California City Threatens to Use Eminent Domain to Stop Bank Foreclosures (by democracynow)
Published on Aug 6, 2013
http://www.democracynow.org - A town in California is making headlines on how it is tackling its foreclosure crisis. In Richmond, almost half of the city’s residential mortgage holders are underwater. In a major development last week, Richmond became the first city in the country to offer to purchase mortgages of distressed homeowners from Wall Street banks and other lenders. Under a plan approved by city council in April, the city can also use its eminent domain authority to purchase loans in order modify them and allow families to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes.”The banks sold our community predatory loans and now they have no solution they’re presenting for this crisis,” says Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. “We are stepping in by taking these troubled loans off the hands of the banks and we’re paying them fair market value for these loans. And then we’re working with the homeowners to refinance and modify loans in line with current home values. We call on the banks to voluntarily sell us these loans and if they don’t cooperate, we will be considering eminent domain.”
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Since my book on police militarization came out a few weeks ago, it’s been interesting to see the reaction from law enforcement officials. As you might expect, much of it has been negative, particularly on police discussion boards around the Internet. But it hasn’t all been that way. At a Cato Institute forum on Capitol Hill last month, Mark Lomax of the National Tactical Officers Association said that as he read the book, he was nodding his head in agreement far more than he was shaking his head with disapproval. (Not exactly an endorsement, but I’ll take it!)
In the book, I interview lots of older and retired police officers, many of them with SWAT experience. I also cite other police chiefs and sheriffs over the years who have raised concerns about militarization. The divide among police on this issue isn’t political. One of the former police chiefs I interviewed — Norm Stamper of Seattle — is a progressive. Another — Joseph McNamara of San Jose and Kansas City — is a conservative at the Hoover Institution.
Instead, the divide appears to be more generational. Older and retired cops don’t seem to like were policing is headed. (This is a generalization and an observation — I haven’t taken any polls.) Younger cops, who are nudging policing in a more militaristic direction, are naturally fine with it.
On today’s Summer Bucket List, we travel to the Owyhee Canyonlands, a huge and remote area of eastern Oregon, southwestern Idaho and northern Nevada.
Hidden within this vast high desert plateau are deep canyons carved by the Owyhee, Bruneau, and Jarbidge Rivers. These rivers, recognized as Wilderness, offer something for nearly every level of boating experience. These areas provide visitors with unsurpassed solitude in canyons of unique beauty and form. From placid pools to turbulent whitewater; from vertical cliffs to steep grassy slopes; and from wildlife, such as California bighorn sheep to wildflowers, including the Bruneau River flox, these rivers and their canyons present visitors with challenging and extraordinary experiences.
In 1984, Congress recognized this unsurpassed beauty by designating 120 miles of the spectacular Owyhee River located in Oregon as a wild river component of the National Wild and Scenic River System to “protect the free-flowing character of the river, along with its outstanding scenic, recreational, geologic, wildlife and cultural values.” The Idaho portions were designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in 2009.
Learn more about Owyhee Canyonlands: http://www.blm.gov/id/st/en/visit_and_play/things_to_do/rivers/rivers/lower_salmon_river.html
-Photos: Bob Wick, BLM California
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