STATEMENT COMPILED FOR THE FEBRUARY 27, 1979, BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL MEETING IN RESPONSE TO ACTING CITY MANAGER'S ANALYSIS OF RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT ORDINANCE

by Yes on A & B / Berkeley Out of South Africa Coalition
Berkeley, California, United States
February 27, 1979
3 pages
Type: Statement
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English

Critique by group that promoted the Berkeley Responsible Investment Ordinance concerning objections to the ordinance by the Acting City Manager. The statement challenges the notion that the ordinance, which would withdraw City funds from banks lending to South Africa, conflicts with the City’s "fiduciary responsibility." It argues that there will be economic benefits from the ordinance, including an increased tax base, job creation, and community economic development, because reinvestment of public funds will cause a "multiplier effect" for Berkeley’s economy. The measure provides increased public control over public funds. The ordinance will broaden the definition of "rate of return" to address how public money best serves the public interest. The City Finance Director's opinion is raising every conceivable objection to the initiative, and has given it an undocumented $500,000 price tag. The Finance Director's entire analysis hinges on his admitted "liberally construed" definition of “indirect loans” to South Africa. The generally recognized definition of indirect loans includes: a) loans from branches outside the U.S., b) purchase of South African government bonds, and c) participation in consortia lending to South Africa. It is not difficult to define whether a bank is involved in direct or indirect loans to the South African government, to businesses in South Africa, or is making trade-related loans to South Africa. The City Finance Director and Acting City Manager's memo ignores precedents; for example, the National Council of Churches (NCC) and some labor unions are now administering policies similar to the Berkeley initiative without undue inconvenience or financial loss. Socially responsible investment will increase the return to the community without sacrificing direct yield; investments of public money must be made in the real interests of the public. The statement mentions Kennecott Copper Corporation, Phelps Dodge, Caltex, apartheid, Southern Africa Working Group in Sacramento, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), the United Methodist Church, the Drug and Hospital Workers #1199, the  Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Employees, the Leather and Machine Workers, Joint Board, the Furriers' Joint Council, Columbia University, Harvard University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Vassar College, Antioch College, Amherst College, Savings and Loan Associations, Certificates of Deposit, and commercial banks.

Collection: Miloanne Hecathorn papers