OSR Press

OSR Press

Local Coalition will Occupy Wells Fargo on January 6. Organizers Cite Foreclosure Policies and Investments in Immigration Detention Centers

Rally: Friday, January 6th at Noon – Old Alberston’s Parking Lot,

Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa (Roseland)

A diverse group of community and civil rights organizations will come together to expose Wells Fargo Bank’s racist, anti-community policies and to call for customers to close their Wells Fargo accounts. The day will begin with a noon rally at the old Albertson’s parking lot on Sebastopol Road in Santa Rosa.

This will start a day of action against Wells Fargo by Occupy Santa Rosa, Graton Day Labor Center, the D.R.E.A.M Alliance of Sonoma County, the Committee for Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County, and the MEChA chapter (Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán) at Santa Rosa Junior College. After the rally, the group will march on the downtown Santa Rosa branch of Wells Fargo Bank.

“We are protesting Wells Fargo for investing billions of dollars into for-profit detention centers which imprison immigrant workers, while receiving billions in taxpayer bailouts and continuing with their illegal and fraudulent foreclosures,” say the organizers. Wells Fargo took $25 billion in taxpayer bail-out dollars, while paying CEO John Stumpf $19 million in 2010. The bank also holds more than $5 billion in student debt.

In addition, they are heavily invested in two private prison corporations, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group, which contract with the federal government to run immigrant detention facilities around the country. In 2009, some 380,000 immigrants were held in detention centers at a cost to taxpayers of more than $1.7 billion.

These prisons have been the source of numerous reports and complaints of rape, child abuse and abysmal medical care. GEO recently was ordered to pay $40 million in the wrongful death of a prisoner in its Raymondville, Texas facility.

Link to this event on facebook : Occupy Wells Fargo FB event

Occupy Santa Rosa launches new community space at 100 Santa Rosa Avenue today, and throws a party to celebrate Occupy’s achievements.

For immediate release.
December 13, 2011

Today Occupy Santa Rosa will re-occupy a new community space devoted to information-sharing, compassionate community-building and economic justice. To celebrate this new effort and the achievements of the entire Occupy movement, occupiers will throw a party starting at 1:00 p.m. Please come join us.

Occupy Santa Rosa is committed to maintaining a 24/7 visible and vigilant resistance to the current structures of economic power. One covered space will be for information-sharing and one will accomodate a variety of purposes, from teach-ins to strategy sessions to interfaith gatherings.

Since the nighttime police raid on November 22, Occupy Santa Rosa has continued its work. A dozen working groups are busy linking local actions with national and global injustices. Today we participated in the “Wall Street on the Waterfront” protest at the Oakland port, standing in solidarity with workers who have been harmed by the international economy of cheap labor and financial power. Over the next two months, Occupy Santa Rosa will:

1) target banks that have foreclosed on the homes of many of our Sonoma County neighbors, and that have profited from the suffering of the poorest amongst us; and

2) join the broad coalition of organizations working towards the end of corporate money dominating our political process.

The new space at 100 Santa Rosa Avenue will be devoted to facilitating these actions, and to keeping the public conversations started by Occupy Wall Street constant and clear. Occupy Santa Rosa stands with Frank LaRue, the United Nations’ “special rapporteur” for the protection of free expression, who said earlier this month that “If I were going to pit a city ordinance against human rights, I would always take human rights.”

Occupy Santa Rosa is a diverse group of people bound together by grief and frustration over economic inequality and suffering. We currently meet in General Assembly Sunday through Thursday at 3:30 at 100 Santa Rosa Avenue, and welcome new participants committed to economic justice, nonviolence and a culture of mutual respect.

Occupy Santa Rosa will rise up against local water rate increases, demand fairness from the City.

For immediate release.
December 5, 2011

Occupy Santa Rosa is organizing a “Rise Up Against Rate Increases” informational picket at Santa Rosa City Hall on Tuesday, December 6, and will pack the City Council chambers for public comment. We invite concerned members of our community to join us. Every voice counts!

At 2pm we will hold a sign-making party. Protest letters for submission to the public hearing, as well as information and analysis of proposed rate increases, will be available. Picket will start at 4pm and we’ll pack the chambers at 5pm.

The Santa Rosa Board of Public Utilities has proposed water, recycled water and wastewater rate increases that would become effective in January 2012 and January 2013. We will raise crucial questions about the fairness of the proposed changes.
The revenue shortfall facing the City is a national economic issue. We understand that the City is part of the 99%, and that it has a responsibility to protect the health and efficacy of our water infrastructure. But there has to be a better way than this! Occupy SantaRosa is demanding that community members be part of the problem-solving process, and that the weakest and poorest among us not be unfairly impacted by any changes.

The Board’s own study report of October 6 indicates that we have the highest water and sewage bills of the all the North Bay cities. We need to know what other cities are doing to keep their bills lower before we can support further increases.

The same study indicates that smaller households using less water will see a disproportionate increase in their water/sewer rates – 12.1% compared to 2.9% for a larger family home. Moreover, since the fixed rate is rising most dramatically, individuals on fixed incomes – often the elderly – will be impacted unfairly.

Occupy Santa Rosa will continue to point out unwarranted special treatment of those in higher income brackets, both nationally and at home in Santa Rosa.

We understand that the City Council is part of the 99% and needs to protect the health of our basic service infrastructure.

We demand the City revisit these issues and develop a more equitable and fair way of collecting water and sewage revenue.

Join us on December 6 to rise up and make your voices heard! 2pm sign making, 4pm picket, 5pm public hearing. Santa Rosa Council Chambers, 100 Santa Rosa Avenue.

Occupy Santa Rosa: Sixty Students and Supporters Call to “Resurrect the Doyle”

For immediate release.
December 4, 2011

Occupy Santa Rosa organized a “Student Day of Action” on Saturday to put a spotlight on the struggles of local Junior College students. A group of 60 students and supporters gathered at Santa Rosa City Hall, then proceeded to the Roseland branch of Exchange Bank, whose risky investments in the Sacramento-area housing bubble led to the suspension of the Santa Rosa Junior College Doyle Scholarship fund in 2008. The event ended at Courthouse Square with a public dialogue on strategies to “resurrect the Doyle.”

For decades, the Doyle Scholarships offered crucial financial support to students attending Santa Rosa Junior College. After 10 quarters of positive revenue Exchange Bank has still not reinstated the Doyle, and the Occupy movement has inspired students to act.

Jay Scherf, a student at SRJC who wrote a feature for The North Bay Bohemian on the Doyle Scholarship subtitled “What would Frank Doyle do?,” spoke at the City Hall rally. “The Doyle is not a gift from Exchange Bank,” he said. “It is a gift from [Frank] Doyle to the community.” Scherf believes that students may have grounds for taking Exchange Bank to court for “breach of fiduciary duty.”

SRJC students came out to voice their frustration and be part of the dialogue. “I feel strongly that education should be free. It’s a right and not a privilege,” said Lorca Blanco, 17. “To have the money for books and tuition taken away is terrible.” Paige Picard, 19, agreed. “The loss of the Doyle caused me to accumulate thousands of dollars in debt. Education should be free. I have a lot of younger brothers and sisters and I want them to have a good education without debt.”

Supporters of all ages also shared their enthusiasm for the day. “I feel our nation is in a state of paralysis,” said Rabon, 78, a community volunteer with the Area Agency on Ageing. “We’re not being heard, and I wanted to support the youth speaking out today.”

The group departed from Santa Rosa City Hall accompanied by the loud and colorful Occupy Santa Rosa Band, and proceeded to Exchange Bank. There the group playfully and peacefully picketed for an hour, with several police officers nearby. The students also spoke with Exchange Bank president Bill Schrader, who was invited to, but could not attend, a public problem-solving discussion following the march at Courthouse Square.

The Student Day of Action ended on an upbeat note with a promise to keep the conversation going. The students will hold an Occupy SRJC General Assembly on the steps of the Doyle Library every Monday and Thursday at noon. The Santa Rosa community is invited to attend.

Occupy Santa Rosa evicted; plans Student Day of Action;
and continues work for economic justice and peace

For immediate release.
December 1, 2011

At midnight last night, Occupy Santa Rosa’s special event permits expired. Occupy sites across the nation are now in transition, but we remain united by the conviction that you cannot evict an idea whose time has come. Occupy Santa Rosa is not going away. “The whole Occupy movement is only getting stronger and multiplying,” said Maggi Munat of Santa Rosa. “We are learning and growing all the time.”

Occupy Santa Rosa will maintain a presence at City Hall, continuing to claim public space for the important conversations inspired by Occupy Wall Street. We will hold General Assembly at City Hall every day. We will act as a seedbed for a more genuine democracy. We will continue to support local banks and credit unions through the successful Move Your Money campaign. We are actively building alliances with other organizations seeking economic justice and peace, and planning actions across Sonoma County and the Bay Area.

This Saturday Occupy Santa Rosa will hold a Student Day of Action, beginning with a rally at 11:30am at City Hall. Participants will march to Exchange Bank, whose risky investments in the housing bubble led to the suspension of our local Junior College fund, the Doyle Scholarship, and will demand that the fund be restored now that the bank is profitable again. The event will end with a gathering in Courthouse Square. “We will connect the dots between local student struggles and the larger financial system that has brought our economy to its knees,” said Carl Patrick, a member of Occupy Santa Rosa’s Action Working Group.

Sairy Franks, a member of Occupy Santa Rosa’s Medical and Wellness Working Group, spent five hours yesterday speaking with camp residents facing eviction. “It was heartbreaking to hear people’s stories,” she said. “Most of them are homeless, some are dealing with trauma, mental illness or addiction. We wanted to make sure they knew their belongings could be confiscated if they did not leave, and we made arrangements for their pets if they had them.”

“Homelessness, untreated mental illness, and drug abuse are endemic and damaging social and economic issues,” said Amy Robinson, who has been involved with Occupy Santa Rosa since its beginning. “The Occupy movement has neither created nor exacerbated them; it has merely made them more visible.”

The people of Sonoma County and throughout the country understand we can all join together to build a better world. A recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that “60 percent of respondents strongly agreed that America’s economic imbalance comes from policies that favor the rich over the rest of the country,” while 55 percent “said income inequality is a significant problem in the country.”

We can take back our political system that has been hijacked by corporations protecting profits rather than the health of our planet and its people. We can end the cycle of violent and wasteful wars. We can restore a fair economy so that everyone has a chance to thrive.

An Open Letter to the City Council and Community of Santa Rosa from Occupy Santa Rosa (pdf)
November 22, 2011

Occupy Santa Rosa Press Release from October 8, 2011

The need for a more just, equal and democratic society in the United States is increasingly becoming evident. Around the country, people are joining the Occupy Together movement to come up with solutions to the economic crises that affect the vast majority of Americans today. In the spirit of the times, and in unity with the hundreds of actions around the country, we declare the start of Occupy Santa Rosa.

In direct response to the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, we will assert our power, exercise our right to peaceably assemble, occupy public space, create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

We will assemble in front of City Hall, 100 Santa Rosa Ave, on October 15th, 2011, in order to create a democratic and all-inclusive space where we can share ideas and help contribute to the nation-wide conversation of how to build a better future for ourselves and future generations.

We will begin by focusing on the following national and local goals:

* Close the revolving door between corporate and public offices
* End tax cuts for the rich
* Improve infrastructure
* Cut military spending (except for veterans)
* Regulate Wall St.
* Improve Public Services

We invite everyone in the 99% to join us, lend their voice to this ever-growing movement and help reclaim our democracy. Freedom and equality for all!