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Petaluma council backs Occupy’s push to delay foreclosures


The Petaluma City Council voted Monday to ask mortgage lenders and regulators to halt foreclosures during the holidays, a symbolic gesture that granted a real victory to protesters who proposed the idea.

The council also voted to ask Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas to refrain from assisting evictions from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, getting applause from the members of Occupy Petaluma who rallied support for the foreclosure moratorium.

“They gave us what we wanted and then some,” said Amy Hanks, a health care provider who spoke on behalf of the Occupy protesters. “We are very pleased.”

Council members acknowledged they have scant ability to regulate foreclosures, especially for loans that have been repackaged and sold to investors who couldn’t find Petaluma on the map. But they said it was important to send a message.

“I hope we can prompt some second thinking on the parts of some of these financial institutions,” Vice Mayor Mike Healy said.

Foreclosures in Petaluma have become a growing worry for Catholic Charities, the county’s federally certified housing counselor, which recently upped the number of foreclosure workshops from one a month in Santa Rosa to two a month in both Santa Rosa and Petaluma.

Hanks told the council 1,000 Petaluma homes are currently in foreclosure or are facing foreclosure, a fraction of the millions of homes nationwide in the same situation.

“Surely this cannot be considered a normal situation,” Hanks said. “We just can’t sit idly by while so many lives are disrupted and destroyed by impersonal financial mechanisms, especially when it isn’t even good for our economy.”

The moratorium vote underscored a difference between Occupy Petaluma and many other versions of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which have tense relations with cities, like Santa Rosa, Oakland and San Francisco. So far, Occupy Petaluma has kept its overnight camping to a small presence at Penry Park, in agreement with its permit, while protesters and council members continue to be in each other’s good graces.

“I thank the members of Occupy Petaluma for bringing this to council,” Councilwoman Tiffany Renee said before Monday’s vote, adding that as a result of their efforts Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, was urging others in Congress to write regulators encouraging the moratorium.

“This certainly has all the flavors of becoming a national movement, and it’s because of you,” Renee said.

11 Responses to “Petaluma council backs Occupy’s push to delay foreclosures”

  1. BigDogatPlay says:

    Once again, in the words of the president, the Petaluma council has “acted stupidly”. And it forces one to again examine what the benefit of living in their progressive utopia really is.

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  2. The Oracle says:

    I’m with Petaluma Dave. Only an anarchist and radical would call for a moratorium on foreclosures. Maybe some of the city’s good moderates should propose a new vote to increase the city’s foreclosures.

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  3. Greg Karraker says:

    At the next Petaluma City Council meeting, I believe Ms. Renee plans to ask local birds to declare a moratorium on eating worms because she finds the practice “disruptive and icky.”

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  4. Petaluma Dave says:

    The leftist Petaluma City Council always finds it easier to side with the social anarchists and radicals than to do their job of developing and encouraging the business climate in Petaluma.

    This council has never met a rusty gun boat they liked or worried about an attack from North Korea because it was parked on the river.

    The mayor has put his body on the line by stopping a property owner from mowing his grass.

    And now, as demanded by Occupy Petaluma, they vote to ask banks to halt forclosures during the holidays. This took real courage and shows how they are willing to put themselves on the line again and again for a worthy social cause. Many would call this a clear case of hypocrisy.

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  5. Jim says:

    This just proves the disconnect between the real world and the idiots voted in by the SHEEPLE.

    Think about it. A bank is forced by the federal government to loan money to someone who could never pay it back (under the Community Reinvestment Act) to purchase a house. The borrower, shockingly, doesn’t pay it back. The house, you know the one that was collateral for the loan that the borrower defaulted on, should be sold to pay part of the loan. This is stated in the government forced language in the loan agreement!

    So the Petaluma counsel is asking the Sheriff to NOT do his job? This is exactly the same approach the Petaluma Police Department takes with illegal aliens. The upper brass in the PD reprimands officers who tow the cars of illegals. What kind of city is Petaluma trying to be? A lawless, chaotic one the enforces only laws it agrees with??

    Maybe the Counsel will vote to not have cars repossessed. Maybe they’ll vote to not enforce ANY LAWS. I think the speed limit on Washington Street is very cumbersome. I’d get through town much easier, without government intervention, if I didn’t have to stop at the lights either.

    And Ms. Renee…I recommend you just stop talking. First the ridiculous comments about the WWII boat. Now you are thanking the protesters for bringing foreclosures to the attention of the counsel? She is so out of touch with the real world that anyone who voted for her should be ashamed. Absolutely unbelievable.

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  6. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    RE: Ricardo Sorentino – “Ever wonder what they do with the $45k (or more) that is no longer going to a mortgage payment and property taxes?”

    I should have been more clear regarding the basis of this remark. Most people assume that the main or only reason people lose their homes to defaulting on their mortgages is that people have lost their jobs. Since they have no income, they can’t pay their mortgage and aren’t banking anything, their just taking advantage of the foreclosure process and getting a free ride for a year to two years.

    In fact, there are many, many mortgages that have gone into default due to the fact that the homes were purchased (or refinanced to take the equity out of the home)at or near the high-end of the real estate market. They now owe tens or hundred’s of thousands of dollars over market value, so they make a conscience decision to stop paying and then benefitting from the long, drawn out foreclosure process. I know of at least two instances where the homeowners admitted taking hundreds of thousands out of their Sonoma County home and paid cash for a new home out of state, and then waited almost two years to be ‘thrown out’.

    It’s easy for the city council to show ‘compassion’; it’s on someone else’s dime.

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  7. Hypocritical says:

    Wonder how many out of work people might still have jobs (and homes) if the Petaluma City Council allowed new businesses into Petaluma?

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  8. Social Dis-Ease says:

    Again, ICLEI membership and compassion for constituents is an oxymoron.

    Yes, a wee bit hypocritical.

    I hate being played.

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  9. Ricardo Sorentino says:

    The Petaluma City council is forgetting one thing: on average, the foreclosure process takes about 18 months for the homeowner to actually be removed from the home. Now the city council apparently wants to increase those non-paying homeowners in Petaluma to get 20-22 months of ‘free housing’ since those people stopped paying anything to the bank as much as a year and a half ago.

    Ever wonder what they do with the $45k (or more) that is no longer going to a mortgage payment and property taxes?

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  10. J.R. Wirth says:

    The Petaluma City Council has a bizarre definition of compassion, if keeping people in homes they can’t afford can be considered compassion.

    The best Christmas present for these foreclosed people would be free cardboard boxes and tape to pack their belongings. That way they can move to a place they can afford and not live every day with some awful mortgage hanging like a dagger over their heads.

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  11. 2182 says:

    Recently the City Council (lead by Mayor Glass) wanted to move Public Comment at the City Council meetings to the end of the meetings citing that too much time was taken on subjects not in the purview of the City Council. Last night the City Council decided it was OK to back the Occupy people to ask mortgage lenders and regulators to halt foreclosures during the holidays. It was reported that Council members acknowledged they have scant ability to regulate foreclosures, especially for loans that have been repackaged and sold to investors who couldn’t find Petaluma on the map. But they said it was important to send a message. Isn’t it just a wee bit hypocritical of the City Council to be able to “send their message” yet want to eliminate or restrict folks like Zen Destiny and others to send theirs? I guess its all just a question of what the subject matter is rather than if its in the purview of the City Council after all.

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