HOUSING, HEALTH, & HABITABILITY in OAKLAND
The Problem |Oakland is a majority-renter city with a large number of low-income households who face major problems securing decent housing. In 2011-12, almost one-third of tenants who sought help at four organizations providing tenant services faced habitability problems in their housing conditions. These habitability problems—most notably mold—pose...
Refund Oakland is launching a week of actions to call attention to the crises facing working families and local residents, who struggle with cuts to jobs and benefits and health-threatening deterioration in housing and neighborhoods. Oakland’s budget must protect housing, public services and education. The city of Oakland begins budget hearings to review Mayor Jean Quan's...
Martin Mercado had a huge victory at the Rent Board against a property management company represented by landlord lawyer Daniel Bornstein.
Martin and his brother moved in a studio apartment in the Mission District in 1993, but his brother was the only one who signed the contract and all...
By Maria Poblet / Organizing Upgrade
Photo by Josh Warren White
Tunisia is a society under construction. After a successful revolution in 2011 that sparked the "Arab Spring", the country, and the entire region, are in the midst of profound social transformation. I went to Tunisia thrilled to learn from the social movements that overthrew a profoundly entrenched, decades-long dictatorship.
Video by Francisco Barradas
This May Day join us as we march for a Just Reform, an end to the Deportations and Justice for our communities!
May Day March, Wednesday, May 1. March with CJJC
Date: Wednesday, May 1
We will all be meeting at our CJJC offices on 2300 Mission Street #201.
We will meet at...
Following a spirited rally this morning led by community and faith groups and passionate testimony from scores of community members, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution calling on Sheriff Greg Ahern to stop the constitutionally dubious practice of holding people for extra time, beyond the point they would otherwise be released, just so they can be picked up...
(poster Jesús Barraza)
Supporters, join us on the steps of SF City Hall on Monday, April 22 @ noon for a speak out by tenants facing eviction and displacement, and then on to the 2nd Land Use committee hearing for an amended condo conversion measure (the Chiu-Yee alternative) which would curb speculation and protect tenants from evictions.
Our families and long-time...
Major march in SF Urging Leaders to champion
inclusive immigration reform
When and where: Wednesday, April 10
· 3:00 PM: Program begins at 1 Post St.
· 3:30 PM: March leaves 1 Post St. Route includes stops symbolizing need for reform to protect worker rights (4 Seasons Hotel), family unity (at 6th and Market), and to end painful deportations (fed. building).
· 5:00 PM: Rally at old Federal...
by Rinku Sen-Colorlines-
Wednesday, April 3 2013, 8:29 AM EST
We applaud the Associated Press’s announcement that it is eliminating the phrase “illegal immigrant” from the 2013 style guide. The AP Blog quotes Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll on the decision:
The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe...
Reflections on internationalist solidarity, in preparation for the 2013 World Social Forum in Tunisia
By Maria Poblet
Reprinted from Organizing Ugrade
"Hijab is part of our culture!" yelled a young woman in a gold and yellow "hijab" Muslim headscarf, squared off against an older French blonde, whose chin and shoulders were pulled back, signaling how offended and taken aback she was. "You think feminism is taking off the scarf?" the young woman continued, "Why don't you stop the wars in our countries, stop the criminalization of Islam in Europe? We do not want to be in your country but we have no choice but to migrate, now you want to take away our culture, too?"
The feminist debate I had read about was happening before my eyes, western concepts of feminism clashing with the priorities of women from the global south. I was participating in AWID's (Association for Women in Development) international conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Surrounded by thousands of women's organizations, funders and feminists, I experienced moments of palpable women's solidarity, and also moments like this one – conflicts between political views and lived experiences emblematic of dynamics that have held the women's movement back. These power dynamics are as old as colonialism, and sometimes just as entrenched. Women with good intentions and social and economic privilege aim to "save" women who are marginalized, women of color, immigrant women, women from the popular classes.
I couldn't help but think of George Bush and his empire-building media spin – the claim that the US invaded Afghanistan not for access to oil and natural gas, but in order to "liberate the women." His message of "women's liberation" was accompanied by media images of the burqa, head-to-toe covering sometimes with only a mesh opening for breathing. This convinced many to support US military occupation.
What many missed after Afghanistan dropped out of US headlines was the subsequent integration of Afghan women into the globalized economy, as piecemeal garment workers and other low-wage work. The liberation that was promised, as it turns out, was actually integration into the lowest rungs of globalized capitalism – sweatshop-style garment work, sewing clothing for women in the global north, in living rooms and factories that produce for subcontractors of large corporations. Underneath the claims that this "access to money" liberates women, imbedded in the designer labels on women's clothing around the world, a neoliberal restructuring is underway in the entire region.
What this approach did not include was any consultation with, or leadership from, the very women experiencing this form of oppression, or communities trying to fight it. Too often, we progressive feminists in the west can fall into those same traps, assuming we know what's best for other women, uninformed or informed by dubious sources, and misusing economic and social powering a way that reinforces power imbalances that hurt our movement.
What would the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) have to say about this situation? Equally committed to the fight against fundamentalism as they are...
Five Arrested For Protesting DeMarco at House Financial Services Hearing
Shirley from @CVHaction repping #homes4all demanding principal reduction
Washington, DC—A group of 15 Americans in need of affordable housing crashed a Financial Services hearing on the Hill today, where FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco was speaking, to protest the Bush appointee’s failed policies and demand an end to his tenure. Five were arrested after the protesters interrupted DeMarco’s speech with signs reading “Dump DeMarco” and stood up one at a time to demand President Obama dump DeMarco and nominate a permanent direct who will implement national principal reduction-- resetting mortgages to fair market value—at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Despite protests of ranking member Maxine Waters, (D, CA), even quiet members of the group were removed from the hearing and arrested. The hearing was one of the first opportunities critics have had to be in the same room as DeMarco. It was organized as part of the New Bottom Line’s “Dump DeMarco” campaign in association with Right to the City’s “Homes for All” campaign, which is demanding a national plan on affordable housing from the President.
See photos of the interrupted House Finance Committee Meeting here: http://bit.ly/DeMarcoHearing
"DeMarco is kicking my family out of my home. Dump DeMarco! Principal Reduction now!" chanted Ramon Suero, a homeowner facing foreclosure, as he interrupted DeMarco’s speech. “Ed DeMarco’s policies are putting my three kids, my wife, and I out on the street. If the President doesn’t get rid of him, he’s responsible for putting millions of Americans just like me on street as well.” Suero was one of the five people arrested.
See a copy of Suero’s petition to Pres. Obama to stop DeMarco from kicking him out of his house:http://signon.org/sign/ed-demarco-dont-kick
“DeMarco’s actions are driving millions of Americans into foreclosure and record debt,” said Tracy Van Slyke, Executive Director of The New Bottom Line. “We are fed up, and it is time for President Obama to act on his promises to America’s middle class by dumping DeMarco and nominating a permanent director who will move principal reduction at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and stand with all homeowners and taxpayers.”
DeMarco opposes principal reduction even though it has been documented by both Fannie and Freddie as a good policy for both homeowners and taxpayers.
“Americans are hurting,” said Right to the City’s Executive Director Rachel Laforest. “They are homeless in record numbers, stuck in decaying apartment buildings owned by DeMarco’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac banks, and struggling to pay the rent. Ed DeMarco is the single biggest block to affordable and secure housing for millions of Americans. Obama can and must remove him now to allow principal reduction for homeowners to stay in their homes and contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund to create affordable rentals.”
The campaign to Dump DeMarco, which is being run by New Bottom Line, has been heating up for months. On Friday, Senator Stabenow (D-MI) joined 45 Members of Congress in urging the Obama Administration
End the Deportations! Citizenship for all! / ¡PapelesParaTodos Ya!
SF Town Hall
Thursday, March 21st
St. John the Evangelist
(1661 15th St. @ Julian)
Oakland Town Hall
Saturday, March 23, 1-4pm
Oakland BART station, 3rd Floor, 3451 East. 12th Street, 3rd Floor
Please join community-based organizations, interfaith groups, legal advocates, worker centers, labor and immigrant and community members from SF to learn about what is being proposed at the national level, the impacts our current broken immigration system is having on our communities and what YOU can do locally and statewide to address the criminalization and deportation of our immigrant communities.
Learn about the CIR proposals coming out of DC and the negative impacts these could have on workers, families, students.
Hear testimony from community members including: DREAMers, union workers, low-wage workers, survivors of S-comm and those already torn apart by deportation proceedings.
Get engaged and mobilize locally to help end ICE & police collaboration in San Francisco, ensure due process for all immigrants and demand inclusive and just immigration reform! Make California a leader in fighting deportations!
Translation provided in Spanish & Cantonese Food and childcare will be provided.
Sponsored by San Francisco Immigrant Rights Committee (SFIRDC) and San Francisco Job with Justice (JWJ) and the San Francisco Labor Council
For more information contact:
Muchos han sido los golpes y los ataques en contra de nuestra comunidad.
Arbitrariedades laborales, leyes y regulaciones racistas, deportaciones, etc. Y la tan prometida propuesta de regularización migratoria de Obama resultó ser restringida y acompañada con el recrudecimiento de la represión para todos aquellos que no "caliﬁcarán."
Nuestra comunidad tiene una fuerza enorme. Tenemos que juntarnos, discutir y crear una estrategia de lucha a largo plazo que nos lleve realmente a la residencia incondicional para todo aquel que lo solicite sin ninguna restricción y a la abolición de toda medida represiva que nos quieran imponer a cambio de migajas. Es urgente que comencemos este camino ya.
¡Todos al Foro del 23 de Marzo!
Saying that housing is a basic human right, about 75 protesters gathered in downtown Oakland Wednesday as part of the new Homes for All campaign. The grassroots movement, launched with similar events in 11 cities nationwide, asks President Obama and other elected leaders to develop a plan to expand and protect affordable housing.
Oakland resident Alma Blackwell laid out some of the advocates' demands as she stood in front of a bright red cardboard model "home" the size of a child's playhouse on Frank Ogawa Plaza, where many of the protesters recalled having gathered for Occupy protests.
"We want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to turn 100,000 bank-owned foreclosures over to nonprofits to convert to deeply affordable housing for low-income people," she said to chants of "Si se puede/Yes we can."
"We want Fannie and Freddie to contribute $5 billion toward a national housing trust," Blackwell told the crowd. "We want principal reductions for all underwater homeowners with Fannie and Freddie loans. We want to see Edward DeMarco replaced," she said, referring to the head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, who opposes reducing mortgage principals to make them more affordable.
The nonprofit groups in the Homes for All campaign ( www.homesforall.org), which include Cause Justa, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and Tenants Together, also want to see $5 billion allocated for the National Housing Trust Fund, HUD and Section 8.
An array of speakers discussed problems with either apartments they rented or homes they owned that led to eviction or the threat of it. The protesters then marched across Broadway to hold a rally outside a Chase bank branch, symbolizing their displeasure with how big banks have responded to the foreclosure crisis.
"After my parents died, I took out a loan to fix up the house we've had for 40 years," said Minnie Galloway, 74, of Oakland. "I didn't realize it was a predatory, interest-only loan that would keep changing and changing higher." Her pension from the Veterans Administration medical center where she was a nurse's assistant couldn't keep up. A year in arrears, she's now seeking a loan modification. "I'm just trying to keep the old body and soul together," she said.
Ana Gutierrez, 66, also faces losing her longtime home in San Francisco - to an Ellis Act eviction in which landlords state they no longer want to rent their property. Gutierrez lives in a four-bedroom apartment in the Mission with her two sons and a friend. Their $905 monthly rent - kept low by a rent-control ordinance - wouldn't begin to cover even the cost of a studio in a city where housing costs have skyrocketed.
The protest came two days after the National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual report on housing affordability, called "Out of Reach." The group said that California is the nation's second-most-expensive state (after Hawaii) for renters. A minimum-wage worker must work about 130 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom rental, it said. San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin and Santa Clara counties...