OccupyMaine Files Petition for Initial Redress of Grievances With City Council; Requests Change of City’s Bank to In-state Financial Institution, Etc…


By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,036)

Just hours before the city council’s special meeting on whether or not to approve an amended petition filed by John Branson, pro bono attorney for OccupyMaine, Branson filed electronically with Gary C. Wood, Esq., Portland’s corporation counsel, a petition for redress of grievances.

In the cover letter, dated December 7, Branson said that OM has “been discouraged about the extent to which the media and the City have viewed the occupation movement mostly through the lens of public safety and a classic ‘law and order’ mentality……the group remains hopeful that the democratically elected members of the City Council will speak publicly aboaut the grave economic and social injustices–and looming threats to the integrity of our constitutional democracy – that gave birth to the Occupy movement here and around the country.”

The one-page Petition called for:

1. the city to withdraw all its funds from TD Bank and transfer those funds to a locally owned bank or credit union,

2. develop methods for increased direct democracy and public engagement including, as a starting point, making the State of Maine Room available for a weekly City of Portland General Assembly that would develop proposals and recommendations for consideration and action by the City Council,

3. increase support for homeless people in Portland including those who have come to live at Lincoln Park. Begin by working with homeless people in Lincoln Park to get them into housing and address other needs that they have.

4. create a 24-hour free speech and assembly space in Monument Square where people can assemble at any hour to engage in non-commercial first amendment activity.

In response to an email to the bank’s pr person based at corporate headquarters in New Jersey, this:

“We support the OccupyMaine’s right to afely and respectfully protest. It matters to us what goes on in the community. We are proud to work with and support the City of Portland. People should know that we are also partof Main Street. We have local lenders making local decisions here and supporting the community. We hire locally and throughout the economic downturn, TD has continued to add stores, create jobs, continue to lend and invest in our local communities. We have our headquarters in Portland. TD Bank is a member of TD Bank Group, one of the few banks in the world rated Aaa by Moody’s. TD Bank did not receive bail out money and we did not get involved in the sub-prime mortgage business,” Rebecca Acevedo.