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Richmond CARES Program

Claude Morton
Column Editor

These financial institutions, even have gone so far as to take the city of Richmond to court...



Fighting against Wall Street to fix underwater homes.

Gayle McLaughlin

Gayle McLaughlin (born 1952 in Chicago, Illinois) is a California politician. She is a member of the Green Party and, since 2006, the mayor of Richmond, California. McLaughlin was elected on November 7, 2006 by a 242-vote margin over incumbent mayor Irma A. Anderson. Richmond is, as of 2009, the largest city in the country with a Green Party. | Photo: Associated Press | Link | Gayle Mclaughlin, Green Party, Richmond, California, Woman, Politician,

Fighting against Wall Street to fix underwater homes.

Claude Morton
Column Editor

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[Comments] The last time I spoke with Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, representing the good folks from Richmond, California; she was very excited about implanting a new underwater mortgage buyback program for her citizens, to help thwart off foreclosures and the economic and social devastation it brings to the community.

Since that time, the Mayor has come under full attack from Wall Street, and transnational financial institutions who would rather profit off of Americans suffering, than fix a problem the majority of Americans played no role in creating (the 2008 Great Depression).

These financial institutions, even have gone so far as to take the city of Richmond to court, in an attempt to prevent their Richmond CARES program from ever getting started; thankfully they dropped their lawsuit recently, giving Richmond an opportunity to advance forward.

From the lawsuit, we can see which financial intuitions wanted to stand in the way of progression, and harm the general welfare of Richmond citizens, if not all United States citizens. Deutsche Bank, a key player in the 2008 market crash, who received billions of bailout funds, and who is also a foreign institution, that prevented thousands, if not millions, of American homeowners from participating in HARP and HAMP, and forcing them into foreclosures, was among those filing the lawsuit.

BlackRock Inc., whose key members played pivotal roles in creating the environment that brought down our economy, and who later benefited tremendously from the 2008 Great Depression, by essentially becoming the main financial institution used by government to handle the crisis, via cronyism. BlackRock Inc. has gone on to purchase millions of underwater homes since 2008, and used all these homes to drive the housing market back up artificially, along with the rental market; squeezing people already too-poor to buy a home, out of even renting a home. They have also created what is known as rental-backed securities, like the toxic mortgage-backed securities that destroyed our economy, I wonder how that will turn out?

Wells Fargo & Co., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were all a part of the lawsuit also. All of these financial intuitions fighting against the city of Richmond over the Richmond CARES program, received unprecedented bailouts for their acts of financial plundering that brought down our economy in 2008, which has led to over 14 million foreclosure filings in America since that time.

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who is organizing with her citizens to improve their quality of life, is showing us we don't have to be subservient to big banks and financial institutions when we organize and stand strong. Mayor McLaughlin was kind enough to answer a few questions about where the Richmond CARES program is currently at in its development.

Claude Morton: Can you speak about where the plan is at now, what stage it's in, and will it be moving forward?

Mayor McLaughlin: We are currently working with a city in Southern California and expect to have a Joint Powers Authority agreement before our respective City Councils before August. Once a JPA is formed, we can begin to move forward.

Claude Morton: How do you feel about those transnational corporations using the courts of law to actively fight against the general welfare of Richmond citizens?

Mayor McLaughlin: I think it is outrageous (but not surprising) that big banks and big corporations try to block the way for local governments to help our communities. Economists across the political spectrum agree that principal reductions are key to economic recovery. These financial institutions have offered no fix for homeowners with the types of severely underwater loans that we are seeking to help. They should not be blocking the way of local governments who are trying to help our local communities and local economies revive from problems that these financial institutions have caused in the first place.

Claude Morton: There has also been a huge press blitz of big-business shills showing up on the usual circuits of misinformation, FOX News, etc.' To scare the public into believing that reworking underwater mortgages through eminent domain will put those citizens in harm's way. How do you feel about those tactics, and what do you think it says about those media companies who never present the other side of the story when reporting on these scare tactics?

Mayor McLaughlin: These tactics are par for the course for big business. The misinformation and omission of information are deliberate and meant to scare the public and elected officials and to allow for the financial industries to continue to call the shots. Those media outlets that cater to these interests are showcasing their complicity with this big business, and the corporate culture that continues to create instability in our overall economy. The Richmond CARES program (i.e. the eminent domain program) offers a stability for neighborhoods and cities in dire need of this. Such stability will not come from the big financial institutions that always put their profits first.

Claude Morton: How do you feel about the fact that Richmond citizens overwhelmingly favor your plan, yet outside forces of the transnational variety are trying to prevent what those citizens have expressed they wanted?

Mayor McLaughlin: You are right in that our community overwhelmingly supports this program (as do people everywhere). Big business is trying to thwart the democratic rights of communities. But we will not allow that to happen, as I intend to keep standing up to Wall Street along with the highly activated community we have here in Richmond.

Claude Morton: Do you feel the vote by the Richmond City Council towards the end of this month will vote to move the plan forward or not?

Mayor McLaughlin: I feel we will have a vote on a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) agreement before August which will move us forward in conjunction with at least one other city in California.

Claude Morton: Thank you so much for your time and service, you are an inspiration to all of us seeking a better-way-of-life for our society, and the rooting out of predatory lenders looking to cause our citizens and nation real harm.


Claude Morton

Claude Morton, Column Editor: Claude Morton is an independent contributor, who mostly writes articles on politics, Veganism, philosophy, or local events. Claude has contributed to a variety of print and online outlets including Yahoo!, MovieMaker Magazine, and the Ann Arbor News. From Claude; I’m in the 1%, no, not that 1%. I’m a vegan, indie filmmaker, libertarian socialist, and a pacifist. I champion freedom as much as equality, and love discussing solutions about our country’s biggest dilemmas. ... (more...)