This is just one of the things that makes me feel like I can’t be on my own neighborhood after dark. I’m disabled and trans, and have been told to “move along” by cops before when hanging out at night on Pike/Pine. Part of me thinks it’s because more wealthy white straight people are moving into the neighborhood.

But it really sucks feeling like I have to “get out” of my own neighborhood by a certain time each night. And I’m getting tired of feeling like I should just accept it and move on. This idea that if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you shouldn’t have to fear the cops is another way of keeping people from speaking up when they know something isn’t right. The thing is, people want to believe that the police would never treat them like that. But they will if they can figure out how to.

Police don’t need an excuse, and as things get worse out here, they need less and less of one every day.

Black Orchid Collective

One of the six people bashed and arrested last Saturday night at Pride during the Queers Fucking Queers street dance party has written about her experiences that night. For updates on the arrestees, please follow the Grand Legion of Incendiary and Tenacious Unicorn Revolutionaries (GLTUR) on the web, Facebook, and twitter. For more background, please read jomo206’s post “It doesn’t get better, we rebel to make it better!

Last Saturday night, I went to meet some friends on Capitol Hill to go to a queer dance party in the street. I was excited to celebrate, dance and attempt to push the idea of pride weekend a little further away from its current state of corporate sponsored, assimilationist dismissal of all that is joyful, free and queer. I brought my bunny mask as it seemed like just the sort of occasion to wear it.

There was supposed…

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Look Inside Umpqua Bank

It’s been awhile since I talked about banks. A couple of weeks ago, I took some pics of the inside lobby of the Umpqua branch I usually bank at. They’re up on Capitol Hill, on Broadway by All Pilgrims Church.

First, they have three wireless stations. I couldn’t take a picture, because all three were in use, and I didn’t want to invade people’s privacy. But you can just come in, sit down, and use the wireless at my bank. I don’t think you have to have an account there to do it either.

And when you stop by the bank, you can have some coffee or tea.

Have a cup!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, just a few feet down from the coffee bar is the golden “bat phone”. I don’t know what they really call it. It’s gold color, and you can reach anyone in a department by picking up the receiver and pressing a single button. And I do mean anyone. Seriously. Pressing 8 will connect you to the bank president.

I haven’t tried it yet. Behold the bat phone for yourself:

Call Us!

 

 

Really, Call Us!

So that’s a quick look inside my new bank. Coffee, wireless, and their very own bat phone. 🙂 Remember, they also give me chocolate every time I deposit money. What’s not to like?

I know I left Well’s Fargo for moral reasons, but the coolness factor at my bank is also worth it. If you haven’t moved to a new bank yet, I highly recommend Umpqua. If you are worried about not having unlimited access to ATMs, ask yourself: how often you get cash at ATMs? If you’re like me, you get more of your cash back at registers during daily activities.

Seriously. It’s time to realize that money is much more accessible than it used to be. ATMs are not the key to cash anymore: your pin number is. Our money moves faster than we do, and no one should charge us to hold onto it. These are things it’s taken me years to learn, and there’s so much more I don’t understand.

Do yourself a favor. Experiment with your mobility. Open a secondary, online only bank account. Switch to a credit union or local bank. Try something to shake up the idea that “bricks and machines” are vital to financial existence. It’s scary, but worth it.

Umpqua Branches Update

Ok, I didn’t look hard enough. My bank has WAY more than two branches. They’re all over Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Northern California. In Seattle alone they have about 15 branches, around one branch in each neighborhood.

Check it out for yourself: http://www.umpquabank.com/locator/new/

I Found A Bank That Will Take Me!!

Edit: I thought Umpqua only had two branches. That is beyond not true. My new bank has WAY more than two branches. They’re all over Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Northern California. Check it out for yourself: http://www.umpquabank.com/locator/new/ Ok, carry on with the post. 🙂

I am now a member at Umpqua Bank, “the greatest bank in the world”. And I have to say, they’re pretty cool. Here’s how it happened:

The regular readers here know I’ve been on a quest since September of 2011 to find a new place to move my banking. At first it was about our “too big to fail” banks and their attitudes around customer service, fee rollouts, etc. I decided to move out of Wells Fargo. It was a difficult choice in a way, because my family banked at Wells for years when I was a kid, and they have branches everywhere I have people.

But I have been learning that where you have your money matters ethically, even if you don’t have much.

I started by looking to join a credit union. Boy did that backfire on me. None of the credit unions wanted me. Once because my credit score wasn’t high enough (looking at you Salal, with your minimum 600 score requirement). Another time Chexsystems blocked me out.

So, after feeling like the school nerd trying in vain to get a date with the prom queen, I sucked it up again and started looking at local banks.

Continue reading

Credit Unions: For Perfect People Only?

Well, I did it again. I went over to BECU this morning and tried to open an account. *sigh* I thought that since I had paid off the Chexsystems issue about four months ago, things would be okay. Nope. Chexsystems STILL had the US Bank thing listed as unpaid. Which means no BECU account for me.

The lady I talked to (different one from the first time) said that even if I came in with a letter from US Bank saying it had been paid off, they aren’t allowed to override their computers and open an account. And apparently, Chexsystems can leave that on my report for up to FIVE YEARS.

You know, I feel a bit like a high school outcast trying to get a date with the prom queen. This just isn’t going to happen. The credit union crowd sits at the popular table in the school cafeteria, and I’m never going to be allowed to put my books on that table, much less eat there.

Hmm..I did notice one thing though when I visited the Chexsystems website just now. In their FAQs, they provide this handy piece of information:

My account was paid. Why wasn’t the report removed?  A reporting member is under no obligation to remove an accurate report of account mishandling due to payment of monies owed. However, the member is obligated to update the report with a paid in full or settled in full date when applicable.

Apparently I need to talk with the folks at US Bank. They haven’t done their part in reporting that I cleared this up.

But to continue on…I can’t let this stop me from moving my money. It’s no longer about the fees Wells Fargo is trying to bring back. It’s about their money they’ve invested in private prisons. I can’t abide it. Those prisons are a form of slavery targeting people of color that’s even more insidious than our publicly funded systems, because there’s much less oversight. I don’t have a lot of money in my account, but it’s the principle of the thing.

So, I need to find something else. Since credit unions are for the popular kids, I’ll check into local banks I guess. I’d hate to go back into the alternative financial sector (a fancy word for payday loans, check cashing places, etc), but I will if it’s the only way to stop supporting this investment.

As always, I’ll report back and let you know. 🙂

Want To Be a Civil Rights Commissioner?

If you live in King County, and are committed for fighting for people’s civil rights, this may be just the opportunity you’ve been waiting for!

 

King County residents interested in public service and raising community awareness and involvement in civil rights issues are invited to apply for one of three positions on the King County Civil Rights Commission. If selected and confirmed by the King County Council, commissioners serve three-year terms.

 The Civil Rights Commission advises the County Executive and County Council on matters related to the county’s civil rights programs and on human and civil rights issues. This includes reviewing and reporting on the effectiveness and progress of the county’s affirmative action, non-discrimination enforcement, and minority/women business utilization programs, as well as educating the community about preventing and eliminating discrimination. In addition, the commission works to educate the community about the county’s Equity and Social Justice Ordinance.

The Civil Rights Commission is soliciting applications from individuals in County Council District 2 (represented by Council Chair Larry Gossett), which covers the Beacon Hill, Capitol Hill, Central Area, Fremont, Laurelhurst, Rainier Valley, Ravenna, Seward Park, Skyway, and University District neighborhoods of Seattle.

A second position is open in County Council District 9, represented by Councilmember Reagan Dunn. This district covers parts of Bellevue, Kent, and Renton, as well as the communities of Black Diamond, Covington, Enumclaw, Maple Valley, and Newcastle, and unincorporated areas of southeast King County.

There is also an At-large Commissioner position which is open to applicants from any County Council district. An interactive map of County Council districts is available online at www.kingcounty.gov/council.

 Commission members must live in King County. If confirmed by the County Council, commissioners serve without pay. Residents from diverse ethnic and protected group backgrounds, including people with disabilities, are encouraged to apply. All commission members are bound by the King County Code of Ethics and are required to complete a financial disclosure statement upon appointment and by April 15 of each succeeding year of service.

Potential candidates should have interests and experience related to the goals of the commission, live in the appropriate County Council district, and be able to commit eight to ten hours monthly to commission meetings and work projects.  This includes attending monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month from 3 – 5 p.m., and participating in committee work, which can require additional meetings.

For more information on the Civil Rights Commission and its activities, please visit www.kingcounty.gov/exec/CRC.aspx or contact commission administrator Paula Harris-White at 206-296-8610 or paula.harris-white@kingcounty.gov.

Paula Harris-White, J.D.

Administrator,
KING COUNTY CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION

EMPLOYEE-BASED EE0/AA ADVISORY COMMITTEE

CNK-ES-0215
401 FIFTH AVENUE, SUITE 215
SEATTLE WA 98104
Phone: 206-296-8610   Fax: 206-296-4329