Activists hope to turn resolution into real foreclosure suspension

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'foreclosure fighters' rally outside City Hall before an April 2 land use committee meeting where the resolution first passed
PHOTO BY CAROL HARVEY

On April 10, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution calling for a temporaray suspension on foreclosures in San Francisco.

The resolution "urges city contractors and all mortgage and banking institutions to suspend foreclosure activities and related auctions and evictions until State and Federal measures to protect homeowners from unfair and unlawful practices and provisions for principle reductions are in place."

This comes after a report from Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting found that 84 percent of foreclosures in San Francisco in the past three years involved faulty paperwork and, likely, fraud.  

The resolution does not require anything, but instead urges the city to work on behalf of constituents swept up in the foreclosure crisis. 

It urges all city departments, “including but not limited to, the offices of the Mayor, the Assessor-Recorder, the City Attorney, the District Attorney, and the Sheriff, to take proactive steps and measures to ensure that the City and County of San Francisco prevents and protects its resident form illegal foreclosures, auctions, and evictions.”

“The controller is supposed to audit every case beyond what was in Phil Ting’s report. Based on that information the glaring illegal activity for the banks, the district attorney and city attorny should sue the banks and file an injunction to stop foreclosures. I think those are some of the steps we could take,” said Julien Ball, an anti-foreclosure activist with Occupy Bernal

The resolution also “urges the Mayor to direct…our city lobbyists in the California State Capital to prioritize support for California Homeowners Bill of Rights state bills.”

This series of bills, proposed by state attorney general Kamala Harris, would include efforts to stop dual tracking- when homeowners still in the process of a loan modification are simultaneously tracked for foreclosures. The package also includes a ban on robosigning and other practices that can constitute fraud in foreclosure proceedings. 

Sups. Avalos and Campos sponsored the resolution, and Kim, Mar, Olague and Cohen co-sponsored. 

Occupy Bernal’s goal remains a city-wide moratorium on foreclosure, and towards that end, the resolution represents an important step.  It puts San Francisco on record as being against unfair foreclosures and related evictions," said Ball, "and its something we can use to put pressure on the banks and public officials to act."

“That involves exposing and shaming banks through public protests, blasting them with phone calls, calling out their board members, its necessary if we have to stand in front of somebody’s home to stop them from being evicted we’ll do that to,” said Ball.

They plan to escalate these tactics April 24, when a coalition of groups has declared that it will "shut down" an April 24 Wells Fargo shareholders meeting in San Francisco.

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