first governance proposal, that voting members have attended three meetings, either of the general group or of working groups, appears to have been approved before we were regularizing and recording our minutes.
Facilitated by Dress Wedding
Notes by Greg Elenbaas
1. The governance proposal regarding removal of members and other details was approved unanimously, and has been incorporated into the governance document linked from the top of this page.
2. The group decided unanimously to overrule the result of the logo vote and that to send the task of developing the logo to the Outreach Committee where it can be further worked on.
3. All members are encouraged to show up at the city council and finance committee meetings June 12 and 13, respectively, and to wear their green shirts. Please come as early as 4:30pm for the city hall meeting to join the direct action. (See item 9).
1. Report Backs
Oakland City Council Meeting 5/30 – A great number of FPBO members showed up to the city council meeting. However, due to the budget agenda item being 15 out of 16, only members that stayed until 1:00 a.m. were able to speak. We presented over 800 signed petitions to the Oakland City Council. We will keep presenting the combined total of signatures to the City Council at every budget meeting. The largest advocacy group at the meeting was Defund OPD/Refund Oakland. It was noted that the shirts of Keep Oakland Creative were very memorable.
Santa Rosa – Susan and our ally Shelly, who lives in Santa Rosa and is working to start a Public Bank of the North Bay, went to meet a Santa Rosa councilmember. The councilmember said that the city is currently focused on three items for the year and will not be able to fund a feasibility study this year. Shelly is determined to work to raise the money needed for the study herself.
Les Leopold – Susan, Lou and other members went to see a presentation in Alameda by Les Leopold, author of Runaway Inequality. He has around 12-13 bullet points on how to fix the massive inequality we face in this country and public banking is one of those points. Susan has a copy of his presentation. Lou has agreed to take the lead on what to do with Les Leopold’s work and and how we can connect it to our work.
2. Set Next Meeting
The next meeting General Organizers Meeting will be held Monday, June 19th, 5:30pm at the Greenlining Institute Building, 360 14th Street, Oakland
3. Overview of Public Banking and Role of Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland
Dress gave a brief overview why we are working for a public bank and that we are currently pursuing the city of Oakland to fund a feasibility study.
4. Introductions, welcome to new members
One new attendee this meeting, from San Francisco, and another who is working with SF public bank efforts.
5. (Continued from last meeting) How a public bank could intersect with or support clean energy companies
Barbara Stebbins filled in for Mark Roest and discussed how Alameda county is in the process of forming a Community Choice Aggregator (CCA), which should begin operations in Spring 2018. A community choice aggregator is a government authority that is able to buy wholesale power from electricity producers and sell it to consumers. The benefits of this arrangement are the community control and the ability of the CCA to purchase green energy. Sonoma County’s Sonoma Clean Power CCA is wildly successful and many other places in California are starting similar operations.
The community group that worked to establish the Alameda CCA is called the Local Clean Energy Alliance. They want the CCA to purchase not only clean energy but to purchase and help develop locally produced clean energy which should provide local jobs and improve the local economy. A public bank could help finance these projects at lower interest rates than that which a commercial bank could provide.
Dan Kalb, one of Oakland’s city councilmembers, is Oakland’s representative on the Alameda CCA. Local Clean Energy Alliance is planning a conference in October 2017 alongside the launch of a book about CCAs.
6. Promote Equity Community Survey
Margie spoke on this issue. There is currently a technical issue with the survey and it isn’t quite ready to be filled out yet. The survey will be emailed out again once the issue is resolved. The goal of the survey is to take a census of existing members to find out more about who we are.
7. Governance committee proposal for discussion
Dress went over the governance committee proposal on how we can deal with unresolvable differences with a member. Due to the size and open nature of our organization it is important that we have an agreed-upon process for handling disagreements that could potentially derail our group. The recommended process was approved unanimously and has been incorporated into our governance procedures, linked from the top of this page. The administration committee ran by Craig will keep track of all challenges, and if a challenge occurs in a committee, it is that committee’s responsibility to inform the admin committee about what happened.
8. Logo discussion
Although we held a vote to select a new logo for the organization. Susan brought up many concerns about the winner of the logo contest, including increased shirt printing costs due to it being three colors, and concerns about why the logo says Public Bank of Oakland and not Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland. We discussed the difference between a logo that we can put on our website, letterheads, and mail campaigns, versus graphics for t-shirts. Many agreed that the current shirt design is very recognizable and it is easy for people to spot the “green shirts” coming their way. Greg moved that the group state it is not happy with the result of the logo vote and that it send the task of developing the logo to the outreach committee where it can be further worked on. This motion was passed unanimously.
If you haven’t paid for your FPBO green shirt, please pay Susan $20 for it the next time you get the chance.
9. Upcoming Strategy Discussion
A lengthy discussion on strategy began with one issue is the confusion over the meaning of the staff recommendation to the finance committee. The staff recommendation is to not fund the feasibility study in the 2015-2017 budget, but that was expected. We are trying to get the study funded in the 2017-2019 budget. What makes it confusing is the mention of waiting until San Francisco’s task force completes its study in January, 2018 and whether that means recommending to not fund the feasibility study at all. Lots of frustrations were aired, but there was also much resolve to keep going.
We discussed the prospect of raising the money ourselves. We didn’t vote on this, but the general consensus seems to be that we must continue to press the city for the money because this will establish “buy in” on their part and signify that they are serious about executing this goal by having “skin in the game.” Due to the confusing status that we’re in, Craig argued that we must reach out to Rebecca Kaplan to ask what our next move should be. Both the general council meeting and the finance committee are important meetings and we need to try to attend both. Please make it out if you can and wear your green shirts!
Our ask is simple: Please allocate $100k to fund the feasibility study as soon as possible.
For the city council meeting we will be having a direct action at 4:30 in front of City Hall, led by Susan. We’re going to try to get signs and fake money to hang from the Oakland tree and use that as a photo opportunity. Please try and show up!
10. Other working group reportbacks
Outreach has collected over 1000 signatures to date and we’re working on more.
Facilitated and notes by Maeve Elise Brown
- Introductions: New participants joined tonight for the first time, including someone interested in pursuing public banking in SF, an interested technology and community organizing focused participant, someone from the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, several other local, East Bay residents, and a resident from San Mateo County. The attendance sheet went around the room and was collected.
- Next meeting: will be in two weeks on June 5 at 5:30 p.m. at 360 14th Street, in the downstairs offices of the Oakland Post (thank you, Post!)
- Report Backs and Discussion of Councilmember Meetings: FOPB members who have been reaching out to Oakland councilmembers to encourage support for moving the public bank effort forward reported back on their experience and impressions. It seems that the questions raised by Councilmember Kalb may have been part of a more standard thought process on his part when considering new projects. He has affirmed to members that he supports moving the feasibility study forward with the local applicant team suggested by city staff. For Councilmember Brooks, the public bank may not be a priority issue, and members should continue to find ways to make sure the worth of the project is clear. Councilmember Kaplan continues to voice her support. Members were not able to have a new meeting with Councilmember Reid. Members have also reached out to remaining councilmembers.
- Review and Approval of New Logo: The purpose of creating a new logo is to have a unified image for the FOPB group that is distinctive and can be used, not only on t-shirts, but across media and materials. Suggested examples were passed out at the meeting. Those present provided initial feedback, which included:
- the suggestion that we should, ideally, be conscious of our intended audience, and young people may not related to the proposed logos
- a sense by several people that the logos with just a leaf felt corporate and generic (and it’s not a California Oak tree leaf, which seems odd)
- a suggestion that we be mindful about the color used for whichever graphic is chosen so that it is bright and eye-catching, regardless of which color shirt it is printed on
- a comment that for anyone in financial services might feel as if he/she could not wear a logo with dollar signs in it (due to regulations pertain to operating their own business)
- a comment that being more evocative and less literal may be more appealing as a visual (e.g., no dollar signs but a tree without dollars could have broader appeal)
After discussion, governance committee members offered to put the logos (numbered) up for a vote via email, with a fast turn-around (since new materials need to be printed soon).
- Final Approval of Mission and Governance: Debbie presented both documents, explaining how they arrived at their most recent iteration. Members at the meeting voted unanimously to adopt both the mission statement and governance document. It was also suggested that rules regarding membership and who gets to vote be included in the final document (now done). Someone else noted that the governance document will, naturally, evolve over time, but that now we have a useful, adopted version to help frame our operations as FOPB.
- Formation of a Tech Subcommittee (regarding tech for the bank, not for FOPB):The group decided that it could not hurt to research existing data systems used for the lines of business that the public bank would ideally handle, as well as emerging technology platforms. Some concern was voiced about making sure to appreciate systems that may already be configured to meet the existing regulatory framework versus a newer system, and this is feedback that the working committee will consider. Several people volunteered to participate in the committee, and governance the existing tech committee members may put out the call to the larger group to invite more people as well.
- Finance Issues: Christine reported back on expenditures already made by group members who will need to be reimbursed. Current total owed is about $436.43. There were glitches over the donation from People’s Life, but the check with the correct payee should arrive this week. HERA hasd volunteered to be fiscal sponsor for the next 6 months and remains available to do so. Donations to the FOPB should be made in the name of Housing and Economic Rights Advocates with a notation (on the memo line if by check) that funds are for the FOPB. Donors can mail checks to HERA at 1814 Franklin Street, Suite 1040, Oakland CA 94612, ATT: Maeve Elise Brown. HERA will need a short, written agreement with the FOPB regarding check approvals (HERA will issue checks) and is communicating with governance committee members on that front.
- Upcoming Events/Possible Events: Members reported out on upcoming events. Keep your eyes peeled for Outreach committee emails and other asks to participate in events. A possible event is to have Sparkassen (German public banks) participate in a forum (Susan has reached out, and a representative will be in California this summer the European group is interested and willing.)
- Reports on Non-councilmember Meetings In Last Two Weeks: Debbie flagged for the group that the divestment group, DOME, may be approaching the City of Oakland regarding amending the linked banking ordinance to allow for some divestment. We need to make sure councilmembers understand that this could not be a replacement for having a public bank.
- Other Items Moved To Next Meeting’s Agenda:
- How a public bank could intersect with or support clean energy companies
- Strategies for feasibility study funding if the council does not commit
- Exploring the longer term role of the FOPB after formation of the public bank
Facilitated and notes by Maeve Elise Brown
- Introductions: About 20 participants showed up for this general meeting, with approximately 3 participants who are new to the effort.
- Next meeting: will be in two weeks on May 22nd at 5:30 p.m. at 360 14th Street, in the downstairs offices of the Oakland Post (thank you, Post!)
- Report on City of Oakland Finance Committee meeting of 4/25/17 and group’s response
At the 4/25/17 meeting councilmembers who are members of the finance committee responded to city staff’s recommendation that the GIC group (Cathy Gent) and her team be awarded the contract to prepare a feasibility study regarding creation of a public bank for the city or region. Meeting participants and those who reviewed footage of the meeting shared highlights, and impressions. Key takeaways:
- Finance Committee member responses regarding why they wanted to postpone deciding on the contract award were conflicting. One member said that the GIC group was not charging enough money and was likely to come back to ask for more money just for the feasibility study. Several members of the committee made reference to a regional proposal for a public bank perhaps being more desirable than a city proposal.
- Finance Committee members are worried about the projected budget shortfall for the city.
- One Committee member suggested that perhaps the cannabis industry should pay instead of the city.
Engage with all finance committee members. Upcoming meeting dates at bottom of agenda and on Friends website (friendsofpublicbankofoakland.org). Key items that may be of concern to our city’s elected officials are:
- divestment— big push on city to divest from larger banking institutions
- affordable housing needs— huge and growing
- sanctuary city concerns— political uncertainty and pressure federally
- cannabis industry money management concerns— public safety and political concern
- Councilmember Campbell Washington concerned about soda tax funds being diverted. May appreciate where we’re coming from in terms of having expected funds diverted.
- Councilmember McElhaney may be particularly attuned to the affordable housing needs of her district and the city as a whole.
For district meetings or individual meetings with councilmembers, understanding what additional, particular concerns and fears they may have that we may not have understood before would be helpful. Any additional insights that Friends members can gain would be welcome.
Additional tools suggested that could be helpful:
- chart that maps out the cost benefits of a public bank
- additional written docs that map out the ways in which public banks serve the public
- list of additional cities focused on creating a public bank
Possible additional strategic considerations:
- How we move the effort forward even without city funding
- Investigate alternative sources of funding
- Which additional strategies will move the city forward.
- City may be focused on having the county or some other municipality take on this effort.
All of these ideas are moved into Outreach committee for follow-up.
5. Governance Committee Proposals
A big thanks to the committee for undertaking this effort. Key feedback from group: The guts of the mission statement are good. Suggestions around clarifying language, using stronger terminology regarding fairness rather than just a “seat at the table”. Also some feedback regarding clarity on whether the mission statement addresses just how the Friends group functions versus the proposed bank. Equity committee and others expressed concern about making sure unrepresented groups’ voices and interests are represented— not just via membership by people who seem to be members of a given group, but via actual representation of concerns and interests.
Regarding using consent mode of governance, there was general appreciation for the notion as articulated by the governance document. One question was around how to remove members or what to do if there is no agreement on a proposal. Governance will clarify.
All suggested additional language or edits: Email to Debbie Notkin. She and the rest of governance committee will take all feedback into account, make edits, and bring back to larger group for final decision-making.
6. Outreach Committee report back and proposal
The general meeting agreed with the working group’s proposal that they be permitted to spend up to $100 of funds they raise without general group approval, with one amendment, which is to have monthly reports on how funds are spent.
7.Forming an administrative committee: Agreed. Those interested in participating: Debbie, Maeve, David, Craig, Mitch.
8. Equity Committee survey— issue raised, discussion postponed.
Facilitated by Craig Brandt, notes by Janice Hutchinson)
- Rebecca Kaplan/Laura Holtan re upcoming meeting of finance committee about feasibility
Cathy Gent’s group chosen, money (99,000)supposed to come from current year. But final staff report asks for a no vote on it, that it be put into next year’s budget instead, because of deficit. Finance committee meeting TOMORROW, Tuesday 4/25 at 9:30, City hall, meeting room 1. YES on item 7! If you can’t make it call councilmembers before the meeting.
- Noel Gallo (238-7005),
- Abel Guillen (-7002),
- Dan Kalb (-7001), and
- Annie Campbell Washington (-7004).
Urgent that feasibility not be delayed because decision on which bank to use (JP Morgan Chase or Wells) coming soon with lobbying by banking industry
Oakland could ask state for some money from its rainy day fund
Public bank would save more money than it costs
2. Active Hope – Mary and Susan went, 150 people
3. People’s Life Fund. We applied for a grant for them and were accepted. Some members went to the award ceremony, and were given check for 1000.
4. Gary Findley. Consultant, lawyer. Works with banks and regulators. Next steps, assuming feasibility, write a business plan. Gary has done many bank business plans, excited about a public bank. Needs include a state charter, a Federal master account number, a cannabis committee, FDIC insurance. Also, we need to start looking for management team
5. Jeff Cheung, referred to us by an aide to Libby Schaaf, Oakland mayor. He is the CEO of Gateway Bank – a community bank in Oakland. Focus on community, possible model
6. Divest/Build conference call; next is Thursday 4/27
7. Two San Francisco supervisors want to start a public bank. They want the city’s finance director to do a study. Susan would prefer going straight to a feasibiliy study.
8. Santa Rosa wants to start a North Coast public bank, primarily for cannabis money
9. Full Oakland City Council meeting on 5/2. If the Finance Committee Tuesday doesn’t pass the resolution, the Council will take the item off the consent calendar. We need to tabulate the petitions we have by district, and lobby the council members
10. State treasurer John Chiang’s group meets in Santa Rosa 5/4. This meeting is geared towards solutions to cannabis banking issue. Public bank is not on the agenda’s list of solutions. We will try to have a presence at the meeting.
11. A group in LA, led by public banking theorist and Green Party candidate Ellen Brown is starting a public banking movement.
12. The Outreach Committee will table at First Friday (5/5) and continue to table at the Grand Avenue Farmers Market. Contact Mark if you can help table.
13. Governance Committee. Last meeting we all gave our feedback about what a public bank should look like. Governance took all input and synthesized it. We started to critique it as a group, but decided that emailed suggestions would be more efficient. Governance committee will rework mission statement and report back.
14, 15. Equity and Fundraising Committees are still a work in progress
16. Cathy Gent gave us an overview of how she plans to organize the feasibility study. Will start 5/15 if City Council approves. Will take about 10 weeks. Will stay in touch with our group throughout.