Occupy LA has gained the official support of the Los Angeles City Council after it unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday afternoon. It now heads to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for his approval or veto.
The vote came after more than two hours of impassioned public comment, which a couple times included poetry and song. A handful of local banking leaders spoke up, reminding the council that they invest in the community, but the crowd was overwhelmingly in support of the nascent national movement that seeks to bring attention to and solve a number of issues surrounding jobs, banks and corporations.
"This country is going to hell in a hand basket," said Council member Paul Koretz, who represents tony areas like Bel Air and Holmby Hills. "These are things worthy of protest and I thank them for speaking out and moving the debate forward."
Other than general statements of support, City Council members did not debate the merits of Occupy LA's goals or the main crux of the resolution, which supports "the continuation of the peaceful and vibrant exercise in First Amendment Rights" of the protestors, hundreds of them who are camping outside city hall (and vow to through December). Rather, the council focused on the other part of the resolution: logistics of hearing a responsible banking measure that was introduced over a year ago by Council member Richard Alarcon.
That measure seeks to divest city money from banks not cooperating with foreclosure prevention efforts and instead flow money into banks reinvesting in the community. Billions of dollars invested in banks could be affected. It will be discussed on or by November 21st by the city's Finance and Budget Committee, with a preliminary discussion at a City Council meeting that same week.
The Council also thanked the LAPD and other city departments for peacefully working with the protestors.