A family-friendly street party and the Good Neighbor Awards

Video of the Occupy Bernal Fiesta by selene video

Occupy Bernal Media Advisory
For Immediate Release

Contact: Annie B., 415-483-9138, press@occupybernal.org

What: A family-friendly street party and the Good Neighbor Awards.

Where: Andover Street between Cortland and Ellert

When: May 19, 2012 from 1-4 p.m.

Occupy Bernal is proud to have helped prevent the evictions of some of our neighbors! To show appreciation for the hard work and perseverance of Bernal locals, we’re throwing a “foreclosure fighter” fiesta.

In addition to hobnobbing with our neighbors; still in their homes no thanks to the banks:

– the infamous Wild Old Women who regularly shut down the local Bank of America branch to national acclaim are expected

– hear organizer Stardust play oboe in the Occupy Bernal Band

– see Occupy Bernal instigator Beth Stephens and artist/activist Annie Sprinkle hand out the awards to neighbors whose homes are in foreclosure and who are fighting to stop predatory bank practices.

– eat barbecue cooked by foreclosure fighter Tom German

– enjoy a potluck, live music, kids activities, education, silkscreening with Families Occupy San Francisco [ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Families-Occupy-San-Francisco/236531299734365 ], and lots more

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/349658901761052

To sign up for the Occupy Bernal press list and/or obtain photos and video of the event, see http://www.occupybernal.org/press

Tell Wells Fargo: Hands Off Our Neighbors! Call/Email Day Monday!

Despite recording record profits last year, Wells Fargo continues to drive tens of thousands of people out of their homes through foreclosure proceedings while devastating our communities. The good news is, we’re fighting back.

Occupy Bernal Heights formed to resist the foreclosure and eviction of our neighbors. Through public protest, we stopped the bank from immediately auctioning off the homes of Washington and Maria Davila and Alberto Del Rio, but the bank has merely rescheduled the auction dates. And despite meeting with six foreclosure fighters from the neighborhood and another from Bayview-Hunters Point, Wells Fargo executives have refused to allow any of them to refinance their homes or modify their loans, and have not stopped foreclosure proceedings against them.

Call and email Wells Fargo board of directors TODAY and demand that they grant a loan modification and fair deal to Alberto Del Rio; Maria and Washington Davila; Thomas German; Ernesto Viscara; Victor Granados; DeDe Martinez; Archbishop King; Eric Lundgren and Ross Rhodes. Tell them to stop evicting and foreclosing on our neighbors!

Note: We are trying to keep track of the number of emails sent. Please cc your email to action@occupybernal.org

Wells Fargo Phone numbers/emails:

John Stumpf (CEO): 866-878-5865  john.g.stumpf@wellsfargo.com

Board of Directors: BoardCommunications@wellsfargo.com

Members of the Board of Directors (with available contact info):

John D. Baker II: 877-704-1776 jmilton@patriottrans.com
Elaine L. Chao: 202-543-7063 staff@heritage.org Subject line: To Elaine Chao
John S. Chen: 591-883-6898
Lloyd H. Dean: 415-438-5500
Susan E. Engel: 914-730-0208
Enrique Hernandez, Jr. 626-535-2200
Donald M. James: 205-298-3000 jamesd@vmcmail.com
Federico F. Peña 303-292-6300
Alfredo Pedroza (Director CA Local Gov’t Relations): 415-396-0829 alfredo.pedroza@wellsfargo.com

Sample Email:

To: john.g.stumpf@wellsfargo.com; boardcommunications@wellsfargo.com; jmilton@patriottrans.com; staff@heritage.org; jamesd@vmcmail.com; alfredo.pedroza@wellsfargo.com;

Cc: action@occupybernal.org

Subject: WELLS FARGO: HANDS OFF OUR NEIGHBORS!

Message:

You control Wells Fargo either directly or on behalf of its borrowers and your stockholders. I demand that you cancel the auction of Alberto Del Rio (Loan #47339080) and Maria and Washington Davila’s family homes immediately. I also demand that you allow them, along with Thomas German (Loan #44751501); Ernesto Viscara (Loan # 46110532); Victor Granados (Loan #5000039031); DeDe Martinez (Loan #0046809208); Archbishop Franzo King; Eric Lundgren and Ross Rhodes, to modify their loans with you or refinance their homes. I call on you to stop evictions and foreclosures in San Francisco.

I also demand you direct Wells Fargo to meet with Occupy Bernal, SFHDC and ACCE to end and redress your predatory lending practices, and those of your purchased affiliates, by instituting a moratorium on foreclosures, and having your CEO meet with our neighbors who are in immediate risk of losing their homes as a result of Wells foreclosures. Stop evicting and foreclosing on our neighbors!

——–

Tweets:

Tell WellsFargoCEO John Stumpf to stop evicting & foreclosing our neighbors 866-878-5865 john.g.stumpf@wellsfargo.com #OSF #OccupyBernal #OWS

Tell WellsFargo stop evicting & foreclosing on our neighbors Call Alfredo Pedroza 415-396-0829 #OSF #OccupyBernal

Tell WellsFargo modify loans & grant fair deal to neighbors alfredo.pedroza@wellsfargo.com #OSF #OccupyBernal #OWS

Tell WellsFargo grant fair deal to Bernal Neighbors Del Rio; Davila; German; Viscara; Granados; Martinez; & Archbishop King #OccupyBernal #OSF

#OccupyBernal #OSF is working to stop foreclosures and evictions by WellsFargo. Mtg Mon 2/13 7p 515 CortlandSF housing@occupybernal.org

#DumptheBanks #OccupyValentinesDay -Meet at Bradley Manning Plaza 12pm & March to #WellsFargo #BofA #causajusta #occupybernal #OSF Housing
__________________________________________________________

Background:

Occupy Bernal has identified 84 homes in foreclosure proceedings in Bernal Heights alone. Of these, Wells Fargo owns the mortgage in at least 13 of these cases. Of the homes we have visited, a disproportionate number of the owners are African-American or Latino, reflecting the racist practices of the banks who are preying on communities.

While foreclosures in Bernal Heights represent just the tip of the iceberg in a city that has seen as many as 12,000 foreclosures in the past three years, Occupy Bernal is hopeful that a victory in our neighborhood could spark victories elsewhere in San Francisco.

Bios of Occupy Bernal foreclosure fighters:

Thomas German is a seventy-two year-old veteran and retired worker from the US Mint in SF.  Has lived in Bernal since 1967 and at his home at 248 Andover since 1974. Thomas is known and loved by all on his street. He was the first Bernal resident to step forward and join OB to battle to keep his home.

Melodie “ DeDe” Martinez is a third generation resident of 150 Elsie St. Her family was at the heart of the launching of the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center(BHNC)  in 1976, when she was a child.  Her Grandmother Jean Hamer and mother Charlene Martinez were on the founding Board of Directors of the BHNC.

Alberto Del Rio is a father of three, who grew up in his home at 565 Banks St.  A strong but gentle and religious man, Alberto is an eloquent speaker on behalf of his family and other foreclosure fighters.

Victor Granados is a tenant at 4207 Folsom St. with his wife and family. He is a quiet but determined fighter against his and other foreclosures. When Occupy Bernal needs guidance and inspiration, he often has words of wisdom.

Ernesto Viscara is an owner and occupant of 249 Anderson, where he also rents to another family living on his 2nd floor. Ernesto has lived in Bernal for 30 years. He is also an accomplished public speaker, a veteran fighter for social justice and a participant in struggles against U.S. military intervention in Central America.

Maria and Washington Davila are a quiet couple with two beloved Yorkshire Terriers, the Davilas have rented their home at 4255 Folsom St. for 7 years. They have been the ideal tenants, and the inside of their home looks like a photo shoot from Home Beautiful.

Their landlord, who faces foreclosure, is ill and lives in Las Vegas.

Archbishop Franzo King pastors the John Coltrane Church, located in the Western Addition community of San Francisco.  He is a life-long resident of the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood.  He has owned his house for over 20 years.  He is a member of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).

Eric Lundgren has lived in Bernal Heights for a long time and is active in Occupy Bernal.

Ross Rhodes lives in the house he grew up in and is a lifelong resident of Bernal Heights. He heard about Occupy Bernal on  a Monday, started working with Ed Donaldson with San Francisco Housing Development Corporation (SFHDC) on Wednesday, and by Thursday he was an active member of Occupy Bernal.

Occupy Bernal Newsletter for December 28, 2011

Welcome to the first issue of the Occupy Bernal Newsletter! (let us know if you have a better name)

In This Issue:


General Assembly Gathers For First Time on Bernal

The Occupy Bernal General Assembly (GA) met for the first time last Wednesday, December 21. About 60 people attended the meeting at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Many participants focused on the issue of keeping Bernal residents in our homes by preventing pending foreclosures and evictions of owner-occupied properties and rental-unit properties. The GA set up six workgroups and set a next meeting for 7:00-9:00pm on Wednesday, January 11, in the same location if available. For more information, check out the minutes of the meeting and media coverage from the Huffington Post, the SF Weekly, and Bernalwood.


Join a Workgroup!

A great way to get involved in Occupy Bernal is to join one of the six workgroups created by the General Assembly (GA) meeting. Click on the link below to read more about the GA or a workgroup and to subscribe to the email lists that are right for you.

  • Announcements Only: a low-traffic moderated email list to receive occasional news about Occupy Bernal
  • General Assembly: the main regular meeting place for everyone involved in Occupy Bernal
  • Communications: organizing press, newsletter, website, email lists, social networking, etc.
  • Coordination: coordinating meeting logistics, facilitator training, and other activities that must take place between GAs
  • Education: research and develop educational materials and long-term strategies
  • Housing and Foreclosure Workgroup: organize to keep Bernal residents in our homes
  • January 20 Action Workgroup: organize local Bernal actions and participation in larger actions
  • Outreach: encourage broad and diverse participation and publicity for Occupy Bernal activities and events


Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Meetings

Anyone in support of the Occupy movement is welcome to attend these upcoming Occupy Bernal meetings:

  • TOMORROW: 7:30pm on Thursday, December 29: January 20th Action Workgroup meeting, Coleridge Park Homes 190 Coleridge St (at Virginia Ave, across from mini-park)
  • 7:00pm on Wednesday, January 4: Housing and Foreclosure Workgroup meeting, Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Ave
  • 7:00pm on Wednesday, January 11: General Assembly meeting, Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Ave

If you don’t see a meeting listed for the workgroup you’re interested in, then join the workgroup email list and help organize a meeting!

Upcoming events are displayed near the top of the right sidebar of the website where you can click on an event to see more information or you can display the full-size calendar.


Member Profile: Thomas German Facing Foreclosure

For this issue, we offer a profile of Occupy Bernal member Thomas German who is facing foreclosure of his home. Thomas German was born in Mobile, Alabama, a bit after New Year’s Day of 1940. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Thomas, aka “Tommie” or “German”, found employment as a die setter at the San Francisco Mint. He rented a home in Bernal in 1967. Living in the neighborhood for some years, he decided to purchase the home he was renting on Andover Street in 1974 for $21,000. How did he end up in foreclosure? You can click here to read the entire profile.


Know Someone Facing Eviction or Foreclosure?

Are you facing eviction or foreclosure? Do you know someone who is facing eviction or foreclosure? Occupy Bernal is here to help owners of owner-occupied properties and renters in rental-unit properties. Please fill out the Add/Edit Property to Map and Listing form so that the Housing and Foreclosure Workgroup can research the situation and keep our Bernal neighbors in our homes. Check out the Map of Bernal Owner-Occupied and Rental-Unit Properties Facing Foreclosure or Eviction that the workgroup is already investigating.


Housing Is a Human Right

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, includes Section 1 of Article 25 which reads as follows:

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”


Needs and Donations

If you are able, please donate any of the following items (you can bring them to a General Assembly meeting or click on “Contact” above to let us know you’d like to arrange to deliver them to us):

  • Masking tape (several rolls)
  • Clear mailing and storage tape (several rolls)
  • Reams of blank 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper
  • Butcher block paper (large pad)

We also need donations of the following services:

  • Spanish interpretation for meetings
  • Spanish translation for flyers, posters, website
  • Chinese translation for flyers, posters, website

Cash donations are also accepted to cover photocopying, Internet, venue reservation, and other organizing costs (no salaries or other overhead).


Social Networking Online

Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/groups/occupybernal.

The Occupy Bernal Twitter feed to follow is @occupybernal.

Facing Foreclosure: The Thomas German Story

Thomas German was born in Mobile, Alabama, a bit after New Year’s Day of 1940. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Thomas, aka “Tommie” or “German”, found employment as a die setter at the San Francisco Mint. He rented a home in Bernal in 1967.

Living in the neighborhood for some years, he decided to purchase the home he was renting on Andover Street in 1974 for $21,000. How did he end up in foreclosure? He was facing a personal catastrophe. And he made a generous offer. So he refinanced his home. Although Thomas obtained and held insurance for his home, the insurance didn’t cover bringing the place up to code when a fire gutted the place in 2008. He invested in a family business that later failed and Thomas never recovered those funds.

With the encouragement of loan personnel at Wachovia, Thomas borrowed on the equity everyone thought was in the value of the home. He signed a loan agreement for an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) with a interest rate that increased over time because he thought he could surely repay the loan or refinance at a lower rate.

His only income is a federal pension limiting his Social Security benefits, which are small. On his income, Thomas could no longer afford to make loan payments. By 2008, Thomas’ federal tax return noted home mortgage interest of $25,959 against taxable pension income of $31,3883 – paying the mortgage interest alone represented 81% of his taxable income! He joined the ranks of thousands suffering under predatory Wachovia home loans.

Meanwhile, the very same day Congress passed the bailout plan that would award Wells Fargo a $25 billion dollar bailout from the taxpayers of the U.S. – the largest amount awarded in a single bailout payment – Wells Fargo announced it would reverse its prior decision and buy out Wachovia for $12.7 billion by the end of 2008, thus forming the nation’s second largest bank in terms of deposits. That same week, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson issued a document revising the tax code to benefit some banks that buy other banks: a tax break worth up to $25 billion for Wells Fargo.

Unlike Wells Fargo’s bailout success, Thomas applied twice for a loan modification under the Home Affordable Mortgage Program (HAMP) mandated by the U.S. Treasury as a response to the home mortgage loan crisis. Wachovia/Wells Fargo denied the loan modifications twice, once in June 2010 and again in November 2011.

Nowadays, Thomas is struggling to find a way to stay in his home. He has filed bankruptcy to try to prevent foreclosure and eviction, but the outcome is uncertain. His neighbors here in Bernal have formed a support group to help Thomas stay in the neighborhood. Along with this community group, he is receiving assistance from a nonprofit counseling organization. We are committed to helping him defend his home against any foreclosure auction or eviction.