Bay Area unites to fight foreclosures, as Supervisor Avalos calls for foreclosure moratorium in San Francisco
Rally to support Avalos’ resolution Tuesday, March 20, 12 noon, on City Hall steps, Van Ness side, where foreclosure sales are held
Read below about foreclosure fighters Dexter Cato in Bayview Hunters Point, Nell Myhand in Oakland and Rosie Alvarado in Antioch
by Raquel Rodriguez
San Francisco – Supervisor John Avalos is joined by his colleagues, Supervisors David Campos and Christina Olague, and a coalition of community organizations and homeowners fighting foreclosures to demand suspension of foreclosure activities in the City and County of San Francisco until such time as state and federal measures are in place to protect homeowners from unfair and unlawful actions by banks and mortgage companies.
“We have already lost so much due to the unconscionable predatory lending practices and foreclosure fast-tracking of the banks and mortgage industry. We have to do everything in our power to stop any more foreclosure activities until such time that state and federal reforms are in place,” said District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, who represents neighborhoods with some of the highest numbers of foreclosures in the city.
The resolution also supports Attorney General Kamala D. Harris’ call for a suspension of foreclosures of loans controlled by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and broad demand for the Federal Housing Finance Agency to provide principal reductions to keep families in their homes.
“We have already lost so much due to the unconscionable predatory lending practices and foreclosure fast-tracking of the banks and mortgage industry. We have to do everything in our power to stop any more foreclosure activities,” said District 11 Supervisor John Avalos.
Avalos’s measure urges the mayor to direct the city’s lobbyist in Sacramento to advocate for the passage of these measures and urges all city officials and departments to work proactively to ensure that San Francisco residents do not fall victim to unlawful foreclosure practices and calls on banks, especially Wells Fargo, to suspend foreclosure activities until such time that state and federal measures are in place to protect homeowners from unfair and unlawful practices.
Foreclosure victims such as Monica Kenney will be speaking. Monica lost her job in 2010. She reached out to Wells Fargo, her lender, to seek a modification or assistance. In June of 2011 they offered her a forbearance agreement only to sell her home at public auction to Fannie Mae the following day. Monica is still in her home, and Fannie Mae has rescinded the sale back to Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has been slow to resolve her case and communicate with Monica.
Fighting foreclosure in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point
by Dave Welsh
San Francisco – Dexter Cato – dock worker, union carpenter, born and raised in the historically African-American neighborhood of Bayview Hunters Point – is fighting eviction, and the community is “reclaiming” his Bayview home.
Members of Cato’s union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), signed up on a clipboard and took shifts for a “people’s occupation” of his house. Eight ILWU members stood on the upstairs porch and led the crowd chanting: “Nationalize the banks! Nationalize the banks!”
A neighbor spoke out: “They’re foreclosing on my home too. It’s happening up and down this street. Wells Fargo and the other banks are terrorizing this community.”
“Why isn’t the government intervening to help these people?” asked Alex Haile, another neighbor. “It’s because the banks run the government, that’s why. This is not a people’s government. This is the capitalists’ government, and they don’t give a damn about a worker losing his home.”
“Wells Fargo and the other banks are terrorizing this community.” “The banks run the government, and they don’t give a damn about a worker losing his home.”
Mesha Monge-Irizarry, whose only son was shot at close range and murdered by police in a San Francisco movie theater, spoke out from Cato’s porch: “This neighborhood was built with the sweat and blood of Black people, who came here to work in the Hunters Point Shipyard. Now their descendants are fighting to save their family homes – to keep from being forced out of their own community by these criminal banks. Power to the hood!”
The action was organized by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), successor to the ACORN organization in this state, which issued a statement: “Dexter Cato, ACCE Foreclosure Fighter and ILWU member, and his family were victims of Wells Fargo’s ‘dual tracking’ program. That’s when one part of the bank says they want to work with you while a separate department continues to foreclosure on your house.
“In 2009, after Dexter and his wife, Christina (a city bus driver) had applied for a modification, his wife tragically passed away in a traffic accident. Still grieving, he is now the only supporter of their four children.” According to ACCE, the bank offered him a modification, and he sent in a payment for that modification. However, the bank foreclosed anyway, sold his home at public auction, and had the sheriff post a notice to vacate on his door.
Call for a moratorium on all foreclosures
“We are demanding that Dexter Cato and families throughout San Francisco get affordable modifications and that all banks … apply a widespread MORATORIUM on all foreclosures,” the ACCE statement continued.
“Until then, for every home Wells and big banks take, ACCE Foreclosure Fighters, unions, clergy and the community are going to defend and take it back. If the banks refuse to do a moratorium on foreclosure, we will do our own until our demands are met.
“Right now, neighbors, unions and supporters are re-claiming his home. They are committing to continue to take back homes until banks, like Wells Fargo, work with borrowers and apply a widespread moratorium on all foreclosures,” ACCE concluded.
How you can help
Please contact Rubin Pulido at Wells Fargo, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 852-1279, and demand that he rescind the sale and eviction of Dexter Cato, 1401 Quesada Ave., San Francisco.
Sign the petition to Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf: http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/6267/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5661
Militant Oaklanders thwart foreclosure sale
Oakland – The bank and real estate company thought they were going to auction off Nell Myhand’s home at noon on March 8, but Nell and about a hundred of her friends had other ideas.
“We have to fight tooth and nail for our homes,” said Maria Poblet, executive director of Causa Justa:Just Cause, a Bay Area social justice organization. “For the banks like Wells Fargo, it’s just an investment. But for us, these are our homes.
“For the banks like Wells Fargo, it’s just an investment. But for us, these are our homes.”
“Women’s rights and housing rights, these are not separate things,” she said. “The majority of foreclosures are on women-led households. But they’re picking a fight with women that they will not win.”
The Latino community and Occupy Oakland turned out in force for the action. They chanted: “No, no, no way – Ain’t gonna be no sale today” and “No se vende.”
A sign said: “These are hard-working people’s homes: We will not allow them to be sold.” People jeered at the sheriff’s deputies: “Why aren’t you out investigating all this mortgage fraud?”
Homeowner ‘occupies’ her own home to forestall eviction
A day later, 40 miles away from Oakland in the foreclosure hotbed of Antioch, a real estate broker named Rick Fuller counted on seizing the home of Rosie Alvarado at 4421 Pampas Circle on behalf of investors. It was part of a foreclosure action that Alvarado says was full of irregularities.
But she is also a leader of a homeowners group called the Bay Area Moratorium, which is fighting the foreclosure epidemic and calling for a two-year moratorium on all foreclosure actions so people can stay in their homes.
So Rosie and about 20 of her friends “occupied” her home in direct defiance of the foreclosure machine that has stolen so many thousands of people’s homes in this region. When the real estate broker drove up to the house in his SUV, he was turned away by a group of angry homeowners, shaking their fists at him.
Resistance to the foreclosure mills is growing and spreading, as people discover the power of collective action. On Feb. 29, a crowd from the Bay Area Moratorium met in Sacramento to present a toughly-worded “Notice and Complaint of Violation of Civil Rights” to Kamala Harris, the state attorney general – signed by over 70 homeowners including Rosie Alvarado and Delia Pedroza-Aguilar, co-founder of the Moratorium group.
The complaint said: “National banks, debt collectors, law firms and investors are parties that have conspired … against homeowners with their willful disregard of applicable law and willful collusion upon the court to evict and cheat homeowners out of their homes through a fraudulent foreclosure ….
“This claim of ownership to our homes and land without a judicial trial by jury … without access to an appeals process, constitutes an unfair final judgment by a court, represents a taking of property without due process, and is in violation of the Fifth and 14th Amendments to our federal Constitution,” the complaint continued.
“The national banks, law firms and investors have until now abusively used the organs and institutions of the government in their fraudulent quests to obtain court orders … knowing that judges would … rule in their favor and grant them, through fraud, illegal writ of possession to our private lands and properties.”
The homeowners’ complaint demanded that Attorney General Harris and county sheriffs cease and desist from enforcing fraudulent evictions and foreclosures, citing “the defrauding banks’ improper securitization of promissory notes”; “utilization of ‘robosigners’ – essentially a forgery”; and the banks’ “inability to provide unaltered, original/wet ink signature copy on the note.”
One of the protesters at Dexter Cato’s house on March 16 was Rosie Alvarado, who a week earlier had “occupied” her own home with 20 friends to forestall her own fraudulent eviction. However, this week was another story. While she and foreclosure fighter Delia Pedroza-Aguilar were in San Francisco helping to “reclaim” Cato’s house, 50 miles away armed police broke into Alvarado’s home in Antioch and ordered her family members out of the house. Alvarado plans to file a complaint with the district attorney.
“I’m so sorry about what those bastards did in Antioch,” said Mary Ratcliff, editor of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, “but so grateful Rosie and Delia were able to drive the 50 miles to support Dexter Cato in the Bayview … in the pouring, driving rain!”