Outside of City Hall on Monday afternoon, union activists joined with anti-Wall Street Occupy LA protesters in favor of "The Responsible Banking Ordinance," a proposal that would have the city stop doing business with banks they say are guilty of "irresponsible behavior."
The city needs to be selective about who they do business with, LA Councilman Richard Alarcon said.
Before the protesting crowd, he rhetorically asked, "Are you foreclosing on hundreds, thousands of homes that could have been modified through lending, because if you are, we don't want to give you our financial transactions."
That sentiment was echoed by SEIU Local 721 President Bob Schoonover. In addressing the LA City Council Budget and Finance Committee he said, "All we are really asking is you pick the good banks to deal with."
But the reality of the situation is a bit more complicated than that because banks provide a wide variety of services for the city. In fact, the city could lose millions of dollars in the form of penalties if they pull out of banks that currently provide credit to the city at low interest.
The city is recommending a compromise that would include developing a scorecard for banks that would evaluate banks separate from their investment partners, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said. Critics of that plan say it weakens the proposal. The measure still needs to go before the full City Council for approval.
Meanwhile, the city continues to clean up the two-acre park around City Hall where the Occupy LA encampment was. One week after the raid, city officials are still unclear about the cost of cleaning the park. Part of the cost will include pesticide treatments later this week, as well as irrigation and landscaping repairs next week.