A pair of largely ceremonial Oakland City Council resolutions, both lauding Richmond for its efforts in helping owners of underwater mortgages in that city, is heading on a collision course next week. On Tuesday, the Oakland Community and Economic Development Committee approved a watered down resolution authored by Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan designed to avoid making Wall Street jittery about Oakland’s own ambitions to pursue principal reduction and possibly the use of eminent domain to stanch the number of foreclosures.

A similar resolution by Coucilmember Desley Brooks is also scheduled to be heard at the Nov. 19 council meeting. Both resolutions issue support for Richmond, however, while Kaplan’s asks for a legal analysis of Richmond’s program by the city attorney’s office, Brooks’ simply asks for an outside group to compile data measuring the impact of foreclosures in Oakland. According to a staff report last week, over 12,000 Oaklanders lost their homes to foreclosure since 2007. Currently, 1,500 homeowners are in the process of foreclosure.

Kaplan indicated Tuesday the potential for knitting together the two resolutions is not likely. “This is not about authorship,” said Kaplan, who said she was amendable to changing the name of the resolution to a generic title before joking to call it , the “God is always great” resolution.

While Brooks’ pleas for passing her resolution have some speculating whether she intends to take Oakland down the same laudable, but precarious financial road as Richmond, Kaplan’s is viewed as more evenhanded. Kaplan said all references to an approach similar to Richmond being replicated in Oakland were deleted from the resolution. Instead, Kaplan said from the podium normally reserved for public speakers, the resolution focuses on recognizing Richmond in their efforts in principal reduction and “supporting that goal.”

“Between the two, this one is less bad,” said Paul Jung, president of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce of Kaplan’s resolution. He added the committee should be “mindful of unintended consequences when we act out in anger against an economic downturn.” Following national coverage earlier this year of Richmond’s actions to quell foreclosures, a simple bond sale elicited no takers from Wall Street. Critics of the banks, allege Wall Street ostensibly drew an economic red line around the city as a warning.

Councilmember Libby Schaaf said she is confident Kaplan’s resolution accomplishes the goal of registering support for Richmond “in a way that’s not going to set off alarm bells.” Oddly, Councilmember Larry Reid, who chairs the committee, said, “I am not just ready to vote on either ordinance. I just don’t know enough.” A week ago, Reid, along with Councilmember Noel Gallo, were added as co-authors for Brook’s competing foreclosure resolution.

Council President Pat Kernighan said procedurally both resolutions should be heard concurrently by the council next week. She also reiterated a belief Tuesday that is similar to one given last week regarding Brooks’ plan that “There is so much analysis that needs to be done before we take a public stand.”



9 Responses

  1. Aaron Parr

    Why the politicking? Why put forth BS measures?

    Richmond is doing the right thing, and the smart thing. Oakland should be aggressively pursuing the similar actions.

    These properties should not be in the hands of these financial institutions. The next big push by these vultures is for more “creative finance” for investment vehicles connected to these properties in the rental market.

    We can not allow that to happen in Oakland.

    Here’s a recent article on this:

  2. Oakie

    Oh pulleeze.

    Instead of worthless posturing, or worse yet dragging us in to a litigious nightmare by putting city government in the middle of every mortgage transaction on Oakland real estate, why not focus on the responsibility of our political leaders to provide some fiduciary leadership and put our own finances in order?

    Let them do something — something — about our $2 Billion unfunded liability for retirement and medical pension benefits FOR WORK ALREADY PERFORMED (if we fired every single city employee this minute we are still legally obligated for the accrued benefits).

    Ironically, it was Rebecca Kaplan who called this unfunded obligation a “generational theft” since the next generation will have to pay for work performed before they were even born and will not see any benefit.

    It is the current voters in the city who are responsible for electing these no nothing fools who refuse to deal with this obligation, and responsible for this generational theft.

    And look how they waste their time posturing about other people’s fiduciary irresponsibility!

  3. len raphael

    Looks like Rebecca Kaplan learned something from her last legislative move to bring industrial marijuana growing here. That brought the Feds down hard and fast. Now she’s sensibly sticking to the time honored Oakland City Council tradition of passing feel good do nothing aka “ceremonial” legislation.

    The last thing Oakland politicians want to do is make it harder or more expensive to borrow money from Wall Street. When you’re a typical Oakland politician who has done her or his best to kick fiscal cans down the road, you know the time comes when you will either have to cut services, cut salaries, raise taxes, or borrow money to pay the bills. Naturally, you’ll chose borrowing money so you don’t anger residents or employees.

  4. R2D2II

    “When you’re a typical Oakland politician who has done her or his best to kick fiscal cans down the road, you know the time comes when you will either have to cut services, cut salaries, raise taxes, or borrow money to pay the bills.”

    Or resign and go home in the hope that you will be replaced by someone who knows what he or she is doing.

  5. Allen Sanford

    The “eminent domain” case that The City of Richmond is bringing against Wells is right on target. The evidence that should be presented in court has been provided to Ms. Brooks via fax on 11/16/2013. Attorney General Jerry Brown was either negligent, complicit, stupid or a combination of the three as banks and lawyers generated and refinanced mortgages in CA. from 06-09. Hopefully Richmond will be able to enlist other CA. cities in it’s efforts against the banks. Fraud and racketeering has occurred. Because CA. is a non-judicial state homeowners could not present cases of fraud in court. The primary reason for the HOMEOWNERS BILL OF RIGHTS that was hastily pushed through by Governor Brown, without presenting it to voters, is to let the banks off the hook and keep brown from being indicted.

  6. Marcus

    I’m not sure what the issue is? Oakland foreclosures over for most part as foreclosure (REO) deals are relatively rare now. Why is the city trying to do something about it now?

    They are about half a decade too late as the foreclosures peaked in 2009.

    12,000 people who shouldn’t have bought a home to begin with lost their home during the foreclosure while at the same time 12,000 people got to buy a home at a good price by buying their foreclosures.

    One mans foreclosure is another mans affordable home and the losers in the situation were the banks who lent the money to the people and never got paid the funds back.

    The City of Oakland benefitted dramatically as they were collected very high Property Taxes during those years which had to be paid off completely by the foreclosing banks in order to clear the tax lien on the property and City of Oakland collected very high City Transfer Tax ($15 for every $1,000 purchase) during the real estate. Homes and taxes went way higher than they should have ever gotten and as a result the city went on a spending spree with the surplus.

  7. Allen Sanford

    When Jerry Brown left as Mayor of Oakland, one out of every eight homes were in foreclosure. Those who have taken advantage of the foreclosed homes are those with cash or substantial down payments. The primary reason that foreclosures were so high in California is because people couldn’t present cases of fraud in court. The evidence that has been provided to the City of Richmond and to Councilwoman Brooks, will show that fraud and racketeering occurred. As Attorney General from 07-2011 Jerry Brown was either complicit, negligent, stupid or a combination of the three as banks and lawyers conducted business illegally in California from 06-09. Read, http://www.ajsanford-honestyproject.org

  8. Marcus

    Trying to do something about the Foreclosure crisis which is now over is like crying over spilled milk.

    MOVE ON….


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