October 2, 2008
In Washington, Congress and the Bush administration are scrambling to stop the downward spiral of our financial markets. The plans in discussion would require a large investment of taxpayer money to buy the assets of failing financial institutions and save them from collapse.
Here in Boston, community, labor and political leaders are demanding that in addition to solving the current economic crisis, we must also focus on saving our communities from the impending collapse.
ACE partner Community Labor United (CLU) and other organizations in the Secure Jobs, Secure Communities Campaign held a press conference Tuesday announcing a Boston City Council hearing on corporate responsibility during the financial crisis. Speakers collectively called on businesses who are holding strong through the current economic meltdown to fill the gap in the bailout proposal – the gap between Wall Street and Main Street. Read more...
September 30, 2008
Over the weekend, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman authored an opinion piece on why the federal government’s response to the financial crisis needs to be green. While the bursting economic bubbles of the past have been painful, the United States has at least been left with improved infrastructure. For example, the country has benefited from the railroads left behind after the railroad bust and the information superhighway left behind after the dot-com bust.
The banks and subprime lenders that profited from the subprime boom and are now suffering the bust have left no positive legacy for the nation. Their policies were based on deceptive financial practices rather than investment in infrastructure or innovation. Instead of railroads or the Internet, we are left with evictions.
Solutions to today's economic crisis should not be centered on giving more money to the corporations that have been working against our communities through predatory lending and evictions. Solutions should help our communities grow into more sustainable, healthy, and vibrant places to live. Investing in the green economy will do just that. Read more...
September 29, 2008
Take a look at this cheery video from Street Films about Park(ing) Day NYC. Started three years ago, Park(ing) Day is now an international event that "reclaims over 200 parking spots in 50 cities around the world and transforms them into engaging public spaces for one day a year."
Look for a coalition of EJ groups in the South Bronx at 2:48 who are working on issues of air pollution, water quality and green space. Read more…
September 26, 2008
Yesterday, with the largest bank collapse and seizure in the history of the U.S. and a breakdown in talks on the federal government's $700 billion bailout plan, the national financial crisis hit home for the Esquivel family of Roslindale. The culmination of their two year struggle with predatory, sub-prime lending ended in a forceful, post-foreclosure, no-fault eviction.
Deutsche Bank, a German-owned mega-bank that engaged in predatory sub-prime mortgage lending, used cold shoulder tactics in an attempt to avoid declaring a loss on the property. Read more...
September 19, 2008
Host Meghna Chakrabarti interviews riders along the route, talks to the MBTA Director of Operations and Service Development and compares an MBTA bus to a loud, crowded and smelly box.
Said Lee, "I think the experience that an every day rider has on the bus hasn't changed. There are more people on the bus, but the overall quality of transit, the crowding, the drivers, these things have continued." Read more...
September 16, 2008
Today is Primary Day in Massachusetts. If you haven't gone to vote, it's not too late - polls close at 8 p.m. If you'd like to register to vote, come by ACE's office to pick up a voter registration form. You may also register online. To be able to vote in the November election, you must register to vote by Wednesday, October 15. Also, see your sample ballot and find your polling location by entering your address here. For more information about voting, see MassVOTE and Boston.com. Have a good Primary Day!
September 15, 2008
Two weeks ago, Paula Taylor was evicted from her foreclosed home in Roxbury by Bank of America. This happened despite her offer to pay rent until a new owner was found.
In July, Bank of America was unable to evict her, thanks to the help of rallying community members.
Since then, Paula, along with residents and political leaders, have been urging Bank of America to open dialogue on the matter, including during a rally held recently at the Dudley Square branch. Instead, the bank manager referred supporters to a public relations office and sent the police, a constable and a moving team to forcefully remove her.
A heavy police detail of roughly 15 to 20 officers arrived, including a special unit to cut through blockade chains at entrances to the house. Four people were then cuffed and arrested. Police then followed the crowd to the Bank of America Grove Hall branch where supporters passed out information about the bank's role in the foreclosure crisis. Read more...
Yesterday evening the Globe reported that General Manager Dan Grabauskas, under pressure from the Patrick administration, agreed to rescind the nine percent executive level pay raises he approved last week. Instead, employees making less than $70,000 will receive a three percent increase.
August 19, 2008
On August 12, Secretary of Transportation Bernard Cohen announced that the state's transportation agencies have agreed to pool their resources in an effort to help the MBTA and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. Like the T, the Pike is facing a severe budget deficit. While the T is planning a large fare increase in 2010, the Pike is currently deciding whether to raise tolls in January. It's unclear what Secretary Cohen's effort will yield at this point. The Globe reports that Cohen is considering suggestions from agency officials and will make those ideas public.
August 15, 2008
Congratulations to Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project (REEP) Youth Organizers Andreya Jones and Ronneshia Bolden for their recent high school graduations!
Andreya joined REEP last summer and attended University High School. During her time with ACE, Andreya played a vital role in the anti-idling campaign and advocated for the new diesel bill. Read more...
August 12, 2008
Every Thursday afternoon the ACE office fills with the sounds of enthusiastic young people. They're participating in the weekly Teen Cafés, hosted by Roxbury Environmental Empowerment Project.
The Cafés, which draw an average of 25 teens, offer a space for youth to talk openly about issues that concern them. The agendas are driven by the interests of the youth present. Davel, a fifteen year old summer organizer with REEP, says the café discussions impact the young people who participate. "They're intense, complex and wild," he says, "The youth can talk about all the issues teens have to deal with, like pregnancy, violence and stereotypes. We talked about the N-word once and it was really deep." Read more...