Wells Fargo under fire

Dear Friends,

Protestors confront officials inside hotel where Wells Fargo shareholders met last week.

Actions have consequences. That’s a lesson each of us learned as kids — hopefully. Now it’s Wells Fargo’s turn to learn about consequences for a string of transgressions that make anything most of us did as kids look, well, like child’s play.

– Wells Fargo continues to finance the Dakota Access Pipeline and other Energy Transfer Partner fossil fuel projects.

Christine Nobiss speaks in front of banner designed by Remy.

– Wells Fargo also finances private prisons, the NRA, and other industries coming under intense public scrutiny.

– Wells Fargo has been “accused of ripping off small business owners on credit card transactions and retaliating against workers who called the ethics hotline.” (Story in WSIS)

– Wells Fargo has “admitted to opening as many as 3.5 million fake accounts, forcing customers into auto insurance they didn’t want and charging unnecessary mortgage fees.” (Story in WSIS)

Shari Hrdina and Sarah Spain with Bold Iowa’s banner.

Wow! Wells Fargo has even been sacked with a $1 billion fine and forced by the Federal Reserve to limit its growth. Its consequences may continue to pile up.

At the grassroots level, during its national shareholders meeting last week in Des Moines, Wells Fargo came under fire both inside and outside the meeting.

Check out this excellent coverage by KCCI TV 8 of the protests outside the meeting.

And here’s what Common Dreams had to say.

What’s next in the growing effort to get Wells Fargo to shape up? That’s under discussion in Iowa and across the country. Stay tuned!

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On this week’s Fallon Forum, Dr. Charles Goldman co-hosts with Ed Fallon. We talk with Maya Rao, an author who spent a year at a North Dakota oilfield. Maya’s also a D.C. correspondent with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. We also talk with Penny Furgerson of Gateway Dance Theater.

– Up close look at fracking for oil in North Dakota’s Bakken
– Restorative dirt farming to sequester CO2
– Wells Fargo comes under fire
– America’s ongoing crisis of income inequality and wage stagnation
– India’s Chipko movement battles climate change, one tree at a time
– Will Arctic sea ice become a thing of the past?

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Decorah vs. Alliant Energy

Dear Friends,

When it comes to advancing solar power and handing control of a community’s energy future back to the people, big things are brewing in northeast Iowa. On May 1, Decorah residents will vote on whether to move forward toward establishing a publicly owned utility. “With a municipal electric utility we could enjoy one of the best economic and environmental opportunities available to us,” writes Larry Grimstad, President of Decorah Power.

Predictably, utility monopoly Alliant Energy is fighting back. It’s a classic David vs. Goliath situation, and all the good arguments are on the side of the intrepid core of volunteers leading Decorah Power.

Decorah, Iowa

For an excellent story about the power struggle, check out this Des Moines Register story by Donnelle Eller. Visit Decorah Power’s website, too.

There are 136 municipal electric utilities in Iowa. In 2008, Iowa City tried to become the 137th but was massively outspent and whomped badly by MidAmerican Energy. The last time a city in Iowa successfully established a public power authority was 1974 in Aurelia. Iowa’s two utility monopolies have only grown bigger and more powerful over the decades, and spend whatever it takes to defeat any effort to cut in to their market share.

What’s happening in Decorah is a big deal! If you live here, be sure to vote on May 1. If you don’t live in Decorah but know folks who do, please reach out to them and encourage them to support the initiative. If Decorah residents are successful, other communities will feel emboldened to take back the power from the utility Goliaths.

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Guests on this week’s Fallon Forum include Adam Mason with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Joseph Glazebrook of Glazebrook & Hurd, LLP, and State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad of Creative Visions. Here’s what we discussed:

– Wells Fargo under fire comes under fire
– Power for the people in Decorah, Iowa
– Trump Court appointee votes against Trump on key immigration ruling
– Philadelphia Starbucks boots two black customers
– Students walk-out as Waffle House hit by assault-weapon massacre
– Understanding ranked-choice voting

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