Seattle Passes Responsible Banking Ordinance


After a lot of advocacy work by Washington CAN!, Working Washington, and inspired by the ongoing #Occupy movement, the Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution that calls on the city to examine its banking and investment practices, home-foreclosure patterns, and the financing of local elections.

The responsible banking ordinance was part of a package of forward-thinking proposals brought before the Council as a way to positively respond to the local and national #Occupy movement. 

"I am pleased to work with my colleagues on a comprehensive approach for Seattle that can also provide a template for other cities to adopt as we all struggle with how to best respond to the Occupy Movement. The Occupy message is one of a broken economy due to a growing disparity in this country's wealth, and we can at the very least review the City's banking and investment practices to ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community," Councilmember Nick Licata said in a statement.

The resolution is stark contrast to the actions by other local authorities on Sunday night and Monday morning as cities from New York to Oakland forcefully shut down Occupy encampments and arrested hundreds of Occupiers. 

In Seattle, the tone is different. The first paragraph of  Resolution 31337  opens by

"recognizing and supporting the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal and local levels." 

In addition to the responsible banking ordinance and the explicit support of the first amendment rights of #Occupy, the Council's resolution also states:

  • “The City will continue to address economic inequality and wealth disparities by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender,” said the resolution.  It discussed a wide range of ways “to address historic trends in disparities.”
  • “The Council will request a report from the Department of Finance and Administrative Services on all exemptions or waivers allowed for City taxes, to examine the impact of both tax shifts and lost revenue to the City against the economic and social benefits the exemptions are intended to bring . . .”
  • The Council will also analyze how city election campaigns are currently financed “and explore alternatives.”
  • The city will also urge Congressional leaders to “support job creation, substantial investments in the nation’s critical physical and technological infrastructure and deficit reduction by adopting fiscal policies with equitable corporate and individual taxation and by allowing the 2010 extension of President Bush’s tax cuts to expire in 2012 . . .”

This is a very good start for the state of Washington to start to address some of the income inequality issues and a good model for how other citys and states might consider reacting to their own #Occupy movements. Above all, it's inspiring to see a local government respond with meaningful reform and to do so unanimously. 

Are you part of a community group, part of an Occupy movement, or just have a hankering to organize in this exciting moment?

Consider organizing some people in your community to work with  your  city council or local government to write a simple resolution that would move your city's money out of big banks and back into your community, just like Seattle. 

Click here for more information on organizing around a divestment resolution in your community.  

Way to go Seattle! 

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Gary Rich commented 2012-04-11 18:19:20 -0400

“After a lot of advocacy work by Washington CAN !, Working Washington, and inspired by the ongoing ”" title=“#Occupy” class=“tweet-url hashtag”>#Occupy movement, the Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution that calls on the city to examine its banking and investment practices, home-foreclosure patterns, and the financing of local elections."

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Ian Pajer-Rogers published this page in home 2011-11-16 12:42:00 -0500