California Dreamin': Why I’m Running for State Treasurer in 2014

Two years ago, in the fall of 2011, a bill for a feasibility study for a California state-owned bank passed both houses of the California legislature.   The Public Banking Institute, which I founded and chaired, was instrumental in helping to get the bill as far as it got.  But it died when Governor Jerry Brown vetoed it.  His reasoning was that we already had a banking committee, and that the matter could be explored in-house. However, we have heard no more about it since.  

I am therefore running for California State Treasurer on a state bank platform, along with Laura Wells, who is running for Controller. Our vision is to transform California, the world’s eighth largest economy, into a financially sovereign state. We are running on the ticket of the Green Party, because it takes no corporate money.  Candidates who take corporate money – and that means nearly all conventional candidates – are beholden to large corporate interests and cannot adequately represent the interests of the disenfranchised 99%.

I got my undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley in the 1960s, when tuition was free; and my law degree at UCLA in the 1970s, when tuition was $600 a year.  Today it is $12,000 and $35,000, respectively, for in-state students.  In the 1960s, the governor of California was Jerry Brown’s father Pat Brown, a New Deal visionary who believed that investment in education, infrastructure and local business was an investment in the future.  His son evidently has lost that vision; or perhaps he just lacks the vision to see how it can be done in today’s debt-ridden climate.  We believe that it can be done, and we are throwing our bonnets in the ring for the opportunity to convince the governor of that fact.

Our primary evidentiary model is North Dakota, the only state to escape the 2008 credit crisis — and the only state to own its own bank.  North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, the lowest foreclosure rate, the lowest default rate on credit card debt, and no state debt at all.

By law, all of the state’s revenues are deposited in the Bank of North Dakota (BND), which is set up as a DBA of the state. The bank then uses its capital and deposits to generate credit for local state purposes. The BND partners with local banks rather than competing with them, strengthening their capital and deposit bases and allowing them to keep loans on their books rather than having to sell them off to investors. This practice allowed North Dakota to avoid the subprime crisis that destroyed the housing market in other states.

I have been studying the BND model since the fall of 2008, when it first showed its mettle in the banking crisis; and have written over 200 articles on that and related subjects, which can be found on my blog at ellenbrown.com. Several blog articles relevant to establishing a public bank in California are highlighted below.  Laura and I feel that if we had the opportunity to work with the governor and the treasurer’s department, we could show them how a state-owned bank can be our ticket to the abundance California has had before and can have again.

To get on the ballot we need 10,000 California signatures or a $2,800 filing fee.  If you live in California and would be willing to sign a petition, click here. (Petitions need to be printed on front and back as a single page and mailed in.) Thanks!

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NYT, ROOM FOR DEBATE — “IN BANKING, SHOULD THERE BE A ‘PUBLIC OPTION’?”

On October 2, 2013, The New York Times “Room for Debate” section hosted a debate called ”In Banking, Should There Be a ‘Public Option’?” My oped is here –

Public Banks Are Key to Capitalism

We actually need publicly owned banks for a capitalist market economy to run properly.  Read more here.

GREEN LIGHT FOR CITY-OWNED SAN FRANCISCO BANK

Posted on July 29, 2013

When the Occupiers took an interest in moving San Francisco’s money into a city-owned bank in 2011, it was chiefly on principle, in sympathy with the nationwide Move Your Money campaign.  But recent scandals have transformed the move from a political statement into a matter of protecting the city’s deposits and reducing its debt burden. Read more » 

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE PASSES BILL TO STUDY STATE-OWNED BANK

Posted on September 15, 2011

AB 750, California’s bill to study the feasibility of establishing a state-owned bank that would receive deposits of state funds, has passed both houses of the legislature and is now on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown awaiting his signature. Read more »

NORTH DAKOTA’S ECONOMIC “MIRACLE”—IT’S NOT OIL

Posted on September 1, 2011

North Dakota has had the nation’s lowest unemployment ever since the economy tanked. What’s its secret? Read more »

WHAT A PUBLIC BANK COULD MEAN FOR CALIFORNIA

Posted on May 17, 2011

California is the eighth largest economy in the world, and it has a debt burden to match. It has outstanding general obligation bonds and revenue bonds of $158 billion, largely incurred for infrastructure. Of this tab, $70 billion is just for interest. Over $7 billion of California’s annual budget goes to pay interest on the state’s debt. Read more »

33 Responses

  1. Well, this is excellent news. I wonder though, how much money will be spent against your campaign. As long as money spent makes a difference, which it does in most but not all campaigns, we’re going to have to live with this nonsense corporate run government.

    Good Luck to you and Laura Wells.

    • Thanks Adam. That’s probably true under current conditions, but we can be gadflies raising issues nobody else will raise for fear of alienating their corporate sponsors. And the first time we see a big-bank bail-in in the U.S., public sentiment could change.

    • Ellen-
      Thanks for all your hard work in trying to straighten out the financial mess here in California. Part of the problem is we need to raise the awareness of all this to the general public. Please let me know how I can be of help in your campaign.

      Thanks- Brian

  2. Too bad you can’t get Eliot Spitzer to run for Governor of California with you. Now that would be the ticket. I will definitely spread your name and ideas to help promote your campaign. Good luck in 2014.

    • Thanks! Yes he would stir up some hornets!

  3. Gayle McLaughlin won the mayoral election twice in Richmond without taking any corporate money and the big corporations spent millions trying to defeat her. If you stand with the people, it is still possible to win against money politics. We just have to get the ground to support Ellen.

  4. […] California Dreamin’: Why I’m Running for State Treasurer in 2014 […]

  5. A state owned bank could also go to the Fed window and get those .15 per cent loans that Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan get.

  6. This is great news to hear Ellen! Please know you’ll have my vote, that of my family and colleagues who are fans of yours and we’ll be campaigning for you- we need YOU to take over that office.

  7. […] California Dreamin’: Why I’m Running for State Treasurer in 2014 […]

  8. […] Solution, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  9. […] she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  10. […] she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  11. […] Solution, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  12. […] she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  13. […] Solution, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  14. Go For It Ellen Brown!

  15. […] Solution, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  16. […] Solution, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currentlyrunning for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  17. […] she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  18. […] los modelos históricamente exitosos de la banca pública a nivel mundial. En la actualidad es candidata por la Tesorería del Estado de California sobre la plataforma de un banco estatal. Ha escrito más de 200 artículos (disponibles aquí en […]

  19. […] los modelos históricamente exitosos de la banca pública a nivel mundial. En la actualidad es candidata por la Tesorería del Estado de California sobre la plataforma de un banco estatal. Ha escrito más de 200 artículos (disponibles aquí en […]

  20. […] on credit card Banks and their banking operations by my friend Ellen Brown, yes the very same Ellen Brown that is running for State of California CA Treasurer in 2014.  Ellen Brown Is the Green Party candidate for State of California Treasurer in 2014.  Take a […]

  21. To what address do we mail the Petition In Lieu of Filing Fee once we have signed it?
    Do we need to fill out the Affidavit of Circulator portion?

  22. Hi can someone explain this? In the book The Public Bank Solution, it is explained that a public bank, just like any other bank, can create money simply by making a loan. But at the end of each day, the money going out from the deposit accounts, must be matched by money coming into the deposit accounts. If there are not enough deposits, the bank must borrow from other banks. If there are too few deposits from the bank, does this not imply a limit on the amount of money the bank can create to finance the real economy? George Barcelona, Spain

  23. […]  “California Dreaming:  Why I’m Running for State Treasurer“ […]

  24. […] Brown (Attorney/ Public Banking Author, Green Party ♦ ) http://ellenbrown.com/treasurer/ Here’s where it gets interesting. John Lawrence’s article here at SDFP explains her crusade to […]

  25. […] she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  26. I agree with your positions, but is North Dakota the best example to bring up here? I assume their booming economy has less to do with their state bank and more to do with all the new gas extraction made possible by tracking (which I oppose on environmental grounds).

    • http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/the-north-dakota-miracle-not-all-about-oil

  27. […] Ellen Brown  Attorney/ Public Banking Author, Green Party ♦ http://ellenbrown.com/treasurer/ […]

  28. […] Solution, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

  29. […] Solution, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. She is currently running for California State Treasurer on a state bank […]

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