“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner
Huffington Post has the headline, and an ABC station in San Diego has the story: Jeff Olson, a California man, wrote sidewalk messages last year that derided Bank of America, and he’s currently in trial, facing 13 years of jail and $13,000 in restitution fees.
Oh, and the messages were written in water-soluble chalk. But Bank of America claims that it cost them $6,000 to clean them up.
It’s no wonder, then, that Olson said, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this is happening” as he left the courtroom.
It’s a surreal story, especially following last week’s revelations six former Bank of America employees admitted that the bank systematically lied to customers in order to foreclose on them. This way bank employees could get bonuses in the form of cash and gift cards.
So compare the actions talked about in this former employee’s court statement,
“I witnessed employees and managers change and falsify information in the systems of record, and remove documents from homeowners’ files to make the account appear ineligible for a loan modification.”
To the actions of Jeff Olson, who protested his ire about Bank of America in water-soluble chalk.
It’s as though justice has been rendered completely meaningless.
The one silver-lining to this whole ordeal, if there is one, is that this type of extreme injustice (13 years of jail!) has been known to ignite protests, and if Bank of America is good for anything, it’s good for protesting.
Jan Goldsmith's job as City Attorney is to represent the City of San Diego. In addition, it appears as if his office is also fully prepared to stand up for the little...rather, the big banks.
On Tuesday, the City Attorney's Office will make their case for prosecution of a 40-year-old man for writing anti-bank slogans in water soluble chalk on the sidewalk outside of three Bank of America branches in Mid-City.
This week, North Park resident Jeff Olson will appear in court to fight a charge of 13 counts of misdemeanor vandalism charges for writing protest slogans in chalk from February to August 2012. The charges could send Olson to jail for 13 years and put him on the hook for $13,000 in restitution to the City and to Bank of America.
Olson, a former staffer for a U.S. Senator from Washington, began to get involved in political activism around the time that Occupy Wall Street was in full swing. But for him, sleeping in a tent downtown or singing along to protest songs was not the right strategy.