A22 San Francisco City Hall Action to Protect Tenants From Eviction

Text invitation from the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco–

We’re going to stop condo conversions for the next decade or more, permanently ban condo conversions on all 5+ units buildings and we’ve removed the threat to rent control in the Wiener-Farrell legislation!

We’re almost there—- there has be one more hearing because of our amendments and we really need people at this one. Join us Monday, April 22, at 12 noon for a rally prior to the final Land Use Committee hearing. The rally will be on the steps of City Hall (Civic Center side) and the hearing will be in Room 263 of City Hall.

The Wiener-Farrell legislation to convert apartments into condos was turned from one of biggest threats to tenants into legislation which will save thousands of apartments from conversions and thousands of tenants from evictions. Under amendments crafted by Supervisors Chiu, Kim, and Yee, all condo conversions will be stopped for at least the next decade and, if and when they resume, conversions will no longer be allowed for 5+ unit buildings. In addition, future conversions will need a higher level of owner-occupancy, which will prevent condo conversions from being used solely for rent control repeal.

These gains were significant enough to allow Existing TICs an expedited condo conversion process over the next several years, but amendments were made here as well. The lifetime leases were made enforceable and other loopholes were plugged up.

Eviction_Death_Flyer

SFERS Inaction on Predatory Bank Motions for City Retirement Funds

IMG_2972_1The San Francisco Employee Retirement System (SFERS) Retirement Board decided on April 10, 2013, not to decide anything at all on the two predatory banking motions Commissioner Herb Meiberger proposed to the Retirement Board. The vote took place in a roundabout way after much comment from the public and the commissioners in Commissioner and SF Supervisor Malia Cohen’s absence (due to illness) and once SFERS Retirement Board President Wendy Paskin-Jordan and Commissioner Brenda Wright, a senior Wells Fargo employee, had recused themselves from the deliberations. Commission Victor Makras disclosed ownership of about $11,000 of Bank of America stock, which perhaps also should have been grounds for recusal.

After much discussion from the standing-room only crowd, including lots of Wells Fargo employees paid to attend and representatives from nonprofit organizations receiving Wells Fargo funds, as well as presentation of a petition in support of the motions signed by more than 130 people, Commissioner Meiberger was unable to get a second for the motion. Then, Commissioner Makras proposed a negative motion to stop further deliberations on Herb’s motion, for which he got a second, but could not get a majority vote since Commissioner and police officer Brian Stansbury joined Commissioner Meiberger in opposing the negative motion. However, when Commissioner Meiberger again proposed the original motion, Commissioner Stansbury still did not second the motion, so the Commission did nothing at all.

If the motion should come up with Commissioner Cohen present, it seems that she could provide the necessary second for the original motions and would perhaps be able to cast the deciding vote yea or nay on at least the first, if not also the second motion.

Go to: Media Coverage    Videos    Audio    Photos    Background    Links   

Media Coverage

San Francisco Business Times (note: incorrectly states that activists protested at Brenda Wright’s home)    San Francisco Examiner

Videos

Thanks to Steve Zeltzer for the first summary video above.

Thanks to John of Bright Path Video for the summary videos above (parts I and II).

Audio

Photos

Background:

IMG_2337_1Current and retired city employees, Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters, and supporters from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Occupy Bernal, Occupy Noe, and the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions Campaign provided important testimony about the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of banks like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America at meeting of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System Retirement Board on January 9, February 13, and March 13, 2013.

At each meeting, the group asked the Retirement Board to uphold its fiduciary responsibility to investigate the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of the banks, to request that the banks stop these practices, to sponsor shareholder resolutions if they don’t stop, and to divest from the banks’ stocks if the shareholder resolutions do not succeed. Some of the Commissioners responded favorably to the public comment testimony.

Since the last SFERS Retirement Board meeting, a number of organizations have declared their support of the motions under consideration at the April 10 meeting, including the Retired Employees of the City and County of San Francisco (RECCSF), Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Tenants Union.

The San Francisco Employee Retirement Systems (SFERS) handles investments for pension funds for current and retired San Francisco city employees. SFERS has policies that include “Social Investment Procedures” adopted at the SFERS Retirement Board meeting of September 27, 1988, which requires the SFERS Retirement Board when making investments in stocks, mutual funds, and so on, to consider:

“Community Relations: the relationship of the corporation to the communities in which it operates shall be maintained as a good corporate citizen through observing proper environmental standards, supporting the local economic, social and cultural climate, conducting acquisitions and reorganizations to minimize adverse effects and not discriminate in making loans or writing insurance.” (emphasis added by Occupy the Auctions)

A record number of San Francisco City and County employees, as well as others residents of San Francisco and beyond, are facing mortgage loan defaults, foreclosures, and evictions (an estimated 12,000 foreclosures in San Francisco between 2008 and 2011). Many have already lost their homes.

Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America are the market leaders in foreclosures and related evictions here in San Francisco and statewide. These banks engaged in illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices by putting African-American and Latino borrowers into higher-cost, subprime loans than white borrowers. In fact, in July 2012, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $175 million to settle a United States Department of Justice lawsuit for its discriminatory mortgage lending practices affecting more than 30,000 borrowers, including those banking at the Bayview Wells Fargo branch.

Billions of dollars in mortgage lender settlements with government agencies and other parties have to date not managed to solve the mortgage lending crisis, making mortgage lenders and servicers a potential medium-term and long-term investment risk. Illegal, predatory, and discriminatory foreclosures harm all homeowners, erode the property tax base, and cost local governments, hurting the standard of living of retirees and all working people.

01Wells Fargo is #1 in San Francisco foreclosures. San Francisco’s Mayor and Board of Supervisors have unanimously requested a halt to foreclosures and related evictions, especially since San Francisco Assessor-Recorder’s report showing that 84% of foreclosures have at least one legal violation and due to Wells’ $175 million settlement with the United States Department of Justice paid in response to allegations of racial discrimination in providing mortgage loans in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point and other neighborhoods.

Wells Fargo’s “waterfall” model, along with similar policies from other lenders, ensures that the bank can squeeze the most money possible from homeowners struggling to make payments while finally discarding them like trash if the bank can’t make a profit on every single loan. Running a mortgage loan business means assuming risks, especially after receiving billions in bailout funds from the taxpayers, many of whom are Wells’ mortgage loan borrowers.

Wells Fargo is putting 32 families at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure and related evictions during this holiday season. Wells Fargo is foreclosing on and evicting veterans and disabled and senior homeowners and families with children, as well as targeting homeowners with life-threatening illnesses. Wells Fargo has engaged in predatory, fraudulent, and racist lending practices and has contributed to a rash of foreclosure deaths.

Links:

Petition Supporting SFERS Motions    April 10 Media Advisory    Agenda for SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on April 10, 2013    Staff Memo for SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on April 10, 2013    SFERS Social Investment Policy    Members of SFERS Retirement Board    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on March 13, 2013    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on January 9, 2013    San Francisco Business Times    KCBS (including audio segment)    Wells Pays $175 Million to Resolve Allegations of Racial Discrimination in Providing Mortgage Loans    Occupy Our Homes Wells Fargo Bayview Branch Action    Occupy Wells Fargo Noe Branch    Occupy Wells Fargo HQ    Occupy Senior and Veteran Evictions and Foreclosures (Occupy Anniversary)

San Francisco Retirement System to Debate Investments in Predatory Banks

The San Francisco Employee Retirement System (SFERS) Retirement Board plans to consider two motions regarding investments in banks engaged in illegal, predatory, or discriminatory lending at its next meeting.

What: SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on Predatory Bank Investments
When: 1:30pm on Wednesday, April 10 (arrive early to get a seat before meeting starts at 2:00pm)
Where: 30 Van Ness Avenue, 3rd floor, near Market Street, San Francisco

SFERS Commissioner Herb Meiberger introduced the motions with overwhelming support from current and retired city employees served by the retirement system.

Background:

IMG_2337_1Current and retired city employees, Foreclosure and Eviction Fighters, and supporters from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1021, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Occupy Bernal, Occupy Noe, and the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions Campaign provided important testimony about the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of banks like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America at meeting of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System Retirement Board on January 9, February 13, and March 13, 2013.

At each meeting, the group asked the Retirement Board to uphold its fiduciary responsibility to investigate the illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices of the banks, to request that the banks stop these practices, to sponsor shareholder resolutions if they don’t stop, and to divest from the banks’ stocks if the shareholder resolutions do not succeed. Some of the Commissioners responded favorably to the public comment testimony.

Since the last SFERS Retirement Board meeting, a number of organizations have declared their support of the motions under consideration at the April 10 meeting, including the Retired Employees of the City and County of San Francisco (RECCSF), Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, and the San Francisco Tenants Union.

The San Francisco Employee Retirement Systems (SFERS) handles investments for pension funds for current and retired San Francisco city employees. SFERS has policies that include “Social Investment Procedures” adopted at the SFERS Retirement Board meeting of September 27, 1988, which requires the SFERS Retirement Board when making investments in stocks, mutual funds, and so on, to consider:

“Community Relations: the relationship of the corporation to the communities in which it operates shall be maintained as a good corporate citizen through observing proper environmental standards, supporting the local economic, social and cultural climate, conducting acquisitions and reorganizations to minimize adverse effects and not discriminate in making loans or writing insurance.” (emphasis added by Occupy the Auctions)

A record number of San Francisco City and County employees, as well as others residents of San Francisco and beyond, are facing mortgage loan defaults, foreclosures, and evictions (an estimated 12,000 foreclosures in San Francisco between 2008 and 2011). Many have already lost their homes.

Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America are the market leaders in foreclosures and related evictions here in San Francisco and statewide. These banks engaged in illegal, predatory, and discriminatory practices by putting African-American and Latino borrowers into higher-cost, subprime loans than white borrowers. In fact, in July 2012, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $175 million to settle a United States Department of Justice lawsuit for its discriminatory mortgage lending practices affecting more than 30,000 borrowers, including those banking at the Bayview Wells Fargo branch.

Billions of dollars in mortgage lender settlements with government agencies and other parties have to date not managed to solve the mortgage lending crisis, making mortgage lenders and servicers a potential medium-term and long-term investment risk. Illegal, predatory, and discriminatory foreclosures harm all homeowners, erode the property tax base, and cost local governments, hurting the standard of living of retirees and all working people.

01Wells Fargo is #1 in San Francisco foreclosures. San Francisco’s Mayor and Board of Supervisors have unanimously requested a halt to foreclosures and related evictions, especially since San Francisco Assessor-Recorder’s report showing that 84% of foreclosures have at least one legal violation and due to Wells’ $175 million settlement with the United States Department of Justice paid in response to allegations of racial discrimination in providing mortgage loans in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point and other neighborhoods.

Wells Fargo’s “waterfall” model, along with similar policies from other lenders, ensures that the bank can squeeze the most money possible from homeowners struggling to make payments while finally discarding them like trash if the bank can’t make a profit on every single loan. Running a mortgage loan business means assuming risks, especially after receiving billions in bailout funds from the taxpayers, many of whom are Wells’ mortgage loan borrowers.

Wells Fargo is putting 32 families at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure and related evictions during this holiday season. Wells Fargo is foreclosing on and evicting veterans and disabled and senior homeowners and families with children, as well as targeting homeowners with life-threatening illnesses. Wells Fargo has engaged in predatory, fraudulent, and racist lending practices and has contributed to a rash of foreclosure deaths.

Links:

Agenda for SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on April 10, 2013    Members of SFERS Retirement Board    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on March 13, 2013    SFERS Retirement Board Meeting on January 9, 2013    San Francisco Business Times    KCBS (including audio segment)    Wells Pays $175 Million to Resolve Allegations of Racial Discrimination in Providing Mortgage Loans    Occupy Our Homes Wells Fargo Bayview Branch Action    Occupy Wells Fargo Noe Branch    Occupy Wells Fargo HQ    Occupy Senior and Veteran Evictions and Foreclosures (Occupy Anniversary)

For this release and updates: http://occupytheauctions.org/wordpress/?p=8821

Protest Opposes Proposed TIC Law Lifting Limit on San Francisco Condominium Conversions, Threatening Rent Control

Hundreds of organizers gathered at noon on January 28, 2013, on the Eastern steps of San Francisco City Hall to demand an end to proposed legislation from Supervisor Mark Farrell and Supervisor Scott Wiener that threatens the rental market and rent control laws in San Francisco. The measure would lift the standing annual limit on TIC condo conversions to permit 2,000 more conversions, increasing price pressure on real estate, effective pushing more rental units out of the housing market in San Francisco.

Speakers and/or organizers from the San Francisco Tenants Union, Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, San Francisco Community Tenants Association, Gray Panthers, AIDS Housing Alliance, Sierra Club of San Francisco, Senior and Disability Action, Occupy Bernal, Occupy Noe, and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), and many other organizations and individuals attended the press conference and rally, then entered City Hall for a Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee hearing to provide public comment on the proposed measure.

“Happy Holidays, Now Get the Hell Out”: Stop San Francisco Ellis Act Evictions!

IMG_2103_1Organizers from the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, San Francisco Tenants Union, Senior & Disability Action, AIDS Housing Alliance, Causa Justa::Just Cause, Chinatown Community Development Center, Occupy Bernal, Occupy Action Council SF, and other supporters gathered at 12:00 noon on December 19, 2012, to protest a rash of Ellis Act evictions of tenants living in San Francisco. A number of tenants spoke to the crowd in front of the Christmas tree on Castro Street near 18th Street, explaining how they are facing eviction in neighborhoods all over San Francisco when property owners use the Ellis Act to take the property off the rental market as an excuse for evicting them from their homes, including some who are seniors, disabled, living with AIDS, and/or have lived in their homes for decades. Representatives of various organizations spoke and the crowd chanted, displaying protest signs and banners.

Media Coverage: SF Chronicle

Thanks to Peter Menchini for first video below:

Occupy the Home of Kathy Galves: From Foreclosure to Homelessness

Dozens of protesters held a press conference at the former home of Kathy Galves at 12:00 noon on October 23, 2012, to tell the story of thousands of disabled elders and families that end up homeless when they lose their homes. Wells Fargo foreclosed on the home of Kathy Galves, then evicted her and her sister in December 2012. Since then, she has been staying with friends and paying out of her pension to stay at hotels. “I have nowhere else to go,” says Galves. Kathy, a disabled, African-American senior, needs a safe, secure, and affordable home.

Thousands of elders and families have lots their homes to foreclosure here in San Francisco and they often end up homeless staying in motels, their cars, shelters, and even sometimes on the streets. Many of the foreclosures happen when someone in the family becomes ill and the family can no longer afford skyrocketing medical bills.

The event also highlighted the plight of 82-year-old Dr. Lehmann Brightmann, a Native American scholar and educator who is in the hospital while his family teeters on the edge of foreclosure and 80-year-old Fred Wahpepah, a Native American medicine-giver who needs financial assistance to prevent his home from going into foreclosure after his wife became ill and could no longer work.

The event was co-sponsored by POOR Magazine / Prensa POBRE, The Manilatown Heritage Foundation, The Idriss Stelley Foundation, and the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, with speakers from some of those organizations, as well as the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Occupy Bernal, and the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions Campaign.

Brother Robles of Poor Magazine and Manilatown Heritage Foundation speaks.

“Tiny” aka Lisa Gray-Garcia of POOR Magazine speaks.

Kathy Galves speaks.

Son of Dr. Lehmann Brightmann speaks.

Son of Dr. Lehmann Brightmann continues.

Tommi Avicolli-Mecca of Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco speaks.

Tommi Avicolli-Mecca of Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco continues.

Fred Wahpepah speaks.

Devina Estrella O Jai speaks.

Ross Rhodes of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), Occupy Bernal, and Occupy Noe speaks.

Fred Wahpepah offers a closing ceremony.

San Francisco Foreclosure Fairness Ordinance Press Conference

Update: see press conference videos and photos below

Link: Text of Foreclosure Fairness Ordinance (proposed)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, June 4, 2012
Contact: Angela D’Anna, Assessor-Recorder’s Office 415-554-7434
Raquel Redondiez, Supervisor Avalos’ Office 415-554-7896

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***
Supervisor John Avalos and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting announce Ballot Initiative to Make Banks Pay Their Fair Share and Keep Homeowners in Their Homes

WHO: Supervisor John Avalos
Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting

WHAT: Announcing the Foreclosure Fairness Ordinance eliminating a transfer tax exemption given to banks and lenders, this ordinance aims to make banks and lenders pay their fair share of taxes and to help keep homeowners in their homes.

WHEN: Monday, June 4th, 2012, 12:00pm, noon

WHERE: City Hall, Polk Street Steps
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102



Videos of Press Conference


Photos of Press Conference

Victory for Three Families Facing Eviction

Causa Justa : Just Cause reports on the victory of three families facing eviction by U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo:

Link: Victory for Three Families Facing Eviction
kids_vs_us_bank

It seems public outcry and bad press shamed US Bank and Wells Fargo into dropping attempts to evict three families in the Excelsior. They took the eviction action off the court calendar, giving some breathing room to three Latina moms and their children living in the Excelsior district. It took two housing rights organizations with over 25 years of experience shared between them: CJJC and the Housing Rights Committee, several weeks to unravel a tangle of bureaucracy and find out exactly WHO and WHAT bank was actually responsible since they both kept pointing the finger at each other!After tons of calls to many different people at both banks, we finally found out that US Bank hired Wells Fargo to service the property.

The servicer, Wells Fargo just confirmed this week in a meeting with Causa Justa :: Just Cause and the Housing Rights Committee that they will
•    Not evict the families;
•    Pay all utilities;
•    And make repairs to the units.

We told you about these families last month when we gathered in front of US Bank on 16th & Mission Streets for a press conference to stop their eviction. You can read media stories about it herehere and here

So all in all, we are thrilled with the outcome of this case, but also painfully aware that it took mass mobilization, community collaboration, and pressure to find out even the simplest information, such as who now oversees the property.

This case exemplifies the struggles that many tenants living in foreclosed properties face daily not only here in the Bay Area, but across the state and nationally.These families are the face of the hidden victims of the foreclosure crisis and their struggle shows that when banks take over possession of foreclosed properties they very often violate tenant’s rights.

Now more than ever we need to hold banks such as US Bank and Wells Fargo accountable to local, state, and federal protections for tenants to avoid further displacement.

These families suffered through fighting an unjust eviction proceeding, facing the anxiety of possible utility shut –off, all the while not knowing who to turn to in order to maintain the property in habitable condition. If the bank admits that they are the present owner and by their documents have the power to evict or demand rent payment, then they and only they can be responsible for maintaining the property.

kids_vs_banks4

These mothers and their children who were brave enough to share their story so that it would be known widely and who were not afraid to confront not one but two banks are a true inspiration! Now as members of CJJC they will continue to share their story and hope to help other tenants who live in foreclosed properties and face similar abuses.

Tenants Rights Organizations Defend Renters Facing Foreclosure Eviction

Groups including Causa Justa / Just Cause, the Coalition on Homelessness and the Housing Rights Committee, protested at the US Bank branch at 16th St and Mission St to prevent US Bank and Wells Fargo from illegally evicting three single mothers and their children renting an Excelsior home.

It’s important for tenants to know their rights under the law and to seek help if a landlord or a bank tells them they have to move out. Renters facing evictions can contact the Housing Rights Committee of SF, Causa Justa / Just Cause, or the SF Tenants Union for counseling on their rights.

Link: Video Thanks to Bill Carpenter

Feel free to republish photos below with attribution to OccupyEvictions.org.

Related Organizations

Below are various organizations related to the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions campaign here in San Francisco, even though they haven’t officially endorsed the campaign.

Links: Organizations    Add/Edit an Organization