After more than a year of organizing and agitating, including protests at local bank branches, activists have succeeded in winning City Council approval of an ordinance requiring registration of foreclosed homes in San Diego.
A coalition including the Center on Policy Initiatives, ACCE, the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, AFSCME and many others fighting bank foreclosure blight in San Diego neighborhoods was on hand last night as the City Council voted 5-3, splitting along party lines with Republicans opposed, to enact the Property Value Protection ordinance.
Lenders will now be required to provide contact information on foreclosed properties upon the filing of a notice of default, which is the first formal step in the foreclosure process. Similar ordinances exist in more than seventy other California cities. Organizers said that last night’s vote is the last necessary piece to comprehensive foreclosure regulations that will enable the City to hold banks accountable for blighted homes.
Two other ordinances passed in September are also part of the new regulations.
The Abandoned Property Ordinance requires owners of abandoned properties to file notices with the police department and imposes fines for those who fail to properly maintain those homes.
The Responsible Banking Ordinance requires banks doing business with the city to disclose local plans and progress reports in areas such as lending, foreclosures and services to minority communities, which will be reviewed by a community-based committee.
Enactment of the latest ordinance was held up for two months as City Attorney Jan Goldsmith studied its implications. These new rules will go into effect early in 2013.
Round Two of Walkouts Against Walmart Begins
This morning workers at a Mira Loma, California warehouse operated by a Walmart contractor walked off the job, protesting working conditions and reprisals aimed at those trying to report unsafe equipment and practices. This walkout came a day earlier than planned, after management at the facility launched an additional round of reprisals on Tuesday. According to an in-depth report at the Nation Magazine:
Thursday’s strike will be the latest in an unprecedented wave of work stoppages throughout the retail giant’s US supply chain. It follows strikes by seafood workers in June, by warehouse workers in September, and by 160 retail workers in twelve states last month. It comes a week before Black Friday, the post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza that workers have pledged—barring concessions from the company—will bring their biggest disruptions yet.
“Hopefully it will make a dent in their production…” said Raymond Castillo, “and it gets their attention, that we’re not playing around.” Castillo and other Mira Loma workers struck in September, and voted Sunday to do it again on Thursday. According to Castillo, workers started organizing because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions: crooked ramps caused serious injuries; workers’ drinking water came from a hose. The organizing brought retaliation, which inspired a strike, which drew more punishment. “Since we’ve all been retaliated against,” said Castillo, “it was a pretty easy decision for all of us to go back on strike.”
On paper, Castillo and his co-workers are employed by a Walmart subcontractor, Warestaff. But because Walmart is the beneficiary of all of his work, and the boss of his boss’ boss, Castillo says his conditions are all Walmart’s fault. Walmart does not agree. ButWisconsin Walmart store worker Jackie Goebel does: “All of us that work for Walmart, either on the retail end of it, or on the warehouse end of it, have the same issues.”
Walmart, the world’s largest private sector employer, has been entirely union-free in the United States since its founding in Arkansasfifty years ago. Walmart’s cost-cutting and just-in-time logistics have revolutionized its industries—even for its unionized competitors. That’s made it an irresistible target for US unions, which have launched a series of campaigns against the company over the past two decades. But until last month, Walmart had never seen workers at multiple US stores go on strike.
That changed October 4, when workers struck at nine southern California stores for one day; a two-day, twelve-state strike followed on October 9. While that ended with an announcement that employees would return to work to mobilize coworkers for Black Friday, the past few weeks haven’t been entirely strike-free.
This month has already seen a walkout at an Ennis, Texas, Walmart, and a sit-in and strike during the grand reopening of a store inRichmond, California. One of the Richmond strikers, Semetra Lee, said workers there were galvanized by retaliation and disrespect. When one worker tied a rope around his waist in an effort to pull a heavy object, said Lee, “our supervisor said to him, ‘Well, if you left it up to me, I would put it around your neck.”
Hatin’ on the Women and Latinos
Take the ‘family values’ folks at the American Family Association, for instance.
Last week AFA’s president Tim Wildmon and research director Ed Vitagliano told WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah about research into Obama campaign strategies saying “they hooked women to Obama through these Hollywood stars” like George Clooney and Sarah Jessica Parker.
Vitagliano said that our “devolved” culture has made women voters simply think, “‘I love George Clooney, George Clooney loves President Obama, therefore I love President Obama.’” Farah concurred and said Hollywood is “bombarding” Americans with “unconstitutional” and “ungodly” ideas, and asserted that even law schools no longer teach the Constitution.
Then there’s AFA founder Bryan Fisher (From Raw Story):
“Hispanics are not Democrats, don’t vote Democrat because of immigration,” the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer said in video posted by Right Wing Watch on Tuesday. “It has to do with the fact that they are socialists by nature. They come from Mexico, which is a socialist country. They want big government intervention, they want big government goodies.”
“Now they want open borders — make no mistake — because they’ve got family and friends that they want to come up and be able to benefit from the plunder of the wealth of the United States, just as they have been able to do.”
He continued: “Republicans can pander all they want to Hispanics, to immigrants and it will not work. There is no way on Earth you care going to get them to leave the Democratic Party. It’s one reason we got to clamp down on immigration.”
Education ‘Reformers’ Lose Elections in Idaho, Colorado, Indiana
In Colorado an attempt to oust legislators who had stood up for public education organized by an astro-turf group calling itself Stand for Children was handily defeated at the polls.
Voters in Indiana rejected another term for Superintendent for Public Instruction Tony Bennett, whose pro-privatization agenda attracted $1.3 million in mostly out of state campaign contributions, including Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton, billionaire financier Eli Broad, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” and , according to NPR, private corporations that stood to profit off his school takeover policies.
A grass roots campaign in Idaho (!)won voter support for overturning a legislative package that would have limited teachers’ collective bargaining rights, tied teacher pay to standardized test results, raised class sizes and replaced teachers with computers in schools. Once again an astro-turf group, this one calling itself Education Voters of Idaho, raised cash from a coterie of wealthy donors to support this ‘reform’ package only to see it defeated by the voters.
Here’s the money quotes from the Salon article, well worth reading in its entirety:
If your only source of news about American education came from docu-propaganda like “Waiting for Superman,” Hollywood politi-schlock like “Won’t Back Down” and elite-focused national news outlets in Washington, D.C., and New York City, you might think that the so-called education “reform” (read: privatization) movement was a spontaneous grass-roots uprising of good-old-fashioned heartlanders generating ever more mass support throughout the country. You would have no reason to believe it was a top-down, corporate-driven coalition of conservative coastal elites trying to both generally undermine organized labor and specifically wring private profit out of public schools, and you would similarly have no reason to believe it was anything but wildly popular in an America clamoring for a better education system.
In other words, you would be utterly misinformed — especially after last week’s explosive election results in three key states.
If the 2012 election only delivered one of these outcomes, or if these results happened in a vacuum, it would be easy to write it all off as a fluke. But taken together in the context of such a well-funded and aggressive “reform” movement, these results are a political earthquake proving that the anti-public-schools coalition of billionaire moguls, millionaire Wall Streeters and anti-union ideologues cannot dictate education policy without serious opposition.
That these results have been largely ignored by the same media and political establishment demonizing teachers, promoting technology as a panacea, and championing privately run charter schools only underscores their importance. Simply put, the election outcomes are ignored because they so powerfully expose the lies behind all the “reform” propaganda coursing through the media and treated as unquestioned fact in our politics. Indeed, just as the larger national election results exposed conservative news outlets as prioritizing ideologically driven wishful thinking over reporting on what was actually happening on the ground, so too do these results expose the “reform” coalition for what it really is: not a popular mass movement, but another profit-driven elite-crafted scheme, one with little proof of educational success and even less mass support throughout America.
On This Day: In 1832 the first streetcar went into operation in New York City, NY. The vehicle was horse-drawn and had room for 30 people. In 1968 Yale University announced it was going co-educational. In 1970 Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” was released.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Carlsbad (Roosevelt St. btw Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr.) 1 – 5 pm, Encinitas Station (Corner of E Street & Vulcan in parking lot B) 5 – 8 pm, Mission Hills (Falcon St. btw West Washington & Ft. Stockton) 3 – 7 pm, North San Diego at Sikes Adobe Farmstead (I-15 at Via Rancho Parkway. 12655 Sunset Dr., Escondido.) 11 am – 2 pm, Ocean Beach (4900 block of Newport Ave. btw Cable & Bacon Sts.) 4 – 8 pm, San Marcos – Cal State San Marcos (333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd., Parking Lot B) 3 – 7 pm,Santee (10445 Mission Gorge Rd. abandoned school parking lot) 3 –7 pm, Temecula (40820 Winchester Rd. Promenade Mall, parking lot btw Macy’s & Penny’s) 9 am – 1 pm
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