Minutes for Occupy Bernal GA, February 27, 2012

Occupy Bernal Heights General Assembly
Monday, Feb 27, 2012
7pm @ Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland St.

Attendees: Ed, Buck, Andrew, Annie, Debrah, Blair, Elaine, Richard, Mike, Stardus, Julian [and more — minutes started post-intros]
Facilitator: Stardust
Stack: Annie
Minutes: Andrew

I Introductions
——————-

Intros all around: first names and favorite colors.

II Assessment of what we’ve done
—————————————————————-

2. 2/23 Forecolsure forum
====================

Debra reports back on the Forum.
61 attendees were counted at 1:10pm
There were short talks on how to resist foreclosures, evictions and the importance of fighting back.

Alberto
Grace Martinez, ACCE
Jose, MEDA [?]
Ed Donaldson, councellor
Leah Simon-?, tenants group

Properties under or at risk of foreclosure are recorded in a public database; outreach started here and galvanized at this event.

While attendees may not have been numerous, but the impact on attendees’ lives was significant. The spirit of solidarity, support, resistance was palpable.

Ed will be returning for more Q&A at a later date.

Buck: there were more new people at this action than at any other point in Occupy Bernal’s past (short of its formation)

country may be divided, but we can agree on this point, which helps unify the movement

Hats off to education committee
We need to build our base locally and outreach.
Combining resources that re-enforce our collective struggle is key; we should try and have an #occupybernal on the panel next time

Suggestion: 1st Thurs of every month Education around the foreclosure question
Education committee will take this into consideration.

1. Fells Fargo demo report back
=======================

more than the 50 people reported in the paper
Different and good;

Bay Guardian wants to have a conversation about their editorial position.

The character of the conversation is changed by taking this to a person responsible.

There were 60 cops at first; all but 10 went home once things were explained.

Every time we do an action, it should be different. Not the same heads with the same speeches.

Ed Donaldson (worlds for HUD sponsored non-profit that negotiates with home”owners” with banks, specifically against Wells Fargo) got a call from an outraged Wells Fargo exec. good sign.

Press work was extensive for this action, creative props, fun all built towards a remarkable event.

Individual stories should be better highlighted than they were.

Peoples’ expectations of actions can be for a longer duration – should frame timeline better.

Blair went with 10yr old daughter, who fount funny and amusing.
there is a common misunderstanding of fraud amongst stable income home-owners
Suggestions:
1. A leaflet with 3 short paragraphs + resources that explain what the banks have done, that this is not a technicality, to pass around to passer-bys
2. connect more Families Occupy SF:
street theatre is an engaging format to get kids into the resistance movement for a lifetime

(Food) Pic-nic at events

ELAINE: Press was great. Twitter was influential. Not sure how it worked, but it did.

DB is being used to contact everyone
door-to-door, letter, attempts to make person-to-person contact.

III Newer Business
—————————–

1. Ting report
===========

99% of all forecosured issued by banks have one or more irregularities
84% have clear violations of the law
⅘ foreclosures are illegal

We can leverage the same message to push city officials to go beyond simply agreeing that this issue is terrible and to take action.

How can the city attorney (be motivated and have legal grounds to) file for injunction?

Met with Sherriff on Mon, who is in charge of injunctions
Court orders are issued, which must be enforced…

What kind of pressure can we exert to stop the exercise of power in its tracks?

How can we track the money?
Auctioneers, Conveyance companies… WHO is really benefitting from the fraud? Lat’s articulate this reality to people to the streets.

Annie:
amazing stroke of luck with this report
non-judicial foreclosures: instead of going to court, discrete steps need to be followed – some technical, many substantive
Notice of filling of Default is the first step, often skipped by banks, and it goes on from there.
For us, it means we have a way of working with city officials and pressing others not interested in working with us. State regulations supersede many possible measures, but what kind of hurdles could be put in pace along these lines?

Debra:
Market is still strong in SF and Bernal in particular, which motivates banks to pull the rug out from under home owners.

Buck:
Some people did borrow more than they can pay back. Not an accident that all but one victim are Latino or Black, and that bank practices were predatory. There is still a fight for those who can’t afford to pay this all back, even after the fraud question is settled.

Dorothy:
SImilar model to that used during the depression
selling in lots: large scale scam to take residential property away in the same way farm land was

John O’Brien, assessor in MA in June of 2011 made a presentation to the Natl. assoc. of Assessors: “my office is a crime scene.” He refused to resister and record false documents.
Proposes to bring him out here to speak.

Elaine:
Predator lending as a topic for a future educational forum.
Any elected officials will need to respond with the right questions. What are these questions, and how to we exert pressure. We should organize around the Ting report.

Richard:
only 14 vs. 386 were not legal. We need to plan and frame our language and message strategically.
SIVs were bundled so they couldn’t be looked at individually.

Mike:
Narrative that banks loaned this money isn’t accurate. It’s investors that are impacted and driving the game.

3. Press Conference, Board of Supervisors Resolution
============================================

We are working with 2 supervisors (David Campos, John Avalos) on a resolution to support a moratorium on foreclosures until Ting report can be analyzed and malfeasance corrected.
need 6 votes w/ Mayor or 8 w/o Mayor

Trying to smoke out DA, Sheriff too.
the Sheriff many not be affected, though, because there are state-mandated. Criminality is ubiquitous, though.

Possible press conference on Wed with Ting

David Campos will call tomorrow for a public hearing at the board of supervisors that will call Ting forward.

On Friday, members strolled the halls and tried to gauge support by district on the passing of a city ordinance.

District position
1 Supervisor Mar, chair of land use committee. Spoke with his aid. What committee is most friendly to moving a resolution forward? Probably this one.
2 skipped
3 checked in
4 skipped
5 spoke with aid, looks like there may be support; depends on mayor
6 should go, some uncertaintly because of board alliances
7 no support
8 —
9 Campos – we are all good
10 spoke with aid
11 Avalos — lots of support; aid is actively working on this.

An ordinance IS possible and CAN gum up the works on foreclosures.
If the Assessor-Recorder is obliged to receive documentation every step of the way, that would stop [filibuster] the process in its tracks .
New lead: a 1945 document states that auctioneers need to put up a bond to do auctions; IDEA: the board could require a 1M bond in an ordinance.

The treasurer can be pressured to move money out of the banks. [Berkeley did this]

4. Other ideas
===========

Richard:
occupy poetry, musicians, food can all feed into a street festival.
Suggests building a repository of content as we learn
interview people in neighborhoods

Stardust:
Ongoing discussion has been happening
a social event with Occupy Bernal, ACCE from Bayview/Hunter’s Point, Excelcior at SFHourisng Development offices.

Blair:
House parties as an outreach venue

Julian:
build base in neighborhood by door knocking is good, but we need to invite them to something
Block party

Buck:
personal relationships
plot events around where foreclosures are.
plot these
look to engage people in a more enduring capacity, rather than coming out to an event once.
We need to push people to OCCUPY.
[look into the foreclosure project that Mike was running]

Dorothea:
like in the 30s: home defenders
phone trees that can mobilize
being with personal relationships

PROPOSAL (Stardust): call a meeting of the outreach workgroup to address the issue
POINT OF PROCESS: hold off until the restructuring discussion

Pink Flier
**********
pink flier is passed around, a follow up on the Wells campaign

Auctions and Foreclosures happen weekly.
With enough bodies (signed up weekly) we can stop them!
10 sign-ups: required to halt Auctions
25 sign-ups: know we’re ready to stop any eviction

the threat of shutting down auctions has so far resulted in all auctions shutting themselves down.

occupysf, sfatate, occupysfhousing, sf action council are all behind this

Stardust is maintaining the website
it’s been up for 48h; 10% of goal is reached

Blair:
Thinking backwards from our event date, how do we organize?

March 1: Occupy Education
(full funding for education)
Occupy Bernal has endorsed and agreed to participate in
There is space for a speaker at the 4pm mass rally
NO RESOLUTION: a speaker needs to be found.

—-> Other ideas TABLED to next meeting

IV Occupy Bernal Restructuring
——————————————

people are confused about the occupation structure.
the housing and foreclosure issue is the focus, but the WG conversation get re-iterated at the GA

Juilan:
presents a written proposal is to merge the WG with the GA
[attach here]

Buck:
all work since Dec 21 is focused on housing and foreclosure
Most of the WG meetings are larger than the GAs

Debra
Clear target and program is important
smaller and larger meetings are important
our theme, our issue as a neighborhood group is part of basic occupy analysis

Andrew
Renaming the group would be appropriate if the main thrust is around an issue.
Publicize monthly meeting: a true GA
broad-based, political discussion

Elaine:
email lists are not being used most effectively.
announce is the main list, coordinated events announced here; this should be the list people get added there.
organizers’ list is non-modertated
proposal: combine current housing and GA lists.
advocates against merging

AMMENDMENT: continue to call this body a GA?
(advocates against merging)

TEMPERATURE CHECK: 50-50 split on thinking we can resolve this question tonight.

—–>TABLED

Announcements
———————-

Thurs @ 7pm: follow up to foreclosure forum
Ed Donaldson will be here for Q&A
stories from newcomers
basic meeting

Communications WG meeting
progressive grounds
6:30pm

next meeting:
2 weeks from today, March 12.

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