ACORN News: December 14th, 2005

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Thu Dec 15 21:43:35 CST 2005


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

From: "ACORN News" <news at acorn.org>


ACORN NEWS
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
www.acorn.org
ACORN News: December 14th, 2005



ACORN Members Protest Plan to Shut Out New Orleans Neighborhoods


ACORN Katrina Survivors rallied at the Bring New Orleans Back Commission 
hearing in Memphis.

After members of the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association discovered that 
the Urban Land Institute’s plan to rebuild New Orleans called for 
redevelopment focused on downtown and a few other selected parts of the 
city and would push ACORN members out, leaving their neighborhoods to 
die, they turned up to object everywhere the Bring New Orleans Back 
Commission held town hall meetings about ULI’s plan. In Houston, over 50 
ACORN members rallied and held a press conference before the December 
10th town hall meeting. They also testified at the hearing, just as 
ACORN Survivors in Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Dallas held press 
conferences and testified at the Commission’s hearings, demanding a plan 
that would rebuild their communities and give survivors a voice in the 
process.

“The group the Mayor asked to write plans for him says our communities 
should be ignored,” said ACORN member Katie Neason at the Dallas town 
hall on December 6th. “They want to send all the resources to rebuild 
downtown and some of the wealthier parts of the city, while our 
neighborhoods are mostly to be left for last, or abandoned altogether.” 
On the map of ULI's three rebuilding zones, New Orleans East, Gentilly, 
and parts of the lower 9th Ward and Carrollton/Hollygrove – are in the 
“3rd tier” of places to be developed later – if at all. Read more.
35 Years of ACORN Organizing: Webcast Archives Available


Presenters Norm Fruchter and Janelle Scott speak at the conference on 35 
years of ACORN organizing.

Researching ACORN: Past, Present and Future conference at the University 
of Connecticut examined the history, strategies, and impact of the 
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. The University’s 
Urban & Community Studies Tri-Campus and the School of Social Work 
co-sponsored the conference, which took place on December 6th and 7th, 
and was broadcast live via the ACORN website. Conference participants 
included ACORN Chief Organizer Wade Rathke, ACORN President Maude Hurd, 
Frances Fox Piven, Joel Rogers, Louise Simmons, John Atlas, Fred Brooks, 
Gary Delgado, Peter Dreier, Norm Fruchter, Donald Green, Stephanie Luce, 
Daniel Russell, Elaine Simon, Gregory Squires, Heidi Swarts, and Robert 
Fisher, who organized this event.

According to Bob Fisher, UConn Professor and conference organizer, “At a 
time when progressive-oriented organizations seem to be in a decline or 
disarray, ACORN, even after 35 years, appears to be getting a second 
wind. It’s a good time to discuss critically its past and present as 
well as its potential for the future.” Click here to watch the webcast.
ACORN Demands Extension of Gulf Coast Home Loans


A hurricane-affected home in the New Orleans neighborhood of Gentilly.

On December 6th, the ACORN Katrina Survivors Association, the AFL-CIO 
and several consumer groups issued a statement calling on mortgage 
lenders to grant an additional 90-day extension on home loans along the 
Gulf Coast. ACORN and its allies proposed that the financial services 
industry immediately take specific actions, including:

* An extension of the forbearance period for all consumers in hurricane 
affected areas for an additional 90 days or longer;
* Suspension of the reporting of hurricane-related negative information 
to credit bureaus;
* A moratorium on all foreclosures and debt collection for the 
forbearance period, if not longer.

These and other steps outlined in the statement are essential to helping 
Gulf Coast families reestablish their lives and communities. Read the 
full statement.
Massachusetts ACORN Gathers 110,000 Signatures for Fusion Voting

As part of the Mass Ballot Freedom Campaign, Massachusetts ACORN and 
allies delivered 110,000 signatures in support of cross endorsement (or 
“fusion voting”) to city and town clerks on the day before Thanksgiving. 
70,000 validated signatures were returned, 5,000 more than needed to 
include the issue on the ballot next fall. Cross endorsement allows two 
or more parties to nominate the same candidate on separate ballot lines 
and gives voters an opportunity to express support for the platform or 
values of a minor party without "spoiling" or wasting their vote on a 
candidate who has no chance of winning. "By bringing back the 
cross-endorsement, like-minded voters can build coalitions with people 
who share their values and have more impact in elections," said Angie 
Wilkerson, a board member of the Boston chapter of ACORN and member of 
the Mass Ballot Freedom Campaign's steering committee.
Taking Action for Our Communities


230 members of the Mesa community gathered to support a property tax on 
the 2006 ballot.

Over 230 people participated in a Mesa ACORN-organized candlelight vigil 
to “save the libraries” on December 6th. The event was part of a larger 
effort to put a property tax on the May 2006 ballot.

Members of Mississippi ACORN Ward 7 residents gathered in front of an 
abandoned apartment complex this month to say “Enough!” to the unusually 
high number of dangerous, abandoned buildings in their community.

Arkansas ACORN won a victory after a hospital they targeted for billing 
practices became the first in the state to charge the same rates to 
insured and uninsured patients. This will apply to the entire St. 
Vincent Health System hospitals in Little Rock, Morrilton, and Sherwood.

Pennsylvania ACORN members from Harrisburg, Reading, and Allentown 
marched into the corporate headquarters of UGI to "carol for fair 
utilities." Later they stopped by CEO David Trego's house to deliver a 
letter and sing another round of "The Twelve Days of Christmas with No 
Heat." That same day, UGI received approval of its plan to double the 
number of people in its Consumer Assistance Program, which was one of 
ACORN's demands.





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