As a group of Oak Park and Austin activists keeps calling for Congressional hearings on the takeover of Park National, voices are chiming in from City Hall in Chicago and from the blogosphere.

According to a Sun-Times report published Thursday, the Chicago City Council has approved a resolution demanding the U.S. House Financial Services Committee hold neighborhood hearings on the federal seizure in October of FBOP Corp.’s banks. The largest locally of the Oak Park-based parent’s nine banks was Park National, a longstanding funding source for the West Side.

“If your alderman supported the resolution, please thank him/her, and ask that he/she contact the member of Congress representing your community,” Oak Parker Jackie Leavy said Thursday in an e-mail she sent to members of the Coalition to Save Community Banking. Leavy is an organizer of the six-week-old, 25-member group that’s plugging away at making Washington aware of a widespread sense of neighborhood loss.

Sunday afternoon, Leavy sent coalition members another e-mail alerting them to a post Saturday night on Daily Kos, the popular political blog that often sets a national agenda for discussions. The post is headlined “Community Organizers Fighting ‘Big Banks Swallowing Community Banks’ Trend.” Under the screen name AvengingAngel, a coalition member wrote:

“Instead of using leftover TARP money to dole out federal incentives directly to businesses, an effort should be made to stabilize community banks. … There should be some public discussion … to connect lawmakers to the realities we face in our communities.”

Within half an hour, a veteran on the collaborative blog commented: “Please report this on a more opportune day. This is an important issue that needs to be discussed more broadly.” In minutes, another agreed – “This is a worthy cause.” – pointing out that everyone’s attention Saturday was on the health care reform bill.

Leavy’s e-mail about the Chicago City Council action thanked Alderman Emma Mitts (37th Ward), who introduced the resolution, and the aldermen who co-sponsored it: Bob Fioretti (2nd), Pat Dowell (3rd), Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Anthony Beale (9th), Toni Foulkes (15th), Latasha Thomas (17th), Willie Cochran (20th), Roberto Maldonado (26th), Ed Smith (28th), Isaac Carothers (29th) and Helen Shiller (46th). 

The next priority, according to Leavy, is to pin down a date for a hearing. Leavy, who a month ago was listing general office numbers for congressmen, now is giving exact office numbers for their key staff members:

Bill Zavarello, who works for U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee – 202-225-5931

Flavio Cumpiano, who works for U.S. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, chairman of a House subcommittee on financial institutions – 202-226-6316

-Helen Karakoudas

Web Extra

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