The foreclosure bill adopted by the Massachusetts House as H4096, lacking Mandatory Mediation and Preventing Unnecessary Vacancies (allowing former homeowners to continue as rental tenants) was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. Senate version may be voted next week, so immediate calls to state senators are urgent.The basic message is:• We need Mandatory Mediation and Preventing Unnecessary Vacancies (allowing former homeowners to rent while the bank owns the property) as a bill or an amendment!• We need the Attorney General's standard for all loans AND as part of Mandatory Mediation so that homeowners can start using it before foreclosure to help get a sustainable loan modification.• We need some fixes to the version of the Attorney General's bill they have so it is not more burdensome for homeowners than the present laws! Continue reading
The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Financial Services has approved text for an omnibus bill on foreclosures (H1219) which lacks critical provisions recommended by lawyers who deal with victims of predatory lending. Mandatory mediation (S673/H1355) and preventing unnecessary vacancies (S767/H493), do not appear in the new text:http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/23452531/2018939992/name/H%2E1219_35B_Redraft%20%28clean%29%2Edoc Continue reading
A rainy day did not dampen the spirits of a dozen or so Green-Rainbow Party members attending the Boston May Day events, including: Danny Factor, Isabel Espinal, Joanna Herlihy, Nadia Franciscono, Shirley Kressel, and Wes Nickerson. Some of them gathered at 8 am outside of Bank of America, leafleted passers by and marched through the financial district of Boston carrying the GRP banner. About 200 people rallied at noon at Boston City Hall for a May Day program with several speakers, including Isabel Espinal. A statement by Chuck Turner was read also, followed by a chant of "Free Chuck Turner!" At all three rallies during the day, GRP members stood and displayed the banner on or beside the stage for everyone to see. The Green-Rainbow Party joined with Occupy, labor, immigrant, and social justice organizations. The GRP was the only political party to participate. In the afternoon Danny Factor and Wes Nickerson marched with several hundred people in the Immigrant March, which began with a rally in East Boston and marched through Chelsea to an even bigger rally in Everett. In the following video there are three different marches. The Immigrant March is the second one. The Green-Rainbow banner becomes visible starting at about 3:45 minutes into the video. All in all, it was a great way to celebrate International Workers Day. More pictures are posted on our Facebook page.
Kudos to Green-Rainbow Party member and troubadour Tom Neilson, who provided music and support for nurses, patient care, and community care workers at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield seeking a fair contract. Baystate claims it can't afford to meet the nurses demands for safe staffing levels and work conditions, insisting instead on forced overtime. According to Leo Maley of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, "Baystate must think that bullying workers is OK behavior. Baystate employs about 10,000, takes in about $1.5 billion, and paid CEO Mark Tolosky $1.9 million in 2010, the second highest paid health-care CEO in New England. Not bad for a 'non-profit' that is the largest private employer in Western Massachusetts!" Continue reading
Your help is needed to end predatory lending, unnecessary housing foreclosures, and avoid evictions of families from their homes in Massachusetts. Four bills on issues ranging from preventing unnecessary vacancies to mandatory foreclosure mediation are currently moving through hearings during this 2011-2012 legislative session. Please pledge your support today! To find out more, please visit the MAAPL Action Alerts page and urge your legislators to support these bills. Continue reading
I wondered when it would happen. But I knew it had to happen. Finally, the people are rising up. Finally, they see that they cannot look to either the Democrats or the Republicans to care about them. There will be no justice, no peace, no fairly shared prosperity, until politicians can be held accountable. And without a choice at the ballot box, politicians can make promises first, excuses later, and abandon us with impunity. They know we have nowhere else to turn. It is time for a third party. High time. But fearful of being "spoilers," people cling to their unsatisfactory mainstream Republicrat options election after election, and the cycle produces worse results each time. We need Instant Runoff (ranked-choice) Voting, so that other parties can become viable alternatives and thus create true political accountability. With IRV, you can vote for the candidate and the platform you really want, and designate your second choice, so that if your real favorite trails, your vote is transferred to the mainstream candidate you merely dislike, rather than leaving the advantage to the candidate you detest. Continue reading
An interview with Svandis Svavarsdottir, Minister of the Environment for Iceland from the Left-Green Party by Scott Laugenour Svandis Svavarsdottir has served the coalition government of Iceland for almost two years. Her Left-Green Party is part of the ruling coalition that was voted into power following the failures of Iceland's major banks and consequent public anger at the corruption and poor governance at the root of those failures. Prior to taking this position, Svandis served for three years in the Reykjavik City Council during a period of much debate on energy policy for the municipally-owned Reykjavik Electric Company. She was one of only two Left-Green party members on the 15-member council. The Left-Green Party holds five of 10 national government ministries and 15 of 63 Members of Parliament. In addition to the Ministry of the Environment it has the Ministries of Finance, Education Science & Culture, Internal Affairs (aka Justice & Human Affairs), and Agriculture & Fisheries. The Prime Minister is from the Social Democratic Party, which holds the remaining ministries. I met with the minister in her office in Reykjavik for approximately 50 minutes on the afternoon of March 3, 2011. She was a few minutes late because she had been called to parliament to cast a vote. She had walked the several city blocks from the parliament building to the ministry office and greeted me and her reception staff warmly upon arriving through the public entrance. It crossed my mind that she could have easily bumped into friends on her walk from parliament, or could have run into a supermarket to pick up the makings for that evening's dinner. Before we began the formal interview I let the minister know that many greens in the US and in Massachusetts are inspired by the rise of the Icelandic Left-Green Party. Svandis' party is one of other examples around the world including Caroline Lucas' Green Party seat in the UK Parliament, Adam Bandt in Australia, Eva Joly's upcoming Green Party presidential campaign in France, and Antanas Mockus' presidential campaign advancing to the final round last year in Colombia. Iceland's Left-Green Party offers a model for greens around the world to look to for strategy and ideas. Continue reading