Friday, February 13, 2009

Michigan Activists Tell Governor to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions Now!

Activists tell Michigan guv: ‘Stop foreclosures & evictions, moratorium now!’

By Kris Hamel
Lansing, Mich.
Published Feb 12, 2009 9:40 PM

Activists fighting to stop home foreclosures and community devastation gathered in the bitter cold outside the state Capitol here on Feb. 3 as Gov. Jennifer Granholm delivered her annual State of the State address. The action was called by the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions.

The protesters were buoyed by Wayne County Sheriff Warren Evans’ announcement on Feb. 2 that his office was immediately suspending sheriff sales of foreclosed homes in Detroit.

Evans had previously written to Granholm asking for a declaration of a state of emergency in the county and a six-month moratorium on foreclosures. The governor’s office summarily dismissed the sheriff’s letter and denied his requests. Many activists saw this as a racist reaction and yet another sign of Granholm’s disconnect with the suffering masses in Michigan.

For over two years organizers have been fighting for a moratorium to halt the widespread foreclosure crisis engulfing every part of the state. Gov. Granholm has rejected demands that she declare a state of economic emergency and impose a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. She falsely claims she has no legal authority to do so and has publicly stated that any solution in Michigan to the housing foreclosure disaster must “satisfy” the banks.

In her speech Granholm stuck to her unbelievable, long-time script of “things are going to get better.” But she announced no plans or initiatives in this direction. Instead, huge budget cuts and layoffs are on the horizon. Michigan is already wracked by 10.6-percent unemployment, hundreds of shuttered factories, widespread poverty and mass foreclosures.

Demonstrators kept up a spirited action in front of the Capitol building as speech-goers entered the event, which was closed to the public. A huge sound system carried their message for blocks: “Stop foreclosures and evictions, moratorium now!” A graphic display of large photos of abandoned, vandalized homes lined the main sidewalk.

When temperatures got too cold for activists to remain outdoors, they marched into the Capitol where they were stopped by security. The protesters managed to take over a room where they held an indoor rally and speak-out. Everyone vowed to continue the fight by whatever means necessary.
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