Editor: This is an edited version of Doug Porter’s column “The Starting Line” at San Diego Free Press, published Wednesday, Nov. 14th.
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.
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.
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