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.

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