In Opposition to DAPL, City of Santa Monica City Decides To Divest From Wells Fargo

Activism, News

Showing opposition to the DAPL and support for activists protesting it, the Santa Monica City Council moved forward with plans to end the City’s banking relationship with Wells Fargo bank.

Snata Monica Next reported that, The City Council voted 5-to-0 to support divesting Santa Monica from Wells Fargo. Council members Sue Himmelrich and Pam O’Connor were not present for the vote. Himmelrich recused herself from the vote because she said she has represented Wells Fargo in the past and her husband currently represents Wells Fargo. The City currently has $1 billion in annual transactions with the bank, including deposits and payments, according to spokeswoman Constance Farrell. Santa Monica’s investment portfolio includes $4.6 million in Wells Fargo bonds.

During a midnight discussion and a lengthy public comment period, Mayor Ted Winterer reminded supporters of the divestment that applause is forbidden at City Council meetings, so when five out of seven members voted to move forward with the motion a wave of jazz hands shot up into the air – a vigorous sign of approval from attendees who pushed for the motion into the early morning hours, reported Santa Monica Daily Press.

“I’ve been to Standing Rock twice. I was on the frontline every time. It made me very angry to see my people treated in such a manner,” said Walter Ruiz, also known as Graywolf. Ruiz was one of 25 activists who spoke to encourage the city to cut ties with Wells Fargo. He runs the Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks.

“I’ve always heard that Santa Monica was a very progressive city but I didn’t realize how progressive. I am surprised.”

City Manager Rick Cole said the City’s finance department will look into removing funds from Wells Fargo and issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to other banks. A new RFP is scheduled for spring 2018 but may be expedited.

Below is a list of the banks that are funding the pipeline:

Besides the nationwide protests against the DAPL, protesters have also encouraged people, businesses, and cities to divest from creditors supporting the pipeline. So far two other West Coast cities, Seattle and Davis, have decided to divest from Wells Fargo.

“If you’re paying any attention to national media today or in fact global, you know one of the most symbolic fights for our future is happening at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline,” said Terry O’Day, one of the Santa Monica council members responsible for the motion to divest. “It is a fight over sovereignty and respect for native people. It is a fight over the respect of humanity and the future of humanity.”

Hopefully this trend will continue and more cities, organizations, and people will pull their money away from companies that fund operations like DAPL. Taking your money from the lending institutions is an easy way to fight for the oppressed people of the Standing Rock Sioux that are having their sacred lands desecrated and are being severely beaten by an abusive police force.

(Article By Jeremiah Jones)



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