No business in Berkeley for President Trump's 'Wall', Oakland may follow
OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Berkeley is now the first city in the nation to pass legislation that bars doing business with companies involved with building President Donald Trump's border wall. And Oakland is set to do the same next week.
The Berkeley City Council passed the legislation unanimously.
KTVU has obtained a list of that shows more than 600 companies across the nation have signed up as being interested vendors and some are right here in the Bay Area.
Construction companies— including those that have worked on projects for BART and retrofitted the Golden Gate Bridge and Dumbarton Bridge have expressed an interest in building the border wall proposed by President Trump.
"When I heard about this wall, I knew we had an opportunity to use our leverage however small it may be, to make a stand," says Ben Bartlett, Berkeley City Council member who authored the measure.
On Tuesday, the council passed the resolution.
Bartlett says effective immediately, Berkeley will divest from companies that work on the wall and the city will not do any business with those companies.
"A wall is divisive and works against our economic interest and is corrosive to our moral values," says Bartlett.
Shimmick Construction in Oakland is among the companies that have registered with the federal government, expressing an interest in the border wall.
KTVU has reached out to them through email and by phone but have received no response. There were others we contacted that also did not respond.
American Steel, a former foundry in Oakland that has long been a warehouse leased to artists, is also on that list. But the owners say it’s a mistake and it did not sign up with the federal government about being interested in working on the wall.
"No way are we supporting Donald Trump. We don't believe in putting up walls. We believe in taking down walls,” says Kevin Parker who is among the group that owns American Steel.
It turns out an artist who leases space from American Steel and whose company shares a similar name, American Steel Studios, did sign up.
Karen Cusolito says she doesn't support the wall or the Trump administration.
"I'm dismayed at how reactionary we've become as a whole due to our current political circumstance," Cusolito told KTVU by phone.
She says she wants to find out more about the wall, but not work on it," I don't think my simple effort to get more information about something should make people become so agitated."
"We have the power of the purse and we really want to make a statement," says Abel Guillen, a city council member in Oakland.
Guillen sponsored legislation in Oakland boycotting companies that work on the wall.
He expects the resolution to pass," As with any boycott movement, the more people that participate, the stronger message we will send."
Critics say Oakland and Berkeley's resolutions will have little impact. But supporters say they are part of a larger movement to fight against a division t they say exists in our country.
"I say all great things start with one small step," says Bartlett with the Berkeley City Council.
Oakland city council is scheduled to vote on its ordinance Tuesday, March 28th.