Dear members of Austin City Council,

First of all, I’d like to congratulate candidate for place 5, John Duffy, who, running openly as an anarchist, without spending any money, got 6% of the vote for that place. Secondly, Considering the voter turnout in this city was around 10%, I question the legitimacy of this body. However, since it’s the only body we have, and since the issue I’d like to address is a decision that was made, unchallenged by any of you, by Marc Ott, who is an unelected city manager…I’ll proceed.

About 8 months ago, Occupy Austin began the process of proposing to this body that we divest from Bank of America, one of the big 3 banks, and move to local banks and credit unions that can be more easily held accountable and are more likely to invest in our local community. With all of the “Keep Austin Weird” and “Keep Austin Local” rhetoric that gets tossed around casually in these chambers, we figured that was a no-brainer, and was the LEAST controversial thing we could request of the city.

3 months ago, in the wake of the ill-conceived and overzealous eviction of the brave 24/7 Occupy protesters, in which who knows how much money was spent to call in a militarized police force, including TANKS to intimidate with the hope of arresting hooligans like me – a single working mother of two young children, and my brothers and sisters of all stripes, including the anarchist who ran for city council, the city passed that resolution. We were thankful for the nod, but were soon to realize it was largely symbolic.

Which, indeed, it was, as a little over a month ago the city did, in fact, choose to divest from Bank of America…and put our money, instead, into Chase Bank.
We were told smaller banks and credit unions were too risky. That they couldn’t comply with the guidelines set forth by the city. That they weren’t equipped to handle our money. That they didn’t provide the kind of security and service one of the big 3 banks could.

Well, councilmembers…how do you like Chase now? Two weeks ago, JP Morgan chase made a bad bet and lost 2 billion dollars in one day. The total losses on that bad bet have since grown to 7 billion, with some estimates bringing the total hit to the bank to 20 billion, due to dropping stock prices.

Is that REALLY where you want to put our money? Once again, I find myself ashamed of the bad choices this body has made, or has allowed to be made by Marc Ott (unelected! City manager.) You have given the hard-earned money of this city’s residents to the biggest gambling operation in the world.

To put that loss into perspective, here are some things 7 billion dollars could have bought instead:

Enough food to feed 822,271 families of 4 for a full year.
350,000 power wheelchairs
39,000 foreclosed homes
The salaries of 160,230 high school teachers
368 years of JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s $19 Millon salary (not including his $4 Million in bonuses)
233 tiles the alleged & totally overblown cost of the Occupy movement nationwide
201 miles of high-speed rail
The annual salary of 318,181 Chase Bank Tellers, who are only paid, on average, $22,000 per year
In home care for a year for 500,000 elderly and/or people with disabilities
10,294 miles of bus transit
1 million kilowatts of solar energy (1000 megawatts
Affordable housing for 47,000 families
Birth Control for 2,333,333 women
23 days of the war in Afghanistan
…I could go on and on…

By the way, since we’re talking about numbers…
1. We are the people
2. We are united
3. The occupation is not leaving.

Expect us.