Occupy Charlotte

BofA to Quit ALEC?

Last summer, a cousin who is a stockbroker, sent me a link from a group called Social Funds.  (http://www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cgi/3592.html

As I’ve followed the corporate defections from ALEC and Heartland, Walden Management kept coming up in the conversation. I’ve not found a great deal about them that is not in the Social Funds article linked to and shown above.  Hadn’t really given them much thought lately as the exodus of corporations from ALEC and fellow cabal member Heartland had quieted down.

Well, the same folks who organized the large BofA protest at the BofA Shareholder’s Meeting here in Charlotte earlier this year, are apparently looking at keeping up the pressure on BofA and organizing a follow-up protest.  As I was going through my archives to review the process that they used to organize their protest–a very effective process, by the way–I ran across some notes I had that mentioned Walden Management.  Having just heard some rumors during last Saturday’s “Who is Controlling your Politicians” rally about the relationship between Bank of America and ALEC, I decided to look up Walden Management to see if perhaps they knew anything about this.

I spoke with Tim Smith, identified in the Social Funds article as Walden’s “Senior Vice President and Director of ESG Shareholder Engagement for Walden Asset Management, (who had) urged the companies “to examine safeguards and processes in place to ensure that membership in and support for organizations that influence public policy do not undermine” their reputations.

(The letter was signed by 41 investors with approximately $25 billion in assets under management.)

I reached Tim Smith by telephone late this afternoon and asked him about the rumor I had heard,  He confirmed to me that BofA will be leaving ALEC in 2013 “for budgetary reasons”.  Tim told me that he had sent out an e-mail to someone involved in the exposing ALEC movement that he worked with, notifying him/her about Walden’s success with BofA.  (Talk about timing!)  He said he would send me a copy of the e-mail, but I suspect that the 5:00 bell rang before he could do it.

For whatever reason, there is no mention of this anywhere that I can find on the internet, despite his assurance that he had notified people yesterday.  And that is why I am calling this a rumor as I have not seen any written confirmation at this moment–just the word of the person who apparently worked to secure this incredibly great action.

Living in Charlotte, Bank of America is a subject of great interest as it has been the target of numerous protests by a number of different groups, most notably the Pushback Network (Brigid Flaherty), Occupy Wall Street, and the Occupy groups in North Carolina–Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheville, Durham, Raleigh, Carrboro…all the way out to Occupy Wilmington (NC) on the coast.

As Bank of America is of such great interest in Charlotte— and should be of interest to all following the ALEC Insurrection– I thought I would go public with this as a “rumor” until I get written confirmation.

My personal thanks to Tim Smith at Walden Management for his efforts to use the power of their portfolio to communicate with the shareholders of many corporations involved in ALEC and the Heartland Institute. 

As for Social Funds, I’ve got to find out more about their socially responsible investment management,

 

Protesters Dump Coal at Bank of America

About 30 people – including Beth Henry who spoke about the impact of coal on the environment –  and members of Occupy Charlotte, staged a “bad air day” to protest Bank of America’s financing of the coal industry.  They dumped 500 pounds of coal and then cleaned it up with a “Citizen Clean-Up Crew”.

Bank of America, a member of ALEC, is one of the largest funders of the coal industry–which includes Charlotte based Duke Energy.

You can see photos of this action in our Photo Gallery,

Occupying Duke Energy

March 31, 2012:

Today a number of groups concerned with the way Duke Energy continues to pollute our planet, protested at ALEC member Duke Energy’s Offices at 550 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC  28202 (in case you feel compelled to send Jim Rogers a written message).  It was truly inspiring to be with a group of distinct organizations working together toward a common goal.

This post will try to share today’s events with you.  As the speeches given by many today are not on the web, we will print each of them in subsequent posts.

The Event was co-Sponsored by:
350.org
, Occupy Charlotte,
Action NC, Canary Coalition,
Clean Air Carolina, DemocracyNC,
Green Party-Charlotte Chapter,
Greenpeace USA,
NAACP-Charlotte Chapter,
NC WARN, SAFE Carolinas, & More!

To read more of this article about the Occupation of Duke Energy, please click here

Protesters Rail Against Duke Energy

By Meghan Cooke
macooke@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Sunday, Apr. 01, 2012
  • Protesters gather outside the Duke Energy Center in uptown Charlotte Saturday, March 31, 2012. About 50 protesters came to voice their concerns about the environment and the company’s rate hike. Todd Sumlin – tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

About 50 people gathered Saturday afternoon outside the Duke Energy tower in uptown Charlotte to protest the utility company’s recent rate hikes – an increase they say will be used to pay for dangerous coal-produced energy.

They held signs that read “Clean coal is a dirty lie” and “No rate hikes Dirty Energy,” and cheered as organizers using a loudspeaker railed against the power company.

“Our message is simple,” said Héctor Vaca, director of the Charlotte chapter of Action NC, which works on behalf of low- to moderate-income families. “Duke Energy, stop making us average North Carolinians pay to have you destroy our health. We average North Carolinians will not give you a stimulus.”

Greenpeace NC organizer Monica Embrey said the rally – organized by environmental and social justice groups, including Greenpeace, Clean Air Carolina, Charlotte’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Action NC, the Charlotte Green Party and Occupy Charlotte – was one of about 30 similar events across the state Saturday.

“North Carolina could be a leader in clean energy if Duke just put its money where its mouth is and started investing in clean, renewable energy,” Embrey said.

Read the complete Charlotte Observer article here