Last week, Design Action sent out a letter to the Oakland City Council, some local businesses, and to local newspapers, in support of Occupy Oakland.
The Oakland Tribune published the Op-Ed today (11.15.11) with the headline:
“Banks cost Oakland more than protesters”
We are a downtown local, cooperatively-owned and managed small business, and residents of Oakland. We are in support of the movement of the 99% and of Occupy Oakland. We believe the Occupy movement is democracy in its highest form.
We believe that Oakland should lead the way in supporting a local, economically-sustainable business community, one that challenges the power of large multinational corporations who strip money out of our local communities for their own coffers.
The city of Oakland should offer services to the Occupiers to keep it clean and safe for all people – which in turn will prevent violence – instead of just spending all the money on the police.
We love Oakland! Oakland can lead the way in this country by setting an example that this wonderful city is progressive and believes in supporting local business entrepreneurship, cooperative and collective managements, community banks, and small businesses which keep the money reinvested back into our community.
Last year the Oakland deficit was $58 million. Oakland exempts banks from paying a real estate transfer tax for foreclosures – any time any of the rest of us buy a home or transfer it in anyway, we have to pay this tax. But the banks don’t for foreclosures. Last year, this exemption alone cost the city $51 million. That’s all but $7 million of the deficit!
The banks have other exemptions to account for that last $7million. Like not paying their vacant property fees, the $5million interest rate swap the city of Oakland is still paying each year, not to mention their property taxes that haven’t been reassessed.
In the end who costs more? Occupy Oakland or the banks?
By halting such exemptions and proactively investing in public safety through education, after-school programs, healthcare, community safety services, the arts, and other services, Oakland will chart a course of economic resilience that other cities will surely follow.
Design Action Collective
Further Information on what are the true costs: www.makebankspaycalifornia.com
and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment reports on foreclosures: http://www.calorganize.org/wreckingball