I think it is time for our work at Occupy Boston to impact legislation, and as a start, I have drafted a City of Boston resolution in favor of us exercising our 1st Amendment rights by occupying. The momentum of this victory will be a huge morale booster for us and will build legislative momentum for the movement. But I need YOUR input and support. Before I can get a city councilor to introduce this in City Hall, I need your feedback. The resolution is the text below. I will put it up on the G.A. at some point this week so please discuss this before then. YOUR THOUGHTS? Do you think the document represents the reasons you are at Occupy?
Draft by Christopher Hope
A RESOLUTION supporting the peaceful exercise of the First Amendment carried out by “Occupy Boston,” asking our Congressional leaders to generate solutions for economically distressed Americans, and pursuing legislation to promote responsible banking practices in Boston
WHEREAS, Boston residents like citizens across the United States, are alternately angered and frustrated by the continuing economic crisis that threatens individuals’ and our city’s fiscal stability and our community’s quality of life; and
WHEREAS, “Occupy Boston” is a peaceful protest and is fueled by Boston residents and people from throughout the region from all walks of life who have come together to support the national movement started by the “Occupy Wall Street” protests; and
WHEREAS, additional “Occupy” protests have taken root across the Country, and across the globe and are a growing movement with the shared goal of urging residents to peaceably assemble in public spaces in order to create a shared dialogue to address the problems and generate solutions for economically distressed people; and
WHEREAS, the roots of the Occupy Wall Street protests are various, including unemployment, growing income disparity, banking system failures, stalled earning power, tax systems that take more discretionary income from the very poor than the very rich, ongoing health and wealth disparities, and lack of accountability; and
WHEREAS the causes and consequences of the current economic crisis erode confidence in the social contract upon which the Constitution of the United States of America is based; namely, the ability of Americans to come together and form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for all, allowing every American to strive for and share in the prosperity of our nation through cooperation and hard work; and
WHEREAS, today large corporations and wealthy individuals hold undue influence and power in our country; and
WHEREAS, our economic system now witnesses more than 25 million Americans seeking work; more than 50 million Americans living without health insurance; and, more than 1 in 5 American children growing up in households living in poverty without sufficient resources to meet basic survival needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter; and
WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a “CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report – United States, 2011” revealing that income inequality in the United States is the highest in the world among any advanced industrialized nation, with wide-spread inequities in U.S. health outcomes by income, race, and gender; and
WHEREAS, over the past 30 years, gains in our economy have accrued largely to top income earners - largely the top 1%, who now control 40% of the wealth in the United States and own half of the country’s stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, with the 400 richest Americans at the top controlling more wealth than the 180 million Americans at the bottom, all in great part due to policies that are changeable like education investment levels, health care access and tax rates; and
WHEREAS, one of the largest problems dragging down our economy is the foreclosure crisis, with many homeowners struggling to obtain loan adjustments and too many banks with flawed review procedures; and
WHEREAS, to continue the progress to protect homeowners’ rights and properties per the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s recent ruling that banks cannot foreclose on homes if they do not establish proof of ownership; and
WHEREAS, people from all walks of life, whether economically comfortable or jobless, recognize the destructive effects of current conditions and the political gridlock that allows disparities to continue to widen; and
WHEREAS, local governments are straining under the weight of responsibilities and needs and demands for basic support services at a time of declining tax revenues as a result of budget cuts by the state and federal government.
WHEREAS, Americans can and must resolve the divisive economic and social realities facing our nation in a peaceful way that honors our commitment to democracy, equality and justice, and;
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BOSTON, THE MAYOR CONCURRING:
Section 1. By the adoption of this Resolution, the City of Boston recognizes and supports the peaceful exercise of First Amendment Rights by “Occupy Boston.”
Section 2. The City of Boston will review its banking and investment practices and ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that support our community. The Council may consider future legislation to promote responsible banking to ensure accountability and provide an incentive for banking institutions to invest more in our City, particularly with regard to the efforts of banking institutions to stabilize the housing market.
Section 3. The City of Boston requests our Congressional leaders to generate solutions for economically distressed Americans, specifically:
1. Create tax reform that fairly taxes those who can afford it most and does not place undue burden on lower income individuals.
2. Invest in domestic infrastructure.
3. Retain or increase community-building block grants for local schools and social services.
4. Protect public education from devastating cuts and prevent tuition levels that prevent fair access to higher education.
5. Reduce the deficit by trimming costs and raising revenues through progressive, fair taxation policies.
Adopted by the Boston City Council the _____ day of _____________, 2011, and signed by me in open session in authentication of its adoption this _____ day of ________________, 2011. ________________________________________
President __________ of the City Council
THE MAYOR CONCURRING: ______________________________ Mayor Filed by me this ______ day of _________________, 2011. ________________________________________ City Clerk
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