PBLA TOWN HALLS
On Wednesday, March 30, 2022, over 170 community members joined the California Public Banking Alliance (CPBA) Town Hall featuring elected officials from cities and regions actively working to form public banks. People across the nation are turning out to learn more about public banking — and Californians are at the forefront of making public banks a reality for the first time in generations.
Keynote speaker Eric Hardmeyer discusses the mechanics of the successful Bank of North Dakota—the nation’s only public bank in operation for more than a century—which he steered for over 20 years. Eric is joined by a powerful lineup of elected officials representing five cities: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and Richmond.
PUBLIC BANK LA VIRTUAL TOWN HALL
The movement for a public bank in Los Angeles is on the march! Over 250 supporters joined “The People’s Bank: Public Bank Los Angeles Virtual Town Hall.” Watch the replay below from the February 23rd event as we supercharge the creation of the Los Angeles Public Bank.
• Mike Bonin, LA Councilmember
• Nithya Raman, LA Councilmember
• Kevin de Leon, LA Councilmember
• Monica Rodriguez, LA Councilmember
• Miguel Santiago, CA State Assemblymember
• Bob Schoonover, President of SEIU 721
• Rachel Torres, Deputy Political and Civil Rights Director, UFCW Local 770
• Beverly Roberts with ACCE Action and Chair of Home Defenders League
• Susie Shannon, Policy Director of Housing is a Human Right
• Jennifer Tanner with SoCal 350 Climate Action, Indivisible CA: StateStrong, Indivisible Green Team and Fossil Free CA
• Trinity Tran, David Jette, Ben Gordon, and Naveen Agrawal of Public Bank LA
Over the past two years, we’ve made real progress in the fight for divestment from Wall Street and the establishment of public banks. Since the historic Measure B campaign, with over 430,000 Angelenos voting yes to a Los Angeles public bank, our movement and work in California’s largest city has catapulted the public banking movement a generation forward.
In 2019, California Public Banking Alliance, a statewide group Public Bank Los Angeles helped to found, sponsored and spearheaded the landmark Assembly Bill 857, empowering California cities, counties and regions to form their own public bank, banks that would be 100% accountable to local communities, not Wall Street. AB 857 was made law and opened the way for Los Angeles to start a bank without a ballot measure.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we have worked tirelessly to push forward public banking as a necessary part of an equitable recovery. We made strides towards establishing a state-level public bank with AB 310, and will be reintroducing the bill with lead author Assemblymember Miguel Santiago this year. In the few weeks of the bill’s launch, we secured support from over 80 organizations including labor and national groups, along with the commitment of State Treasurer Fiona Ma to work with us in the upcoming legislative session. Up and down the aisle, and through to the Governor’s Office, public banks are seen as a key part of achieving equitable, broad-based, democratically-led progress in our State.
We are now re-focusing our efforts locally here in Los Angeles, including both the City of Los Angeles and the cities and areas within the broader LA area.
As the City of Los Angeles reels from the COVID-19 crisis, a public bank would and should lead the recovery. Public banking allows for low-cost lending at a local level to support the resurgence of our restaurants and small businesses, particularly those owned by historically disadvantaged and underrepresented people of color that have been forced to close may never return. A public bank will lay the foundation for a more equitable local economy by financing projects including local public infrastructure, renewable energy, affordable housing, a local Green New Deal, and more — carried out by well-paying and union jobs.