Occupy Homes Buys Time, Gets Jury Trial for Foreclosure Case

Embattled North Minneapolis homeowner Monique White had her day in court Monday morning, and faced the possibility of being evicted from her house this week. But apparent last-minute jockeying between her defense team and attorneys for Freddie Mac postponed her hearing until Friday when she’ll face a jury trial. The postponement, and potential for a settlement, was a small victory for White, her legal team led by Rachel E. B. Lang of the National Lawyer’s Guild and state representative Bobby Joe Champion (DFL, District 58B), and a team of activists from Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC) and Occupy Homes. White, a single African-American mother who works two jobs, including the nightshift at a North Minneapolis liquor store, invited Occupy activists into her foreclosed home early last November to fight off eviction.

She and South Minneapolis ex-Marine Bobby Hull (who won his home with a renegotiated mortgage last month) have become pinnacles in the burgeoning Occupy Homes movement and have garnered attention from national media. Freddie Mac moved to foreclose on White after she fell behind in paying her mortgage, which was previously controlled by U.S. Bank. Occupy activists have targeted both Freddie Mac and U.S. Bank with their campaign in recent months, claiming that the financial institutions that were bailed out by the federal government should give homeowners a second chance too.

Approximately 70 activists filled a housing courtroom in the Hennepin County Government Center Monday morning in solidarity with Monique White. They carried red and white roses (“red representing our love for Monique, white representing our hope for a settlement,” said Occupy organizer Nick Espinosa) and raised their right fists into the air as the court was called to order. But the activists remained silent and peaceful as the proceedings were quickly delayed until Friday. “Today is a day that should not be happening,” NOC organizer Steve Fletcher addressed a rally before the court hearing.

“Today is a day that we’ve been trying to avoid for a long time. It’s also a day like any other day. Because in Monique White’s zip code, this has happened twice a day for six years. This has to change. This can’t keep happening twice a day. We can’t keep taking away families’ homes. And if it’s happening this often, there’s a problem with the system and the system needs to change.” Last Friday, the Minnesota Attorney General‘s Office encouraged Freddie Mac to work out a deal with Monique White, but the lender has yet to comply. Over the weekend Congressman Keith Ellison released a statement in solidarity with the embattled homeowner: ?I encourage Bank of America and Freddie Mac to act in good faith and negotiate a solution that works well for all parties and allows Monique and her children to keep their home.? Meanwhile, state senator Scott Dibble and state representative Karen Clark (both DFL) have sponsored a people’s bailout bill, which calls for a two-year moratorium on home foreclosures in Minnesota.

A much anticipated hearing will take place Wednesday at noon at the state capitol in St. Paul. And Monique White remains at the heart of a larger political battle that is escalating in Minnesota and nationwide.

Anger Against MN Welfare Reduction Bill Erupts In “Mic Check”

The “Occupy Wall Street” style of amplifying the public?s voice was used to disrupt and express displeasure over Minnesota legislation opponents say is an attack on the poor.

The Minnesota House Health and Human Services Reform Committee met on February 22, 2012, to review and pass three bills restricting welfare.

Representative Daudt?s bill, HF2080, received the most complaints. This bill reduced life-time coverage from a maximum of 60 months to 36 months. It required applicant paid for background checks for drug convictions, reduced exit level from 115% of poverty to 100% of poverty and reduced sanctions from 7 to 3 offenses.

How much money would this save? Legislators don?t know. There was no fiscal note on the savings projected.

Opponents argued that this bill attacks primarily children and and makes the poor scapegoats.

The expenses represent .5% of the state budget. The speakers objected to the focus of all three bills considered for attacking the poor while doing nothing to increase jobs or other programs to get people out of poverty.

Representative Patti Fritz, DFL, HD 26B, said, “I’m stunned… we should be looking for ways to feed the poor, not take food from the mouths of their children. I’m disgusted with this bill. It does more harm than I could ever imagine.”

As the committee moved to vote, protestors “Mic Checked” the room repeating chants of disapproval of the bill. The bill was passed with a voice vote as the protests continued.

Occupy MN to Defend U.S. Marine’s Foreclosed Home

On Tuesday, Occupy MN will occupy their third foreclosed home in Minneapolis. This time the activist group will come to the aid of Bobby Hull, a Vietnam veteran with the Marine Corp., who first began living in his South Minneapolis home when his mother bought it in 1968. According to Occupy MN, “The title was later transferred to him, and he made timely payments on the house for decades while his nine brothers and sisters and innumerable extended family used the home as a stable transition point as they worked through the economic downturn. He was able to continue making payments until a string of recent health problems began.” Hull has had no luck gaining a loan modification with Bank of America.

The bank recently bought the home back at a sheriff’s sale for $83,700, and Hull and his family face a February 2012 eviction from their childhood home, in the dead of a Minnesota winter. “We need to do something to straighten out this nation?.we’re supposed to be the United States and we need to unite together in these hard times ” says Hull. “What’s fair is fair. All I’m asking for is fair housing.” Occupy MN will stage a rally at Bobby Hull’s home at 3712 Columbus Ave. South on Tuesday afternoon. This follows the activist group’s successful and continued occupation of Monique White’s foreclosed home in North Minneapolis, and their ill-fated attempt to occupy Sa’ra Kaiser‘s home in South Minneapolis last month. (An offer was made on Kaiser’s for-sale home the night before the occupation began, which probably led to two police raids and the eviction of the protestors.) “Our anti-foreclosure work in Minneapolis has helped to create a National movement,” Anthony Newby of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change told The UpTake. The goal is simple. We want sensible bank and foreclosure reform that will allow folks like Bob and Monique and Sa’ra to stay in their homes. We believe that big banks owe every homeowner a good faith negotiation that has this goal as a focus. We intend to organize our communities around this idea until it happens.”

Michele Bachmann “The Essence Of The Occupy Movement Is Having Other People Pay For Their Stuff”

Sometimes I think Michelle Bachmann is in her own little world, but that’s alright, at least they know her there.  There should be quite a few GOP‘ers dropping from the race in the coming weeks, and Michelle Bachmann should be at the front of the line.

 

David Letterman’s Top Ten Signs there is already trouble at Michelle Bachmann’s Campaign headquarters