E-DEMOCRACY | Neighbors take sides as squatters move into 3325 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis


From: John Gall Date: Mar 09

Saw this on Kare11 last night. Looks like Minneapolis taxpayers will be spending another $40-$50k in police and court resources to get the Occupy folks out of another home.

http://www.kare11.com/news/article/1015117/391/Mpls-woman-moves-into-vacant- foreclosed-home

Redemption period ended 2/11/2013 but the bank can’t market it as Occupy protestors are squatting there. Apparently police have not trespassed them so Wells Fargo will probably have to head to eviction court to get the Sheriff to remove them. Expect at least a month of police / protestor activity eating up your tax dollars. Most interesting story on the news however.

From: Michael Thompson Date: Mar 09

Appropriate response: SWAT team.

Mike Thompson

From: Ed Felien Date: Mar 09

I most respectfully disagree. The most appropriate response for the City would be the City using its powers of Eminent Domain to purchase the house from Wells Fargo and sell it back to Jessica English for a fair market value price at a fair interest rate. That would help preserve the community and help to end homelessness.

See next week’s Southside Pride for the protest at Wells Fargo… [https://www.tcdailyplanet.net/node/71631]

From: John Gall Date: Mar 10

I don’t think that expending public funds so people can make a statement via theft of property is any sort of economic stimulus plan. However when your property taxes rise or you have less cops where you want them you’ll at least know where the money went. Want to argue the merits of removing former homeowners from their homes vs modifying their loans, that is one discussion worth having.

This situation is outright theft. The bank now cannot market the property to a homeowner, and the original homeowner is not involved at all. If this is the right thing to do then perhaps shoplifting is good too? How about auto theft so people can get to work? But hey its your tax dollars being consumed so maybe that is how you want to spend them.

From: Michael Thompson Date: Mar 10

This is correct, Mr. Gall. This is trespassing and any use of my money to rewrite the conditions of a contract that this individual decided to ignore is offensive.

It’s interesting that Mr. Hanson says “It’s criminal how we evict people from their homes just to have a bunch of empty buildings that waste away and become worthless.” How is that? Eviction is a wholly preventable action. Honor your agreements to pay for your home, and you won’t get evicted. I wonder if people like Mr. Hanson routinely decide to forego their obligations, or allow their children to do so.

If there is fraud (fraud as defined in statute, not the colloquial/slang use of the term that many use now to justify taking stuff that isn’t theirs or shifting responsibility away from themselves), then it should be prosecuted. Aside from that, those that suffer foreclosure should probably find a place to live that is more in line with what they can afford.

Mike Thompson

From: Madeline Douglass Date: Mar 11

Here’s additional information on this people’s revolution!



Yes it’s a revolution, because I saw this house when it was vacant. Dark, full of garbage, prey to whoever wanted to rip out the pipes, etc. The banks are the cause of this displacement of families and the destruction of these homes.

Yesterday, there was a community celebration at this house. Members of OccupyMN Homes had cleaned out the house…it was freshly painted, the lights and water were on… the house was full of life and joy, good food and fellowship..

a young woman and her children have a home and a group of community activists have not only restored life to an abandoned house and given a home to a family…they’ve brought a new sense of vitality and victory to the street, to the neighborhood, to ALL of us.

Wells Fargo has a foundation with programs that are specifically suited for families like these. They even have a program wherein they donate the houses they’ve foreclosed to non-profit developers who after rehab sell the houses to families like Jessica’s. OccupyMN Homes has already done enough rehab to resurrect this house and provide a new start for this family.

What OccupyMN Homes is doing is absolutely RIGHT.

The corrupt mortgage industry has done enough damage to our City. They’ve got thousands of homes empty and abandoned that are just numbers on a spreadsheet.

Enough is enough! It’s time for to reclaim these houses for families and bring these neighborhoods back to life!!!

Madeline Douglass
Downtown Stadiumzilla East

From: Jim McGuire Date: Mar 11

I wonder what color the sky is in the world where saintly bankers lend money with lovely honest intentions and never have ever done anything to hurt a flea. Their largesse is so great that they are saddened when people’s circumstances change and, often through no fault on their own, they can no longer meet their obligations to the kindly bankers. With a tear in their eye they call out jack booted thugs to remove these poor souls from their homes.

Chartreuse, perhaps?

Jim McGuire
SE Como

From: Ed Felien Date: Mar 11

Michael, you’d like a “piece of this,” you already have a piece of it. Whenever Wells Fargo drives a homeowner out their home through shady practices (and the Justice Department is investigating them for two felonious practices–http://southsidepride.com/2013/03/articles/thirteen-arrested-wells-fargo.html) then as a member of the community that has to see a home deteriorate, turn into a crack house, then as a member of the community, as a homeowner in the community, you are a piece of it. When young people take it upon themselves to make that house livable again, make it a shining star rather than a dim bulb, then you and I and the rest of the community benefit.

The people who single-handedly fixed up that house and created a home for a woman and her children are not asking for handout. They want to pay a reasonable amount for the house and some credit should be given for the sweat equity they have already earned. Doesn’t it make sense for the City of Minneapolis to use its power of eminent domain and purchase the house from Wells Fargo and then sell it back to the occupants at a fair market value? Don’t we all benefit from that? Don’t you benefit from that?

We all have a stake in this. The Occupy people are leading. It makes sense for the rest of us to support them.

Ed Felien

From: Connie Sullivan Date: Mar 11

I wish that there were more civic-minded people like John in Elk River and elsewhere in our suburbs (exurbs?) who worried as much as he does about Minneapolis taxes and how we Minneapolitans spend our tax dollars.

We could have used John’s voice and influence around here a year ago, when folks out in Elk River and other suburbs blithely encouraged their legislators to sock it to Minneapolis taxpayers to fund a new Vikings stadium, so that those non-urban types could enjoy their pro football emporium for free (Senator Bakk assured me that this stadium is “free.”).

It’s a lot of money for Minneapolis, as you recall: 30 more years of a .5% sales tax on everything we use or buy except food and clothing and fees from our personal accountants and lawyers. And it all goes to billionaires who own sports franchises.

Unlike any possible police expenses to contain an Occupy action at a south Minneapolis house, where there has been bank foreclosure victimization of a plain old non-wealthy consumer. Whatever goes on with that, it won’t be the kind of corporate welfare I’m paying for in my sales taxes. So, I’m cool with Occupy’s protest, which is healthy and necessary and won’t cost us much in tax dollars.

But thanks for your concern, John! We’ll call on you the next time somebody outstate decides to take it upon themselves to screw Minneapolis with taxes or tax funds withheld from the city. Good to know you’re on our side.

Connie Sullivan
Como, in East Minneapolis

From: Bill Kahn Date: Mar 11

I get it now ;-), “Economics is a science.” And thanks, John Gall. I like to read everything that anyone contributes here, but when it is nonsense, I like to point that out, local or outstate nonsense. No trespass signs, other notices and boarded doors and windows are an invitation to destroy our housing stock in Minneapolis, and Wells Fargo and the finance industry in general are guilty of that destruction more than any other party. Our laws are not written in stone and when they no longer make sense, we change them or failing good legislators, ignore them. Bravo, Occupy; eighteen months, six months, whatever, they’ve redeemed something or udder.

Jim might be on to something as a whole lot of people who think that economics is a science turn the sky all sorts of colors, Ed is certainly right that there is more to housing than the mortgage business, and Michael brings it all back to “economics is a science.” I suppose business does science the best and requires no economic subsidy from government to do it, eh Mike? And John? I suppose he should look at what’s happened to parts of my town and many others in the country. Mike’s got me fascinated with the “economics is a science” talk.

Like all heck “economics is a science.” You can use the euphemism, “the dismal science,” but don’t go around maligning scientific pursuits as a whole by calling economics, “science.”

Economic paradigms work in ecology when you’re looking at various ‘budgets’ in the way matter and energy move through various open and closed systems, but until you have one species of life or another buying and selling interests in the lives of practically everything on the planet or perhaps the whole of our universe where life might exist, you’d better not call economics a science. We’re just not that important in the scheme of things and must know our place for things to work out. An early scientist (a century before economics started making any sense at all), Sir Francis Bacon, put it this way in a few of the aphorisms in his Norvum Organum: “Nature to be commanded must be obeyed.”

Science is a process and the resulting knowledge we gain through that process. Economics is something else.

Economics is simply an interdisciplinary study of how we can understand how the human world works through mathematical analysis of our various interactions, all based on often erroneous assumptions about our behavior and place on earth. Economics is more artistic creation than anything else and is of growing insignificance as more and more of us are excluded from any hope of a reasonable standard of living by those who firmly believe that “economics is a science.”

There is hope though, since the more accurate the assumptions and the closer any economic models devised come to how things actually work are, the more useful economics can be for us, rather than merely to those who would exploit the majority for their own gain. I’m talking about justice and the almost complete lack of it in housing for all of us in this country.

Economics is not a science, in Minneapolis or anywhere else in the universe.

Housing, health care, clean air and water may be seen as commodities, but I think it is past time that we also consider them as the basic needs of any human being. We must find ways to provide for basic needs without the need for obscene profits, save those from folks who would demand more than basic needs.

From: Cat Date: Mar 12

The banks have really hurt my neighborhood. One in ten kids at Green Central School are homeless. In our county 60% of people sleeping on the streets are children.

The city won’t do anything unless people come together to say it’s priority. Banks won’t do anything but continue to rob us. Unless we come together to say enough is enough. We have to reclaim what is ours.

We have to put MN families first.

I support the work of Occupy Homes MN. I am proud of Jessica for standing up to the banks. I hope this is replicated everywhere.

From: Mark V Anderson Date: Mar 12

On 3/11/2013 10:27 PM, Andrea Schaerf wrote: > My house needs some repairs when you folks have time. I dont have the money > though except maybe some paint. > > We need a solution for homelessness that is realistic, achievable and helps > many or most of the homeless. Living in a house and clsiming it is one > family and expensive for the city, county and bank. What is going on to > help all the homeless mentionioned by Cat above? I would guess the turnover > in houses will be quicker with the housing market improving. > > > Mark Anderson: Good point Andrea. I think there are lots of people who’d love to have people fix up their home. The Occupy people don’t have to steal a house to fix one up.

The turnover in houses would be quicker if we let the folks who own the defaulted on homes just sell them. I think it used to be a lot quicker to sell off houses. But now we have to give the deadbeats several more opportunities to pay off their house, so it is harder to sell off the houses. Just like ACORN was one of those responsible for the housing recession, their ideological successor Occupy is helping to lengthen it.

From: Ty Moore Date: 16:39

Any focus on the “personal responsibility” of homeowners when discussing the roots of the foreclosure crisis reveals a thorough ignorance of economic and social processes involved.

Even if you choose to view the issue through the narrow lens of contract law (which would be a mistake), its not as if there is room for a genuine negotiation of equals about the terms between homeowners and the banks (as original US contract law was written assuming). If you want proof, just try re-writing a standard mortgage agreement on terms more favorable to you and see what your banker says! The banks exercise an effective monopoly over the housing market and use their extreme dominance to completely dictate the terms. Ordinary people are left with three options: Rent, accept the rotten conditions imposed unilaterally by the banks, or be homeless.

Lets put all nonsense aside. The facts are indisputable. Any serious evaluation of the foreclosure crisis will draw the obvious conclusion that we face a system crisis, not a massive collection of irresponsible individuals! The top Wall Street strategists, with the active aid of their bought-and-paid-for political representatives in Washington (and the regulatory agencies), consciously gamed the entire housing market to artificially inflate prices during the bubble in order to maximize their already fabulous profits. When the bubble inevitably burst, with horrific global economic consequences, the heads of Wall Street had again rigged the system so that homeowners and taxpayers were left holding the bag. Massive layoffs and skyrocketing unemployment and underemployment through millions into destitution, unable to pay their mortgages, and the banks began a mass repo process known as the foreclosure crisis.

Like healthcare, public education, public transportation, energy generation, and a host of other basic necessities, to maintain the housing as a for-profit, market-based industry dominated by the banks is a totally backward, corrupt, and retrograde policy. Future generations will look back on the foreclosure crisis in a similar light to how we look back on Dark Age policies like burning female healers at the cross and designating them as “witches.” Similarly, we are now encouraged to call those in foreclosure or homelessness “irresponsible” or “personal failures,” which flips reality upside down and places blame on the victims of Wall Street.

There are over 18 million vacant homes in the U.S., and under 4 million homeless people. In an insane world, where our political and legal institutions prop up this insanity, the only sane action is defy the unjust laws and build social movements to challenge and change them. In this light, I fully support Jessica English and Occupy Homes efforts to sieze vacants and demand they be turned over to community control. I agree with Ed Felien’s suggestion that we place demands on the City: “The City of Minneapolis could play a significant role in ending the foreclosure crisis. In California, cities like Salinas are considering using their powers of Eminent Domain to purchase homes in foreclosure and then sell them back to the homeowners.”

I’m running for City Council in Ward 9, where the vacant property reclaimed by Jessica resides. If elected I would do all in my power to push the City to take bold measures in this direction, and would stand by Jessica and the other homeowners fighting back. I would call on the Mayor and police to stop wasting taxpayer resources defending Wall Street’s corrupt laws, and simply tell them they have other priorities, like chasing after white collar criminals who steal far more of our wealth than housing justice advocates are hoping to reclaim from the banks. Before issuing vigilanti calls for police action against Jessica and her children, why do we not hear calls to arrest the bankers whose criminal behavior caused this crisis? Or the heads of HSBC who laundered hundreds of millions of drug cartel money but got off with a petty fine because, in the words Obama’s attorney general, they are “too big” to prosecute?

– Ty Moore

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