Seattle Joins Los Angeles, San Francisco and Buffalo In Supporting Occupy Protests

The Seattle Times reports today:
The Seattle City Council on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution in support of Occupy Seattle that calls on the city to examine its banking and investment practices, home-foreclosure patterns and the financing of local elections.

The resolution was a grab bag of proposals meant to provide a local response to the concentration of wealth and abuses in the financial sector that the Occupy Wall Street protest and its regional offspring have called attention to in encampments and rallies around the country this fall.

"Working together, we can fix our broken economy and fix our broken social contract," said Councilmember Nick Licata, who sponsored the legislation. He said that, at the very least, the city can make sure public funds are reinvested in the community.

Other cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Buffalo, have passed resolutions in support of the Occupy protests.

The Seattle resolution ....called on Congress to support job creation by investing in the country's infrastructure, tightening banking regulations and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire.

It's not clear how much practical effect the resolution will have. The city's finance director said very little of the city's money is in commercial banks. The city does do business with Wells Fargo, but the bank is essentially a pass-through as the city moves money into long-term assets or pays bills, said Glen Lee, finance director.

The city does give tax breaks to a range of businesses, from church-sponsored day-care centers and nonprofit adult family homes to banks with international facilities that pay about one-third less than other businesses, Lee said.

"I look forward to examining these issues with the council," he said.
The council resolution, which was joined by Mayor Mike McGinn, also reflected some of the ongoing tension within the city as officials try to honor the rights of protesters to speak out and peacefully assemble as well as the work of the Seattle Police Department, which must protect public safety.

The resolution notes both the First Amendment right of activists and "the important responsibility" of the police to protect those rights "while, at the same time, appropriately enforcing City laws and regulations."
The Puget Sound Business Journal notes today:
Resolution 31337, "recognizing and supporting the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal and local levels," while condemning "actions that infringe upon the lawful rights of others, obstruct or interfere with the efforts of law enforcement officers to protect such rights, or cause personal injury or property destruction."

The city will also examine tax breaks, including those to banks with international facilities that pay about one-third less than other businesses.

"I look forward to examining these issues with the council," Lee told the Seattle Times.

The resolution also calls for analysis of how city election campaigns are financed, examination of income inequality by "by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender" and working with the state to promote fully funded education and tax reform.
In other uplifting news, former Sectretary of Labor Robert Reich said that the police crackdowns will only strengthen Occupy Wall Street:
Every movement that has occurred over the last 75 years of American history... when they are cracked down upon, when there is a violent effort to end them - and also especially when the members of the movement maintain a kind of peacefulness, non-violence, civil disobedience - that strengthens the movement.
And Raw Story notes:
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has issued a statement condemning the actions of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Police Department in their eviction of "Occupy Wall Street" on Tuesday morning.

"The City's actions to shut down OWS last night raise a number of serious civil liberties questions that must be answered," he said. "Moving forward, how will the City respect the protesters' rights to speech and assembly? Why was press access limited, and why were some reporters' credentials confiscated? How will reported incidents of excessive force used by the police be addressed?"

"Whatever the courts rule, the City's actions here must not be a backdoor means of ending the free exercise of protesters' rights."
He added:
"Irrespective of this incident, OWS is now bigger than Zuccotti Park, and no one has the power to silence this national movement