Tuesday, March 11, 2008


You think the big banks give any thought to the people they made lousy loans to and then foreclosed upon. Nah, I doubt it too.

In Boston some of those who have been tossed out of their homes are trying to force the bankers to see them as people and to stop the foreclosures. They gathered in front of Deutsche Bank to air out their grievances.

This is not the first time Boston residents have fought back. Just last month a crowd of about 75 protesters caused a bank to back off from the planned eviction of Melonie Griffiths-Evans and her 3 children.

Community Labor United says the results of the foreclosure fiasco are all too real for Boston's working families. Government and local assistance programs are unable to handle the volume and the depth of need across the city.

"Each day we get calls from tenants and owners who are facing evictions from their homes and neighborhoods. The only clear way to stop the crisis is for the Deutsche Bank to stop evicting our neighbors," said Steve Meacham of the group City Life/Vida Urbana said.

In 2007, Mass foreclosures show Deutsche Bank in the lead with 4652 petitions in 2007, followed by Wells Fargo (3404) and US Bank (2918) and the Blackstone Group made about $750 million in rental income and gave nothing back to the City of Boston.

"Both of these companies need to take responsibility for the cities that they do business in; they can't expect to simply to profit from the good times and then turn their back on when times get bad," says Kalila Barnett of Community Labor United.

Of course, that is exactly what banks expect and, in point of fact, operating within the laws of capitalism why shouldn't they.

Capitalism isn't about us, it's about their profits. I keep wondering when more people won't get that already.

Meanwhile, people nationwide need to learn another lesson and that is that no one will save them except themselves and those like themselves. You can't wait on the politicians - who might get around to you sometime in the not to near future.

In Cleveland, last week, angry citizens targeted the home of Mike Garmone — a regional vice president at Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation's largest mortgage lender. They were organized by an in-your-face activist group called the East Side Organizing Project, with a paid staff then of just two, who were mobilizing to battle Cleveland's mortgage "loan sharks."

It's happening nationwide now and it's happening without much help from the radical left either.

Last Thursday in front of the Ingham County courthouse on Kalamazoo Street in downtown Lansing, Michigan, City Pulse reports a small group of activists from Community Defense Against Poverty gathered to speak out in favor of people who lost their homes as a result of foreclosure (see picture). The activists held a large hand-painted sign demanding a stop to eviction foreclosures and quietly passed out fliers advertising an upcoming informational session about housing issues.

“This dream of becoming a homeowner has turned into a nightmare,” said activist Chris Alexander, an x-ray technician by day. “We’re making known the predators, … and we demand that the government enact moratoriums (on outstanding mortgages).”

Ah, the American dream. They sold it to us and now they want it back.

On top of all this in many places, like Lansing and Kansas City, property taxes are going up while housing values are going down. It seems absurd but that is just what happened to a friend of mine lately who can no longer afford to live in her house but also can't afford to sell it. What is she and her children supposed to do?

There are a myriad of ways your property taxes can go up while house values are going down. One obvious scenario is what has happened in Chicago which is basing it's taxes on assessments done in 2006. Unfortunately, it isn't 2006 anymore. Even the Mayor is pissed off.

By the way, where property taxes do reflect the falling prices, city or county services end up the victims.

What a deal.

Take the streets folks...for yourselves, for your friends, for your neighbors, for justice.

The following is from WCDV-TV in Boston.

Homeowners Served With Evictions Rally In Boston

BOSTON -- Bay State residents who have been evicted as part of the ongoing foreclosure crisis say they are fed up and many of them took their message straight to the bank during a midday rally through Downtown Crossing Tuesday.

NewsCenter 5's Shiba Russell reported that the group marched through the city shopping district carrying placards and chanting as part of a protest against banks that have been foreclosing on properties.

"They really need to see the faces of this money that they're passing back and forth. This is real life. This is real people that this is happening to and it's got to stop," Deborah Williams, of Roxbury, said.

Several said they are fighting to keep their homes.

"They come in here and give out all this money and then they give you those balloon mortgages knowing ... knowing ... that you wouldn't be able to afford that increase," Dorchester's Hildreth Brewington said.

Brewington and his sister are legally blind and are facing an eviction from their home after a bank foreclosed.

"We want the evictions stopped. There's no reason to disrupt Boston's neighborhoods. Here you have thousands of families willing to pay rent and the banks won't take it. That's ridiculous," City Life's Steve Meachem said.

The protesters delivered a giant eviction notice to Deutsche Bank on behalf of foreclosed families, even rallying inside the lobby of the Franklin Street building where the bank leases space. Boston police asked them to leave and the protest continued outside, despite the group's lack of a permit.

The residents said they just want banks to listen to them.

"They refuse to help us out, to work with us so we can keep our homes. So now, they want to throw me out," Donna Scott said.

"They forced us into getting these loans and I'm left with nothing today," Norma Graham said.


MJ said...

Just a clarification: you (and that TV station) got the Boston part wrong. These aren't people who have been "tossed out of their homes" -- these are people in the post-foreclosure, pre-eviction limbo (both former owners and their former tenants), trying to stay in their homes. Foreclosure doesn't mean eviction; that distinction is the basis of the whole campaign! And so far nobody who's joined the campaign has been evicted (knock on wood)...

Oread Daily said...

Thank you for your correction and explanation.