As numerous Occupy protests continue in major cities across the country, the Los Angeles City Council has formally indicated its support for the movement's demonstrators by introducing a politically-charged resolution that pins blame for California's foreclosure crisis on banks and takes aim at certain political opponents.
"WHEREAS, one of the largest problems causing our economy to continue to flounder is the foreclosure crisis, with some banks continuing the use of flawed, and in some cases fraudulent, procedures to flood the housing market with foreclosures, such as the recent revelations of widespread foreclosure mismanagement by mortgage servicers who fail to properly document the seizure and sale of homes, in some cases foreclosing without the legal authority to do so, prompting the 50- state Attorney General investigation of foreclosure practices [...], one part said.
The council's resolution noted that California has been hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis they see as caused by the banks. According to figures cited in the resolution, one in five foreclsoures is in California. Also cited are the 1.2 million foreclsoures in California since 2008 with a projected 2 million foreclosures by 2012. It notes that more than a third of California homeowners are locked in an underwater mortgage with few banks that offer any type of principal reduction modification- even with Federal, State, and City programs that offer to split the balance of a modification with the bank.
In turn, the resolution maintained that the losses experienced by California taxpayers in foreclosures has also resulted in a loss of revenue from property taxes- an estimated $4 billion. Local, county, and state government revenue loss is estimated by the city council to be $17 billion. Also, as the door has been opened by State Attorney General Kamala Harris for investigations into lending and foreclosure fraud, default notices have climbed by 55% statewide from July- August according to listing firm RealtyTrac.
Despite being the highest paid city councils among 15 cities in a recession- with members in the City of Angels earning an average salary of $178,789 according to a Pew study earlier this year- council members supporting the resolution are seeking to use the Occupy demonstrations to continue riding the wave of populist sentiment to their advantage. In addition to crying foul about California's forecosure numbers, their resolution also hit political foes by denouncing the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission. The 5-4 decision, it said:
"rolled back legal restrictions on corporate spending in the electoral proccess, consequently influencing the selection of candidates, the outcome of elections, and policy decisions--threatening the voices of the people [...]."
The council's resolution condemned the "undue influence and power in our country" that they believe corporations hold. More than once in the resolution, members maintained that they support the "peaceful protest" that has taken place outside of City Hall for more than two weeks. This comes as there have been numerous arrests elsewhere. Originally authored by council members Bill Rosendahl and Richard Alarcon, the resolution is expected to be voted on early next week. It's already been signed by 7 of 15 members.