Victory! City Council Votes to Stand Up to Wall Street Greed

City Council Victory

Today SEIU 721 and our partners in the Fix LA coalition scored a huge victory: the Los Angeles City Council voted 14-0 Wednesday to hold big banks accountable and bring millions of dollars back to our streets instead of Wall Street!

The measure, sponsored by Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Gil Cedillo and Bob Blumenfield and backed by Fix LA, requires LA to renegotiate or terminate without penalty a toxic swap deal the City entered into with two Wall Street banks, Bank of New York Mellon and Dexia. The measure could save the City as much as $138 million.

Los Angeles is now the largest city in the nation “to challenge ballooning Wall Street levies that accompany similar interest rate swap deals throughout the nation,” reported the International Business Times.

Before the vote, the City Council heard testimony from Tim Butcher, heavy duty truck operator, City of Los Angeles, Lisa Cody, a research policy analyst for SEIU Local 721, and our Fix LA community partners and clergy.

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“LA spends more than twice as much on bad bank deals than we do on our streets. We’re asking the City Council to please get them money back so we can do our jobs.”

Tim Butcher, Heavy duty truck operator, City of Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles doles out nearly $300 million in fees each year to Wall Street banks, including the deal with Mellon and Dexia, as described in Fix LA’s groundbreaking study, No Small Fees. The payments are being made as the City has slashed budgets for essential services such as street cleaning, tree trimming, sidewalk repair, and assignment of crossing guards at dangerous intersections. For example, the annual fees are almost double the entire municipal budget for maintaining its miles upon miles of streets and alleyways.

SEIU 721 and our partners in the Fix LA coalition applaud the brave and principled stand taken by Councilmembers Paul Koretz, Gil Cedillo, and Bob Blumenfield and the rest of the LA City Council. We will continue to strongly support the LA City Council as they take swift and decisive action to reverse these bad bank deals.

LA TimesL.A. council votes to pressure two banks to redo interest rate swaps