By | December 18, 2012 |
In his first policy action since taking office this month, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner signed into law Tuesday an ordinance holding banks accountable for maintaining the condition of homes they take over through foreclosure.
The Property Value Protection Ordinance requires banks to register with the city whenever they begin a foreclosure process, and pay a $76 fee. The fee revenue will fund new code enforcement staff, and the registry will make it much easier to identify the banks responsible for neglected foreclosures, who will be fined daily if they don’t clean up the mess.
“This is the first step,” Filner said. “We’re going to go further and say we want more protection. We want the banks to actually help our neighborhoods and help individuals.”
The ordinance, authored by Councilmember David Alvarez, passed the City Council on a 5-3 vote in November, after more than a year of debate. The Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI) and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) proposed the ordinance.
In a 2011 report, Foreclosure: The Cost Communities Pay, CPI and ACCE documented that neglected foreclosures drag down neighboring property values and cost local governments in San Diego hundreds of millions of dollars for maintenance, inspections, police and fire calls and other services. There have been 57,000 foreclosures in the city over the past five years.
Filner signed the ordinance in a ceremony in the front yard of Clara Lorrabaquio, who lives across the street from a previously blighted foreclosed home. She said the house sat abandoned for months, attracting trash, vandals and squatters.
“This ordinance will give our city the tools we need to protect our neighborhoods from the costs and hazards of foreclosure blight,” said Clare Crawford, CPI Executive Director.
A poll commissioned by CPI last spring found that 70% of San Diegans supported fining banks for failing to maintain foreclosed homes, and only 14% oppose the idea.
By Trinh Le | December 17, 2012 |
As a community organizer, I want to thank you personally for signing and sharing our letter urging Mayor Filner to Make Poverty a Priority! With your help, we mobilized more than 1,000 San Diegans – double our original goal – to send the letter!
Please know that even though the letter campaign is over, it is just the beginning of our work with the new mayor to combat all types of poverty in our community. We will need your help on a regular basis to advocate for San Diego families struggling with foreclosure, hardworking individuals seeking quality jobs and others fighting for living wages, healthcare and other solutions to poverty.
We look forward to continuing to partner with you as we build a San Diego that works for all. Starting in January, we will update you on ways you can get involved in this work, including volunteering in our office, helping with online and off-line community organizing and attending important hearings at city hall.
Click here to read the inspiring posts of community members and leaders who spoke from the heart about poverty in San Diego.
We hope you will get to know the other collaborators who made this campaign a success:
Mid City CAN, Proyecto Casas Saludables, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice of San Diego County (ICWJ), San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, Employee Rights Center (ERC), Greater Logan Heights Community Partnership (GLHCP), BAME CDC, MAAC Project, United Taxi Workers of San Diego (UTWSD), Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego County, California Democratic Party Chicano Latino Caucus- Region X (SanDiego), Students for Economic Justice Alumni (SEJ), Bay Terrace Community Association (BTCA), San Diego Free Press (SDFP), Asociación de Michoacanos Andarani de San Diego y Amigos (AMASDA), Women Occupy San Diego, Instituto Binacional de las Fronteras (IBF), the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Activist San Diego, National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), Canvass for a Cause, NAACP San Diego Branch and the Peace Resource Center of San Diego.
It is CPI’s mission to research and advocate for good policies. For our part we will continue to keep you informed and ask for your help in educating and advocating on behalf of the community in 2013 on important issues. If you have ideas or are willing to contribute your time and talent please drop me a line.
See you in 2013,
By Norma Rodriguez | December 17, 2012 |
Thanks to the leadership of Councilmember David Alvarez, your help and the support of our coalition partners, we won the ability to hold banks accountable for neglected foreclosures through the Property Value Protection Ordinance (PVPO). Thank you for your hard work! Now it is time to celebrate!
This “Neighborhoods First” initiative will be the first ordinance that he signs as the new Mayor. This couldn’t have happened without you and our key partners, including ACCE, San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFSCME Local 127, the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, Proyecto de Casa Saludables, San Diego Organizing Project (SDOP) and many more organizations and San Diego residents. You made this happen, so please come celebrate!
Please email me to confirm that you will be in attendance.
By Lorena Gonzalez | December 13, 2012 |
When we think of poverty, we don’t usually think of work. But for tens of thousands of San Diegans, a job doesn’t keep them out of poverty. In some professions, like nonunion retail, workers struggle to get the hours they need to cobble together a full time job. In other jobs, like the service sector, workers can work 40 plus hours a week and still not make enough money to live above the poverty line. Too many workers make the minimum wage, don’t have health care benefits and have to rely on taxpayer-funded programs – like food stamps, public housing and free lunch – just to get by. And far too many of these folks work for huge, wealthy employers that get subsidies and tax breaks from the government, as we subsidize their workers’ salaries. The working poor deserve better. We all deserve better. Let’s set a higher bar for everyone and make poverty a priority by demanding low wage work pay a livable wage.
Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council and a CPI board member.
By CPI Social Media Team | December 13, 2012 |
What’s the first image that comes to your mind when you think of poverty? Did you know that a third of all adults LIVING IN POVERTY in the region are EMPLOYED?
Watch the Video. Sign the letter (http://bit.ly/VrrtLd) to Mayor Filner asking him to make all poverty a priority in San Diego.
By Reverend Jamie Gates Ph.D | December 12, 2012 |
Too often we think that great societies are determined by their most powerful people and powerful achievements, by their technologies and innovations and the heights of splendor they reach. But our prophetic religious traditions teach us that great societies are determined by the degree to which we care for the most marginal amongst us, by the plight of the proverbial “widow and the orphan and the stranger” in our midst, by the level of compassion shown to the poor. With so much of the economic rhetoric coming out of Washington or generally in the press directing the public eye to the plight of an ill-defined “middle class,” have we lost sight of the truly vulnerable amongst us?
A full fifth of households in San Diego make less than $23,736 a year…right near the federal poverty rate for a family of four. Despite all the talk about how homes are more affordable than they have been in decades, San Diego’s housing market is among the least affordable in the nation. More importantly for the most vulnerable amongst us, affordability for renters is plummeting. Over ½ million people in San Diego County have no medical insurance and are at risk of financial disaster when illness strikes. Dependence on the “social safety net” of food stamps, unemployment benefits, Social Security and public health care has climbed while public support for securing this safety net continues to be weak. While some of the barriers to accessing the social safety net have come down (e.g. removing fingerprinting requirements from County access to food assistance), significant work remains to be done to remove the barriers to access even the underfunded services that exist.
What a treat to hear newly installed San Diego mayor Bob Filner at the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice (ICWJ) Voices for Justice breakfast speak of his commitment to alleviating poverty in San Diego. He publically committed to ending homelessness in San Diego and to working hard on behalf of San Diego’s lowest paid workers. What does this look like? How can we help the mayor move beyond the rhetoric? How can we help widen the economic spotlight to include, maybe even highlight, the most vulnerable?
Will you join Reverend Gates by sending the “Make Poverty a Priority” letter to Mayor Filner? Click here to send your letter now.
Jamie Gates is professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Work and Director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University and also serves as the President of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.
By Richard Lawrence | December 11, 2012 |
During my years working for affordable housing in San Diego, I’ve seen far too much heartbreaking poverty in our city, and it’s time we did something about it. The most painful of my encounters with working poverty involved a family in City Heights with nine children. The father worked at a vehicle service center, the mother cashiered at a restaurant and the oldest child worked at the San Diego Zoo over the summer, but they could not find an apartment they could afford to rent. They had lived in the Salvation Army Shelter and were really happy to find space in transitional housing at the YWCA. But when the time limit was up there, they had to move.
Pooling their income and still unable to afford a large enough home, this hard-working family had no choice but to split up. They moved into a subsidized apartment that limited the number of residents, and sent two of their children to live with relatives. No family — especially one working this hard — should ever have to face the terrible choices poverty puts upon them.
Will you join Richard by sending the “Make Poverty a Priority” letter to Mayor Filner? Click here to send your letter now.
Richard Lawrence is a founding member and co-chair of the San Diego Affordable Housing Coalition. He is also a CPI board member.
By CPI Social Media Team | December 10, 2012 |
By Center on Policy Initiatives | December 7, 2012 |
Great news! Today, the Supreme Court of the United States filed orders announcing that the court will take up both California’s Proposition 8 same-sex marriage case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, and the Defense of Marriage Act case USA v. Windsor, for further review in 2013. We know that many in the LGBT community have waited for equal rights. This includes marriage equality and access to the same rights that heterosexual Americans have: protection from discrimination, access to equal benefits and joint filing on the Federal level. CPI stands with the LGBT community and hopes that the Supreme Court will do the same by granting these individuals long overdue equal rights.
As Harvey Milk once said:“All people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.”
― Harvey Milk
A ruling in support of the LGBT community moves us one step closer to equality and closer to a day when each of us can reach our true potential.
By CPI Social Media Team | December 6, 2012 |