At a lively March 25 rally in front of the Bank of NY Mellon in Los Angeles, the Fix LA Coalition unveiled a groundbreaking research report, entitled “No Small Fees: LA Spends More on Wall Street than Our Streets.“ It reveals that Wall Street charges the City of Los Angeles more than $200 million in fees, more than it spends on street repairs.
Coalition members called for action to reduce the high fees and put that money back into neighborhood services, like trimming trees, filling potholes, fixing sidewalks, cleaning parks and clearing alleys. After the rally, Fix LA Coalition members delivered the report to elected officials in City Hall.
“There’s a lot in LA that needs to be fixed, and getting our money back from Wall Street is a good start. These banks are making huge profits off of taxpayers and the only thing we’re getting in return is cuts. Our communities need neighborhood services restored and more good, public sector jobs.”
-Richard Guzman, LA City Trash Truck Driver
“We are here today because as our public officials begin to debate the city budget–what to cut and what bills to pay–the one option that could improve finances is never on the table: Reducing the millions Wall Street is costing our city. We have a new report that reveals over $200 million in Wall Street fees just last year–not including principal or interest payments–just bank fees. This is more than we spent on LA’s streets. It is an astounding amount of public dollars that is sucked out of the system by Wall Street.”
-Bahar Tolou, SEIU Research Coordinator
“This is the first time anywhere in the country that Wall Street fees have been compiled for any public entity. As the person that did this research, I can tell you that I spent months digging for all the Wall Street fees I could find, and I still know we don’t have it all. The $200 million is just the tip of the iceberg.”
–Lisa Cody, SEIU 721 Research Analyst and report co-author
“We’ve got a big challenge ahead of us. But we can do it. We can take back our city. We can make Wall Street pay their fair share. We can restore city services, rebuild the middle-class and put people back to work. We can make Los Angeles a city that works for everyone.”
-Peggy Mears, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment
“The street in front of my business has been messed up for years. It since it isn’t getting fixed water flows through it and then a huge pothole ruins the street. This pothole needs to be fixed. So does LA. It frustrates me as a business owner, but I don’t think the city is to blame. When Wall Street caused the recession, many businesses took a hit. But we also lost services in our neighborhood. My customers hurt too. Isn’t it time to make LA better for businesses, for neighborhoods, for all communities?”
-Bert Galvez, owner of Pescado Mojado Seafood Grill
“The bottom line is, our leaders in City Hall have a choice: LA can keep getting ripped off by Wall Street or you can change course and reinvest in our streets. I think the choice is pretty simple. That’s how we’re going to Fix LA.”
-Bob Schoonover, President, SEIU Local 721
The Fix LA Coalition is a coalition of community groups, working families, small business owners and faith-based organizations with hundreds of thousands of members in the City of Los Angeles. Member groups include Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), One LA, LA Voice, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Community Coalition, SEIU Local 721, Inner City Struggle, Coalition of LA City Unions, People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER), AFSCME District Council 36 and others.
We’re just getting started. Stay tuned for upcoming actions. www.fixla.org
Download a flyer to post at your worksite.
Some of the media coverage: