Readers comments 4-9-21
La Puerta rezoning plan
Last evening 165 people from the community attended the Planning Commission meeting to give feedback to the city and builder about use and sale of La Puerta Sports Park to a housing developer. The overwhelming message from the community was to keep the land zoned for public use and to NOT break the 99-year lease.
After a grueling evening of overwhelming support for keeping La Puerta public, the tired Commissioners, breaking with municipal requirement, decided not to read the additional 30 letters into the record, which people had written to be read at the meeting, and they denied the request of two additional raised hands to speak.
The Commissioners will read the letters at a continuation meeting but did not set a date. I don’t believe there is precedent for not fully hearing the public out. Admittedly, the Commissioners were fatigued, and the community’s message was clear.
Let’s hope that City Council also gets the community message to not break the 99-year lease, to not approve the Specific Plan (rezoning plan), and to keep La Puerta land in the public domain for public use. No one wants Cahuilla Park disrupted, either. Rather save and protect these parks, which we treasure and enjoy and need for health, growth, play, and well-being.
We are asking people to please find the link on the city’s website when the agenda is published later this week and go to the Architectural Committee meeting on April 14, 2021 at 7:00 and please deliver the same resounding message! Thank you.
Public banking option
By now, some of your readers have heard of new legislation pending in the State Assembly, AB 1177, the California Public Banking Option Act. A local group has been working to inform our area cities about the possibility of forming a public bank here, and we have endorsed this legislation. So what’s it all about?
The idea of a public bank is simple: Pomona, La Verne, and Claremont currently use large commercial banks for holding deposits and funding needed projects. These banks pay a pittance in interest and charge fees to enrich their executives and shareholders. Nothing wrong with this, as businesses are expected to do that. But municipalities don’t have to go to banks which have their own private, profit motivated interests as their first priority, investing our public money in industries and global concerns which may conflict with our values. Instead, our cities now have the legal right to set up a very local bank with the cities’ interests at heart and borrow at the same rates as the big banks do, currently around 0.25 percent. Deposits stay local and profits and funding stay local, and fees are returned to the people’s municipal accounts.
Our local funding needs for affordable housing, small business loans, and infrastructure can take center stage. Don’t feel bad for the big, commercial banks losing some of the cities’ business – they still have us to exploit as individuals and businesses! And the public bank can partner with them in funding local projects if they so choose.
Here’s where AB 1177 comes in: There are many folks, often poor and/or non-white, who could be called ‘unbanked’ or ‘underbanked.’ They are not of interest to the commercial banks, but of great interest to exploitative para-bank industries like payday lenders, pawn shops, check cashing and prepaid debit card businesses, and money order services. All charge ridiculous fees, hurting folks who are outside the traditional financial system. AB 1177 will establish “BankCal” with accounts easily set up for all Californians and subsidized access to zero fee banking and discounted lending to help the un- and underbanked get established in our economy.
We hope Claremonters will look into this concept and learn more about how our public monies can be used to better our local economy and promote our values.
Visit our website, https://sites.google.com/view/publicbankpomonavalley
Public Bank Pomona Valley Study Group