Governor Jerry Brown returned AB 750, the bill that would study the merits of the State of California owning a state-owned bank, back to the Assembly without his signature. San Francisco is not waiting for State politicians to serve the public's interest - they are making it happen in their city.
San Francisco - The First US Municipality to Start a Bank?
To many San Franciscans, a municipal bank has seemed like an obvious, common sense proposal for cutting costs, raising revenues, and investing in a sustainable local economy. But in San Francisco’s infamous pay-to-play politics, the campaign contributions of Bank of America and Montgomery Street investment bankers have always stopped a municipal bank proposal from moving forward. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Banking contributions to campaign coffers have stopped municipal and state bank proposals from moving forward, but times have changed. In San Francisco, the backlash against predatory lending, home foreclosures and the federal bailout of the big banks most responsible has finally created a political climate in which a San Francisco Municipal Bank is on the table.
On Sept. 29, Supervisor and mayoral candidate John Avalos rallied a crowd at Occupy SF around the idea:
Supervisor John Avalos: I want to pull our dollars out of these banks that don’t give us a plan about how they can support us locally. And together, with our power that we have here, in this plaza, in front of this building, we can make it happen! Are you with me?
Occupy SF: Yeeeeeeees!
Supervisor John Avalos: That was kind of loud. Are you with me?
Occupy SF: Yeeeeeeees!
Supervisor John Avalos: Can we create our own municipal bank in San Francisco?
Occupy SF: Yeeeeeees!
Supervisor John Avalos: Yes, we can! Thank you very much.
KPFA: Supervisor Avalos has scheduled an open hearing on a municipal bank at San Francisco City Hall on Oct. 24.
Public Defender and mayoral candidate Jeff Adachi  also says that the City and County of San Francisco should do its own banking:
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi: San Francisco absolutely should have a municipal bank for a number of reasons. For one, the idea that giving money, taxpayer money, to the banks so that they would assist citizens who are suffering and hurting right now was a bad idea. It was a bad idea then; it’s a bad idea now.
And having a municipal bank would allow San Francisco more control over its municipal economy. We spend over $6.8 billion a year and we bank through Bank of America and other institutions that charge us millions and millions, tens of millions, in fees.KPFA: If the City and County of San Francisco is a normal banking customer, it is reasonable to estimate that its banking fees total between $30 and $50 million annually, not including fees from issuing bonds for schools, parks, road improvements, water system upgrades and so forth, which may easily double the number to as much as 100 million a year.
The San Francisco Green Party and its mayoral candidate Terry Baum  are longstanding advocates of a municipal bank, and state Sen. and mayoral candidate Leland Yee now supports the idea as well. KPFA has not yet been able to determine how many more of the City’s 16 mayoral candidates support a municipal bank, but we will make an effort to report that before Election Day, Nov. 8.
Supervisor and mayoral candidate John Avalos’ staff report that they anticipate support on the Board of Supervisors from Supervisors Mar, Campos, Mirkarimi and Kim but are still uncertain about Supervisor and mayoral candidate David Chiu , who could, by joining them, create a six-vote board majority for a municipal bank.
For Pacifica , KPFA Radio , I’m Ann Garrison.