October Education Program

CJ Holmes & Foreclosures

Our popular “Get real with a realtor” series illuminating the different sorts of real estate debt and speculation that drove the foreclosure fiasco . . . and what we can do about it

Join Occupy Bernal for an evening with one of Northern California’s feistiest, winningest combatants of predatory banking
 
CJ Holmes, hosts a KPFA anti-foreclosure program and runs www.HomeOwnersforJustice.org  as a first and second line o defense information channel in the fight against unethical foreclosures.

This program is part of Occupy Bernal strategy to build a profound understanding of the foreclosure debacle, leading to City and State-wide policy change.

Tuesday, October 2    7 – 8:30 pm
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center
515 Cortland Avenue
Your neighbors, our neighborhood!

Contact: David   415-948-4265    OccupyBernal.org
Labor donated

Action: Petition Bank of America to Save the Musni’s Home

Dear friends,

The Musni family is in foreclosure with Bank of America after 40 years in their house on Randall Street.

The foreclosure date is scheduled in two weeks -July 25. We must put pressure on BofA and need your assistance.

We’ll have a petition drive at the bank on Wednesday, July 18, and Saturday, July 21.

  See below for times & location.

Please join the Musni Family and others:

Wed July 18, 4 to 7pm
Sat July 21, 9am-3pm
Noe Valley Branch of Bank of America
4098 24th Street at Castro

Download a flyer

 

Phone Banking: Occupy Bernal negotiates on behalf of homeowners

We are phone banking on Wednesday. July 18, from 6-9 p.m. at ACCE, 1717 17th Street in order to identify more homeowners who have loans with Wells Fargo who would like to participate in the negotiations Wells Fargo is having with Occupy Bernal, Occupy Noe and ACCE.

Please come and help out. There will be a limited amount of Pizza and salad.
Please let Deborah G. know if you’ll come. (415) 550 1030

Below is the letter we are using to reach homeowners with Wells Fargo loans.

If you are a homeowner with a Wells Fargo loan and want to be part of the negotiations, please read the letter below for the qualifying information you’ll need to have, then contact  us to see if it will be possible to be included in this round of negotiations.  Please see the letter below for the appropriate contact information.


July 2012 WELLS FARGO will negotiate with homeowners

Dear Neighbor and Homeowner,

After more than six months of struggle: emails, phone calls, requests for modifications, protests at the auction of our neighbors’ homes, a unanimous resolutions from the San Francisco Board of supervisors and most recently, the passage of the HOME OWNERS BILL OF RIGHTS by the California Legislature, WELLS FARGO has entered a negotiation process with representatives of Occupy Bernal, ACCE and Occupy Noe.

We now have the opportunity to represent more Wells Fargo loan holders. This process allows Occupy Bernal and ACCE negotiators to advocate for your home, and makes a fair settlement of your situation more likely. Please join your neighbors in waging a unified and well planned struggle to achieve homeowner justice.

To be part of these negotiations—and any potential settlement– Wells Fargo demands and Occupy Bernal and/or ACCE agrees to deliver:

  1. PROPERTY IDENTIFICATION: Name, address, phone number, loan number and email.
  2. FINANCIAL PACKAGE—Complete and up-do-date. Please check with OB or Ed Donaldson for completeness.
  3. SIGNED 3rd PARTY AUTHORIZATION, specifically naming any SF ACCE, Occupy Bernal or Occupy Noe negotiators.

If you have a Wells Fargo loan, this is an overdue and important opportunity to get real satisfaction. And be assured: no modifications, or other payments will be finalized without your full knowledge and consent.

To join this negotiation process, call or email:

  • Buck B. (415) 385-0389 BuckB@devinegong.com
  • Deborah G. (415) 550-1030 dgerson646@gmail.com

How to Talk to the Press

HOW TO USE THE MEDIA TO HELP YOU WIN ON YOUR ISSUE, FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FELLOW FORECLOSURE FIGHTERS

July 17, 2012

By Buck Bagot, for Occupy Bernal, SF ACCE and Occupy Noe

HOW #1

• You may be nervous speaking with the press, just like if you are speaking with an elected official or their staff, or a lender. Everyone is. Don’t show it if you can avoid it. Be prepared.

• You may worry that you are not smart, well informed or expert enough to speak with the press. You are. You are an expert. Lord knows you know more about your issues than any person interviewing you from the press! But don’t be over confident or cocky.

• Oh no! What happens if they ask you a question for which you don’t have the answer? Tell the truth – you don’t know the answer. Ask if you can get back to them with an answer. Not knowing the answer to a question is a gift. It permits you to show the person that you are not a glib, BSing know-it-all. And it gives you the opportunity to get back to them and continue to build a relationship.

• If you don’t want to answer a question, don’t.

• One way to answer a question you don’t like is to give the answer to a question you do like. In other words, within reason, keep making your main points no matter what they ask you.

• Both you and the media have strong self-interest in covering your story. They need to cover something – it might as well be you, your story, your organization and your issue.

• Of course, always keep your guard up – never trust the press, unless and until the reporter has earned your respect over time – like in any relationship.

• But – most reporters are at least liberal if not progressive.  While remaining alert and wary, try to give them a way to cover your side of the issue. Even a negative reporter has the responsibility to at least provide both sides of the issue.

WHY

• The media can be one of your/our most powerful weapons. Any relationship with a member of the media is extremely valuable. Try to use any contact with the press to begin what may become ongoing relationships. Take them very, very seriously.

• The media is one of the most powerful weapons we have. It’s a way to way to get your story out more broadly; influence your targets – the people who have the ability to grant your demands; impress powerful allies who have the power to help you win; get your demands – what you want – out to the general public; and let other people in foreclosure know that they are not alone, and that the best things they can do to save their homes is become a foreclosure fighter ans fight back, collectively.

• Make sure to get their full contact information.

• Let a leader or organizer from your organization know about any contact with the press. Review with others how you can use the contact to help you and your fellow foreclosure fighters win.

HOW #2

• Decide what you want to tell the press before they speak with you. Write down an outline. Make sure you tell them what you want them to learn.

• Prepare a short rap on who you and your family are/personal; your situation; and what you need from the Bank to resolve your situation.

• You want a new loan from the Bank that both pays them back and keeps you and your family in your home, affordably.

• You take some personal responsibility for being in foreclosure, but the Bank has even more responsibility, and they won’t admit and take that responsibility.

• The Bank made promises they didn’t keep. They were and are “predatory” lenders. They preyed on people desperate for credit, most of them people of color. Give examples.

• The Bank has no concern at all for their “customers” like you who suffer catastrophe – like your injuries and surgeries.

• In your story, tell how you and your family ought back even before meeting OB/SF ACCE/ You got a nonprofit loan counselor. You contacted Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

• If it applied to you – and if it didn’t, mention the other foreclosure fighters you have met – many folks are ashamed of being in foreclosure. They never ask for help, and they lose their homes. You asked for help. You demanded a fair deal. You joined – and helped found – Occupy Noe. Now you and your families are “foreclosure fighters.” Your fighting to save your home, with other people in foreclosure and your neighbors. And your helping other people in foreclosure come out of the shadows, fight back, and save your homes.

• When you convince B of A to give you a fair, affordable deal, it will help not only you and your family, but thousands of other families in the same fix.

• You have learned a lot. You’ve met scores of other foreclosure fighters, and neighbors. You’ve helped lead negotiations with your and other lenders; worked with the Mayor’s office, the Board of Supervisors, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. You’ve even learned to be a press spokesperson (pause for the to chuckler!).

• At the end of any contact with the media, thank them. Repeat what you want them to report on/quote. Ask them if and when the item will run. Ask them if they require any additional information. Get it to them, and fast. Track if your item appears. Send them a thank you note.

• In coordination with your organization, always contact them again in the future – personally, not just through a press release – any time your have story that you
want them to cover/that might interest them.

How We Work with Foreclosees

Download a Word format of this document

6/13/12

BECOMING A FORECLOSURE FIGHTER
WITH SF ACCE AND/OR OCCUPY BERNAL

GETTING ASSISTANCE BEATING FORECLOSURE, PROPERTY AUCTION, AND
EVICTION

WINNING AN AFFORDABLE LOAN MODIFIICATION

Here’s what we tend to do to help someone in foreclosure – but is still short of property auction or post-auction eviction – who might become foreclosure fighter, if they’re loan is with Wells Fargo. If they are with another bank, SF ACCE may also have the ability to also help them engage in direct negotiations with someone with power at their lender – B of A, Chase, Aurora, for example. SF ACCE has also helped people fight evictions, and reclaim their homes after an eviction. But those fights are not discussed in this memo.

A. Help them get hooked up with a nonprofit HUD-certified counselor, who can:

1) submit their loan modification request, once the counselor has a 3 rd party
authorization, and some financial info;

2) engage in conversation with the lender to help them get a modification;

3) help them figure out if they have the income to qualify to a loan modification with their current income; need to increase his income, or need a principal reduction to modify; and

4) help them get their auction date postponed, find out if it actually is postponed, and until when.

I have attached my roster which has the contact names and info at the two nonprofit counselors we use – MEDA and SFHDC – as well as some other useful folks. MEDA recently told Grace that they are no longer accepting clients, but Ed Donaldson at SFHDC available. MEDA has bilingual staff.

B. Help them into “escalated” review under the WF CEO’s office. Up until now, that has virtually guaranteed that WF will postpone their auctions date/s until the end of that review, although we often don’t find out that one has been postponed until the day before or even the morning of. Getting them connected with Pelosi’s Office and her staffer Alex Lazar should do get them into this escalated process, as well as get him a single point of staff contact in the CEO’s office. This assistance also requires a 3rd party authorization form, for Pelosi’s Office and becoming a counseling client.

C. Help them get onto the Mayor’s Office/staffer Jeff Buckley’s list of cases which he is pursuing individually with the lenders. This assistance also requires a 3rd party authorization form for the Mayor’s Office, and becoming a counseling client.

I have attached 3rd party authorization forms for SFHDC, Pelosi and the Mayor. This form authorizes a 3rd party to engage in conversation with the lender about his modification request, and their case in general. Someone who receives 3 rd party authorization has no power to make decisions on a loan modification request. The foreclosee reserves that right entirely for themselves.

D. Help them get into an ongoing conversation with that single point of contact at Wells Fargo.

E. If and when they receive a trustee’s notice of property auction, in addition to helping them get it postponed and/or blocking it, we need to help them track when it is scheduled to occur.

A lender carries out a property auction through a trustee. The trustee is required to make only a single public notice, with the SF Recorder/Assessor’s Office, of an auction date – the first date when they can carry out an auction. They are not required to report any subsequent changes in that date. OB and SF ACCE have paid for access to a data base that purports to report rescheduled auctions, but sometimes it is faulty and/or takes a few days to report the new date. Even a verbal statement by a lender’s staff person that they have postponed the auction date is sometimes not accurate. The best way that we have found to track an auction date is through the phone number and/or website contained in the trustees notice of the initial auction date.

F. Finally, how do you see if the foreclosee will become/help a person become a foreclosure fighter?

Becoming a foreclosure fighter helps a person: 1) save their own home in foreclosure, AND 2) win reforms and ideally permanent structural changes in the current predatory, unfair and largely racist foreclosure system. We aren’t counselors. We are leaders in fighting organizations. With our current power, we can’t help everyone who is in foreclosure. We can help individual foreclosees, if they fight. We can only win the complete restructuring of the foreclosure system by organizing and building the power to win on individual cases, and reforms of the foreclosure system – like a moratorium, or the postponement of auctions or evictions, or the reoccupation of homes form which folks have been evicted. It is only by fighting with power that we can change the entire foreclosure system into one that is fair, just and non-discriminatory.

We can only win if the people in foreclosure step up and fight for themselves, and other people in the same fix that they are in. We must help them become leaders in the fight. And it is only by them become the face and voice of the fight to end the foreclosure crisis that the lenders, the public, and potential allies like the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor will ever understand who is being hurt by foreclosure, and what it is doing to our communities.

So, sadly, we must pick and choose with whom we will work. We will work with them if they fight, and become active members in and leaders of our organizations. In developing foreclosees into foreclosure fighters, we are not hurting their ability to win their individual cases. Only 13% of the foreclosees who work with an SF HUD certified nonprofit counselor “escape” foreclosure by attaining a loan modification or some other settlement. The counselors tell foreclosees that they will increases their chances of winning if they: 1) fight back, and 2) join an organization like Occupy Bernal and SF ACCE. Lenders pay at least some attention to foreclosure fighters because they want them – and their organizations – to go away! As you can see, the small changes we have won, and the process above, has helped individual foreclosees help themselves.

SF ACCE has helped foreclosure fighters win loan modifications, even for ones that lenders have evicted from their homes. OB has helped foreclosure fighters win modifications, but so far only for people who had the income to qualify anyway.

We must test the folks that we try to help. Tell them straight up that we can’t “save” them, but we will help them fight back. And that we want them to become foreclosure fighters. Tell them what we mean by that term. Give them opportunities to do so. Invite them to the next meeting of our organizations. Ask and train them to speak to their neighbors; the media; elected officials; and representatives of the lenders. Give them the opportunity to participate in the planning of actions against the lenders, and active roles in those actions.

Attachments: Buck’s roster; 3rd party authorization forms for SFHDC, Mayor and
Pelosi’s Offices.

By Buck Bagot – 415/385-0389 OR BUCKB@DEVINEGONG.COM.

For more information, go to www.occupybernal.org, www.calorganize.org, or
www.occupytheauctions.org.

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

A Call for Collaborators

PDF version of this Call for Collaborators—please distribute

The Good Neighbor Award Ceremony & Foreclosure Fighter Fiesta

Andover St. between Cortland & Ellert (Next to library)

Saturday, May 19th, 1:00-4:00 pm

YOU are invited to co-create this event with us.

WE’RE HAVING A BLOCK PARTY POTLUCK to honor our wonderful foreclosure fighter neighbors + activists. We’ll celebrate the successful actions that have helped keep neighbors in their homes and acknowledge the amazing work we’ve done to help stop foreclosures.

Meet folks who care about people.

SEEKING entertainers, acoustic musicians, a deejay, production manager,
production assistants, planners, food/beverage help, set up/clean up angels, sponsors, people to poster, social network help, a press liaison, seeking involvement of related organizations (i.e.: MEDA, ACCE, SF Housing), tabling assistance, graphic designer, decoration, kid’s activities (sidewalk chalk, bubbles, crafts, face painter), gate monitors, journalists to spread the good news, documentarians, food/drinks for pot luck, and more.

Let us know what YOU want to do.

Join us for production meetings on Sundays at Progressive Grounds on Cortland & Bennington, 10-11:30 a.m. May 6 & 13. Friday night, May 18, 6-8 p.m.

Want to collaborate? We need YOU!

Call Annie S. & Beth today: 415-847-1323 or Annie B. 415-821-7617
Or email anniesprinkle@me.com
More info: occupybernal.org

SF Community Board of Trustees Condemns Wells Fargo

SF Community Board of Trustees condemns Wells Fargo’s predatory lending practices, seeks new Banking Services provider for its money

April 26, 2012

Last night, the SF Community Board of Trustees, condemning its
current provider Wells Fargo Bank, voted to seek a new Banking Services provider for its money, citing that:

  • San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting has announced a first-of-its-kind audit of county land records of homes facing foreclosure.
  • Among the most jarring findings was that 84% of the files audited included legal violations

It also credited community-based organizations like SF ACCE and
Occupy Bernal for fighting to preserve the diversity of their  neighborhoods by defending the predominantly minority homeowners at risk of losing their himes to Wells foreclosure.

Trustee Chris Jackson stated that “Predatory lenders like Wells Fargo must be taught to correct their destructive policies.”

Buck Bagot of Occupy Bernal/SF ACCE thanked the Board for ”putting its power – and the public’s money – behind my neighbors who Wells has and is hornswoggling out of their homes.”

AFT Local 2121 President Alisa Messer, whose unions represents Community College faculty, also cited Wells’ penurious student loan policies which charge college students up to 18% interest.

Both Bagot and Messer and members of their organizations participated in effort on April 24, 2012 to convince Wells Fargo shareholders to correct the Bank’s negative policies, but were denied admission to its shareholders meeting despite holding Wells Fargo shares.

The Board joined the SF Board of Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee in
speaking out against predatory lending policies.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply

How to Spiffy Up Your OccupyBernal List Subscriptions

Here are some instructions to get the digest form (one email per day) of any Occupy Bernal email list.  Also, how to unsubscribe.

These instructions work for all lists.  However, in this example, we will use the General Assembly list ga@lists.occupybernal.org to illustrate how to do it.

We are working on a simpler way;  please bear with us.  For now you need to use the mailing list website to set your own subscriptions. This should take less than five minutes.


This is how to get the digest form of a list:

  1. Go to http://lists.occupybernal.org/index.fcgi/firstpasswd
  2. Enter your email address and click the Request first password button.
  3. Check your email for a message from SYMPA with the subject Bernal neighborhood organizing
  4. Click on the link in the email, which will send you to the mailing list web page.
  5. Type in a password of your choosing and click the Submit button.
  6. In the navigation, click on the Lists of Lists link.
  7. Find the name of the list (such as ga@lists.occupybernal.org) for which you want to change your subscription mode and click on the name of the list.
  8. In the left navigation, click on the Subscriber Options
  9. In the drop-down menu labeled Receiving mode, choose either digest MIME format or digest plain text format and click the Update button.
  10. Take a deep breath, relax, and feel good about continuing to help our neighbors fight the banks so they can stay in their homes, while not getting too many messages in your inbox.


This is how to unsubscribe from a list:

  1. Go to http://lists.occupybernal.org/index.fcgi/firstpasswd
  2. Enter your email address and click the Request first password button.
  3. Check your email for a message from SYMPA with the subject Bernal neighborhood organizing
  4. Click on the link in the email, which will send you to the mailing list web page.
  5. Type in a password of your choosing and click the Submit button.
  6. In the navigation, click on the Lists of Lists link.
  7. Find the name of the list (such as ga@lists.occupybernal.org) for which you want to change your subscription mode and click on the name of the list.
  8. In the left navigation, click on the Unsubscribe.
  9. Make sure to check the website on a regular basis since you will no longer hear about what is going on through your email.

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.