Thursday, December 15, 2011

Community Organize: What is the rush?

A Los Angeles Council Member recently asked this question during the public finance committee meeting on December 5th, "What is the rush for passing the Responsible Banking Ordinance out of Committee?" Let's rewind this blog-ver-ver-sa-tion for a more just understanding of events, its players and purpose.

November 2010 LA VOICE a federation of PICO National organized 800 Los Angeles community members for action on the Responsible Banking Ordinance #RBO, introduced by Los Angeles Councilmember Alarcon.

This event displayed LA Voice's outreach into Los Angeles diverse community congregations. This event also featured the presence of the Los Angeles African Muslim community, organized by a Muslim resident through JFJ+PJA's Community Organizing Residency (COR) program. Community members gave testimony about losing their homes and business owners narrated about being consistently denied for small business loans. Local banks expressed how they are more accountable in servicing the community, and their practices are more ethical than major banks. Clergy members delivered their leadership and demonstrated solidarity in Action. This interfaith public action was the initial event alerting Los Angeles residents about unfair banking practices; sparking awareness, some news, and other actions early in 2011.

June 2011 LA Voice's community leaders went before the Los Angeles Finance Committee, chaired by L.A. Councilmember Bernard Parks for #RBO. Here delivering more facts about L.A's banking practices and how it's affecting homeowners and small businesses...
  • Latinos and African Americans have lost more wealth since 2005 after the housing bust (Pew Research Center)
  • Small business lending has decreased since 2007 and not to mentioned the unemployment rate 
  • Record High foreclosure in Los Angeles statistics and why this #RBO is greatly needed...
Even with these facts and more, the committee failed to pass the ordinance onto a council for vote. Stagnating the process for whatever reasons, there is no rush, just saving the community's best interest and dignity from more foreclosures and opening economic opportunity. Pushing LA Voice to regroup and rethink its approach and keep the momentum going to include the following points...
  • Provide Los Angeles access to important local information about banks seeking our business
  • Be used to augment the flawed CRA rating (the CRA grade gave big banks “Outstanding” while wrecking our economy).
  • Annually allow council members, mayor, and public to use reinvestment and loan modification behavior as an additional criteria and negotiating point when rewarding contracts,
  • More leverage to keep families in their homes and making big banks serve all Angelenos of all colors.
Downtown Los Angeles October 6th

Fall 2011 and the Rise of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Los Angeles. Here on Create-A-Voice we have described this movement as an open source platform for social issues. The people's revolution against how the 1% facilitate their custodianship over America's wealth and not responsibly revive the economy after its bailout. Consequently beginning the Occupiers' Mic Checks and chants of... 

"Banks got bailed out, We got sold out!" 
"Tell me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like!"

The rise of the Los Angeles occupiers fueled new life into the #RBO. Ignited more momentum and fusing local organizations into a coalition of shared power. LA Voice began its effective press conference strategies joined by Van Jones, clergy leaders, and members from PICO California. Producing much needed press on radio, in print and internet/cable networks; bringing light to what many Americans was simply not hearing.

November 19, 2011 started with a press conference on the steps of the Los Angeles City Hall. LA Voice joined by Councilmember Alarcon, ACCE's members, LA Occupiers, and local residents. Then proceeding directly to council chambers, as 1 minute narratives were spoken by all sides hearing out thoughts by community and special interest groups. What made it more interesting; the once unsupported #RBO, gained support from council members showing concern for their respective district residents. Voicing why this would be...
November 19, 2011 City Hall w/Council Alarcon
  1. vitally important for Los Angeles,
  2. their concern and displeasure of foreclosures in LA   
  3. and mostly how this #RBO would not regulate banks but create incentive for more investing and greater opportunity, as it did in Cleveland increasing investments into the billions.
The council meeting ended with a greater optimistic of passing, organizations feeling good about the working collaborations, and now banks is feeling the pressure from their past practices in Los Angeles. Everyone looking forward for December 5th where the #RBO could possibly be passed out from committee.

On Monday December 5th, around 1pm the presence of a great momentum and collaborations between Councilmember Alarcon, LA Voice, Good Jobs LA, One LA and more during a rally press conference. Immediately afterwards everyone flocked to city hall chambers. Session opened with a CAO report, then community comments and then a council member dropped a rock in the game saying..."What is the rush?" for passing this ordinance and suddenly the momentum .... shifted to "huh?!"

Since November 19th what seemed to be a Win-Win, he said "What is the rush?" What could have been an early gift for organizers and the community, instead was major disappointment. The council then agreed and requested the city's CAO (City Administrative Officer) to include more foreclosure data and then postpone the vote to January 23, 2012.

Oh yeah after December 5th the following weekend, Occupy Los Angeles was shut down by 1400 Los Angeles Police Officers, like "Whoa!"


  1. During the discussion, the city administrative officer acknowledged how long it has taken to get the ordinance to this point. So I think it's being taken cared of.

    1. @BankLendingCriteria thanks for commenting. During the reconfiguration of the council and committees; the Jan 30 meeting was postponed until further notice. Do you have new updates to share?

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