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A Modest Proposal to the Mayor on the Occupation Relocation

RANDOM LENGTHS - As a lifelong resident of Los Angeles City and County I have witnessed everything from the Watts riots to the Police riots at Century City during the Vietnam War and then the beating of Rodney King and later the Ramparts scandal which finally pulled in the reins on LAPD abuses with a court ordered consent decree.  
We now have in place a Chief of Police who believes in "constitutional policing" and we must both take him at his word and hold him to it, as it applies to the Occupy movement and their demonstrations in front of LA City Hall. What approach should the Mayor and City Council take?

Negotiation is the most forth right approach as many of the goals of this new movement are not that different than the desires and challenges that the City faces as a whole.  

First, the offer of property of equal size for reasonable consideration and care would be a start. The City has plenty of unused parcels that are either owned by the Community Redevelopment Agency or other departments that currently aren't under development or are just plain vacant.

A list of these properties should be offered in exchange for a peaceful evacuation of the South Lawn of City Hall and that a small group of Occupy volunteers help city crews clean up and restore the park.

The parcel to be exchanged for the decampment should not be too distant from the seat of governance as to make it  inconvenient for the demonstrators to return to redress any continued grievances in down town preferably during day time hours, but no stipulations can or should be placed on future demonstrations except that the Occupy group not return to the south lawn on a permanent basis.

The peaceful decampment should be celebrated as both a victory for the Occupy Movement and the City!

Second the City should provide the Occupy Movement with a list of all the banks doing business inside the city who are currently foreclosing on single family homes or who have in the past three years taken back foreclosed properties and who are now holding derelict properties. The City Attorney has already investigated most  of these banks and the results of his prosecutions should be made public to the Occupy movement.

Third, the City needs to understand that it has within its power to alter its relationships with some of those banks which are "too big to fail" and that these banks are at the heart of the issue being addressed by the Occupy demonstrators.

As part of this negotiation Los Angeles should commit to changing its banking relationships. The City should commit to working with banks that are actually making loans to small businesses and citizens inside of the City as part of the larger program of "job creation" in the City.  

Also as an extension of this proposal, the City Council should direct the City Controller’s office and the CFO to explore the expansion of the City's credit union charter so that any resident or business in the city can become a member and have access to a not-for-profit banking institution.

Along these same lines it would be even more interesting if the next time one of the various banks in our city collapses because of bad management and is taken over by the FDIC that the City use its vast pension funds to purchase a commercial bank and run it in much the same way the city does the DWP, as an semi-autonomous department.  

Just imagine what would happen if the city ran its entire payroll through its own bank, the Bank of Los Angeles City! What would be the  savings and what would be the benefit? Wouldn't the city's pension funds be earning a larger return on their investments by lending in the local economy instead of losing them on Wall Street?

(James Preston Allen is the Publisher of Random Lengths News. More of Allen and other views and news at where this column was first posted) –cw

Tags: Occupy LA, Occupy relocation, Mayor Villaraigosa, Los Angeles, Occupy Movement, City Hall, jobs, DWP, City Council

Vol 9 Issue 94
Pub: Nov 25, 2011