In a show of support to activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Santa Monica City Council moved forward with plans to end the City’s banking relationship with Wells Fargo bank.
The City currently has $1 billion in annual transactions with the bank, including deposits and payments, according to spokeswoman Constance Farrell. Santa Monica’s investment portfolio includes $4.6 million in Wells Fargo bonds.
During a midnight discussion and a lengthy public comment period, Mayor Ted Winterer reminded supporters of the divestment that applause is forbidden at City Council meetings, so when five out of seven members voted to move forward with the motion a wave of jazz hands shot up into the air – a vigorous sign of approval from attendees who pushed for the motion into the early morning hours.
“I’ve been to Standing Rock twice. I was on the frontline every time. It made me very angry to see my people treated in such a manner,” said Walter Ruiz, also known as Graywolf. Ruiz was one of 25 activists who spoke to support cutting ties with Wells Fargo. He runs the Chumash Indian Museum in Thousand Oaks.