Saturday, October 18, 2008
Democracy Now and Codepink stop foreclosure auction in New York City
by Larry Geller
On Friday, Democracy Now reported (see: After Losing Son in Iraq, NY Mother Faces Loss of Foreclosed Home) that a Queens Village (New York City) woman was about to lose her home:
NARRATOR: Just a few miles from where the debates will be held, we visited Queens Village and the home of Jocelyn Voltaire. Her family moved to America from Haiti forty-five years ago. She worked three jobs to put herself through college and, in 1987, was able to put $55,000 down on a house. For her, it was the American dream, raising her three children in her own home.
JOCELYN VOLTAIRE: This is my dream. The house is my dream. I have been living here for twenty—more than twenty years.
NARRATOR: Now, that dream is about to be shattered. Jocelyn has fallen victim to a predatory lending scam, the kind of scam that’s been crippling the economy in recent weeks.
JOCELYN VOLTAIRE: Now they’re trying to take my welfare away. I cannot able to eat. I cannot able to feed my family. My house being in jeopardy. Now they said to me, “You have seventeen days to put your house on auction.”
NARRATOR: On October 17th, her house will be auctioned off.
JOCELYN VOLTAIRE: About 11:00, they said to me, “Are you Jocelyn Voltaire?” I said, “Yes.” I said, “What happened?” “Well, we have a bad news for you.”
NARRATOR: Just weeks after she received news of her foreclosure, Jocelyn was struck by another costly event facing our nation: the war in Iraq. She was informed that her oldest son, a soldier in the Navy, was killed in the line of duty.
Yes, her oldest son was killed in Iraq, and her mortgage was bought by guess who: Goldman Sachs, the company that was formerly run by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, now in charge of the bailout of that company and others. This is truly a tragedy in the making.
I was expecting to tune in on Monday to find out that Jocelyn Voltaire’s home was auctioned off. Note that the government “bailout” leaves the banks with the homes and the people on the streets. Foreclosures and evictions continue, even as the financial fat cats plan their next Bermuda vacation or arrange to repaint their yachts.
But remarkably, CodePink and Internet readers came to Jocelyne’s rescue! A successful fundraising campaign appears to have saved her home.
I’m glad this happened, but it’s only one home saved.
While Jocelyne was about to lose everything, as the video on the CodePink website notes, Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein seems to be Wall Street’s most highly compensated CEO. Compare his $70.3 reported paycheck and what he will continue to earn with the cost of saving these homes!
As far as I know, Lloyd Blankfein is not one of the donors to save Jocelyne’s home (if he were, probably CodePink would have mentioned that, or he would have publicized it, so I think it’s a safe assumption that he was not a donor).
This outpouring of support is wonderful. Now, when will the public demand that foreclosures be stopped? Internet donors can’t do the job for everyone. The fat cats won’t help. It will take public action on a large scale to save the homes.
If you live on Oahu you could not have seen Friday’s Democracy Now program on Olelo last night. Another program ran. This seems to be the second time this week that the program was either missing or cut off.
If you tuned in and were disappointed, may I suggest calling `Olelo during the week at 834-0007 and ask them to do better! Meantime, programs can be viewed via Democracy Now’s web page.