The Oakland Tribune covers the repeal of prohibition on Dec. 5, 1933, enacted after an anxious nation waited to see if Utah would ratify the amendment. Not shown is the portion of the story assuring readers that local breweries are in operation on a 24-hour schedule to meet the expected demand. The federal government also prepared to release its supplies of “medicinal liquor.”
Archive for the 'Politics' Category
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Arbor Day, October 19, 2013: Greening Our Community
Richmond, CA (October, 2013) Something exciting is happening in Richmond. The citizens are coming together to enrich the urban forest and make the city a better place.
Tree-planting at an Arbor Day event is an annual occurrence in Richmond, a “Tree City.” The City of Richmond has been renovating Lucas Park, and this year’s Arbor Day tree-planting will occur there. Groundwork Richmond and the Watershed Project are providing the trees and workers to get them in the ground. Richmond Rotary is sponsoring the event. Richmond Trees is supporting the effort and there will also be volunteers from the Explorers and Pogo Park.
Arbor Day at Lucas Park
10th St and Lucas Ave
8:00 am Check-in/Registration & Breakfast
8:30 am Tree planting workshop with ISA-certified Arborist, Molly Batchelder
9:00 am Tree Planting begins
12:00 pm Lunch (for volunteers) & Speakers
All morning family activities
Volunteers will arrive for registration and breakfast from 8:00 to 8:30 am. At 8:30 there will be an orientation and demonstration of how to plant the trees. Then the groups will disperse and plant 35 trees (Redwoods, Cork Oaks, Liquidambars and Crape Myrtles) inside the park. Bay Area Rescue Mission is providing lunch for the volunteers.
The event is open to the community. There will be a bouncer, music, refreshments and activities for children. At around 12:00, Chris Chamberlain, City of Richmond’s Parks and Landscape Superintendent, will speak to the volunteers and guests.
As evident by the collaboration required to create this event, several groups are interested in planting trees in Richmond, and the reasons are clear. The benefits of a thriving urban canopy include:
- Removing carbon dioxide from the air and replacing it with oxygen, slowing global warming
- Reducing air pollution by absorbing harmful chemicals
- Replenishing our groundwater supply by reducing storm-water runoff and allowing water to soak into the surrounding soil
- Providing an urban habitat for wildlife
- Softening neighborhood noise
- Reducing speeding traffic
- Improving public safety
- Increasing property values by 15% or more
More trees are sorely needed in Richmond, a city with plenty of challenges. However, these events are about much more than just planting trees. They are about building community as people come together to do something positive for the city.
For more information about Arbor Day or planting trees in your own Richmond neighborhood, contact Chris Chamberlain, City of Richmond’s Parks & Landscape Superintendent at 510-231-3004 or visit http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/
N E W S RELEASE from office of John Gioia:
Contra Costa County
JOHN GIOIA (joy-a)
Board of Supervisors
For more information contact:
Luz Gomez – Deputy Chief of Staff
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2013
North Richmond Senior Center Saved from Closure
North Richmond, Calif.,
North Richmond seniors can now breathe a sigh of relief. For months, residents in this tight-knit community feared that a pending foreclosure would shut-down their beloved senior center. Now, thanks to efforts by Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia and key community leaders, the North Richmond Multicultural and Family Center (aka the Senior Center) will remain open after a last-minute short-sale averted foreclosure.
The transaction, which closed on October 15, ensures the continuation of services and transfers ownership of the building to the non-profit Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDC). Earlier this month, Supervisor Gioia obtained approval by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to use $156,830 in Park Dedication funds to enable CHDC to purchase the building and save the senior center. Lloyd Madden, Neighborhood House President and CEO, negotiated the short sale price on behalf of their new Board of Directors.
Neighborhood House of North Richmond (“Neighborhood House”) has operated the senior center for nearly 30 years providing residents a safe place to gather for social, recreational, family, and civic events. The center is the hub and heart of the community.
In recent years, Neighborhood House experienced a severe financial crisis leading the building’s mortgage holder to begin foreclosure proceedings due to missed payments. “We came together and brought resources to the table to keep this important community center open” Supervisor Gioia said.
The Park Dedication funds can be used to meet local park and recreation needs, including senior and community centers. According to the County Assessor’s records, the current assessed value of the property is in excess of $325,000.
Through the efforts of Supervisor John Gioia’s Office, Congressman George Miller’s Office, Community Housing Development Corporation, and Neighborhood House of North Richmond, the current mortgage holder agreed to the short sale enabling the transaction. A plan is in place for continued services to seniors and other residents of North Richmond.
“Losing the senior center would have been like losing a beloved family member,” said Corrine Sain, the Center’s Director for the past 29 years. “The entire community depends on us to be here to serve them. I thank Supervisor Gioia, the County, and everyone who helped us to stay open.”
Chevron’s Fuel Your School Program Launch in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
In-person classroom delivery to kick off $1 million local public school funding
With intense budget cuts and an ever-growing list of needed supplies for teachers, Chevron has created an innovative approach to help local public classrooms through its Fuel Your Schoolprogram. Chevron is collaborating with DonorsChoose.org, an online organization that organizes funding for schools across the country, to supply Alameda and Contra Costa counties with materials – ranging from pencils to live spiders – to help make activities come alive for students this year.
On Wednesday, Chevron and DonorsChoose.org teams will deliver puzzles, counting trays, shopping simulation supplies and various math and science manipulatives to kindergarten students at Ford Elementary School in Richmond.
What: Classroom delivery of needed materials funded through Fuel Your School
· When: Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 9:15 a.m.
· Where: Ford Elementary School [2711 Maricopa Ave., Richmond, CA 94804]
How Fuel Your School Works: Beginning in September, teachers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties submitted projects/materials that need funding at DonorsChoose.org. In the month of October 2013, Chevron will donate $1, up to $1 million, when consumers purchase eight or more gallons of fuel at participating local Chevron and Texaco stations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties to help fund the eligible classroom projects. You can even track the progress of funded projects in participating counties at www.fuelyourschool.com
The following announcement was made Tuesday by the Rosie the Riveter Trust:
Dear Trust and Park supporters,
Due to the government shut down this morning, we must announce that the Rosie the Riveter/WWII National Historical Park Visitor Education Center is closed until further notice.
The park offices are also closed. A limited number of sites, such as the Rosie Memorial, located in a city park, are still accessible. Since park staff have all been put on furlough, programs scheduled for this period will be cancelled as will tours of the Maritime Childcare Center and other sites throughout the city. Our gift store is also closed.
We will alert you to changes as they happen. Please check our website at www.rosietheriveter.org for updates.
As you may know, shutdowns impact our revenue from the gift store and other sources. We thank you for your generosity this year and we are hopeful that public programs will continue soon. We appreciate your support.
The Men and Women of Purpose, headed by Antwon Cloird and dedicated to providing mental health, job training, substance abuse and other services to parolees in Richmond, are holding a star-studded open house event on Oct. 2.
MWP is a key player in the city dealing with previously incarcerated residents coming home thanks to AB109 prison reduction policies.
Media Alert: EVENT Monday, September 9, 2013
For More Information:
San Francisco Supervisor Campos Announces Support for Program to Buy Mortgages, Fix Underwater Crisis
Will introduce resolution supporting Richmond’s Local Principal Reduction plan and have San Francisco investigate use of eminent domain to save underwater borrowers
San Francisco: On Monday, September 9, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. (Pacific) San Francisco Supervisor David Campos will announce his intention to introduce a resolution before the County Board of Supervisors expressing support for the City of Richmond’s innovative effort to save hundreds of underwater borrowers (Richmond CARES), and instructing staff to explore opportunities in San Francisco to adopt a similar program.
“For the last few years, we have seen Wall Street Banks challenge every effort to rebuild our hardest hit communities from the foreclosure and economic crisis,” stated Supervisor Campos “today we need to show solidarity with bold leaders of Richmond in their effort to break the status quo as defined by Wall Street and rebuild their communities.”
WHAT: Press Conference to announce a City Resolution that would:
1. Have San Francisco stand with the Mayor and City Councilmembers of Richmond to use similar lawful methods at their disposal as they work to save homes and save neighborhoods;
2. Calls on Wells Fargo – whose home is in San Francisco, SIFMA, and FHFA to stop threatening communities with reprisals and litigation and instead work with them to negotiate principal reduction for underwater mortgages as a way to strengthen local economies and help keep families in their homes; and
3. Explore how a Local Principal Reduction program similar to the one being implemented by the City of Richmond could work here in San Francisco.
WHERE: East Steps of San Francisco City Hall (Polk Street)
WHEN: Monday, September 9, 2013 10:00 a.m.
WHO: City supervisors and leaders from labor, faith, and community; underwater San
Francisco borrowers that received principle reduction and San Francisco borrowers who want the same opportunity.
On July 30, 2013, the City of Richmond became the first municipality in the nation to step boldly in where the federal government and the banks have failed, offering to purchase more than 600 city mortgages from major Wall Street banks and other servicers to achieve local principle reduction for distressed homeowners. Richmond has been hard-hit by the ongoing foreclosure crisis; as of 2013, 46% of all residential mortgage holders in the city are still underwater.
Wrongful foreclosures have caused a catastrophic loss of wealth. Often targeted by predatory lending, communities of color have been particularly hard-hit with African Americans losing 53% of their median wealth from 2005 to 2009 and Latinos 66%.
The Richmond program is an innovative program that enables cities to preserve wealth in local hands, especially in communities of color and low-income communities, which have been decimated by the foreclosure crisis and see no end in sight.
After an unprecedented push by local residents in Richmond to find ways to help struggling homeowners, the Richmond City Council approved the plan in April and sent letters to the banks in late July to offer to purchase underwater mortgages and, if needed, use the city’s eminent domain authority if necessary help struggling homeowners restructure their loans to be in line with the current value of their homes. The City of Richmond is working in partnership with Mortgage Resolution Partners, an advisory firm that has lined up the funding and technical support needed to carry out this program.
“Residents here in Richmond have been suffering for years thanks to the housing crisis Wall Street created and which Wall Street refuses to fix,” said Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. “We’ve seen too many houses go dark, too many lawns dry up and die, too many families left with nothing after years of hard work. When my constituents started showing up, calling on us to help them save our homes, I knew that this was the right thing for the Mayor and City Council to do.”
Though the City of Richmond is leading the way nationwide on local principle reduction, other California cities such as El Monte and La Puente are advancing this as well.
Supervisor Campos is District 9 Supervisor for the Mission and Bernal Heights Neighborhoods of San Francisco, two neighborhoods impacted by the Foreclosure Crisis. Occupy Bernal was formed last year and has already saved dozens of homeowners from foreclosure through principal reduction by banks and servicers. Occupy Bernal has proven that servicers and borrowers can work together to achieve what Richmond is proposing and Banks like Wells Fargo is opposing.
The Home Defenders League is a national organization fighting against foreclosures, and for a just resolution to the mortgage crisis including the mass principal reduction for underwater homeowners. The League includes 26 community-based affiliates such as the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), national organizing networks the Alliance for a Just Society and Right to the City Alliance, Occupy Homes groups, and thousands of member families across the country. In a few short months, a coalition of more than 50 groups, including some of the nation’s largest labor unions and leading fair housing groups, issued an open letter asking members of Congress to rebuff repeated efforts to unfairly bar local municipalities that enact local principle reduction from receiving federally backed home mortgage loans. For more information, please visit: www.saverichmondhomes.org.
El Cerrito passed its first reading tonight of a ban on plastic bags at retail stores and foam containers for leftovers at food outlets.
It took one environmental group just a few minutes to issue a media release applauding the decision:
El Cerrito Bans Single-Use Plastic Bags and Styrofoam
El Cerrito—The El Cerrito City Council voted tonight to ban single-use plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam. The plastic bag ordinance applies to all stores except restaurants and certain charities, while the Styrofoam law affects restaurants and city vendors. Both bans take effect on January 1, 2014.
“This important step forward for El Cerrito shows yet again that we can achieve lasting victories for the ocean and our environment,” said Nathan Weaver with Environment California. “Banning plastic bags is the right choice to protect our rivers, beaches, and the Pacific Ocean. I applaud the City Council members for their leadership on this issue.”
Single-use plastic bags and food packaging, including Styrofoam, are two of the most common garbage items removed from California’s beaches by Ocean Conservancy volunteers. Plastic bags are a direct threat to ocean wildlife, like the sea turtles that mistake them for edible jellyfish. One in three leatherback sea turtles studied had plastic in their stomachs, most often a plastic bag, according to an analysis of over 370 autopsies. A study by the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association found that plastic shopping bags alone make up as much as 8 percent of the garbage that reaches the San Francisco Bay.
“Nothing we use for a few minutes should pollute the ocean for hundreds of years,” commented Weaver.
Plastic bag bans have enjoyed tremendous success across California. El Cerrito is the 81st California local government to ban single-use plastic bags, joining San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, Oakland, and others. Together, these local governments represent nearly 1 in 3 Californians. Over 70 California cities and counties have banned Styrofoam food containers.
From Councilman Nat Bates in an email sent to supporters:
April 2, 2013 City Council minutes of action taken.
The matter to approve an Advisory Services Agreement with Mortgage Resolution Partners, LLC to assist the City of Richmond in reducing the impact of the mortgage crisis, by advising on the acquisition of mortgage loans through the use of eminent domain, in order to restructure or refinance the loans and thereby preserving home ownership, restoring homeowner equity and stabilizing the communities’ housing market and economy by allowing many homeowners to remain in their homes was presented by City Manager Bill Lindsay. (At 11:00 p.m. on motion of Councilmember Myrick, seconded by Mayor McLaughlin extended the meeting to finish the current item with Councilmember Butt voting Noe). Councilmember Butt left the meeting at ll:15 p.m. Leland Chan and Melvin Willis gave comments.
A motion was made by Councilmember Beckles, seconded by Councilmember Myrick to approve an Advisory Services Agreement with Mortgage Resolution Partners, LLC. Councilmember Myrick requested a report back from staff regarding loan criteria and specifics. A substitute motion was made by Vice Mayor Booze, seconded by Councilmember Bates to hold the item over for 30 days to gather more information. Following discussion, Councilmember Bates withdrew his second. The original motion to approve an Advisory Services Agreement with Mortgage Resolution Partners, LLC passed by the following vote: Ayes: Councilmembers Bates, Beckles, Myrick, Rogers, Vice Mayor Booze, and Mayor McLaughlin. Noes: None. Abstentions: None. Absent: Councilmember Butt.
As noted above, this action was to approve an Advisory Service Agreement with a follow-up of the criteria and specifics. How the mayor interpreted this as a mandate to go after the lending institutions is beyond me. The mayor has been misrepresenting the city council action by parading around San Francisco and threatening Wells Fargo without the city council approval. In addition, this council has no idea the capacity of Mortgage Resolutions Partners LLC financial ability to pay damages should the court order such against the city. Also, there has not been any staff report regarding loan criteria and specifics as directed in the motion of April 2, 2013,some 4 months ago which suggest not one councilmember including the mayor understand the criteria and specifics.
In addition, this action has caused serious financial risk to the city, and each and every homeowner or potential home owners who wish to refinance, purchase or sell a home in this city. My recent communication with the Finance Director, Mr. Jim Goins indicate the city was circulating some 30 millions of dollars in revenue bonds. Although the city has a strong A bond rating, not one financial institution was willing to come forward to purchase these bonds because of the Eminent Domain issue and Wall Street’s reaction to the City of Richmond. Kindly take a look at the reactions from several news articles, etc listed below.
While most of us are sympathetic to the many citizen who are undergoing financial risk of losing their homes through the mortgage crisis and etc, as responsible elected officials, we must not comprise the integrity and financial ability of this city to operate efficiently.
It is important this council take leadership and do our job in representing our citizenry. Therefore, I am requesting my council members join me in calling for a special city council meeting within the next seven days to clarify and make the necessary corrections to offset this potential financial liability and embarrassment to this city. Should my fellow colleagues concur, kindly email your support to the city clerk as soon as possible.
Councilmember Nat Bates
PRESS RELEASE: Mayor of Richmond Travels to Wells Fargo Headquarters,
Calling on Wells CEO to Drop Lawsuit and Accept Richmond’s Offers to Buy Underwater Mortgages
Surrounded by Community Leaders, Small City Mayor Stands Up to Wall Street
San Francisco, CA – On Thursday, August 15th, at 12Noon, the Mayor of Richmond, CA, Gayle McLaughlin will show up at the headquarters of Wells Fargo Bank to call on them to drop their lawsuit and cooperate with the City’s plan to fix troubled mortgages and prevent foreclosures.
On July 31st the City of Richmond announced that they are moving forward with a Local Principal Reduction program that will help homeowners refinance or modify mortgages. This will be done by purchasing troubled loans from current servicers or trustees, like Wells Fargo, or through the City’s eminent domain authority if the current loan holders won’t cooperate.
On August 7th Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank named the City of Richmond in a lawsuit filed to attempt to block Local Principal Reduction from moving forward.
What: Mayor of Richmond and Community Leaders, angry at Wells Fargo’s aggressive actions to prevent a local foreclosure prevention program, show up at the bank headquarters demanding that Wells Fargo back off
Where: 420 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA
When: 12Noon, Thursday, August 15th
Richmond’s Local Principal Reduction plan is designed to preserve wealth in local hands, especially in communities of color and low-income communities which have been decimated by the foreclosure crisis and see no end in sight. Wrongful foreclosures have caused a catastrophic loss of wealth. Having been targeted by predatory lending, communities of color have been particularly hard-hit, with African Americans losing 53% of their median wealth from 2005 to 2009 and Latinos 66%. In Richmond, 46% of all residential mortgage holders are still underwater.
Though the City of Richmond is leading the way nationwide on local principal reduction, other California cities like El Monte and La Puente are advancing this as well, as are community/labor coalitions in Newark, New Jersey; Seattle, Washington; and New York City.