Saturday, January 17, 2009

‘Stop foreclosures & evictions!’

‘Stop foreclosures & evictions!’

By Steven Ceci

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The Network to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions rallied outside City Hall here on Jan. 12 to call on Mayor Sheila Dixon and the City Council to make Baltimore a “foreclosure-and-eviction-free zone.”

The group is calling on the city government to call a moratorium on foreclosures; to support an effort to have the sheriff’s office extend its holiday moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for the winter months; to call on banks directly to halt foreclosure proceedings; and to demand the Public Service Commission and Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. halt utility shutoffs during the winter months.

Sharon Black, co-coordinator for the network, told the rally, “The recent announcements that unemployment is now at 7.2 percent, which is far too conservative a figure, along with the fact that even more significant job losses will take place in the next few months, make our campaign urgent.

“The economic downturn, which many are now referring to as a depression, calls for innovative solutions that address the problems of foreclosures, evictions, utility shutoffs, joblessness and hunger.”

Andre Powell, an AFSCME delegate to the Baltimore Metropolitan Central Labor Council, said, “We must revive Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s movement for Jobs or Income Now. As a union representative, I would like to express my solidarity with the community and lend our voice to demand a moratorium on foreclosures, evictions, layoffs and budget cuts.”

Other speakers represented Pledge of Resistance and the Center for Non-Violence; the All Peoples Congress; ACORN; the Maryland Coalition to Stop BGE Rate Hike; the Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics; and the Baltimore Economic Crisis Response Network.

The network will be leading a contingent called “Stop Foreclosures and Evictions—Jobs or Income Now” in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. annual parade.

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