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Occupy Santa Rosa asks city to dump big banks

Sean Buckley of Santa Rosa searches for the perfect sign as he pulls a shift at Occupy Santa Rosa on the steps of Santa Rosa City Hall on Tuesday. KENT PORTER/PD

By PAUL PAYNE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Occupy Santa Rosa protesters brought their demonstration to the City Council on Tuesday, calling for the withdrawal of public funds from major financial institutions such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo.

They also brought a list of more mundane requests including an amendment of an ordinance that prohibits camping at City Hall and permission to install a portable toilet.

It was unclear if the council would consider at a future meeting divesting its money or changing its policy on overnight stays. Officials were not immediately available to identify the financial institutions used by the city.

But the 100 or so protesters who have been “occupying” City Hall in shifts since Saturday night likely will be getting a toilet.

“We need a port-a-potty and we’ve had three people offer to pay for it,” organizer Sage Keaten, 55, told the council. “We’re not asking for money. We just need a place to put it.”

Mayor Ernesto Olivares directed City Manager Kathy Millison to accommodate the protesters, who have vowed to cooperate with the city in other matters such as picking up trash and refraining from smoking or drinking.

The concession came at the beginning of the fourth night of overnight demonstrations modeled on protests that began last month on Wall Street.

Organizers promised to remain until at least Christmas Eve when their New York counterparts will vote on whether to extend that occupation.

“We’re still here,” said organizer Brenden Homan, 20, of Santa Rosa.

Homan said a group of more than 100 protesters will pull shifts of various lengths. He said they were “young and old, unemployed and 9-to-5ers, hippies and Libertarians.”

“We’ve got everybody,” he said.

As the sun set Tuesday, temperatures dropped and a cold wind blew through downtown. A group 0f 20-somethings huddled around containers of donated food while a half-dozen people waved signs along Santa Rosa Avenue.

Still others gathered across the street from City Hall for cigarette breaks.

“I’ve got a jacket and a sleeping bag and whatnot,” said Amber Kolbeck, 20, of Santa Rosa, who was planning to spend the night. However, the police department has warned that sleeping bags are not permitted because of the city’s ban on camping.

Protesters were buoyed by the positive City Council reception but also by the estimated 2,750 people who marched Saturday — which the New York Times reported was the sixth largest turnout in the nation. The newspaper wrote Monday that more people were at the Occupy Santa Rosa rally than similar events in Chicago and Washington, D.C.

Homan attributed the success in part to his Facebook and Twitter posts. Nearly 1,000 people responded on Facebook saying they would attend.

But others pointed to Sonoma County’s well-organized activist network.

David Walls, another Occupy organizer and retired Sonoma State University sociology professor, said established antiwar, antinuclear power and environmental groups were quick to mobilize.

“When the right spark lights a flame, they can really turn out,” Walls said.

Still, that might not explain what has been described by some as the large number of mainstream demonstrators on Saturday.

Lisa Maldonado, executive director of the North Bay Labor Council, said resentment over government bailouts and corporate greed drew people who normally don’t go to protests.

“These are people you see at soccer games or wine tastings,” Maldonado said. “They’ve been feeling resentful and angry. They’re people who opened their 401(k)s and got pissed off. That’s when people say, ‘I’m going.’ “





16 Responses to “Occupy Santa Rosa asks city to dump big banks”

  1. RICHARD says:

    13 Responses to “Occupy Santa Rosa asks city to dump big banks”

    RICHARD
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    October 21, 2011 at 4:14 am

    CHAI LING, FROM HUFFINGTON POST

    “Before Occupy Wall Street … was “Occupy Tiananmen Square.” I know because I was there,

    1. Seek the Righteousness of the Kingdom. The Whole 100 Percent.

    2. Sow Peace and Harvest Justice. Slogans like “EAT THE RICH” are alarming to people who could have come alongside in unity. Seek to unify, not further divide our nation.

    3. God Opposes the Proud but Gives Grace to the Humble. How about fasting for one meal and using the savings to help the poor, asking the rich to match for more?

    4. The Power of Prayer.

    5. Warning to the Rich. money is not able to buy happiness or peace. Ghandi wisely implored followers to “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    Chai Ling, the author of the new book ‘A Heart for Freedom.’

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  2. Social Dis-Ease says:

    ‘DUMP’ our ICLEI membership.
    Then we can ‘occupy’ a community that embraces the Free Market, pays homage to our rights, and true Democracy.
    A dozen other cities have done so.
    On what basis?
    The Constitution.
    Imagine that.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  3. RICHARD says:

    CHAI LING, FROM HUFFINGTON POST

    “Before Occupy Wall Street … was “Occupy Tiananmen Square.” I know because I was there,

    1. Seek the Righteousness of the Kingdom. The Whole 100 Percent.

    2. Sow Peace and Harvest Justice. Slogans like “EAT THE RICH” are alarming to people who could have come alongside in unity. Seek to unify, not further divide our nation.

    3. God Opposes the Proud but Gives Grace to the Humble. How about fasting for one meal and using the savings to help the poor, asking the rich to match for more?

    4. The Power of Prayer.

    5. Warning to the Rich. money is not able to buy happiness or peace. Ghandi wisely implored followers to “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

    Chai Ling, the author of the new book ‘A Heart for Freedom.’

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  4. Money Grubber says:

    The government has created this financial mess. The banks, which only operate within the rules established by government, are merely the scapegoat.

    The guilty government people are experts at scapegoating to hide what they did to us.

    Anyone who believes that government actually deserves higher taxes of any kind is a fool. Why reward the ones who destroyed our economy? Why give them more money to fund their cozy lifestyles?

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 11

  5. Money Grubber says:

    Richard wants a law to cap credit card interest rates.

    Richard doesn’t understand that his credit card does not belong to him.

    Richard: don’t like the interest rate? Use YOUR OWN money and you won’t have to complain.

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

  6. Jim says:

    Withdraw public funds from “big banks”? What exactly do these jokers think that would accomplish?

    Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

  7. RICHARD says:

    Put a cap on credit card interest rates to end usury. When credit card companies charge 25- or 30-percent interest rates they are not engaged in the business of “making credit available” to their customers. They are involved in extortion, usury and loan-sharking.

    The Federal Reserve needs to provide small businesses in America with the same low-interest loans it gave to foreign banks. When Wall Street collapsed, the Fed lent out $16 trillion in low interest loans to central banks around the world and every major financial institution in this country. Now, at a time when small businesses can’t get the loans they need, it is time for the Fed to create millions of American jobs by providing low-interest loans directly to small businesses.

    Senator Bernie Sanders

    Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  8. Bill me says:

    The biggest political contributors, who spend the most money on getting political favors, who basically ARE the government-are also the occupier spokespeople. So are the occupiers going to figure out they are protesting against their own?

    Thumb up 8 Thumb down 7

  9. Reality Check says:

    Protestors who vow to take their money from big banks couldn’t do more to help the banks earn more profit. The banks will thank them.

    Ignorant about all things business as these people are, they don’t realize that banks lose money on low balance accounts. Banks offer because they’ve expected to. Will they miss them? Nope?

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  10. hokey pokey says:

    why does the blame belong soley to the banks. Blame the gov’t, blame the people who spent beyond their means. Read the fine print folks. wake up!!

    Thumb up 18 Thumb down 9

  11. Anderson says:

    If OWS wants to actually do some good right here in Sonoma County, they should protest against the SMART train, and help the RepealSMART organization take this corrupt, wasteful boondoggle back to the voters for another look.

    OWS should protest the SMART board for wasting taxpayers money while showering themselves with big salaries. This 1/2- train that couldn’t needs to be rethought and done right, not this piecemeal lie that the board supports.

    Thumb up 23 Thumb down 6

  12. MOCKINGBIRD says:

    Personally we can do that. MOVE YOUR MONEY. I did, from Bank of America because they lost a payroll check then charged me for bounced checks, to the Exchange Bank in 1975 and haven’t had a unhappy moment with my bank since. I also bank at a credit union-again happy.

    All those in the rally should have walked into their big bank after the rally and moved their money. Don’t just go to the rally, but do something just as concrete. All the business they would have lost that day would have had a very big impact. The small local banks and credit unions will welcome your business.

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  13. Graeme Wellington says:

    I’ve made a decent amount of money selling them cardboard and marker pens. I have deposited all proceeds into Exchange Bank. I intend to use the profits to pay for my interpretive dance studies courses at SSU on my own without government assistance. Once I get my certificate, then I’ll start protesting about how my education didn’t qualify me for a job that pays as much as a banker and how unfair it is I can’t retire at age 50. Oh the humanity!

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  14. Money Grubber says:

    Feds claim the jobs in the private sector are “just fine” as they move legislation to expand government jobs and fund government jobs.

    Hear that ?

    You people who have lost your homes and your cars and spent all your savings are “doing just fine” according the government.

    ——————-

    “”With 1.6 million fewer private sector jobs than at the start of President Obama’s administration, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that it’s critical to pass legislation for hiring teachers and police because public sector employees are losing their jobs while “private sector jobs have been doing just fine.”

    —————–

    This kind of stupidity is exactly why no government person should be allowed to be re-elected and that includes Susan Gorin in Sonoma County.

    Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5

  15. Money Grubber says:

    The protestors have requested that the City of Los Angeles also dump the big bank violators.

    And guess what? The City of LA actually spoke openly of not wanting to do that because it would cost the city money in cancel fees and the like.

    At the same time, the City of LA admitted that they do know of banking violations.

    So there you have it. A government entity that is unwilling to lose money for itself even though it knows the banks in question have violated laws.

    Government seeks always to protect itself and the public comes last.

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  16. GAJ says:

    Anyone with any modicum of sense knows that the time to have sold major bank stock in their portfolio was YEARS ago…a year or so BEFORE the financial meltdown.

    To do so now would simply be locking in a huge loss and not a financially sound long term financial decision.

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