We’ll examine the City Finance Committee to ignore community concerns and make a unanimous decision to approve four more years of City deposits in Wells Fargo, the bank that shams customers and invests in DAPL. Action may be needed. And a review of last week.
Some months ago at a Soda Tax Launch meeting, I spoke with Mayor Gonzales. He assured me that he wanted to incorporate language into the request for proposal seeking city banking finances that incorporated bank values and investment practices. We shared concerns about the current vendor, Wells Fargo and recalled marching together to Wells Fargo in protest of its investments in DAPL. What kind of sense does it make to give all the city’s banking business to a corporation with abhorrent values? Implicit in our conversation was that his constituency has strong concerns about Wall St., mega bank investment in fossil fuels in general and Wells Fargo and its investments in DAPL and its years long scheme to scam depositors into creating additional and costly accounts.
So it was particularly concerning to read in the New Mexican last week that: “My primary concern is always to manage the taxpayers’ dollars, safely, effectively and efficiently,” City Finance Director Adam Johnson said. “We certainly appreciate and are sensitive to the broader communal concerns; however, we don’t put that into this analysis of [requests for proposals].” What? Good to know that the City values our concerns. Community concerns about Wells Fargo funding for DAPL were essentially swept under the rug with the City accepting the carefully crafted Fargo comment: “Concerns about the company’s involvement with the pipeline, which drew sustained protests from Native Americans and others who feared leaks from the underground pipeline would endanger sacred lands, have led to an “enhanced” due diligence, Wells Fargo Regional Manager Scott wrote, to “include more focused research into whether or not indigenous communities are impacted and/or have been properly consulted.” How reassuring.
Concerns about Wells Fargo’s fake accounts scam that was discovered last year were also excused: “What you’re seeing and reading in the papers is not indicative of the culture and commitment we have to our communities,” Scott said. He went out to claim that the scams were conducted by the ‘retail unit’ which is not part of the banking services sought by the City. Apparently what does constitute a bank’s ‘culture’ are empty promises for ‘enhanced’ scrutiny and shifting the blame for customer theft to a different unit of the bank.
Wells Fargo and the mega banks have a very long history of investment in activities that exploit our communities and the reassurances above are hardly a reassurance at all. Click here to read the report by the New Mexican. The contract with Wells Fargo is slated for the 5pm session on Wednesday, Aug. 30. I think our Councilors need to hear from us on this by phone, email and in person. I plan to reach out to the Mayor and other Councilors to seek a better explanation of this decision and how it might impact the City’s capacity to deposit its funds in a future Public Bank. Click here for contact information for the Mayor and all City Councilors. I recommend contacting the Finance Committee members in particular: Carmichael Dominguez (Chair), Signe Lindell, Michael Harris, Peter Ives and Renee Villarreal. Our message. We’d like a full airing of just exactly how the City could come to this decision unanimously and why our concerns are of so little relevance.
A Week In Review: Posts from Last Week
On Monday’s, we like to summarize what was reported last week, making catching up with posts and radio shows of particular interest to you much easier.
Retake Our Democracy On KSFR 101.1 FM. I interviewed Wendy Johnson, MD, Medical Director for La Familia in the first of two half-hour shows we recorded at one time last Friday. Part I examined the Health Security Act and some of Wendy’s concerns about any small state attempting such a venture, something Retake will follow up on with others. We also discussed the challenges of accessing rural healthcare and addressing the social determinants of health. On Saturday, Sept. 2, Part II will air. Together these two interviews are a very good examination of health policy and practice from a progressive perspective. If you missed this or any Retake Show click here to get to Retake Our Democracy podcasts. And when you listen by podcast, leave a comment or question.
Why Are The Danes So Happy? Could We Be That Happy, Too? The post examined the factors that have led to the Danes consistently ranking at the top of the UN’s Happiness Report and more importantly how they overcame an oligarchy that had a firm grip on their democracy in 1945. To read the full post,, click here.
Retake Takes On the New Poor People’s Campaign. Half of the Retake leadership team attended the kickoff event in Albuquerque of Reverend Barber’s New Poor People’s Campaign. We were treated to three and half hours of inspiration. Just when our collective spirits were sapped by the ongoing onslaught of daily tweets and constant battles, a vision of how to resist together and a plan for civil disobedience to bring national attention to our nation’s continuing shame. This not just about Trump and the GOP Retake intends to be highly involved in organizing this campaign in NM and we have already been in communication with Barber’s team to get started.. To read the full post, click here.
Progressives Winning Big in Local Elections. This post is really Part I and a two-part series with Part I highlighting how progressives are winning local elections throughout the county, not by taking a centrist message to placate, but by advancing a bold progressive agenda to inspire. Click here to read the full post.
Progressive Campaigns Key to Success in South & Rural Communities. Based upon articles from The Nation, this post examines how it isn’t just in urban, liberal communities that people feel exploited. Folks in the south and in rural communities have been devastated by the greed of financial institutions and agribusiness and feel completely unrepresented by either party. The post points to how a progressive message has already begun to resonate with folks from the south and rural communities, many of whom may well have voted for Trump out of a sense of complete despair with the way things get done in Washington. The part focusing on rural America is particularly informative and inspiring. There is hope. Click here to read the full report.
Keep tuned. We’ll have more on Wells Fargo tomorrow or Wednesday. It is most disappointing that our City Council and its staff don’t think our concerns are relevant.
Paul & Roxanne