Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Occupy eminent domain, terrify Wall St.

Richmond, CA (Photo: Jacob Kearns, Flickr)
Richmond California has voted 4-3 to seize up to 624 underwater homes, refinance them with loans reflecting the current value of the properties, and keep the homeowners in them. Mother Jones reports on the reaction by Wall Street securities firms and local realtors (who would get to sell foreclosed houses again) to the city's proposed solution to its housing problem:
     ...the Contra Costa County Association of Realtors began blanketing the town with misleading mailers. "Don't let Wall Street take another bite out of Richmond homes," one flyer admonishes. There's a grain of truth to the claim—Gluckstern himself is a former Lehman Brothers investment banker. But the fact that Wall Street trade groups actually oppose MRP's plan may be lost on average voters.
     The securities industry recently sued Richmond in federal court seeking a preemptive injunction against its eminent-domain strategy. A judge will hear that case on Thursday.
     ...Richmond will now form a Joint Powers Authority to administer the program along with any other cities that want to team up with MRP.
     ...At a Monday press conference, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos announced that he will propose a resolution before the city's Board of Supervisors expressing support for the Richmond plan and calling on San Francisco to pursue a similar foreclosure-reduction strategy.

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