UPDATE: Here's a slideshow of photos from the hearing and actions yesterday in Los Angeles. Video is below.
As we speak, taxpayers are meeting with representatives from Chase Bank to discuss the new demands the people of Los Angeles have for banks in this city.
It's the culmination of an amazing day of action that started in City Hall and poured out into the streets, to the front doors of the big banks. Taxpayers, community activists, and L.A. workers stood together to demand that the city's tax dollars stop going to the same big banks that are hurting their communities.
Inside City Hall, L.A. City Councilmember Richard Alarcon heard from dozens of taxpayers, workers, community bankers, and small business owners who shared their stories and their support for a bill to move L.A.'s money out of the big banks. He also read testimony from the thousands of taxpayers across the country that submitted their stories online. Some of the stories were emotional; some were downright infuriating. All of them helped paint the picture that the same banks that broke the economy are keeping us from fixing it.
When the testimony wrapped up, Councilmember Alarcon enthusiastically sent the bill to the full committee - with new, stronger language to hold banks accountable.
After the hearing, dozens of community activists and L.A. workers took the message directly to the big banks. Stopping first at Bank of America, taxpayers "foreclosed" on the bank until they stopped foreclosing on families trying to make ends meet. A few blocks away at Chase Bank, Councilmember Alarcon arrived to help deliver our taxpayer demands to the bank.
With dozens of Angelenos standing along side him, Alarcon laid out the tough, new standards he was pushing forward for banks to do business with the taxpayers. And he refused to leave until they agreed to sit down and discuss our demands: Stop foreclosing on Los Angeles families, stop forcing cuts to city services with costly financial deals, and start lending to small businesses that will create jobs.
So that's where we are now. The "big banks" bill is headed to the full City Council and taxpayers are meeting with one of the big Wall Street banks as we speak.
The sun is set on Los Angeles - and on a watershed day for everyone tired of business as usual at the big banks. The question now is what city will be next to move its money when the sun rises again tomorrow. Who is the next elected leader to take a stand against Wall Street?
This movement is only just beginning. As they say in Hollywood, "stay tuned..."