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Santa Monica, Calif., Moves to Dump Wells Fargo Over DAPL Funding

Posted on Feb 17, 2017

  Santa Monica, Calif. (Kent Kanouse / CC 2.0)

Santa Monica, Calif., has joined a growing list of cities that have enacted progressive local policies, often at odds with President Trump’s positions.

On Wednesday, the Santa Monica City Council voted to sever ties with Wells Fargo because the financial services company helps fund the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

The Santa Monica Lookout reported:

Council members heard from nearly three-dozen speakers, including several who sang and played drums in an “honor song,” during the session that did not begin until the final minutes of Tuesday night due to the meeting’s lengthy agenda.

Many of the speakers had been to the much-publicized protests in North Dakota, where they objected to the project because they say it stretches onto sacred native land and creates water and other environmental safety issues.

“Santa Monica is taking a stand against Wells Fargo because they have repeatedly used deceptive business practices,” Councilmember Tony Vazquez said.

He continued, “Their investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline is the latest egregious action. It’s our hope that other cities will divest their funds so together we can have a collective and powerful impact.”

According to local news site Santa Monica Next, the council voted 5-0 to support the divestiture measure, although two council members were not present for the vote.

Santa Monica joined cities such as Seattle and Davis, Calif., which also have voted to pull investments from Wells Fargo due to its ties to the North Dakota oil pipeline.

In addition, Santa Monica has passed local measures on a wide range of progressive issues in the face of Trump administration moves. For instance, one day after the divestiture vote, the Santa Monica City Council approved drafting legislation to protect residents from having to give sensitive information to employers and landlords.

The Santa Monica Lookout explained:

After hearing from numerous public speakers who said they lived in fear under the Donald Trump presidency, the Santa Monica City Council passed a measure calling for staff to draft an ordinance that would prohibit employers and landlords, among others, from collecting information on people’s immigration status, religion and sexual identity. …

The action comes after President Trump signed an executive order last month that would have halted travel from seven countries with mostly Muslim populations designated by the Obama Administration as “areas of concern” because of terrorist activity.

“What we have here [from the federal government] is overt discrimination against people based on religion,” council member Kevin McKeown stated at the hearing.

Other local governments around the country are responding to President Trump’s policies in a outspoken manner as well. Los Angeles City Council members recently took similar steps to protect minorities and immigrants, with council member Paul Krekorian declaring, “It’s important for the city to get ahead of this and say, ‘We’re not going to stand for this.’ ”

It’s unclear how the Trump administration will respond to these actions in progressive cities, but community leaders say people are looking to their local governments for extra protection in a worrisome time.

“[W]e have a great deal of fear in the community,” noted Santa Monica City Council member McKeown during Thursday’s meeting.

—Posted by Emma Niles.

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