Friday, November 30, 2012

Tell the Oakland City Council to stand firm! No more business with Goldman Sachs until they drop the swap without termination fees!

The Oakland- Goldman Sachs swap termination issue has just been placed on the agenda for the Oakland City Council on December 4, 2012. The meeting begins at 5:30 pm in the third floor chambers at City Hall. This is agenda item number 14. To date Goldman Sachs has refused to negotiate a termination of the swap without Oakland paying them millions of dollars. If you can come support putting teeth into the city council's July 3 resolution to boycott business with the vampire squid, please do!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The gauntlet has been thrown...

Citywise: Goldman rejects Oakland's demands on swap deal
As election season got into full swing this past summer, Oakland City council members made a splash by threatening to cut ties with Goldman Sachs if the investment bank refused to cancel an investment that will cost the city about $20 million before it expires in 2021.

If the council's bluster was a bluff, Goldman is calling it.

The bank refused Oakland's demand to cancel the interest rate swap at no cost to the city. It's willing to negotiate an early termination to the investment, but it won't terminate at below-market value price for the city, according to a city report.

The issue will go before the City Council's Finance and Management Committee on Tuesday.

Oakland entered into the deal with Goldman to protect itself from potential interest rate spikes on city bonds issued in 1998 to fund police and firefighter pensions. But interest rates have remained low, and the city continues to pay Goldman a fixed interest rate that is much higher than the prevailing rate Goldman pays Oakland.

Unions and citizen groups pushed Oakland and other municipalities to take a tough stand with investment banks over interest rate swap deals. They said banks were profiting from their role in the 2008 financial collapse, which forced the Federal Reserve to slash interest rates and consequently turned the deals dramatically in the banks' favor.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tuesday November 27, 2012, 11 AM City Hall. Remind our City Council that they voted to end the swap without termination fees, and NO MORE BUSINESS with Goldman Sachs!

Please note the link to download the summary of negotiations between the City of Oakland financial bureaucrats and Goldman Sachs, with their recommendations to the city council:  
(Click on "View Supplemental Report.pdf")  

Basically they are looking for a way to keep paying money to GS through promissory notes, and adding that it would be worth the city's while to maintain good relations with GS – The bureaucrats have discussed GS' charitable investments in other places in the US (!) GS does not want to end the swap without Oakland having to pay millions of dollars in a termination penalty. This report will be presented to the City Council's Finance Committee on Tuesday, November 27 in City Hall's Mark Dunakin Room (first floor). The meeting begins at 11 am.

If you can please come and remind the City Council members that they voted unanimously to end the swap agreement with Goldman Sachs without paying any termination fees! And they ALSO voted unanimously to not do ANY more business with Goldman Sachs, if GS refuses to terminate the swap without requiring the termination fee.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Coalition members and others entered the Bond Buyers' Conference, held on October 17, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco. They interrupted Goldman Sachs Vice President Ian Parker as he began his speech. They demanded that Goldman Sachs end the interest rate swap with the city of Oakland without paying millions of dollars in a "termination fee." Meanwhile, coalition members supported a picket line of workers against Hyatt's anti-worker policies, and also spoke out against Goldman Sachs' toxic swap deal with Oakland.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another Win

On September 26th at City Hall, the Finance Committee of the City Council of Oakland agreed, and firmly told city staffer, Scott Johnson, that the TIME IS UP.  No more deals of any sort with Goldman Sachs … until the bond swap situation is completed. 

While Johnson argued for and received another 60 days for the negotiations, he responded clearly that he understands that there is no other connection with GS now.  As to the additional days granted for negotiations, there was disapproval from the coalition and from city council members on the committee. This sounds like the same sneaky Vampire Squid-like behavior that GS always undertakes - sucking deals for themselves with the help of their battalions of lawyers and evil financial wizards.

The coalition's arguments and the clear fact that swaps are bad news, led Council Member Kernighan (possibly the most conservative member of that committee) to propose that the City undertake NO MORE Swaps!

While the committee did move forward to pass the newest policy regarding how to deal with swaps, they ultimately agreed that the City needs to stop doing swaps altogether!  This is a win for all of us. Now we will need to push this forward to the entire council.

contributed by Rev. Kurt Kuhwald
Edited by Yvonne Michelle

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stop the Swap/SWAP MEET

11:30 am, TUESDAY, JULY 31 
(555 California Street, SF, CA) 
 for the STOP the SWAP/SWAP MEET!
Facebook Invitation:
Facebook: Oakland Coalition to Stop Goldman Sachs
Twitter: stpgoldmansachs
Phone: 510- 250-7222

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Goldman Sachs Has a Heart: Well Isn't That Special?

by Yvonne Michelle

Michael Corkery recently reported in the Wall Street Journal article, "Oakland Angles for An Exit," that Goldman Sachs is edging toward generosity.  According to Corkery:
People involved in the negotiations say that the bank is willing to give - a little. Goldman has offered to lower the city's termination costs by more than $100,000 and spread out the payments over several years, the people said.  "The bank is trying to be a good corporate citizen," one of these people said.
While the identities of these people are indistinct, one can't help but to be amused by the pitiful olive branch Goldman Sachs reportedly extended to the City of Oakland.  They'll discount a whopping $100,000 from the millions of dollars that we shouldn't be paying for a bond that no longer exists?  Really?  They're graciously offering to refinance the payments so that the City of Oakland is tied to them for an even longer period of time beyond 2021?  Aww.  As the Church Lady would say....

Dana Carvey of Saturday Night Live

Monday, July 23, 2012

Where have you been, Mr. President?

By Luz Calvo

Photo by Kevin Tivon Gregory

Welcome to Oakland, Mr. President. Our people are suffering. We have a huge foreclosure crisis. Please take a tour of deep East Oakland and see our problems first hand. Our schools are being closed. Our children are hungry. Our youth have no future. Most of us are underwater on our mortgage, if we have not already lost our homes. 

Meanwhile, on July 31 our city will pay 2 million to Goldman Sachs on an interest rate swap that is unfair and unjust. 

Where have you been, Mr. President, in the midst of all of our suffering and despair? Side with us, not Goldman Sachs.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

September 3, 2012 is the SWAP DEADLINE

Goldman Sachs has a limited amount of time to review and drop the interest-rate swap it has with the City of Oakland.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Little City That Could...and Will...

All of our coalition members agree that last Tuesday, July 3, 2012, "...was a huge victory for both the city of Oakland and for the people throughout the world living under the boot of interest rate swaps."  City Council voted unanimously (Pat Kernighan was absent) in favor of the resolution to refuse to do business with Goldman Sachs if the swap isn't terminated, penalty-free.  Initially, there was some trepidation and confusion amongst the council when Brunner announced that the vote would be postponed in order to investigate the legality of excluding Goldman Sachs from future financial dealings.  

Sentiment regarding City staff's willingness
and ability to drop the swap
After brief discussion, council moved forward.  Throughout the evening, our coalition members and its supporters asserted thoughts about the swap in a multitude of ways.  By the end of the evening, Libby Schaff intoned that this resolution might not go far enough. Amazingly, Deanna Santana  asked the coalition to provide its legal analysis.

It will be vital to monitor the buzz in all sectors as the sixty-day negotiation period passes.  Will Goldman Sachs do the right thing and terminate the swap penalty-free, or will Oakland be the first city to boycott Goldman Sachs?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Our Time Has Come: Let's End The Swap with Goldman Sachs NOW

What: A very IMPORTANT council meeting will take place that will signal the beginning of the erosion of greedy capitalist forces in Oakland.  Council will decide how to proceed with ending the toxic interest-rate swap with Goldman Sachs that has drained Oakland of $32 million dollars.  This drain will continue until 2021 unless we put a stop to it NOW.

Where: Oakland City Hall

When: Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 5:30 pm

Why: We need to light a fire under council and let Goldman Sachs know that we are not going to let them continue to rob us!

  1. Bring bold signs.  
  2. Ask one other person to come with you.  
  3. Fill out a speaker card. Cede your time to a coalition speaker if you don't want to speak.
  4. Even if you cannot be there:  contact the following council members from now until Tuesday afternoon to let them know that they need to stand up for Oakland and stop doing business with Goldman Sachs, if Goldman Sachs doesn't end the swap penalty-free:

Phone: 510-250-7222
Twitter: stpgoldmansachs

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Things Are Starting To Move

United Together to Stop Goldman Sachs!  Oakland City Hall, 6/26/12
The Oakland Coalition to Stop Goldman Sachs made a strong showing at the Finance Committee meeting, filling a majority of the seats in the hearing room at City Hall.  Two other groups pushing anti-swap campaigns in the East Bay came to support us: The Stop the Swap Coalition from Peralta/Laney College, and Riders for Transit Justice. Our coalitions were well prepared at the podium.

Brunner introduced the Coalition’s motion that called for:
  1. A negotiation with Goldman Sachs to terminate the swap deal without the termination fees currently estimated at $15.5 million
  2. A report back in 60 days on the progress of negotiations, and 
  3. A refusal to do business if Goldman is unwilling to negotiate
The committee took a vote, which resulted in 3 ayes (De La Fuente, Brunner, and Brooks) and 1 abstention  (Kernighan).  The motion will go to the full City Council Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

We learned a few things in the finance committee meeting.

  • Goldman Sachs just tossed Oakland a bone by putting in the lowest bid on an RFP for an $83 million tax note, which the city staff accepted last week. Goldman Sachs used this low-ball bid to try to get council members to vote down our recommendation to stop doing business with Goldman Sachs if they don't let Oakland out of the swap penalty-free.
  • Councilmembers are either underprepared or are purposely being kept in the dark.  Desley Brooks stated that she was not aware that The City of Oakland entered into another business relationship (low bid on the RFP) with Goldman Sachs.  She also surmised that no one else on council was aware of this.  Is the tail wagging the dog?
  • City Staff continues to front for Goldman Sachs. They tried to say that it may be illegal to exclude Goldman Sachs from getting Oakland's business, but when pressed by Desley Brooks, who was pretty annoyed with them, they admitted that they had no idea.  Staff pledged to confer with the city attorney in order to find out.

Who says we aren't making Goldman Sachs nervous?  We also seem to be lighting a fire under the council.

Continue to Rip Off Oakland, We Will Stop Doing Business With You

By Beth Kean and Felipe Cuevas
from California Progress Report

Members of Oakland community groups, religious leaders, and city workers packed the Finance Committee meeting Tuesday to demand Goldman Sachs cancel the harmful “interest rate swap” deal without a $15 million payout to the bank. Our City Council leaders joined us in standing up to Goldman Sachs and voted to negotiate with the bank to terminate the toxic deal without the $15 million payout to the bank— and added that if the bank refuses, to stop doing business with Goldman Sachs.  Why would we ever do business again with someone who ripped us off?
Councilmember Jane Brunner introduced the motion that called for (1) City staff to negotiate with Goldman Sachs to terminate the swap deal without the termination fees currently estimated at $15.5 million, (2) To report back in 60 days on the progress of negotiations, and (3) If Goldman is unwilling to negotiate, to stop doing business with Goldman Sachs. City Finance Committee Chair Ignacio de la Fuente supported the Brunner motion saying, “The difference here is that we bailed out this bank. We need to use the economic power we have to send a message.” Councilmember Desley Brooks also supported the motion and asked all her colleagues to do the same. The motion will go to the full City Council next week on Tuesday, July 3, 2012.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Goldman Sachs and Friends Throw Oakland Under The Bus

According to a new report entitled "Riding the Gravy Train" released by the Refund Transit Coalition, several banks have been participating in interest-rate swaps in struggling cities like Oakland.  These institutions have been gutting public transit agencies, negatively affecting working class commuters - particularly working class people of color.  As a result of these transit-related toxic swaps, commuters are being overcharged, inconvenienced by reductions in services, and left with few transit options.  It should come as no surprise that Goldman Sachs has extended another tentacle into our pockets:

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is responsible for long-range planning and many funding decisions for public transit in the nine-county Bay Area region. It oversees local operators like MUNI in San Francisco and Alameda County Transit (AC Transit) in Oakland and the East Bay. The MTC is losing $48.1 million a year on its swap deals with Ambac, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of New York Mellon, Morgan Stanley, and Ambac. (93) It is stuck in most of these deals until 2036 or later. By the MTC’s own estimates, these deals will cost more an additional $1.3 billion over the remaining life of these swaps.(94) 

It is clear. The City of Oakland needs to DROP THE SWAP and sever all financial relations with Goldman Sachs.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

"Goldman Sachs Knows That Oakland Is In The House"

-by Kurt Kuhwald
May 25, 2012

Three of us from Oakland arrived at the Oakland airport to make the trek to NYC/NJ: Gary Jimenez, SEIU officer, Filipe Cuevas, SEIU member and City worker, Rev. Kurt A. Kuhwald, ROOTS member and Interfaith minister. Our plane was delayed about two hours and so instead of leaving @ 9:35pm, we took off somewhere around 11:45 pm. Bad News.

What that meant was that we arrived in NYC @ 8:00 am, and by the time we got out to the curb, it was near 8:30.

We decided on taking a cab, instead of getting a rental car and were lucky to get a Brooklyn-born African American man (who will soon be setting up his own livery service), Christopher Lucien, who was the epitome of the NYC energetic, fast-talking, shrewd thinking, personable guy. He got us to the Goldman Towers in Jersey City @ 9:35! Amazing driver, who used every paved surface except the sidewalks, and drove us through Brooklyn to loop into the business district of Manhattan and then through the Holland tunnel to drop us at GS in Jersey City.

Getting there that late, however, meant that we had to go to the overflow room, and not the actual shareholders meeting room where the CEO, Blankfein, was holding forth. If you've ever been to a shareholders meeting for a large corporation, you know that that is exactly what happens: the CEO runs the show with a certain austerity and individualism that marks coporate leadership structure and culture.

When we arrived at Goldman Towers there were police and GS suits everywhere and when we went though the metal detection check point, they went through our stuff with, as they say, a fine tooth comb. I felt we were clearly being seen as agitators, despite the fact that we had all the papers required to be legitimate proxies. The whole scene was marked by excessive politeness and a clear sense of power and control.

We were given our dark green shareholders ID tags and then sent to the Overflow room. Along the way there were suits everywhere guiding and directing us. When we got to the room, it was about a 1/3 full. There were several GS people with headsets and phones in the room; there was a large LED screen and we could see the CEO and presumably executive officers on the screen: the three officers to Blankfein's left, and he standing at a plexiglass podium. The Board members were seated in the front row facing the CEO with their backs to the shareholders and the camera.

On every seat there was a printed sheet with the guidelines for how to behave in the meeting called the "Rules of Conduct: Goldman Sachs 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders." There were 8 of them and the last one read as follows: "The views and comments of shareholders are welcome. However, conducting the formal business of the meeting for the benefit of all shareholders will be the paramount purpose of the meeting. The Chairman [CEO] may rule as out of order discussions that are irrelevant to the business of Goldman Sachs. Substantially repetitious, in furtherance of the speaker's business, personal or political interests or otherwise inappropriate for discussion at the meeting. [And then in bold type] Any person that disrupts the regular operation of the meeting or threatens the security of the premises will be asked to stop and, if necessary will be requires to leave." The whole sheet seemed to me to be a mix of rules to conduct an efficient meeting, and a clear declaration that anything deviating outside the culture of politeness and deference would be quickly dealt with.

The atmosphere was fairly intimidating, frankly, and this was heightened by the fact that all of the speakers who we saw on the screen were exceptionally polite and deferential to the Chair, even those questioners who raised pointed and critical questions about the practices of the company.

During the meeting I was texting with Josh Kellerman of ALIGN NYC (a labor/community/nonprofit coalition group working on community economic issues) who was inside the actual shareholders meeting. He said they had already raised their questions (that had to do, I think, with a scandal in Walmart and one of the GS Board members seeking to be on a review of the issue--seemingly a conflict of interest) and encouraged us to try to speak in our room, or to switch with one of them.

I was told by a very polite young man liaising for GS in the overflow room, who appeared after I asked one of their personnel what we had to do to ask a question, that we could not enter the main room, the doors having been closed at 9:30. But he did say he would try to get the Chairman's attention with a message so that he would know there was a question in the overflow room. Finally, I decided to text my question to Josh and he said he would try to offer it.

He finally presented our question, and put it into his own words that were fitting, but due to his lack of familiarity about our issues here, may have not emphasized points that could have been made, though he made a good try at it. What I sent Josh to offer was framed as a question because the whole comment period was really a Q & A, and everyone was presenting questions, not comments--though some were stating their concerns before they got to their question. The gist of our question, riffed by Josh, was: "Are you aware [addressing the CEO] that the Bond Swap deal that GS has with the city of Oakland is seen as immoral and abusive? Why? Because it is forcing the City to continue to pay on that swap deal that was paid off 7 years ago. (That's like forcing a person to buy insurance on a car they sold 7 years ago.) We want you to fix this deal by: (a) Releasing Oakland from the deal. (b) Not penalizing the City for that release. (c) Returning the 30 million that was paid, in excess.

Josh's riff didn't cover all the points and that may have caused some lack of clarity that the CEO seemed to either play on, or simply didn't fully grasp. Essentially the CEO said that the company could NOT renegotiate such deals. (The problem was that he saw the question as asking to renegotiate the interest rate on the loan and may not have realized that one main point we were making was that the bond was paid off. ---- I think he probably knew what was really being raised, but chose to frame it that way so that it looked more reasonable for the company in that moment of corporate theater.)

After Josh's question, Blankfein took a few more and then declared the meeting closed.

When we walked out of the overflow room there were 7 or 8 cops there, who had not been there before and I think they arrived after I raised our desire to speak. They clearly had us pegged as "outsiders."

We met with Josh Kellerman and Maritza Silva-Ferell of ALIGN in the lobby, and after giving up our shareholders badges (which I did with reluctance because I wanted it as a souvenir!) we met under an overhang by the train station--due to the driving rain. That rain was so intense, in fact, punctuated by thunder and lightning, that the outside press conference/rally was called off and folks dispersed. We debriefed, together, the GS meeting. 

The main points we noted were:

(1) The CEO made it clear that when it comes to deciding what choices, what practices, what policies to make, GS will act only in the interest of their shareholders. That is, if the City of Oakland is suffering as a result of deal with GS, if there is a moral issue, they will determine their course of action based on what profits the shareholders, what meets their fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders, period. (Josh noted that if cities choose to default on such deals, it will hurt the shareholders within this strict definition; a larger question is, what does fiduciary include? Does it include ethical/emotional/community/cultural health as well as financial gain?)

(2) The massive control they brought to the running of the meeting means that future actions need to be very well choreographed and planned. We Oaklanders were very tired, not thinking clearly, a bit intimidated by the show of force, rookies in the structure of the meeting at GS, and due to being late, not in the room where the real action was taking place.

(3) GS is clearly under assault on many fronts, and though they attempted to create a show of massive power and skillful control--they are vulnerable. We, after all, penetrated their institution; we were present to raise issues (and though we didn't have the experience to know how best to do that, we learned a lot about what to do in the future, should we choose to accept such a future assignment).

(4) We have coalition partners on the East Coast; an alliance has been formed now between east and west coasts working against the egregious practices of GS.

(5) GS knows that Oakland was in the house.

Blessings to all,

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Well Prepared for the May 8th Finance Committee Meeting

Excerpts and photo from Oakland North
-by Ryan Phillips

On May 8, 2012, the Sgt. Mark Dunakin Room on the first floor of the building was packed with members and supporters of the Coalition to Stop Goldman Sachs. During the meeting, many in the crowd held up bright signs that read, “Stop the swap, invest in the poor not the rich.” A long line of speakers approached the podium to reject the staff recommendation if it meant paying Goldman more money, and urged that the deal be ended immediately, at no further cost to the city. Many asked councilmembers to examine what other cities with similar agreements have done; for example, in Los Angeles the city government refused to negotiate any new deals with Goldman Sachs if the investment bank didn’t waive a cancellation fee.
“Don’t go quietly, make a stink about the injustice about these swaps,” said coalition member Beth Kean. “Stand with us against Goldman Sachs.”
Deborah Santana, an ethnic studies professor at Mills College and a coalition member, said in an interview after the meeting that while members aren’t happy negotiations with the bank aren’t moving forward now, she’s hopeful that when they do happen, the city will not be saddled with additional costs.
“The public pressure is what impressed some of the members of the committee, that they needed to do more than just accept this offer from one of their bureaucrats,” Santana said. “If not for the public pressure, they would not have rejected the proposal.”

March For Dignity and Resistance; May Day 2012

The Oakland Coalition to Stop Goldman Sachs both endorsed and participated in this year's May Day march in support of worker's rights.  Hundreds of flyers for the up and coming May 8th action were distributed during the march from Fruitvale to Downtown Oakland.  Several people in attendance at the march were surprised to hear about the toxic swap, and showed great interest in learning more about ending Oakland's shady deal with Goldman Sachs.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Carrying on the Struggle"

A Sobering Teach-In in Recognition of Dr. King's Legacy

 On April 4, 2012, the anniversary of Dr. King's assassination, The Oakland Coalition to Stop Goldman Sachs organized a teach-in, held at Allen Temple Baptist Church.

About fifty attendees listened intently during Reverend Daniel Buford's address as he spoke of the need to remember King's work while battling contemporary economic ills that plague our city.  All were stirred while viewing the documentary "Been to the Mountaintop." The film chronicled several of Dr. King's lesser known speeches, including radical commentary that he made before his death.  One attendee reported that she was moved to tears.

During the second portion of the event, Council Member Rebecca Kaplan addressed the crowd in a rabbinical role.  Kaplan drew from scripture and faith based allegories as she told the story of the toxic swap to which the city of Oakland is tied in its dealings with the nefarious Goldman Sachs.  Bursts of applause punctuated Kaplan's  speech as she informed the crowd of Goldman Sachs's unjust practices.

Deborah Santana and Yvonne Michelle presented a powerpoint presentation entitled "The Oakland Swap."  At the outset of the presentation, few people indicated that they were cognizant of the details of the interest rate swap. Several attendees were energized throughout the presentation as the story unfolded.  A spirited Question and Answer session at the end revealed a variety of strong concerns and pointed queries, some of which are paraphrased below:

  • What happens if we (the city of Oakland) don't pay (Goldman Sachs)?
  • What does Goldman Sachs do with our money?
  • Were there any financial experts involved in City Council's decision making making process when they agreed to enter the swap deal in 1997?

  • We need to hold our representatives accountable.
  • We need to go to Sacramento to let our concerns be known.
  • We can't let City Council sweep this under the rug.

One coalition member gave a very impassioned response during the discussion.  He ended it by saying, "We have to march on, as Dr. King said."

Millie Cleveland wrapped up the event with a kick-off of a letter writing campaign. Community members were encouraged to write postcards to the city council, encouraging them to get Goldman Sachs to DROP THE SWAP without penalty, and demand that Oakland monies be returned for desperately needed jobs, programs, and services.

Goldman Sachs Teach In

We believe the interest rate swap between Goldman Sachs and the City of Oakland is immoral. The residents of our city live with chronic unemployment, poverty, foreclosures, school closures, limited library hours, and many other hardships.

Our tax dollars should NOT go to Goldman Sachs, a greedy Wall Street Bank! Goldman Sachs is one of the financial institutions whose unethical business practices contributed to the financial meltdown and foreclosure crisis. They got bailed out by our tax dollars and NOW they are making billions on interest rates swaps with cities and other government agencies, including Oakland. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Stand up for the Oakland!! Attend our teach-in!

On April 4, we will commemorate the anniversary of death of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King with a TEACH IN on the City of Oakland’s Interest Rate Swap with the Goldman Sachs.  Find out what you can do to help Oakland get out of this bum deal!

Location: Fellowship Hall at Allen Temple Baptist Church
8501 International Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94621

Date: April 4, 2012

Time: 1:30PM

Organized by.: Oakland Coalition to Stop Goldman Sachs (OCSGS)
This is a coalition of various community groups, and labor unions. Our coalition includes Seminary of the Street, Decolonize Oakland, R.O.O.T.S, Occupy Oakland Research Working Group, Block by Block Organizing Network, ACCE, SEIU Local 1021, and others.

-text from decolonize oakland

First Appearance Before City Council

by Ryan Phillips
In "Oakland North"
As soon as Reverend Daniel Buford took the podium in the council chambers at Oakland City Hall on Tuesday night, bright, hand-drawn, multi-colored signs with inscriptions like “Stop the Swap,” “Give the $ Back” and “Not another dollar to Goldman Sachs” popped up around the room.
Buford, a minister at Allen Temple Baptist Church on International Boulevard, began speaking about the city’s relationship with Goldman Sachs, and a rate-swap deal the city and the bank agreed to in 1997 relating to $187 million in city debt. The deal has already cost the city $26 million, and could cost up to $20 million more over the next 10 years as the debt is paid off.
“We implore you to get the City of Oakland out of this toxic relationship with Goldman Sachs,” Buford said to the city council during its meeting on Tuesday to rounds of applause.
Buford was speaking on behalf of a recently formed coalition of religious, labor, educational and activist leaders, including local SEIU and ILWU union members, as well as members of Oakland Community Organizations, Block by Block Organizing Network and the Decolonize Oakland Outreach Committee.
Buford said the coalition is demanding that the city end its relationship with Goldman Sachs and the bank pay back any money it has gained from the city since 2005.
“If Oakland has $5 million a year to throw into hole that is Goldman Sachs pocket, let’s use that money to build a clinic out in East Oakland, do job programs in West Oakland,” Buford said. “Let’s use that money for some constructive purpose, rather than to line the pockets of Goldman Sachs.”
Another speaker, Jemahl Amen, who was there on behalf of the Oakland chapter of the NAACP, added “It’s time to bail out the City of Oakland.”
More than 40 people got up to speak about the bond debt deal, though it wasn’t on the meeting’s agenda.