Monday, October 7, 2019

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson said Monday that he will propose establishing the city’s first public banking institution.

Wesson said he’ll file a motion this week calling for the council to authorize a search for a “banking expert” to help the city get a public bank up and running. The move comes several days after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law AB 857, which allows statewide establishment of public banks.

“I do believe that this is the way that government is supposed to work, where we partner with the people … together trying to affect change,” Wesson said. “Rarely do people have the chance to make history, and I just want to say to everyone standing beside me and behind me, that you folks have made history.”

Monday, October 7, 2019

LA’s Public Bank will be the second public banking system in the entire country

In a press conference celebrating the passage of AB 857 in front of the Los Angeles City Hall, Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, along with Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), announced that the first public bank in California would be coming to Los Angeles.

“When we began there were people who thought we were outside our minds,” began City Council President Wesson. “Yet we still stand. You folk made history.”


Thursday, October 3, 2019

“If we can do it for billionaires building big stadiums, then we can do it for people living on the street,” proclaimed State Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) in describing his bill to streamline homeless housing processes.

Santiago was addressing a crowd of about fifty gathered to celebrate the passage of A.B. 1197, which streamlines housing construction in the city of Los Angeles. Specifically, A.B. 1197 exempts emergency homeless shelters and supportive housing from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). A.B. 1197 applies only to Los Angeles. It is currently in effect, and will sunset in 2025.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

California cities and counties will be allowed to establish public banks under a controversial bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, making California only the second U.S. state to allow such institutions.

Public banks are intended to use public funds to let local jurisdictions provide capital at interest rates below those charged by commercial banks. The loans could be used for businesses, affordable housing, infrastructure, and municipal projects, among other things.

Proponents say public banks can pursue those projects and support local communities’ needs while being free of the pressure to obtain higher profits and shareholder returns faced by commercial banks. Support for public banks also has grown since the financial crisis a decade ago and since Wells Fargo & Co. was embroiled in a slew of customer-abuse scandals in recent years.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

They’re now exempt from CEQA

Developers and city leaders are getting a leg up in the race to build shelters and apartments for LA’s growing homeless population. A new state law will now exempt many of those projects from environmental review.

Assembly Bill 1197 was signed Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom and took effect immediately.

“This law will help us turn blueprints into buildings more quickly for the shelter and supportive housing that unhoused people need now,” Mayor Eric Garcetti, who championed the bill, said in a statement.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

All ICE Detention Centers will also be closed if passed

While the rest of the country is seeing exponential growth in the for-profit prison industry, it’s a signature away from extinction in California.

What is it?

Assembly Bill 32. Under the bill, all contracts with private or for-profit prisons in California would end, effectively making California responsible for incarcerating all it’s prisoners in state-run prisons. A lone exception was added, allowing a contract renewal only if there is a court-ordered population cap, and only until 2028.

All four ICE detention centers in California would also close, and be phased out in the state by 2028, as they are privately run. In June, Assemblyman Rob Bonta added significant amendments to AB 32, to expand the scope of the bill to include the ICE detention facilities.

Friday, September 13, 2019

A California bill that would allow local jurisdictions to charter their own “public banks” to address local needs passed the state Assembly on Friday and now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for his signature.

Newsom will have until Oct. 13 to sign the bill, Assembly Bill 857.

Authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu, D-San Francisco, and Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, the bill passed the Assembly on a concurrence vote and “would open a pathway towards creating public banks in California and ensure the public’s money benefits local communities rather than the largest financial institutions,” according to a statement from Chiu’s office.