(Fwd) ACORN News November 1, 2002

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Wed Nov 6 09:42:00 CST 2002


[ed:  this is one of the regular ACORN updates.]

From:     David Swanson <acornnews at acorn.org>


ACORN News
November 1, 2002

If you are subscribed to the plain text version of ACORN News and would like
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1. Minnesota Honors Sen. Wellstone
2. Minnesota Demands That Every Vote Count
3. San Jose Wins Just Cause Ordinance
4. Oakland Pushes Just Cause Initiative
5. Boston Denies Waiver of Living Wage
6. New York City Set to Pass Living Wage
7. Miami Votes Early
8. Chair of Arkansas ACORN in Little Rock Board of Directors Race
9. Dallas Holds Latino Voting Party
10. Miami Protests at TANF Office
11. Baltimore Set to Reshape City Council
12. Pittsburgh Holds Forum on Taxes and Schools
13. Philadelphia Wins Street Lights
14. Los Angeles Spooks City Hall into Action on Predatory Lending
15. Cleveland Makes Predatory Lending an Election Issue
16. Albuquerque Opposes Car Insurance Abuses
17. Connecticut Seeks to Block Wal-Mart
18. ACORN Crosses Borders
19. ACORN Opens in Stockton
20. ACORN Artwork Available for Holiday Gifts
TAKE ACTION: Get Out the Vote!

1. MINNESOTA HONORS SEN. WELLSTONE - Minnesota ACORN members and staff lost
a close friend and ally in Senator Paul Wellstone.  Wellstone was a mentor
to many organizers and a frequent participant in ACORN events, including
such neighborhood actions as a march to demand better street lights.
Statements from ACORN leaders and photos of a memorial wall are available on
ACORN's website.  For more information, link to
http://www.acorn.org/acorn10/otheracornwork/releases/wellstone.htm or
contact Becky Gomer at mnacorn at acorn.org or 651-642-0003.

PHOTO: Minnesota ACORN Chair Shada Buyobe-Hammond and Senator Paul Wellstone
at an October 2001 press conference presenting ACORN's "People's Plan for
Economic Stimulus": http://www.acorn.org/photos/gallery.php?p=275

2. MINNESOTA DEMANDS THAT EVERY VOTE COUNT - Minnesota ACORN on Oct. 31,
2002, called on the Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer and the Attorney
General Mike Hatch of Minnesota to deliver substitute ballots to absentee
voters who voted for Sen. Wellstone, and to give an extension to those out
of town on Election Day.  ACORN members also urged the Secretary of State's
office to be aggressive in educating counties and the public about the
process.  State officials first said Wellstone's death precludes absentee
ballots marked for Wellstone from being counted, but that absentee ballots
marked for Coleman will be counted.  Yesterday, the State Supreme Court gave
voters who had already sent in their absentee ballots the right to request a
new ballot before the elections..  For more information, link to
http://www.acorn.org/acorn10/otheracornwork/releases.htm or contact Becky
Gomer at mnacorn at acorn.org or 651-642-0003.

3. SAN JOSE WINS JUST CAUSE ORDINANCE - After a two-year campaign by San
Jose, Calif., ACORN, the San Jose City Council on Oct. 29 passed a
compromise Just Cause Eviction ordinance worked out in negotiations between
tenants and landlords.  Lilia Valenica, a SJ ACORN Board Member, represented
tenants' interests on the negotiating team.  The new law will help to
protect tenants against being evicted with no just cause.  For more
information link to http://www.acorn.org/carenters or contact Derecka
Mehrens at caacornsjro at acorn.org or 408-293-1520.

4. OAKLAND PUSHES JUST CAUSE INITIATIVE -- ACORN members and allies in the
Just Cause Oakland coalition are working to turn out the vote in Oakland,
where a Just Cause initiative is on Tuesday's ballot.  On October 23 Oakland
ACORN members held a protest of an abusive landlord, and on October 26 they
staged a rally in support of Measure EE, the Just Cause eviction ballot
initiative.  These events have been used to declare Oakland an "Eviction
Free Zone" and rally community support for passing the Just Cause
requirement.  For more information, link to http://www.acorn.org/carenters
or contact Doug Bloch at caacornoaro at acorn.org or 510-436-5690.

5. BOSTON DENIES WAIVER OF LIVING WAGE - Boston ACORN and allies including
the Massachusetts AFL-CIO have convinced the City of Boston to deny a
blanket waiver of the City's living-wage law to city-contracted child care
providers.  The Mayor has granted only four small agencies a waiver for one
year, after which they, like the larger agencies, must pay their workers at
least $10.54 per hour.  Some workers currently earn $7.  In its denial, the
City asks the child care providers to work with ACORN and the Living Wage
Advisory Committee to bring all employees up to $10.54.  The City's decision
came after ACORN demonstrated in public hearings and testimony that various
agencies could in fact afford to pay the living wage.  For more information,
contact Lisa Clauson at maacorn at acorn.org or 617-436-7100.

6. NEW YORK CITY SET TO PASS LIVING WAGE - New York City Council is expected
to vote on November 7 to pass a Living Wage law that will cover the most
workers of any living wage law passed to date, but will be significantly
weaker than an earlier version of the bill.  Testifying before a joint
Committee of the City Council on October 30, ACORN leaders sharply
criticized the watering down of the bill that passed the Committees on
Government Operations and Contracts.  The bill still provides a boost for
about 50,000 health care workers.  But Speaker Gifford Miller has removed
from the bill's coverage several thousand workers at companies receiving
major subsidies from the City's Economic Development Corporation, including
CBS, Prudential Securities, and Merrill Lynch.  "While this bill is a step
in the right direction, it has been needlessly watered-down, compromising
the needs of the working poor in the name of subsidizing corporate profits,"
said New York ACORN Executive Director Bertha Lewis.  Mayor Bloomberg has
yet to indicate whether he would sign the new bill that the Council weakened
to gain his approval.  For more information, link to
http://www.acorn.org/acorn10/livingwage/releases/index.html or contact
Bertha Lewis at nyacornbkro at acorn.org or 718-246-7900.

7. MIAMI VOTES EARLY -- On Oct. 21, two hundred Miami ACORN members and
allies including SEIU turned out for early voting as part of an effort
organized by U.S. Representative Carrie Meek (D-Miami) and her son, state
Senator Kendrick Meek, to make sure low-income minority voters' votes
actually get counted in the upcoming election.  The group marched from an
historic Overtown church to the Miami-Dade County Government Center to cast
their ballots on the first day of early voting for the general election.
For more information, contact Eric Thompson at flacorn at acorn.org or
305-576-0919.

PHOTO: Miami Early Voting Rally:
http://www.acorn.org/photos/gallery.php?p=269

8. CHAIR OF ARKANSAS ACORN IN LITTLE ROCK BOARD OF DIRECTORS RACE - Johnnie
Pugh, the Chair of Arkansas ACORN, was elected four years ago to the Little
Rock Board of Directors, representing Ward 1, and is now campaigning for
reelection on a platform stressing affordable housing, reinvestment in the
city's south and east ends and a living wage ordinance.  On October 27, Pugh
debated her opponent, Kenyon Lowe.  Pugh supported a living wage instituted
last year for Central Arkansas Library employees and is pushing for a
similar standard for other Little Rock workers, so that they can support
themselves without government assistance.  Pugh also worked this year to
block a proposed mall known as Summit Mall, which would have increased
sprawl and the need for road construction and directed development away from
downtown.  For more information contact Neil Sealy at aracorn at acorn.org or
501-376-7151.

9. DALLAS HOLDS LATINO VOTING PARTY - On Oct. 26, 2002, Dallas ACORN members
in a new ACORN chapter called Communidad Unido hosted an outdoor party for
Latino voters featuring live music, games for the kids, and political
candidates.  Over 300 families attended.  The event was intended to let
politicians know that the Latino community in West Oak Cliff will not be
ignored anymore and that people are getting out and voting for the
neighborhood.  For more information, contact Kimberly Olsen at
txacorndaro at acorn.org or 214-823-4580.

PHOTO: Congress Member Martin Frost addresses Dallas ACORN members:
http://www.acorn.org/photos/gallery.php?p=278

10. MIAMI PROTESTS AT TANF OFFICE - As part of the National Campaign for
Jobs and Income Support, Miami ACORN members recently protested at a local
welfare office, demanding that the supervisor of the office stop turning
away poor families in need of food stamps.  ACORN is also demanding a
meeting with U.S. Senator Bob Graham to discuss TANF reform in Florida.  For
more information, contact Eric Thompson at flacorn at acorn.org or
305-576-0919.

11. BALTIMORE SET TO RESHAPE CITY COUNCIL - Baltimore ACORN and allies in
CLUB (Community and Labor United for Baltimore) are in the final stretch of
their campaign to reshape the Baltimore City Council through Question P, a
ballot initiative that would replace large three-member city council
districts with small single-member districts providing increased
accountability to neglected neighborhoods.  AFL-CIO President John Sweeney
plans to participate in an event promoting Question P on Monday.  CLUB held
a rally on October 30 with 250 people.  CLUB has mailed and phoned thousands
of voters and put up over 5,000 signs.  Members also held a 24-hour vigil at
City Hall.  For more information, link to
http://www.acorn.org/campaigns/cliparchives.php?c=5&y=2002 or contact Mitch
Klein at mdacorn at acorn.org or 410-752-2228.

PHOTO: ACORN Board member and CLUB (Community and Labor United for
Baltimore) Board Member Margaret Spicer:
http://www.acorn.org/photos/gallery.php?p=258

12. PITTSBURGH HOLDS FORUM ON TAXES AND SCHOOLS - On October 29, Allegheny
County ACORN joined Good Schools PA, and several allied organizations to
hold a community forum. The speaker was the Associate Director of
Pennsylvania School Reform Network, Sandy Zelno, who led a rousing
discussion on the importance of putting children first when considering tax
reform.  ACORN members are working for equal and quality educations for all
children in Pennsylvania, in coalition with Good Schools PA.  The forum made
it clear that the proposed changes to state tax law could have a serious
impact on school budgets.  "Your Taxes, Your Schools, and Your Vote" was
attended by about 100 citizens.  State senators, representatives, and
candidates for those positions who participated pledged to keep education at
the forefront of discussions on taxes, and ACORN signed up about half the
room to volunteer for a get-out-the-vote drive. For more information,
contact Maryellen Hayden at paacornpi at acorn.org or 412-441-6551.

13. PHILADELPHIA WINS STREET LIGHTS -- Philly ACORN members' phone calls to
the Streets Department asking for street lights beneath train bridges  on
three neighborhood roads in North Philly were ignored.  So a group of ACORN
members with protest signs blocked traffic and occupied a street, claiming
it was unsafe for cars and people to use.  Streets Department officials
arrived and eventually agreed to ACORN's demands to replace the lights under
the 25th Street, Dauphin Street, and York Street bridges.  But ACORN members
threatened more direct action unless the City completely cleaned up the
bridges.  As a result, in addition to new lights, the City also cleaned up
the trash, cut down the weeds, removed an abandoned car, and repainted!  For
more information, contact Ali Kronley at paacorn at acorn.org or 215-765-0042.

14. LOS ANGELES SPOOKS CITY HALL INTO ACTION ON PREDATORY LENDING - On
October 31, Los Angeles ACORN members put on their Halloween costumes for a
visit to City Hall to push for tough action against predatory lenders.
Members haunted the hallways of City Hall as the spirits of homeowners who
lost their homes to predatory lending.  Legislation is currently being
drafted, and a committee hearing may take place next Thursday.  ACORN and
over 35 allied organizations, including the AARP, are demanding that the
ordinance accomplish the following: provide direct protections for borrowers
as Oakland's ordinance does; set 'points and fees' and APR thresholds for
high-cost loans at levels that ensure the ordinance's protections apply to
what really are high-cost loans; limit the financing of fees to reduce the
stripping away of home equity; prohibit or limit prepayment penalties, which
take away additional equity or trap borrowers in excessive interest rates;
require that high-cost loans be made according to the borrower's ability to
repay; and establish assignee liability so that the borrower's rights are
not negated when the broker or lender sells the loan on the secondary
market.  ACORN members, along with the AARP, have been meeting with Council
Members and their staff for months to help shape this bill.  For more
information, contact Peter Kuhns at caacornlaro at acorn.org or 213-747-4211.

15. CLEVELAND MAKES PREDATORY LENDING AN ELECTION ISSUE - On November 1,
Cleveland ACORN is holding a press conference with a number of predatory
lending victims at one of their homes in Lorain County, Ohio.  Also
participating is Sue Morano, a leader of SEIU 1199/Ohio and challenger
candidate for the Ohio Senate in District 13.  Morano supports legislation,
promoted by AARP and ACORN, that would restrict predatory loans.  The Ohio
Senate this year voted down a bill that would have helped to protect
borrowers, and instead passed a bill that protects predatory lenders by
banning any laws on lending at the city or county level.  For more
information, contact Darryl Smith at ohacorncv at acorn.org or 216-431-6070.

16. ALBUQUERQUE OPPOSES CAR INSURANCE ABUSES - Earlier this year the New
Mexico Superintendent of Insurance asked ACORN to serve on a task force that
would make recommendations on regulating the use of credit scoring in
determining car insurance premiums.  Even drivers with good driving records
in New Mexico and many other states are charged high insurance premiums if
they have bad or no credit.  On October 23, the task force made its
recommendations.  The Insurance Dept. will now hold public hearings, and new
legislation may be required.  The recommendations include reporting and
disclosure requirements and significant restrictions on the use of credit
scores.  For more information, contact Matthew Henderson at
nmacorn at acorn.org or 505-242-7411.

17. CONNECTICUT SEEKS TO BLOCK WAL-MART - Connecticut ACORN has joined with
labor allies including the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local
371, of Westport, in opposing the proposed construction of a Wal-Mart in
Hartford.  ACORN objects to Wal-Mart's union busting practices and poverty
wages, and believes the location should be used to meet the more pressing
need for affordable housing.  For more information, contact Jeff Ordower at
ctacorn at acorn.org or 203-333-2676.

18. ACORN CROSSES BORDERS -- On Oct. 11, 2002, ACORN, SEIU Local 100, and
the Frontera Fund of the Tides Foundation donated a van to SEDEPAC
(Servicio, Desarrollo y Paz, Asociación Civil), a Mexican organization that
is organizing maquiladora workers along the border with the United States in
factories where the Sara Lee Corporation produces Hanes and other brands of
underwear.  For more information, contact Wade Rathke at chieforg at acorn.org
or 504-943-0044.

PHOTO: At left is Wade Rathke, chief organizer of ACORN and of SEIU Local
100:
http://www.acorn.org/photos/gallery.php?p=263

19. ACORN OPENS IN STOCKTON - Stockton, Calif., ACORN held its first meeting
on October 17.  Concerns about speeding, redevelopment, city and police
services, and the privatization of the water system came up.  Members made a
plan for immediate action on speeding.  For more information, contact Dan
Harper at 209-460-3324.

20. ACORN ARTWORK AVAILABLE FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS - To purchase ACORN artwork as
beautiful and poignant presents for the holidays, link to
http://acornstore.org.

PHOTO: ACORN members in the Bay Area and in Chicago have been part of recent
demonstrations against attacking Iraq:
http://www.acorn.org/photos/gallery.php?p=271

TAKE ACTION: GET OUT THE VOTE! -- Recess and Elections Offer Opportunities
to Influence Your Members of Congress: With Congress Members in their home
states and districts to campaign for re-election, you have a unique
opportunity to press them to support the issues you care about.  Tell your
Member to:
--Improve the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program to help
lift families out of poverty.
--Substantially increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block
Grant (CCDBG).
--Ensure access to all public services for immigrants, including drivers
licenses, higher education, health care, and public benefits.
--Restore value to the minimum wage and support living wage laws.
--Stop predatory lending.
AND REMEMBER TO VOTE ON NOVEMBER 5!
To easily contact your Congress Members and the President in support of
ACORN's positions, link to
http://www.acorn.org/acorn10/takeaction.htm.

ACORN HAS OPENINGS FOR ORGANIZERS - ACORN Organizers build organizations in
low-income communities. How? House by house, family by family, organizers
hear from community residents what they want changed in their neighborhood,
city, state, and country. Organizers work with community residents to hold
meetings, do research on key issues, and develop campaign strategies to get
these issues addressed. The ACORN organizer's job is to work for the
membership of ACORN, helping them build the power they need to win the
things their communities and families need. Interested? See this map to find
the nearest ACORN chapter: http://acorn.org/contactus/. Then see this page
for more information and how to apply:
http://acorn.org/getinvolved/organizer.html.

LINK TO PAST POSTINGS TO THIS LIST AT
http://www.acorn.org/acorn10/pastpostings

ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the
nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income
families, with over 120,000 member families organized into 600 neighborhood
chapters in 45 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken action
and won victories on issues of concern to our members. Our priorities
include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages
for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and
governments, and better public schools. We achieve these goals by building
community organizations that have the power to win changes -- through direct
action, negotiation, legislation, and voter participation.

Please forward this message in order to build this list.

Check out ACORN's website at http://www.acorn.org.

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David Swanson, communications coordinator
ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
739 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 547-2500 p
(202) 546-2483 f
acornnews at acorn.org
http://www.acorn.org

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