City of Cleveland Passes Emergency Vote to Support Occupy Movement

Written by admin on 06 December 2011

Cleveland City Council officially supports the Occupy Movement

 
The Cleveland City Council pass an emergency resolution 1720-11 in support of Occupy Cleveland and the Occupy Movement in general. The final vote from all the Wards was 18 yea and 1 nay.

With the passing of the 1720-11 resolution Cleveland (a US City with a population of 2,250,000 people) joins other cities (Seattle, LA and Chicago etc.) that also have voiced their official support of the Occupy Movement. The following Resolution was sent to President Barack Obama and all members of the U.S. Congress.

Cleveland City Council officially supports the Occupy Movement
Cleveland’s Resolution No. 1720-11

Council Members Cummins, Westbrook,Zone, Cimperman, Cleveland, Mitchell,J. Johnson, Brancatelli, Brady, Polensek, Pruitt, Conwell, K. Johnson, Dow. FOR ADOPTION December 5, 2012

AN EMERGENCY RESOLUTION

Recognizing and supporting the principles of the Occupy Movement and the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal, state and local levels; committing to work with the Jackson administration to take steps to minimize economic insecurity and destructive disparities in the City of Cleveland; and requesting our County, State and U.S. elected leaders generate solutions for economically distressed Americans.

WHEREAS, Cleveland community members, like others across the United States, are frustrated by the continuing economic crisis that threatens individual, family, small local business and City finances, and our community’s quality of life, and are participating in Occupy protests to make their voices heard; and

WHEREAS, the economic roots of these protests are varied, including sustained unemployment, growing income disparity, banking system failures, stalled earning power, and unjust tax systems, that all contribute to ongoing wealth disparities; and

WHEREAS, the political roots of these protests are also varied, including the growing political power of corporations, influence of money on elections and public policy and inability of average citizens to have their voices heard and needs met through formal political forums,thus contributing to citizens pursuing alternative political arenas; and

WHEREAS, this prolonged economic downturn has hurt nearly all Americans, in the areas of wealth loss, unemployment, and housing access, it has taken an even greater toll on people of color and women. Women are 29% more likely to be poor than men. The poverty rate for single mother families has increased to 40.7%. Economic gains made by people of color since the Civil Rights Movement have been substantially reduced by the Great Recession; and Caucasian Americans experienced a net wealth loss of 16 percent from 2005 to 2009. African Americans lost about half of their wealth and Latinos lost two-thirds of their wealth in this same period [Ref: Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010]

WHEREAS, more than 25 million Americans are unemployed and seeking work; more than 50 million Americans are living without health insurance; and, more than one in five American children are growing up in households living in poverty without sufficient resources tomeet basic survival needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter
[Ref: unemployed defined as unemployed,marginally attached to the labor force, or working only part-time for economic reasons, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-15.Alternative measures of labor underutilization];
and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in its report, a “CDC Health Disparities & Inequalities Report – United States, 2011″ documents that income inequality in the United States is the highest among advanced industrialized nations, with wide-spread inequities in U.S. health outcomes by income, race, and gender; and

WHEREAS, over the past 30 years, gains in our economy have accrued largely to the top 1% of Americans, who now control 43% of the total net wealth, and to the next 19% on the top that control 50% of the wealth in the United States (top 20% controls 93% of wealth with the bottom 80% controlling only 7%) due in part to public policies that can be changed
[Ref:Wealth Income and Power , by G. William Domhoff, UC Santa Cruz, 2011]
; and

WHEREAS, one of the largest problems distressing our economy is the prolonged foreclosure crisis, with many owners struggling to obtain loan adjustments and too many banks continuing the use of flawed review procedures which end up flooding the housing market with foreclosures and result in blighted and de-valued housing stock due to the high number of properties being left vacant and abandoned and poorly maintained; and

WHEREAS, the Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria metropolitan area has been particularly hard-hit by the foreclosure crisis, ranking 27th of 366 metropolitan statistical areas in the rate of foreclosures (8.2%) according to a March, 2011 ranking compiled by an analysis of LPS Applied Analytics Data by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC); and

WHEREAS, the Cleveland-Lorain-Elyria metropolitan areas ranked eighth amongst the nation’s 25 largest metro areas in its percentage of underwater mortgages (41.5%) according to third quarter 2011 data provided by Zillow Real Estate Market reports; and

WHEREAS, local governments are straining under the increasing weight of responsibility to provide for basic support services at a time of declining tax revenues and as a result of budget reductions by the state and federal government; and

WHEREAS, the structural causes of the economic crisis facing our society require decisive and sustained action at the national and state levels. Cities are harmed by the crisis and must play an important role in the development of public policy to address it; and

WHEREAS, this Council commits to working with the Jackson administration to continue taking steps to minimize economic insecurity and destructive disparities in the City by:

1. following the City’s Community Reinvestment Act practices to ensure that public funds are invested in responsible financial institutions that demonstrate strong support for our community. The Council may also consider future legislation to promote responsible banking and provide an incentive for banking institutions to invest more in our City, particularly with regard to stabilizing the housing market and supporting the creation of new businesses. This review should include evaluating City policies on responsible depositing and management of City funds;

2. examining the number of home foreclosures in Cleveland, the geographic neighborhoods in which the foreclosures are occurring, and lender information on homes involved in the foreclosure process, including real estate owned homes; working with the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, the City of Cleveland Housing Court, and Case Western Reserve University’s NEOCanDo to gather qualitative data on the circumstances and causes of foreclosures and the foreclosure methods and practices of lenders, including reviewing apparent inequities many people in Cleveland face when lender foreclosure proceedings occur;

3. consulting with advocates of tax reform and experts on equitable taxation and review past tax reform efforts in order to work effectively with the County and State Legislature toward a more equitable tax structure;

4. as federal and state assistance dwindles, continuing to use available resources to provide assistance for the most vulnerable people in Cleveland; and

5. because reforms in education and career preparation are essential for building a viable future and disparities in these areas begin very early in life and often continue through adulthood,seeking maximum possible funding for Early Learning and Basic Education in the State Legislative Agenda; and recognizing the critical importance of supporting community colleges,technical colleges, and state universities as they provide access to retraining and workforce development opportunities; and

WHEREAS, Congress must generate solutions for economically distressed Americans by:

1. Supporting job creation, making substantial investments in the nation’s critical physical and technological infrastructure, and reducing the deficit by adopting fiscal policies with equitable corporate and individual taxation and by allowing the 2010 extension of President Bush’s tax cuts to expire in 2012 as the law currently requires;

2. Tightening regulation of the banking and financial sector, including adoption of new rules and vigorous investigation and prosecution of individuals and corporations that violate the fraud, theft, and securities laws; and

3. Retaining or increasing community-building block grants for local schools and social services and protect public education from devastating cuts and prevent tuition levels that block fair access to higher education; and

WHEREAS, this Council does not condone actions that infringe upon the lawful rights of others, obstruct or interfere with the efforts of law enforcement officers to protect such rights, or cause personal injury or property destruction; and

WHEREAS, Americans can and must resolve the divisive economic and social realitiesfacing our nation in a peaceful way that honors our commitment to democracy, equality and justice; and

WHEREAS, this resolution constitutes an emergency measure for the immediate preservation of public peace, property, health, or safety, now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLEVELAND:

Section 1. That this Council recognizes and supports the principles of the Occupy Movement and the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal, state and local levels.

Section 2. That this Council commits to working with the Jackson administration to continue taking steps to minimize economic insecurity and destructive disparities in the City of Cleveland.

Section 3.
That this Council requests our Congressional leaders generate solutions for economically distressed Americans.

Section 4.
That the Clerk of Council is directed to transmit copies of this resolution to President Barack Obama and all members of the U.S. Congress.

Section 5.
That this resolution is hereby declared to be an emergency measure and, provided it receives the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to Council, it shall take effect and be in force immediately upon its adoption and approval by the Mayor; otherwise, it shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.

BC:rns12/5/11
SLF ®12/5/2011 6:17 PM

via City of Cleveland Passes Emergency Vote to Support OWS | KenBurridge.com.

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The Next Frontier for Occupy: Protesters Take Over Vacant Homes, Rally to Protect Those Facing Eviction and Foreclosure

AlterNet / By Tana Ganeva
December 6, 2011

Occupiers rallied with homeowners facing foreclosure or eviction, interrupted housing auctions, protested at banks, and took over vacant properties to move homeless families in.

On Tuesday occupiers all over the country took part in a day of action to do what politicians and the courts have repeatedly failed to: hold banks accountable for creating the housing crisis and then making it massively worse by rushing through millions of shady and illegal foreclosures.

In at least 20 cities, occupiers rallied with homeowners facing foreclosure or eviction, interrupted housing auctions, protested at banks, and took over vacant, unused properties to move homeless families in.

“The day of action marks a national kick-off for a new frontier for the occupy movement: the liberation of vacant bank-owned homes for those in need. The banks got bailed out, but our families are getting kicked out,” read a statement from occupiers and other groups involved in the New York action, including Organizing for Occupation and New York Communities for Change (NYCC). Other organizations such as Picture the Homeless and Take Back the Land also took part.

New York Occupiers gathered at an intersection in East Brooklyn, New York, a poverty-stricken, predominantly African-American area with a foreclosure rate five times the state average, occupiers repeatedly said. A crowd of about 100 swelled to roughly 600 as the march set off on a tour of foreclosed homes in the neighborhood, trooping past shuttered store fronts, empty lots, and deteriorating houses.

Pat Boone, former president of New York’s ACORN, who’s lived in East Brooklyn for 35 years, says she was devastated to see it start to resemble its dilapidated 1980s state, as empty, foreclosed homes fall apart around her. “The empty houses make the streets more dangerous. Businesses are closing,” she said. “People feel like there’s no support. What we want to do is stand with them, let them know they don’t have to give in to the banks’ illegal foreclosures.”

As the crowd wound through the streets and sidewalks, many neighborhood residents signaled that they stood with the marchers as well. A middle-aged black woman who had not previously heard of Occupy said she joined the march when it passed her house, said occupiers could come hang out at her home any time, and promised to feed them noodles. At one stop, in front of a yellow house with boarded-up windows, councilman Charles Barron told the marchers to turn and look behind them. Across the street at Thomas Jefferson High School, students at the windows waved, cheered, and shouted along as occupiers chanted, “We are the 99%!”

“Today we’re showing that we’re not backing away. Bloomberg, we’re doing what you should be doing,” declared a speaker through mic-check at one falling-apart vacant house. Marchers crisscrossed the door with yellow police tape that read “Occupy” and fastened a large yellow banner to the front, marking the house as “Occupied Real Estate.”

At the second to last house, several people on the verge of losing their homes shared their stories. (And one woman invited JP Morgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, on a tour of the foreclosed homes in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Harlem.)

A slight man in a black hoodie stood shyly on the steps of the house, about to try out his first open mic, occupiers said. His story amplified by the hundreds of people echoing his words, Quincy said he owed $47,500, after getting his “deed stolen.” (Later, I talked with him, and he said that he’d sold the deed to a man who turned out to be a fraud.)

He was getting evicted that day. “Thank you. I hope you guys can help,” he concluded. “Let’s stand together and fight together.”

“We’re not going to let this young man lose his home!” A group of occupiers split off from the block party at the end of the main action to join Quincy in his home.

An older woman talked about learning about her son’s death in Iraq following a four-year tour there. She said she bought her home in 1997, but her monthly payments doubled from $1,500 to $3,000, and she fell behind despite the fact that she worked two jobs, as she had her whole life. “Now they’re trying to take my home away, ” she said. “How many families are like me?” before launching into the chant, “Don’t give up! Don’t give up!”

With that, the march set off to the final destination: a small split level that shared walls with the house next door. Instead of sitting empty, starting that night it would house Alfredo Carrasquillo, Tasha Robinson, and their two kids. The house, owned by Bank of America, had been vacant for three years, said OWS in a statement.

Occupiers had already been decorating: bunches of balloons sprung from the yard, the front of the house was papered with giant yellow signs declaring, “Foreclose on banks, not people!” A black-and-white photo of the family graced the front.

Council member Barron knocked on the door, and the family came out. “As an official representative of East New York, we welcome you to the neighborhood!” over cheers from the crowd. That message was underscored by the delivery of a Christmas tree, as well as the housewarming presents — plants, chairs — brought by marchers.

“I want you to know this is just the beginning,” said Carrasquillo, as his kids waved from the porch. Tasha Robinson, who appeared afterward, just said, “Thank you, everybody … I’m shy. I just want to say I love you all.”

Then the block party got rolling, courtesy of a marching band, while a cleaning crew of occupiers hurried inside to fix it up for the family before their first night there.

Other cities that saw actions include Atlanta, where protesters disrupted a house auction. In Los Angeles, occupiers and members of the community massed at the home of Ana Casas Wilson and her family of five to stop their eviction by Wells Fargo, reported Bloomberg News.

Minneapolis occupiers defended the home of Vietnam veteran Bobby Hull, who’d lived there since 1968. Minneapolis was one of the first occupations to focus on foreclosures, setting up camp in the home of Monique White to protect her from what she thought was an impending eviction.

What he learned from defending White’s property, says organizer Anthony Newbie, is that the media occupiers draw make banks think twice about rushing through evictions. The CEO of US Bank, Newbie points out, has tried to present himself as the “Golden Boy” of Wall Street and US Bank as clean of the mortgage mess. “We’ll hold his feet to the fire on that. If that’s your public position, what are you willing to do for these struggling homeowners?”

Monique White has not heard anything from US Bank, which she says is good news, certainly better news than an eviction notice.

“It’s an “aha!” moment,” says Newbie of the movement’s shift to occupying homes. “It makes perfect sense. We have so much pent-up rage, and this is a way to direct it in a really pointed, smart, calculated way that can effect some real bank reform. I think it’s incredible that it’s becoming a national movement.”

Matt Browner Hamlin, who helped organize the New York action and runs the website of Occupy Our Homes, says camping at homes has two giant advantages: it can shift the national conversation to affect long-term change and help actual people now. “Nonviolent, direct action has the power to inspire people, captivate attention. This is just another way we’re trying to change the conversation about what’s going on and help individual families.”

Tana Ganeva is AlterNet’s managing editor. Follow her on Twitter or email her at tana@alternet.org.

via The Next Frontier for Occupy: Protesters Take Over Vacant Homes, Rally to Protect Those Facing Eviction and Foreclosure | | AlterNet.

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