ACORN National Newsletter: May 6, 2005

colist at colist at
Tue May 10 15:59:50 CDT 2005

From: "ACORN News" <acornnews at>

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now
ACORN National Newsletter: May 6, 2005
Table of Contents
 > Florida Gets a Raise!
 > Senator Edwards and ACORN Team Up to Raise Wages
 > ACORN Wins Affordable Housing Funds in NYC
 > ACORN Challenges Wells Fargo Stockholders
 > Earth Day Action for Environmental Justice
 > "Say Yes To Children" Brings 2000 to Downtown L.A.

Florida ACORN members rally for a raise.

On May 2nd, the $1.00 increase in the Florida minimum wage which the 
voters approved last November went into effect. It will directly or 
indirectly raise the wages of an estimated 850,000 Floridians.

Seventy-one percent of the voters backed a constitutional amendment 
raising the minimum wage to $6.15 an hour–a dollar higher than the 
federal level. The amendment also pegged the state's new minimum wage to 
inflation, so that the lowest-paid workers will get automatic increases 
each year. Florida ACORN ( organized the campaign and 
built a broad-based coalition, Floridians for All, that put this wage 
increase on the ballot and passed it. Members and supporters of 
Floridians for All included the Florida AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, Florida 
Education Association, South Florida Jobs with Justice and MoveOn.

This week ACORN announced a hotline (1-866-41ACORN) to help workers 
protect their right to a raise. ACORN is successfully defending the wage 
increase against spurious but well-funded legal attack.

Click here to donate to ACORN's Legal Defense Fund.
Sen. John Edwards

Sen. John Edwards and ACORN announced last week that they will work 
together on initiatives in targeted states to raise the minimum wage.

"We desperately need to raise the minimum wage – its low level today is 
a disgrace… I am proud to join with ACORN and everyone who is fighting 
poverty to start the process of raising the minimum wage at the state 
level," Edwards said.

In the coming months, Edwards, ACORN President Maude Hurd, and other 
coalition leaders will appear together at rallies, meetings, 
fundraisers, and other events to build support for the minimum wage 
increase campaigns. Throughout his political career, Edwards has focused 
on the issue of poverty in America. Currently, he directs the Center on 
Poverty, Work, and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina at 
Chapel Hill. Read the press release:[tt_news]=18145
Shaun Donovan, Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner; Mayor 
Bloomberg; Bertha Lewis, Executive Director, NY ACORN; and Comptroller 

Just two months after 7,000 New Yorkers gathered at City Hall calling on 
City officials to enact a five-point plan to ease the affordable housing 
crisis, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced a commitment to implement 
the first part of the plan—the use of Battery Park City revenues to 
create and preserve affordable housing.

On April 19th, ACORN, the Housing Here and Now Coalition, and the Mayor 
announced the creation of the New York City Housing Trust Fund, which 
will be funded by $130 million in Battery Park City Authority revenues. 
This Fund will be used to create or preserve 4,500 affordable housing 
units for more than 11,000 New Yorkers over the next four years.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates that activated communities working 
with responsive public officials can right historic wrongs and tackle 
some of the city’s most pressing problems together,” said Bertha Lewis, 
Executive Director of New York ACORN (
California ACORN Chair Chris Jones and the Wells Fargo “Loan Shark”.

ACORN members attended the Wells Fargo Shareholders meeting in San 
Fancisco on April 26th to directly challenge the company’s CEO and Board 
to end predatory lending (

ACORN members demonstrated outside the meeting as shareholders arrived. 
Inside, ACORN members Cecilia Campillo, of Tucson, and Terence and 
Adrienne Harmon, of Philadelphia testified about the financial 
devastation they faced because of deceptive home loans from Wells Fargo 
Financial. They and 13 other ACORN leaders from around the country used 
stock proxies to support a resolution linking CEO pay to the company’s 
progress on eliminating predatory practices. (CEO Richard Kovacevich 
received $52.1 million in compensation last year.) The resolution was 
filed by members of Responsible Wealth, a network of investors whose 
members bought shares to pass on to ACORN members.
Environmental Justice Tour, El Paso, Texas.

On April 22nd, the 35th anniversary of Earth Day in the U.S., ACORN and 
the Earth Day Network sponsored environmental justice events around the 

Kansas City ACORN members participated in their first community action 
on Earth Day, protesting the pollutants and flooding that plague their 
community. Kansas City Environmental Health Services Director John 
Cotter agreed to deploy a Hazmat team to test the level of contaminants 
in the local creek and vowed to work with a city engineer in order to 
find a permanent solution to the flooding problems.

El Paso ACORN members living in a contaminated neighborhood next to a 
century-old smelter took a caravan of reporters to three different 
sites. The press met families affected by lead poisoning, and ex-Asarco 
employees shared their experiences of working at the smelter. ACORN’s 
chapters also conducted Earth Day events in Los Angeles, Atlanta, 
Columbus, and Phoenix.
Hundreds of children led the march.

On April 19th, ACORN rallied with thousands of adults and children in 
the streets of Los Angeles to ask Governor Schwarzenegger, “Why Have You 
Broken Your Promise to the Children of California?”

More than two thousand children and adults including members of over 150 
community organizations, student groups, parents, children’s advocates, 
church members, and elected officials marched in a procession led by 
children. They rallied under the banner of the Say Yes To Children 
Network in response to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s budget and its 
effects on children. The Say Yes To Children Network, which grew out of 
ACORN's Child Care Providers for Action, is pushing for a budget which 
reflects the best interest of California’s children and families, and 
which adequately funds programs in CA public schools. For more pictures 

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