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The Real News interviewed author Thomas Frank about Hillary Clinton's new book that looks back at the 2016 campaign, and they discuss many issues confronting the Democratic party now.

Matt Stannard and Marc Armstrong of Commonomics USA*


Some folks, including a public official or two, are tired of public banking advocates bringing up the Bank of North Dakota (BND).

So, we will only bring it up to explain that there are many roads to banking democracy. This proposal, as presented, does not suggest transposing the BND model onto the State of California. It isn't a proposal to use California's assets to capitalize the Bank or to seek partnership with or underwriting of the private banking industry. In the wake of natural disasters, BND has the ability to make bridge loans to businesses and homeowners before they are reimbursed by FEMA and suspend mortgage and student loan monthly payments. In 2015, BND obtained more than $2.5 billion in public deposi…

...and Created a Banking System That's 83% Locally Owned

Stacy Mitchell, Sep 1, 2015

placeholderAcross the country, people are suffering the consequences of a banking system that's dominated by a handful of giant banks. Local businesses can't get the credit they need to grow. College graduates are stumbling under the weight of student debt with sky-high interest rates. Neighborhoods are being stripped of their assets through predatory mortgages and consumer loans. And taxpayers are on the hook for municipal finance schemes peddled by Wall Street and loaded with hidden costs.

Banking has become untethered from communities, and indeed, from the very economy it is supposed to serve. The nation's biggest banks have managed to invert the natural order of things, s…


The nation's only state-owned bank, has had record profits every year for the last 13 years, with a return on equity in 2016 of 16%, twice the national average. Its chief depositor is the state itself, and its mandate is to support the local economy, partnering rather than competing with local banks. Its commercial loans ranger from 2.4% to 7.5%. The BND makes cheaper loans as well, drawing on loan funds for special programs including infrastructure, startup businesses and affordable housing. Its loan income after deducting allowances for loan losses was $175 million in 2016 on a loan portfolio of $4.7 billion. (2016 BND Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, https://bnd.nd.gov/annual-report/   pages 28-29.)That puts the net return on loans at 3.7%.

In Brief:…

For full article: L.A. Times - http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-public-bank-marijuana-20170727-htmlstory.html

But what about federal drug laws?

Most banks won't knowingly work with marijuana companies because marijuana is an illegal substance under federal law. Banks are overseen and insured by federal agencies, so federal rules, not state ones, are key.

State- or city-owned banks could get around at least some of that federal oversight. At the Bank of North Dakota, deposits are insured by the state itself, not by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., taking one federal agency out of the mix.

The bank is overseen by the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions, not by federal bank examiners. Ratings agency Standard and Poor's noted in a 2014 report that Bank of North Da…

Approximately 20 states have authorized usage of marijuana for medical purposes and two states ? Colorado and Washington ? authorized recreational use in November 2012. However, federal law still makes possession and use of marijuana illegal.

All banks are subject to federal law, whether the bank is a national bank or state-chartered bank. At a minimum, all banks maintain federal deposit insurance which requires adherence to federal law. Violation of federal law could subject a bank to loss of its charter.

The Department of Justice in August 2013 issued its third memo to address the current conflict between state and federal law (http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2013/August/13-opa-974.html). It is important to recognize that the memo stresses that marijuana is still…



 

The Divest Build Coalition* is a group of activists who believe that there can a symbiotic relationship between:

  •  divestment from fossil fuels and big banks, 
  • addressing a host of social issues,  
  • andcreating public finance that stops feeding Wall Street and sucking the life out of local communities.

What is a Public Bank? 

A public bank is essentially a nonprofit organization, owned by the government and chartered by the state to accept deposits and make loans. Many people don't realize this, but governments are already in the lending business -- most have a portfolio of loans (provided to small business, farmers/ranchers, homeowners, etc.) scattered among different governmental organizations.

A public bank will consolidate these loans and serve a…

By Robert McVay on May 14, 2017

 

Political change comes in fits and starts. Cannabis laws did incredibly well at the state level in the 2016 election cycle, but it looks like we are going to be facing the status quo at the federal level for the foreseeable future. That is good news to some extent, as it is seeming less and less likely that the worst case scenario of the Trump/Sessions Department of Justice will come to fruition. We aren't expecting to see mass arrests, seizures, and shut-downs in the cannabis industry.

On the other hand, we also aren't expecting to see any major positive changes on cannabis banking or taxes coming out of this government either. The unsteady status quo will remain, where agencies at the federal government will continue to gra…

Here's why you should invest in a local bank ...


Public banking means banks owned by the people, not by big investors....

1. Santa Fe - formed a Public Bank Task Force, Sept 6, 2017. Within the next six months, the task force will help determine requirements to establish a public bank.

2. Philadelphia - A proposal made to the City Council for a Public Bank Feasibility Study is in the final stages of preparation. This study is the next step before a Santa Fe-style task force is formed to begin to organize the bank.

3. Oakland, CA - Public Banks Funding Renewables. Sept 25th, the people of Oakland will learn how German Public Banks power renewables. The previous Oakland City Council on September 18th considered authorizing the feasibility study on establishing the Public Bank of Oakland.

4. New Jersey - Lead Gubernatorial Candidate Shares His Public Banking Plan Watch as Phil Murphy …

From Gayle McLaughlin candidate for Lieutenant Governor

 

When the big banks were foreclosing on so many families across the country, I did what I could to protect Richmond. We passed a financing program that would take the mortgages of financially underwater properties by eminent domain, where we could then refinance these mortgages for the homeowners on fair financial terms.

We approved the program - but Wall Street and the big banks were so scared they went to Congress and passed a law to preclude our local effort. Richmond took on Wall Street and lost.

Our determination is to keep on fighting and organizing!

California can have a bank owned by the people just like the state of North Dakota has a bank owned by the people. We'll all save money on financing …

Mother Jones - November 2011

Why
would I want to move my money out of my existing bank?
You'll probably save money in the long run. According to a 2009 year study by the Filene Research Institute, the average credit union account holder paid $71.47 in annual fees, compared to $183.14 paid by the typical bank customer. And new restrictions on debit card fees imposed last month by the Dodd-Frank Act have sent banks scrambling for even more ways to nickel and dime their customers in pursuit of profits. Nonprofit credit unions, on the other hand, only need to break even. They also tend to plow their money back into basic loans in their own communities, instead of dabbling in the kind of complex and risky securitized investments that caused large banks to go bust …


 
Report from Public Banking Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 28

Randa Solick, member WILPF Public Banking Committee, explained how public banks operate and the benefits to local governments and tax payers.

Marc Armstong, president of Commonomics USA and co-founded the Public Banking Institute, described the foundational requirements to establish public banks - whether local, regional, or statewide.  His immediate concern is the development of a licensing procedure.  He asked for volunteers to work with him on the very narrowly focused effort to establish statutory authority so the CA Dept of Business Oversight can issue a Public Bank License (in addidtion to the existing commercial banking license that they already issue.) For list of tasks see below.

What to do ne…
PDC members will be voting at their October meeting whether to contribute $1000 to the local campaign for a ballot initiative to create a Santa Cruz City elected rent control board, a just-cause eviction ordinance, and a rent stabilization ordinance. 

Meanwhile, a bill to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act has been pushed off in the California Legislature until the 2018 session.  Costa-Hawkins is the state law which prohibits cities and counties from adopting strict rent controls that completely regulate the price landlords can charge, exempts housing built after 1995 from any rent controls, and exempts single-family dwellings.  Under the current constraints of Costa-Hawkings, the rent stabilization ordinance for the City of Santa Cruz could regulate the rent incre…

"The fundamental problem, the problem that underlies all the others, is that the United States has a market-based system. We're the only advanced country that does. The systems in the other countries vary in details -- some have single-payers like Medicare, others have tightly regulated private insurers -- but they all have in common universal coverage in predominately nonprofit systems. In all of them, government sets benefits and prices in one way or another, including prices of prescription drugs, and administrative costs are much lower. And it works. ... Health care is a social good, not a commodity, just as primary education, fire and police protection, and clean water are. A market-based system is not only wasteful, it's immoral." -- Dr. Marcia Angell,The benef…

Midway Island shows the magnitude of the ocean plastics problem


PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC CLUB OF SANTA CRUZ COUNTY

BYLAWS

Preamble and Statement of Purpose 

1.      We believe that a democracy requires constant participation by its citizens. The People's Democratic Club of Santa Cruz County was founded to foster this participation. 

2.      We aim to promote the causes of liberty, justice and equality as necessary and achievable goals, welcoming the membership of individuals who are themselves dedicated to these concepts. 

3.      We believe that issues determine programs which--supported by active citizens--are implemented by honest and principled elected officials.

4.      Therefore, we will focus our efforts on the development and implementation of iss…

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