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Some 400 people packed a special city council meeting here on June 20 to demand that the city end its “shameful collaboration” with federal police and spy agencies. But the council, while widely hailed as “progressive,” ignored the near-unanimous popular opinion and voted to renew three controversial police programs: participation in a Regional Intelligence Fusion Center, participation in the Urban Areas Security Initiative and acquisition of a bulletproof armored personnel carrier.
On June 20, the Berkeley City Council, only months after being swept in by a progressive majority, rejected the call of hundreds of people to terminate a series of entanglements between local police and the federal security forces of the Donald Trump administration. The resistance failed to resist. In the nation’s heartland of dissent. What went wrong, and why? Petitions, a huge crowd, support from prominent public figures, fact sheets, a city poll dominated by those wanting a pull-out, three hours of public comment with no support for anything other than getting out. None of it mattered.
Oakland, like several other cities around the country, is currently studying the feasibility of establishing a public bank. This type of banking offers enormous benefits for our local economy. We should move ahead with founding the Public Bank of Oakland as rapidly as possible. The Public Bank of Oakland will serve the people of Oakland by retaining the bank’s profits as public property to be used for our common good. Through public banking, we can help our own communities thrive rather than enrich the shareholders of Chase, where Oakland’s monies are now deposited, and other private banks. Learn all about public banking at a public forum Thursday, Feb. 9, 6pm, Oakland City Hall.