How President Obama can fix the Housing Crisis and Create Jobs

 

A new report released today by Iowa CCI and the New Bottom Line coalition delivers a win/win way for President Obama administration to fix the housing crisis and create jobs. For Iowa this solution would pump $140 million into our Iowa economy and create 2,000 Iowa jobs.

 

>>Read the report here: “Iowa Underwater: How President Obama Can Fix the Housing Crisis and Create Jobs.”

From the report:

More than 43,000 Iowans have lost their jobs since the start of 2008, and 37,612 are expected to lose their home sby the end of 2012….

 

But the Obama Administration and the banks can do something right now to change all that. Requiring banks to write down all underwater mortgages to market value could:

  • Pump $139,123,396 into Iowa’s economy every year;
  • Create more than 2,056 jobs in Iowa;
  • Save Iowa families an average of $373 per month on mortgage payments;
  • Decisively fix the foreclosure crisis.

…underwater mortgage debt is on of the primary drags on economic recovery.

 

The report, calls on the President to:

  • Allow the state Attorneys General to conduct a full investigation into the fraudulent and illegal activities of the Wall Street banks that caused the foreclosure;
  • Ensure that the big banks are not let off the hook for their crimes. There cannot be a broad release of claims in any current or future settlement talks with the big banks;
  • Require a minimum of $200 – $300 billion from the big banks in principal reduction for underwater homeowners.

“In Des Moines alone, 24 percent all mortgages are underwater,” said CCI member Mike McCarthy of Des Moines, “if President Obama required the banks to fix what they broke and write down the principal on all underwater mortgages to current market value, he could inject a direct cash stimulus into State’s economy of $139,123,396   – at no cost to the taxpayers.

“The banks can afford to write down principal for underwater homeowners and pay restitution to defrauded homeowners,” McCarthy said, “U.S. banks raked in $35 billion in profits this summer alone and are sitting on a historically high level of cash reserves of $1.64 trillion.”

>>Read the new report Iowa Underwater here.

 

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You and I both know factory farms pollute our air and water and ruin our quality of life.

But does the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)know that?

Tell the EPA today to collect information on factory farms.

Thanks to a recent lawsuit settlement with national environmental groups, the EPA has agreed to start collecting more information about factory farms – such as where they are located, how many animals they have, and where they spread their manure.

Unlike other industries enforced under the 36 year old Clean Water Act, the factory farm industry does not have to regularly report this information – and corporate ag interests would like to keep it that way.

Help us make sure the EPA collects as much detailed information as possible! Click here to contact EPA today and tell them the real story about the impact of factory farm pollution.

EPA is taking public comments on how they collect this information until December 20. This is an important step forward in getting the EPA to crack down on factory farms and clean up our waterways.

Please click LIKE below to share this action alert with your friends!

 

We received great press coverage of our direct action to reclaim $5,500 in unpaid wages owed by the owner of Margarita’s Bar & Grill in Des Moines.

Media coverage helps makes more people aware that wage theft happens in our communities and sends a strong those employers that they will be called out and held accountable.

See the coverage from WHO TV 13, ABC News 5 and the Des Moines Register below.

 

 

 

WHO TV 13 news – Restaurant Pay Protest (video)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABC 5 TV news – Protest over $5,550 in Unpaid Wages

by Jessica Daley     A former employee of Margaritas Sports Bar and Grill claims the owner owes her thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Friday night she brought support to try and get him to pay up.

Thirty-five people chanted inside Margaritas waiting for the owner Ivan Escalona to show up.

The group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is supporting Angelica Sandoval, a former employee who says she’s owed $5500 in unpaid wages. The CCI said this is the fourth complaint they’ve received against Margaritas for employees not being paid for their work.  READ MORE

 

Des Moines Register – Demonstrators claim bar owner not paying up

A former worker alleges she is a victim of wage theft.

Written by Grant Rodgers   Demonstrators visited a southeast Des Moines bar and grill on Friday night, asking to meet with the owner and receive unpaid wages owed to a former employee.

The group of workers and volunteers with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, as well as demonstrators from Occupy Des Moines, claim that Ivan Escalona, owner of Margarita’s Bar and Grill, 1440 Maury St., owes Angelica Sandoval, a former bartender, $5,545 in wages. READ MORE

 

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“It’s not only unacceptable, it’s illegal.”

 

On Friday, December 2, two dozen Iowa CCI members and supporters from Occupy Des Moines paid a visit to Margarita’s on Des Moines’ Southeast side. We were there to collect $5,545 in unpaid wages owner Ivan Escalona owes former bartender and CCI member Angelica Sandoval – the equivalent of seven month’s pay.

Sometimes Angelica’s paychecks would bounce. Other times Escalona would only pay for some hours and make up excuses to put off paying her the rest. She came to Iowa CCI after she heard that by working with CCI a former co-worker got Escalona to pay her over $2,500 in stolen wages.

This is the fourth complaint we have received about Margarita’s not paying their employees for their hard work.

Members and staff have spoken with Margarita’s owner on the phone and tried to set up multiple meetings for him to make the situation right. After tonight’s action Sandoval will file a wage claim with Iowa Workforce Development.

“I’m very happy because we made our point here. Now everybody will know what kind of business he is running,” said Sandoval. The action was picked up by Des Moines TV Channels 5 and 13 and the Des Moines Register.

Iowa CCI organizing has helped54 workers win back $122,014.90 in stolen wages in the past year and a half.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 14, 2011

Contact: Natalie Snyders, Environmental Justice Organizer
515.282.0484, Natalie@iowacci.org

DNR must answer EPA deadline tomorrow

 

Federal EPA has ordered Iowa DNR to provide written response to Clean Water Act investigation by tomorrow

 

Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) members are calling on the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to publicly release the agency’s written response to an audit recently performed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to an October 28 letter from EPA to DNR, the deadline for DNR’s written response is tomorrow, November 15.

Earlier this month, top EPA officials made on-site visits to DNR field offices across the state and conducted a thorough and intensive investigation and review of DNR files, documents, and records, a result of a Notice of Intent to Sue filed against the EPA in August by Iowa CCI members, the Environmental Integrity Project, and the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club for the DNR’s failure to administer Clean Water Act permitting and enforcement programs for factory farm polluters.

In June, the DNR’s Environmental Protection Commission voted to scrap tough new rules designed to bring Iowa’s factory farm enforcement program into compliance with the Clean Water Act after nearly 40 years of noncompliance.

Iowa CCI members will attend tomorrow’s Environmental Protection Commission meeting at 10am at the DNR Air Quality Control Building, 7900 Hickman Road, to demand copies of DNR’s written response.

There have been more than 750 manure spills since 1995, including more than two dozen since Governor Terry Branstad was elected to office last November, and more than nine in the last few months. Iowa has more than 572 polluted waterways.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life — urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans — CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for more than 35 years.

For more information about Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, visit www.iowacci.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  November 10, 2011

Contact: Natalie Snyders, Environmental Justice Organizer 515.282.0484, Natalie @ iowacci.org

CCI Members to Rastetter: We’ll be back

On Thursday, the Iowa Ethics and Disclosure Board voted to scrap members’ August 16 conflict of interest ethics complaint against Rastetter

 

Des Moines, Iowa –  On Thursday, the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board voted to put factory farm polluters before environmental protections and dismiss an ethics complaint filed by members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) against Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) member Brent Rastetter.

CCI members say Rastetter’s private role as the owner and president of the multi-million dollar factory farm construction company Quality Ag, Inc, creates a clear conflict of interest with his public duty as an EPC commissioner to stand up for clean air and water and crack down on factory farm polluters.

Iowa CCI members filed the ethics complaint after Rastetter’s June 21 vote to scrap a Clean Water Act rulemaking package that would have brought Iowa into compliance with federal law after nearly 40 years of noncompliance. The new rule, if passed, would have directly impacted Rastetter’s business.

An official copy of the complaint can be viewed here.

“Brent Rastetter’s service on the EPC is like the fox guarding the chicken coop, and doesn’t pass the common-sense test.” Said CCI member and family farmer Larry Ginter from Rhodes, IA, “The Campaign and Ethics Disclosure Board just gave good government a black eye.”

Iowa Code 68B.2A, “Prohibited outside employment and activities — conflicts of interest” states:

Any person who serves or is employed by the state or a political subdivision of the state shall not engage in…outside employment or an activity that is subject to the official control, inspection, review , audit, or enforcement authority of the person, during the performance of the person’s duties of office or employment.

“It is the mission of the EPC and DNR to protect our environment, and we will continue to push EPC commissioners and DNR staff to stand up for clean air and water, and to crack down on factory farm polluters” Said Barb Kalbach, a nurse & 4th generation family farmer from Dexter. “And whether it is rulemaking or cracking down on factory farm polluters, we will be there to make sure that DNR & EPC are taking a tough stand. If they don’t, we will continue to pursue every option available to stand up for the environment and everyday Iowans.”

There have been more than 750 manure spills since 1995, including more than two dozen since Governor Terry Branstad was elected to office last November. Iowa has more than 572 polluted waterways.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a group of everyday people who talk, act and get things done on issues that matter most. With thousands of members from all walks of life — urban and rural, black and white, immigrants and lifelong Iowans — CCI has been tackling tough issues and getting things done for more than 35 years.

For more information about Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, visit www.iowacci.org