Sep 042017
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEMONSTRATION TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017, 12 NOON, WAYNE COUNTY TREASURER’S OFFICE, 400 MONROE, DETROIT, MI 48226

DEMAND THAT THE AUCTION OF TAX FORECLOSED HOMES BE SUSPENDED IN LIGHT OF MSHDA AGREEING TO ENTERTAIN PROPOSAL TO USE HARDEST HIT FUNDS TO PAY DELINQUENT TAXES ON 1400 OCCUPIED HOMES.

CONTACT:  313-319-0870, MORATORIUM NOW! COALITION

The demonstration Tuesday, September 5, will demand that Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree suspend the auction of 3100 homes, including 1400 occupied homes, scheduled to begin September 5 and extend into October.  The suspension will give time for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, MSHDA, to seek federal approval to a plan to amend the Step Forward program to allow Hardest Hit Funds to pay delinquent property tax bills of any occupied homes pulled from the auction by the City of Detroit and/or Wayne County treasurer exercising their right of first refusal to claim the homes.

At a meeting between the head of MSHDA and the administrator of the Helping Hardest Hit program and representatives of the Coaliton to Stop Unconstitutional Tax Foreclosures on Wednesday, August 30, 2017, MSHDA agreed to have Coalition members draft an amendment to the Step Forward rules to allow for Hardest Hit Funds to be used for the city of Detroit and./ or Wayne County to pay back property tax bills if they exercise right of first refusal on the 1400 occupied homes facing auction and then eviction starting next week. MSHDA which oversees the Hardest Hit Funds said they would submit this proposal for approval by Treasury.

At the meeting it came out that only 193 Wayne County families, of the thousands who have faced tax foreclosure this year, had received benefits from the Hardest Hit fund.  This is a result of the Step Forward regulations being out of step with the reality of those facing the loss of their homes in Wayne County and especially Detroit.  It also came out that there are currently $130 million in unspent Hardest Hit Funds available to keep families from losing their homes.  In contrast, only $12 million is needed to pay the delinquent bills of the 1400 families scheduled to see the homes they occupy auctioned off over the next month, and then find themselves facing eviction.

Under Michigan law, either Wayne County or the City of Detroit can exercise their right  of first refusal to pull occupied homes out of the auction.  The agreement by MSHDA to pursue using Hardest Hit funds to pay the delinquent taxes on these homes offers a practical way forward to save 1400 more families from being thrown into the street.  This plan would actually bring money into the treasuries of Wayne County and Detroit, who stand to recover pennies on what are owed in delinquent taxes through the auction.

Once the delinquent taxes are paid, the occupants will have the opportunity to pursue poverty tax exemptions to which are entitled and have their home assessments reset to the true market value in conformity with the Michigan constitution.

 September 4, 2017  Posted by at 2:47 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Sep 032017
 

DEMONSTRATION – Tuesday, Sept. 5, Noon

Wayne County Treasurer Office
400 Monroe, Detroit (in Greektown)

The people of Detroit scored a significant concession in the meeting with MSHDA on Wednesday, August 30. They agreed to have the Coaliton to Stop Tax Foreclosures draft an amendment to the Step Forward rules to allow for Hardest Hit Funds to be used for the city of Detroit and./ or Wayne County to pay back property tax bills if they expercise right of first refusal on the 1400 occupied homes facing auction and then eviction starting next week. MSHDA which oversees the Hardest Hit Funds said they would submit this proposal for approval by Treasury. Join the demonstration Tuesday to demand the auction be stopped while we get this practical proposal to save 1400 families from eviction implemented.

COME TO THE IMPORTANT DEMONSTRATION THIS TUESDAY. IF WE KEEP UP THE PRESSURE WE WILL WIN THIS FIGHT!

 September 3, 2017  Posted by at 2:39 am Uncategorized No Responses »
Aug 232017
 

DEMONSTRATION – Tuesday, Sept. 5, Noon

Wayne County Treasurer Office
400 Monroe, Detroit (in Greektown)

SAVE DETROIT HOMES – REMOVE ALL OCCUPIED HOMES FROM THE TAX FORECLOSURE AUCTION THIS FALL

Use the City’s or County’s “Right to First Refusal” in Combination with the Hardest Hit Funds to Save Occupied Homes

Facebook-Event

 August 23, 2017  Posted by at 8:32 am Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 182017
 

Use the City’s or County’s “Right to First Refusal” in Combination with the Hardest Hit Funds to Save Occupied Homes

We demand that:

  1. The City of Detroit or Wayne County exercise its “Right to First Refusal” and remove all occupied homes from the upcoming auction of tax foreclosed properties.
  2. The City or County, in coordination with MSHDA, purchase the occupied homes using the Hardest Hit Funds.
  3. The City or County returns ownership of the occupied homes to the occupants. In the case of occupied rental or investor-owned homes, ownership would be transferred to the occupants.

Currently, the City uses the Hardest Hit Funds in a very inefficient and ineffective manner to fight blight by only tearing down blighted homes in Federally approved areas of the City.  The most effective way to fight blight is to keep homes occupied. This proposal does that. In addition, once the homes are purchased using the HHF, the City budget receives the bulk of funds or has the chargebacks from Wayne County reduced.  The City could then spend the funds on blight removal in any area of the City, not just the Federally approved areas. This is a “win-win” for residents impacted by foreclosures and the City of Detroit.

Hardest Hit Funds Fact Sheet

Leaflet – side 1

Leaflet – side 2 (UCHC outreach)

For a list of candidates supporting or opposing these demands, click here.

Endorsements:

Moratorium NOW! Coalition    Detroit Active and Retired Employees Association (DAREA)
National Action Network- Detroit Chapter    Tricycle Collective    Charlevoix Villages Association
Vanessa Fluker, People’s Anti-foreclosure Attorney    Detroit Eviction Defense
We the People of Detroit    Michigan Peoples Defense Network (MPDN)

Continue reading »

 July 18, 2017  Posted by at 10:42 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 172017
 

Tuesday, Aug. 1 , 10:15 am to 10:45 am

Michigan Court of Appeals
3020 W. Grand Blvd., 14th floor,  Detroit, MI 48202

A press conference and picket will be held prior to the 11am hearing on the ACLU lawsuit challenging the illegal and unconstitutional tax assessments and foreclosures occurring within the City of Detroit. The press conference will feature Detroit residents facing foreclosure or struggling to receive the poverty tax emption, and as well as their neighbors and supporters organizing to stop the foreclosures

Following the press conference, at 10:45am, supporters will pack the court. The ACLU asks that we WEAR RED SHIRTS to visibly, but quietly, show our support of the lawsuit.

From the ACLU:

The August 1st Hearing

• In late 2016, Judge Colombo found that our claim against Wayne County was based on a good legal theory but that he did not have the authority to hear the case. Instead, in his view, the proper court to hear the case was the Michigan Tax Tribunal. We disagree. So we appealed his decision to a higher court, the Michigan Court of Appeals.

• On August 1, 2017, the higher court is going to hear our appeal. We will be asking the court to give Judge Colombo the authority to hear the lawsuit against Wayne County because the lower court is the proper place to hear this type of federal discrimination claim.

• What you will see at the hearing is a panel of three judges who will ask the lawyers on both sides of the case questions about the case.

• If we succeed, the case against Wayne County is alive again and we can continue to pursue relief for Detroit homeowners in the lower court.

• Ultimately, we are hoping to stop the unconstitutional tax foreclosures until Wayne County conducts proper and lawful tax assessments on those properties.

History of Lawsuit

• In June 2016, The ACLU of Michigan, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and lawyers from Covington & Burling LLP filed a lawsuit against the Wayne County Treasurer, Wayne County and the City of Detroit. We sued to challenge the illegal and racially discriminatory tax foreclosures that have hit African-American homeowners the hardest in recent years.

• The lawsuit was brought on behalf of seven Detroit homeowners and a coalition of neighborhood associations from throughout the City including the Historic Russell Woods-Sullivan Area Association, the MorningSide Community Organization, the Oakman Boulevard Community Association and Neighbors Building Brightmoor.

• We sued Wayne County because they foreclosed on thousands of homes despite knowing that their property taxes were illegally high. The foreclosures are a type of illegal housing discrimination that has a larger impact on people of color. As a result, this was a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act because racial discrimination in housing is prohibited by the Act.

• In Michigan, homeowners must pay property taxes based on the fair market value of their homes. Cities are required to determine this value by an annual assessment of property values. Homeowners in Detroit and other predominately African-American Wayne County municipalities, however, have been taxed as if their homes were worth much more than their fair market value.

• Most notably, the City of Detroit did not reduce property assessments to reflect declining home values in 2008. But, the lawsuit also alleges that Detroit had failed to conduct meaningful property assessments even before home prices fell dramatically in 2008.

 July 17, 2017  Posted by at 11:00 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 022017
 

Celebrate with Rev. Pinkney

Saturday, July 8, 2017

2 PM – 6 PM

St. Matthews St. Joseph Episcopal Church
8850 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI

Food and Entertainment – Donation suggested

Rev. Edward Pinkney was freed from prison on June 13, 2017, after an unjust conviction and incarceration. Join supporters at a celebration where we welcome Rev. Pinkney home.

Welcome Home Fund

Supporters are raising money for a Welcome Home Fund for Rev. Edward and Dorothy Pinkney. The goal is to raise $3000 by July 8.  Please mail your donation to Moratorium NOW Coalition, 5920 Second Ave., Detroit, MI 48202.  Make the check or money order out to Moratorium NOW Coalition and write Rev. Pinkney in the memo line.   Or, if you prefer, you may donate online at https://www.youcaring.com/pinkney_welcome_home_fund.

Latest news:

Rev. Pinkney is free!

By David Sole, posted on June 13, 2017
http://www.workers.org/2017/06/13/rev-pinkney-is-free/#.WU3DDFGQzDc

Exactly two years and six months after being locked up, Michigan’s political prisoner, the Rev. Edward Pinkney, walked out from behind the bars. His spouse, Dorothy Pinkney, waited for him at the Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Mich., on the morning of June 13, ready to drive him to their home in the small town of Benton Harbor in southwest Michigan.

Two nights before his release, Workers World asked Pinkney whether he was “packed and ready to go.” He replied, “I’ve been packed and ready for two-and-a-half years.” Those familiar with the case cannot believe that this 68-year-old African-American community leader could have been charged, tried and convicted on no evidence.

Pinkney faced a white judge, a white prosecutor and an all-white jury on frame-up charges of having altered some dates on a recall petition against Benton Harbor’s then-mayor, James Hightower. There were no confession, no forensic evidence and no witnesses against him.

All activists are threatened by his conviction, which was upheld last year by the Michigan Court of Appeals. That court ruled that Rev. Pinkney had the greatest animosity to the mayor and therefore could be assumed to have committed the crime. The case is now headed for the Michigan Supreme Court. Even if that court were to exonerate Rev. Pinkney, they cannot give him back the hard 30 months he has already served.

Detroit area supporters are holding a “Welcome Home Rev. Pinkney” dinner on Saturday, July 8, at which Rev. Pinkney will speak. It will be at the St. Matthew – St. Joseph Church, 8850 Woodward Ave., Detroit, and will run from 2 to 5 p.m.

 July 2, 2017  Posted by at 11:08 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Jun 252017
 

Demonstration: End Property Tax Foreclosures, Evictions and Water Shutoffs

Wednesday, June 28

9:30 AM – Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) monthly meeting, Cadillac Place, 3026 W. Grand Blvd, Detroit

12 Noon – Wayne County Treasurer’s Office, 400 Monroe, Greektown, Detroit

  • STOP TAX FORECLOSURES of OCCUPIED HOMES
  • DEMAND MSHDA USE FEDERAL HARDEST HIT FUNDS TO KEEP FAMILIES IN THEIR HOMES, NOT TEAR THEM DOWN
  • STOP WATER SHUT-OFFS
  • TAKE BACK OUR CITY

On June 28 thousands of occupied homes are scheduled to go into tax foreclosure and be taken and turned over to the Land Bank this August or auctioned off this September. The Wayne County Treasurer, under pressure from community protests, was forced to extend the tax foreclosure deadline from March 31 until June 28.

Come out to demand a One Year Moratorium (Halt) on all Tax Foreclosures of Occupied Homes and Evictions from Occupied Tax Foreclosed properties.  While the moratorium is in is effect, property taxes can be reassessed to reflect real home values as mandated under the state constitution; seniors and the poor can be placed into hardship exemptions to which they are entitled; and the $240 million in federal Hardest Hit funds can be accessed to pay off delinquent bills and save homes, not tear them down.

We will also be demanding an end to the massive water shutoffs which are destroying the health and welfare of our community.

Facebook-Event

For more information: moratorium@moratorium-mi. org – 313-680-5508
moratorium-mi.org – facebook – @MoratoriumNowCoalition

 June 25, 2017  Posted by at 7:47 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Jun 032017
 

 

Jorge Parra, Colombian ex-GM worker who was scheduled for several Detroit appearances June 5-9, has been denied entry to the US by the US government. His ten-year visa was abruptly “cancelled” a few days before his departure for a multi-city speaking tour.

Regardless, we are holding our scheduled events to welcome Portland, Oregon ASOTRECOL solidarity activist Paige Shell-Spurling in his place. Paige will share updates about ASOTRECOL and the broader struggle by injured Colombian workers.

Monday June 5 –7-9 pm > MORATORIUM NOW! COALITION
5920 Second Ave. (near Antoinette), Detroit 48202
Accessible ramp at side entrance (please call 313-680-5508, 248-470-0296 for assistance)

Tuesday June 6 — 3 -6 pm > Autoworkers Caravan & IWW, Detroit Chapter
Anchor Bar, 450 W Fort St, Detroit 48226

Thursday June 9 — 5:30-7 pm > Detroit Area Peace & Justice & MCHR
SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES Peace Center and Gallery
33 East Adams, Detroit 48226 – parking in rear—Light refreshments

Paige will join with Detroit supporters to discuss where does the solidarity movement go from here? Come on by!

More info:

Jorge Parra, association leader of fired injured GM workers (ASOTRECOL) is traveling from Bogota, Colombia for a 6-city US tour, and will be in Detroit Mon. June 5th through Fri. June 9th . His arrival here will coincide with the GM shareholders meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 6th at GM headquarters. Detroit activists are starting to put together an itinerary so that he can meet with his supporters and present updates about the struggle by injured workers in Colombia.

The tent encampment at the US Embassy has now extended over 2,100 days. ASOTRECOL’s persistent struggle for justice has significantly impacted the fight by injured workers at the GM plant, and in other industries throughout Colombia. Colombian courts recently forced GM to recall 24 injured workers who were illegally fired. Proposed legislation to make such firings legal has been stalled in the Colombian congress due to public outcry. Injured workers’ associations are emerged and growing. International solidarity efforts have remained steadfast.

Jorge and his co-workers are a profound example of the protracted struggle justice requires. We hope to give him a Detroiters welcome!

Please join us!!

Long live International Solidarity

 June 3, 2017  Posted by at 11:04 am Uncategorized No Responses »
May 292017
 

FIRED AND INJURED COLOMBIAN EX-GM WORKER JORGE PARRA IS RETURNING TO DETROIT!
JUNE 5-9, 2017

7-9 pm Monday June 5th
MORATORIUM NOW! Weekly Meeting
Special presentation by Jorge Parra
5920 Second Ave. (near Antoinette), Detroit
Accessible ramp at side entrance
phone: 313-680-5508, 248-470-0296
email:moratorium@moratorium- mi.org

Additional engagements

9 am Tuesday June 6th
GM SHAREHOLDERS Meeting
GM World Headquarters
Ren-Cen, downtown Detroit

3-5 pm Tuesday June 6th
AUTOWORKER CARAVAN Solidarity Reception
Anchor Bar
450 W Fort St, Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 964-9127

Other events are being scheduled. Please contact Frank Hammer to schedule yours: fkhammer@ameritech.net, 313-680-3202
Jorge Parra, association leader of fired injured GM workers (ASOTRECOL) is traveling from Bogota, Colombia for a 6-city US tour, and will be in Detroit Mon. June 5th through Fri. June 9th . His arrival here will coincide with the GM shareholders meeting scheduled for Tuesday, June 6th at GM headquarters. Detroit activists are starting to put together an itinerary so that he can meet with his supporters and present updates about the struggle by injured workers in Colombia.

The tent encampment at the US Embassy has now extended over 2,100 days. ASOTRECOL’s persistent struggle for justice has significantly impacted the fight by injured workers at the GM plant, and in other industries throughout Colombia. Colombian courts recently forced GM to recall 24 injured workers who were illegally fired. Proposed legislation to make such firings legal has been stalled in the Colombian congress due to public outcry. Injured workers’ associations are emerged and growing. International solidarity efforts have remained steadfast.

Jorge and his co-workers are a profound example of the protracted struggle justice requires. We hope to give him a Detroiters welcome!

Please join us!!

Long live International Solidarity

 May 29, 2017  Posted by at 11:16 pm Uncategorized No Responses »
Apr 142017
 

RALLY and MARCH

Monday – May 1, 2017 – 5 P.M.

Grand Circus Park – Detroit
(corner Woodward Ave. & W. Adams St.)

  • Stop the raids! Stop the deportations! Hands off Immigrants!
  • Stop the U.S. war against Syria.
  • Hands off People’s Korea.
  • Stop police terror.
  • Water is a right, from Standing Rock to Flint and Detroit! No pipelines – No shutoffs.
  • $15 and a union! Jobs, health care, housing and education are human rights.
  • Defend Planned Parenthood! Reproductive rights now. No to Trump’s rape culture.
  • No anti-trans bathroom bills or presidential decrees! Stop attacks on the LGBTQ community.
  • Stop foreclosures, evictions and utility shutoffs.
  • Money for jobs, education, housing – not war.

The recent roundups of migrants under the Trump directive have shocked the world, drawing parallels to internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. But like the racist, anti-Muslim travel bans these attacks are meeting resistance. Large numbers stayed off work during “a Day Without Immigrants” and huge numbers of migrants are expected to skip work and school on May Day.

The scapegoating of migrants, as well as attacks on Muslims, people of color, women and the LGBTQ community, are all designed to fracture the working class and destroy any possibility of unity. Unity is desperately needed to fight mass layoffs, poverty wages, cutbacks in social programs and a myriad of economic attacks by the capitalist class.

More than a dozen calls have been issued for a general strike in the U.S. on May 1, International Workers Day. These have come from a wide range of organizations of migrant workers, women, prisoners, socialist revolutionaries and others. IT’S TIME TO TALK ABOUT A GLOBAL GENERAL STRIKE – NO WORK, NO SCHOOL, NO SHOPPING, NO RETALIATION!

Initiated by: Moratorium Now Coalition; Michigan People’s Defense Network; Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice; Detroit Active & Retired Employees Association; Workers World Party

 April 14, 2017  Posted by at 11:45 pm Uncategorized No Responses »