ACORN News July 24, 2003

colist at colist at
Tue Jul 29 10:46:29 CDT 2003

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

From: "David Swanson" <acornnews at>

July 24, 2003

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1. ACORN Demands Restoration of Child Tax Credit
2. Los Angeles Releases Report on Inclusionary Zoning
3. Wells Fargo Campaign Heats Up
4. Pittsburgh Hearing on Predatory Lending Attended by Secretary of
Banking 5. Minneapolis Holds Hearing on Predatory Lending Ordinance 6.
ACORN Submits Comments on EITC 7. ACORN Helps Found America Votes 8.
California Renter Protection Bill Advances 9. Los Angeles Child Care
Providers Campaign for Health Insurance and Universal Preschool 10.
Sacramento Child Care Providers Establish Case Complaint System 11. Prince
George's Wins Improvements from Landlords 12. Denver Fights Police
Harassment 13. San Diego Demands a Police Chief Who Supports Immigrants
Rights 14. Chicago Opposes Discriminatory Pricing by Hospital 15. Chicago
Supports Hotel Workers 16. Texas Opposes Delay's Power Grab 17.
Albuquerque Fights for Health Care 18. Kansas City Wins Study of Storm
Drains 19. ACORN Takes Indianapolis by Storm 20. Pittsburgh Fights for
Transit and Schools 21. Philly Rec Center is Repaired 22. Oakland Turns 17
TAKE ACTION: Get TANF Right This Time! TAKE ACTION: Restore Child Tax

that gave enormous tax cuts to millionaires included an increase of the
child tax credit from $600 to $1,000, but at the last minute Republicans
quietly left out low-income families. The Senate has now voted 94 to 2 to
restore the child tax credit to low-income families (a cost of $3.5
billion to cover 12 million children in 6.5 million families). The House
Republicans have refused to vote on the Senate bill. Instead, they've
passed an $82 billion bill full of yet more tax cuts for the rich as well
as the $3.5 billion for the child tax credit. ACORN is demanding that the
House Republican leadership vote on the Senate bill and that the President
demand that they do so. On July 18, Dallas ACORN members and allies
noisily made this demand outside a $2,000-per-ticket fundraiser attended
by Bush. The President has planned a photo-op for July 24 at the plant in
Philadelphia that is printing the child tax credit checks for families
wealthy enough to receive them. ACORN and allies in the Fair Taxes for All
coalition, including many families left out of the credit, will be there
to protest. ACORN chapters around the country have planned protests for
July 25, the day the checks go out and the House goes on a five-week
vacation. For more information, link to or contact Rachel Burrows at
rburrows at or 202-547-2500.

Angeles ACORN members were joined by City Councilmen Eric Garcetti,
Antonio Villaraigosa, and Ed Reyes to release a report produced by the
California Coalition for Rural Housing and the Non-Profit Housing
Association of Northern California and entitled "Inclusionary Housing in
California: 30 Years of Innovation," a comprehensive study and report on
inclusionary zoning policies throughout the state. The study found that
inclusionary zoning ordinances have spurred construction of affordable
housing in 107 California cities where they are in force. ACORN is pushing
Los Angeles City Council to pass an inclusionary zoning ordinance, which
would require that a percentage of the units in all new developments be
made affordable to low- and moderate-income families. ACORN is working as
a part of the LA Inclusionary Zoning Coalition, which includes Livable
Places, the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing, the LA
County Federation of Labor, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, First
AME Church, Renters Unidos, and the Service Employees International Union
(SEIU). For more information, link to or contact Peter Kuhns at
caacornlaro at or 213-747-4211.

PHOTO: Los Angeles ACORN leader Joaquina Romero, flanked by LA City
Council Members Ed Reyes, Eric Garcetti, and Antonio Villaraigosa, spoke
at City Hall on the need for a mandatory citywide inclusionary zoning

3. WELLS FARGO CAMPAIGN HEATS UP - ACORN launched its campaign to reform
Wells Fargo's predatory lending early this year, and has released a
critical report and protested at many Wells Fargo offices. One of the many
practices ACORN objected to was the fees Wells Fargo charges to process
loans. Wells had recently lowered the fees it charges to 5 percent of the
loan amount. In contrast, prime borrowers typically pay less than 1
percent. On May 19, Wells Fargo Financial lowered its fees to 4 percent.
ACORN's campaign has including the submitting of letters on June 25 to the
Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
urging investigations of the company. In addition, ACORN has been in
conversation with state regulators in a number of states, with many more
such conversations planned for the upcoming week. In addition, ACORN has
organized city, county, and state elected officials in Washington and
Oregon and other organizations to call on both the Federal Reserve Board
and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions to hold
public hearings on Wells Fargo's proposed acquisition of Pacific Northwest
Bancorp. For more information, link to or contact Lisa Donner at
acorncampaign at or 718-246-7900.

BANKING - On July 21 in Pittsburgh, ACORN members held a public forum on
predatory lending together with a coalition of groups brought together by
ACORN from Allegheny and Beaver Counties. Pennsylvania Secretary of
Banking A. William Schenck spoke in support of ACORN's work and the need
to stop predatory lending. ACORN asked him to conduct an investigation of
Wells Fargo for predatory lending practices; support legislation that will
protect Pennsylvania residents from predatory lending practices; and
conduct an investigation into the increase in foreclosures in Pennsylvania
by subprime lenders. ACORN campaigned successfully for a tough city
ordinance against predatory lending in Philadelphia, which was passed
unanimously by the City Council in April 2001. But the state preempted
that ordinance in June 2001 with a law that created no new protections at
the state level. For more information, contact Maryellen Hayden at
paacornpiho at or 412-441-6551.

City Council committee held hearings this month on a proposed
anti-predatory lending ordinance. ACORN members testified in support of a
strong ordinance to protect homeowners. One member who testified is facing
foreclosure and the imminent loss of her house to predatory lending. When
ACORN members were not given enough time to speak at the hearing,
Minnesota ACORN Chairperson Shada Buyobe-Hammond seized the microphone and
took over with members chanting until enough time was given. The proposal
for an ordinance remains in the committee, and ACORN will continue
lobbying for action. For more information, contact Becky Gomer at
mnacorn at or 651-642-0003.

PHOTO: Minneapolis ACORN members testified before a committee of the City
Council in support of legislation to restrict predatory lending. At the
microphone is ACORN member Paul Satriano.

6. ACORN SUBMITS COMMENTS ON EITC - Having worked to persuade the IRS to
improve its proposal for changes to the application procedure for the
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and to put the proposal out for public
comments, ACORN has submitted comments recommending changes. ACORN has
also helped facilitate letters from House members and the Congressional
Black Caucus, and will continue to work to protect the EITC. The IRS is
proposing that tax filers be required to become "precertified" by, among
other things, providing either documents proving that the filer and the
child or children claimed for the EITC lived together for more than six
months during the year, or an affidavit from a third party, signed under
penalty of perjury, attesting that the signer has "personal knowledge" or
records showing that the filer and the child lived together at a specific
address for more than half of the year. But many of the documents listed
do not in fact usually record a child's place of residence, and IRS rules
would not allow many of those most likely to actually have personal
knowledge of where children live to provide such affidavits. For more
information, link to or
contact Greg Jefferson at gjefferson at or 202-547-2500.

7. ACORN HELPS FOUND AMERICA VOTES - On July 15, the largest grassroots
groups in the nation announced the launch of America Votes, a non-partisan
voter participation organization that will utilize the strong strategic
abilities and large membership bases of the groups to break new ground in
electoral politics. America Votes will register, educate, and mobilize
voters for the 2004 elections. America Votes founding members include
ACORN, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, League of Conservation Voters,, NAACP
National Voter Fund, Partnership for America's Families, People For the
American Way, SEIU, and the Sierra Club. "ACORN is delighted to see
community organizations, labor and the environmental community working
together to encourage more Americans to vote," said ACORN National
President Maude Hurd. "Low- and moderate-income Americans need to vote in
greater numbers. America Votes will help make this happen." America Votes
is non-partisan, and will not endorse any candidates nor engage in express
advocacy. It will educate voters about important issues in the elections.
For more information, contact Zach Polett at poldirect at or

(Nunez) passed out of the California State Assembly on "concurrence",
reconciling the Senate and Assembly versions of the bill, and is being
sent to the Governor for signing. Sponsored by ACORN, Service Employees
International Union, and Western Center on Law and Poverty, AB 647 would
provide substantial assistance to renters seeking to address severe slum
housing conditions. Among other provisions, the bill blocks rent increases
or evictions for non-payment of rent when landlord has failed to address
substantial habitability problems with the unit, increases the damages
that can be awarded to a tenant when landlord fails to comply with this
provision, and allows attorneys fees in defense of an eviction, increasing
the likelihood that tenants will have legal representation. For more
information contact Amy Schur at caacorn at or 213-747-4211.

UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL -- California Child Care Providers for Action (CCPA)'s
Los Angeles chapter is a driving force in CCPA's statewide
Say-Yes-to-Children campaign aimed at blunting the worst effects of the
state budget cuts. CCPA-LA has built a series of powerful relationships in
Los Angeles County that has resulted in representation for CCPA members on
key committees and commissions that are making plans for universal
preschool for the county's children. CCPA members are eager to represent
family-based child care providers in these important discussions. At the
same time, CCPA members have been engaged in an ongoing set of discussions
with the Insure the Uninsured Project about the creation of a health
insurance program for family-based providers. A draft program is due soon,
and CCPA members expect to be in the thick of the struggle to find the
funding to pay for it. CCPA members held a large membership and community
meeting with over 200 people on July 12 in Los Angeles to help set
priorities and map out plans for the next six months. CCPA is a statewide
affiliate of California ACORN. For more information contact John Jackson
at caacornccro at or 213-747-4211.

Child Action, the largest Resource and Referral Agency (R&R) in Sacramento
County, has agreed to a proposal by CCPA Sacramento to create a case
complaint system for its family-based child care providers. R&Rs serve as
intermediaries between the County and the providers by processing
paperwork, offering workshops and classes, and matching clients with
providers. Until this agreement there was no formal mechanism through
which providers could address problems of mishandled paperwork, timeliness
of checks, and other discrepancies that have an immediate impact on how
they run their businesses and provide care for their clients. For more
information contact Susan Hopkins at caacornsacc at or

County, Md., ACORN members have persuaded the management of the Colonial
Village apartments complex in Oxon Hill to improve rodent extermination,
make individual repairs to apartments as needed, and meet next month with
ACORN to oversee the agreement. ACORN members and tenants had protested
living conditions at the apartments by picketing the rental office, which
won them the meeting with management. For more information, link to or contact Jessica Lehman at
mdacornpgro at or 301-699-8000.

PHOTO: Prince George's County, Md., ACORN members demanded and won repairs
from landlords.

12. DENVER FIGHTS POLICE HARASSMENT - After Denver police harassed an
ACORN member's son, the ACORN chapter took action. On July 15, Denver
ACORN members marched to the District 2 Police Station to demand that the
Captain work with ACORN to establish a community based review board to
review the actions of the police and put an end to racial profiling. The
Captain agreed to support ACORN's proposal and to meet with ACORN in the
future. For more information, contact Bret Ericson at coacorn at or

PHOTO: Denver ACORN members marched to police station.

July 17, San Diego ACORN members held a press conference and then sent a
delegation to meet with the City Manager to demand that any successful
candidate for the open position of Police Chief be supportive of
immigrants rights and foster good relations with the Latino community.
ACORN members also took their demands to the City Council Members who must
approve the Manager's choice for Police Chief. ACORN is demanding that the
new chief commit to hiring bilingual officers for Latino neighborhoods,
maintain a policy of not handing undocumented immigrants to immigration
officers; support ongoing efforts at the state level to ensure that all
drivers in California can be licensed (regardless of immigration status);
and accept as identification registration documents from the Mexican

Also on July 17, a new chapter of San Diego ACORN in El Cajon held its
first demonstration to demand street repairs. The repairs were begun the
same day. ACORN has organized members in a trailer park in El Cajon, a
city of about 100,000 people just east of the city of San Diego. For more
information, contact Clare Crawford at caacornsdro at or

Center in Chicago charges the uninsured higher rates for health care than
it charges the insured and employs predatory collection practices. ACORN
members had been unable to obtain a meeting with the CEO, so on June 5
they visited her suburban home. She was not home, but ACORN members spoke
to her father and her neighbors and handed out flyers around her
neighborhood. They expect to hear from her soon. For more information,
contact Madeline Talbott at ilacorn at or 312-939-7488.

15. CHICAGO SUPPORTS HOTEL WORKERS - On June 25, Chicago ACORN members and
SEIU Local 880 members joined members of the Hotel Employees and
Restaurant Employees union (HERE) to support their strike at the Congress
Hotel. The group marched around the hotel blowing horns and chanting. The
walls didn't come tumbling down yet, but the resolve of the owner appears
ready to crack. The owner had reduced wages and dropped health insurance
and benefits. Many floors of the hotel are now empty. For more
information, contact Madeline Talbott at ilacorn at or

16. TEXAS OPPOSES DELAY'S POWER GRAB - On June 25 and again on July 8,
members of Fort Worth ACORN and Dallas ACORN rallied at redistricting
hearings in Dallas to oppose an attempt by U.S. House of Representatives
Republican Leader Tom Delay to redistrict Texas to benefit Republican
candidates. Republicans in the Texas legislature are spending $1.7 million
dollars of the taxpayers' money in a special legislative session to push a
partisan plan to redraw congressional districts and elect more Republicans
while splitting minority votes. For more information, contact Brennan
Griffin at txacornfwro at or 817-626-0251.

PHOTO: On July 8, 2003, members of Fort Worth and Dallas ACORN rallied at
a redistricting hearings in Dallas to protest an attempt to redistrict
Texas to benefit Republican candidates.

part of a coalition campaigning for better health care for the poor from
the University of New Mexico. The coalition held a rally on May 15 and
delivered demands to the CEO at the UNM Hospital. The CEO agreed to meet
and negotiate regularly and to attend public hearings. The first public
hearing was held on June 5. The CEO listened to immigrant members testify
for over two hours about the discrimination they have suffered at UNMH and
the impact of being denied service. The coalition's demands include that
UNMH: 1-replace the inflated charges billed to self-paying individuals
with a fair and equitable fee scale that is never greater than that which
insurance companies are billed for the same service; 2-reform the
hospital's collection practices to minimize damage to credit of patients;
3-broaden eligibility for UNM Care to all financially-qualified Bernalillo
County residents regardless of immigration status; 4-streamline the UNM
Care application process and allow applications to be taken in community
clinics; 5-ensure that adequate and professional translation and
interpretation services are provided to all patients who have limited
proficiency in reading and/or speaking English For more information,
contact Matthew Henderson at nmacorn at or 505-242-7411.

members marched into the new headquarters of the Water Bureau to demand
the cleaning of storm drains in their neighborhoods. The bureau agreed to
survey the drains within the borders of two ACORN neighborhood chapters
and to allow ACORN to report any oversights to the head of the Bureau.
When the drains get backed up, it causes gas leaks in people's houses.
Hence the chant used at the protest: "No more stinking houses!" For more
information, contact Andrew Ginsberg at moacornkcro at or

19. ACORN TAKES INDIANAPOLIS BY STORM - ACORN has opened a chapter in
Indianapolis, the first in Indiana, meaning that ACORN is currently active
in 30 states. ACORN's newest chapter has jumped out of the gate tackling
soaring property taxes and non-functioning storm drains. Property taxes on
houses have recently doubled and tripled. On July 18, ACORN members
stormed the County Assessor's office to demand new assessments. ACORN will
also be demanding exemptions and a cap on property taxes from the state
legislature, and members have begun flyering and promoting a letter
writing campaign. Members have also set up a meeting on July 24 with the
Representative of their Township to discuss the drainage problems. For
more information, contact Catherine VanWinkle at fieldrdmw at or

ACORN members, along with members of Good Schools PA, Save Our Transit,
Stand for Children, and many other groups, boarded a bus and visited the
offices of the six state senatorial districts in Allegheny County to urge
lawmakers to establish a fair way of funding public education and to
restore cuts in critical services. Five State Senators signed a pledge to
support education, public transportation, libraries, and several other
essential services (one was away on military service). For more
information, contact Maryellen Hayden at paacornpiho at or

21. PHILLY REC CENTER IS REPAIRED - The Philadelphia Department of
Recreation has completed a long list of repairs and improvements that
ACORN members demanded at the Happy Hollow Recreation Center, including
constructing a new fence, installing new swings, making repairs to the
tennis court, and stationing police officers on duty. For more information
contact Ali Kronley at paacorn at or 215-765-0042 .

PHOTO: An ACORN member named Malachi celebrates in front of the new fence.

PHOTO: A scene from the follow-up walking tour celebrating the
improvements made at the rec. center.

22. OAKLAND TURNS 17 -- On July 18, Oakland ACORN celebrated its 17th
Anniversary with a banquet honoring Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Service
Employees International Union Local 1877, International Longshore and
Warehouse Union, and Chase Manhattan Mortgage's Jean Dunn. For more
information contact Nathan Henderson-James at caacornres at or

TAKE ACTION: GET TANF RIGHT THIS TIME -- The Senate Finance Committee is
planning to mark-up its bill for reauthorization of the Temporary
Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program on Wednesday, July 23.
Although Senate Finance Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) had earlier
stated his wishes for a bi-partisan effort on TANF reauthorization, his
recent proposal, entitled Personal Responsibility and Individual
Development for Everyone (PRIDE), includes most of the Bush
Administration's priorities and closely mirrors the terrible bill passed
by the House earlier this year (H.R 4). His proposal is an unacceptable
starting point for negotiation. Please urge your Senator to oppose the
Grassley proposal for TANF reauthorization. Congress recesses on July 25th
and Members will return home to their districts for the month of August.
August is a great time to meet with your Senators and your Representative
to discuss TANF and other important issues. Click to write your Congress
Members and the President:

TAKE ACTION: RESTORE CHILD TAX CREDIT -- The House and the Senate have
passed competing child tax credit proposals. The House bill would cost $82
billion to address this $3.5 billion problem. Only 4 percent of the House
bill would go to the 12 million children left out of the first tax cut.
The Republican leadership in the House is refusing to move the Senate
version forward. This stalemate would effectively kill the effort to
provide the child tax credit for low-income working families. Congress
will recess on July 25th for the month of August. Please tell your Member
of Congress not to go home until they pass a child tax credit that will
help children in low-income working families. And urge the President to
pressure Congress to get the job done. Click to write your Congress
Members and the President:

ORGANIZER TRAINING PLANNED -- ACORN is currently accepting applications
for a three-day academy in Orlando. Training will include seminars on
community organizing, fundraising, and leadership development, breakout
groups focusing on campaign planning and implementation, readings from
Alinsky, Chavez, and others, guest instructors from local labor,
community, and activist organizations, and participation in community
organizing campaigns and actions. Lodging is provided. Spaces are limited.
Applicants should be seeking full-time jobs as activist, community, labor,
or political organizers. For more information and to apply, link to

DONATE TO ACORN -- Membership dues and chapter-based fundraising programs
pay for 75 percent of ACORN's budget. But ACORN also needs financial
support from non-member allies, people who do not live in neighborhoods
with ACORN chapters but who support the work ACORN is doing. For more
information, link to or contact Steve Kest at
natexdirect at or (718) 246-7900.


ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is the
nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income
families, with over 150,000 member families organized into 700
neighborhood chapters in 51 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.

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David Swanson, communications coordinator
ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
739 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
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(202) 546-2483 f
acornnews at

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