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Sunday, June 21, 2009

ACORN Worming It's Way Into City Dollars

Nancy Armstrong of Ms Placed Democrat was not only gracious enough to post my piece from yesterday about the formation of ACORN 8 but ask prior to doing it. In the piece following, I return the favor...

The U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the Washington-based nonprofit Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) were the key sponsors for a discussion on foreclosures across the country. Mayor Michael Nutter’s Philadelphia Foreclosure Model won praise from mayors that included Manny Diaz of Miami and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles .

There were several other prominent people involved in the conference call, including Bertha Lewis, CEO and Chief Organizer for ACORN, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, Dan Lindheim, Oakland Finance & Management Agency (spokesman for Mayor Ron V. Dellums of Oakland), California, Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles .

Ms. Lewis spoke about the foreclosure problem across the country, including red lining communities, sub-prime loans and predatory loans. She thanked the mayors for their help with work to stop the predatory loans and sub-loans. She blamed federal regulators for the housing crisis without taking responsibility for ACORN’s part in the crisis. She chastised the Senate for not passing the bankruptcy bill which would make it easier to modify mortgage loans. Quoting Credit Suisse, she said there would be an additional 9 million foreclosures over the next four years.

Mayor Michael Nutter was the next to speak, with his focus on the Philadelphia Foreclosure Model, whereby the model requires mandatory involvement between the mortgagee and the mortgage company. Nutter said that their program is funded with private sector help and federal funding. In Philadelphia , the court system, which oversees the program, will not allow the sale of a home in foreclosure unless lenders and creditors have tried to negotiate new terms.
Nutter said during the call that the city contributed “in excess of” $2 million to fund it’s program. He spoke about raising private funds to assist with the program as well.

There was some discussion of using Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding for the program in Philadelphia , suggesting other communities look into using these funds.
Mayor Bloomberg was next to speak about the program developed in New York City . He was quick to point out the fact that they are using private money and City money. He stated he believes that homeowners do not understand the foreclosure process, and followed his statements up with praise for ACORN’s work with the foreclosure problem in NYC.
Mayor Slay from St. Louis spoke about the fact there is no mandatory law in Missouri . He mentioned the fact that mortgage companies have deep ties to the Missouri legislature through mortgage company lobbyists who are regular visitors to elected officials.

Dan Lindheim, spokesman for the City of Oakland discussed their foreclosure problem, and he asked for details about the Philadelphia Foreclosure model to see if he could implement a similar program in Oakland . He mentioned that he was going to the California legislature to ask for emergency funding for the Making Home Affordable Program.

Then Mayor Antonio Villaraigas spoke up from Los Angeles . He was glowing in his praise for the assistance that ACORN gave them in that city.

ACORN remains in the headlines because of their involvement in voter fraud, the Rathke embezzlement, and an unaccounted for $53 million dollars of taxpayer funds. The organization has been the subject of Congressional scrutiny by two elected members of congress, Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

ACORN is following the mantra of “never let a good crisis go to waste”, and it appears they are using the current housing and foreclosure crisis to worm their way into municipal governments across the country. ACORN is using this partnership with municipalities to get their portion of $2 billion dollars by circumventing the federal government with a possibility of receiving a portion of another $6 billion dollars available through the Omnibus bill.

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