Good Jobs LA Wins Fight To Make Big Banks “Clean Up Or Pay Up”
June 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
The LA City Council approved key amendments designed to improve enforcement of the city’s blight ordinance yesterday– a victory for the LA’s working families and the 99%.
After a devastating foreclosure crisis caused by greed and recklessness on Wall Street, thousands of bank-owned, foreclosed homes litter LA neighborhoods. These homes—often left unsafe and in disrepair — attract crime, drive down local property values and are a blight on LA’s communities.
Two years ago, city leaders passed a blight ordinance allowing LA to collect $1,000 a day from banks that do not maintain their foreclosed homes. But to date, the city has failed to collect a single dime from banks violating the law—a lost opportunity to hold irresponsible banks accountable and collect money to rebuild our neighborhoods.
“It’s not fair that I pay my taxes but the banks use loopholes to avoid paying their fair share,” Good Jobs LA activist Magdalena Sierra testified to the City Council. “These banks owe LA millions of dollars for not maintaining the properties they’ve foreclosed on and leaving our communities with the mess. It’s time for the banks to clean up or pay up!”
On a 14-0 vote, the LA City Council approved every Good Jobs LA recommendation for tougher blight enforcement, including:
- Increasing foreclosure registration fees to cover the cost of enforcement;
- Assigning dedicated code enforcement staff to conduct proactive inspections of foreclosed and foreclosing properties;
- Requiring banks to report monthly on the status of their foreclosed properties;
- Requiring the city to develop a system for obtaining timely reports on bank Notices of Default.
Council members also expressed strong support for a Good Jobs LA proposal to jumpstart enforcement and put local youth to work by creating a summer “blight brigade” program to inspect bank-owned properties. Councilmember Richard Alarcon (7th district) has already identified funds to pilot the program in his Northeast Valley district.
The vote came one day after south LA residents, determined to hold big banks accountable for cleaning up local communities, delivered trash from a vacant foreclosed home to BNY Mellon, one of LA’s largest holders of foreclosed properties. The protest was organized by Good Jobs LA, SEIU Local 721 and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
For news coverage visit the Media & Reports section.