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.