By Arlene Jones
Years ago in the late 1970s, I attended a banquet where Andrew Young was the guest speaker. He had had a controversial career as an ambassador, and it was one of the reasons I went to hear him speak.
The speech he gave that day has always stayed with me. He told of a Korean immigrant who had come to this country and outperformed everyone else in the stock market. When the man was questioned as to how he could beat Americans at their own game, he laughed and admitted that he had studied and learned our system so well that he knew it better than we did.
I thought about that the other day when I taped several CAN-TV shows where we talked about the current crisis going on in Chicago regarding foreclosures. One of the other guests was Mark Carter. Mark is a young activist based out of Lawndale who has been at the forefront of exposing many of the backroom deals our black politicians have made. As he has shown in a number of his YouTube videos, the current state of black neighborhoods can be attributed to all of our black politicians, beginning at the city level and continuing on to the county, state and federal levels, who have joined in with those who have devastated the black community.
If you go back in history and even up through today, no one can harm the black community without having a black face at the forefront.
So what does a foreigner knowing our system better than we do have to do with foreclosures? Simple. When our government permitted mortgage loans to be put on the stock market, many of the investors represented foreign entities. We have long been told that "the banks don't want your house" as we go through hard economic times. We have also been led to believe that the banks and mortgage holders will work with you.
But the current loan holders are no longer banks, and the people who hold your home loan do want your house. I mentioned to Mark about people losing their homes because they sent their mortgage payment over 30 days late and the mortgage company refused to accept the payment. Instead they began foreclosure procedures. He said he had seen the exact same thing, and much worse, while sitting in housing court in the Daley Center.
Mark spoke about several nonprofit groups working not on behalf of struggling homeowners but for themselves and for the city. The city has a program called the Troubled Building Initiative (TBI). The city alleges that the initiative is to address "gang and drug" activities, but we all know what those code words mean. And looking at the website for the TBI, they do show two non-profits as their partners along with several other groups. What it all boils down to is that they know the system better than the average landlord. So when pulled into court about problems with their buildings, landlords are soon faced with fighting the city and numerous agencies to try and keep their property.
I still recall the time when a local lender back in the late 1990s spoke about how Austin had the least amount of vacant land in the city. Drive around now and pay attention to those "X's" on the buildings. They are here today and gone tomorrow.
I am inviting all persons interested in fighting their foreclosures — the land grab that is going on by seizing people's property — and any other building issues to come out to the task force meeting. It is held every Tuesday night from 7 till 9 p.m. at the Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E Oakwood Blvd., in the basement. The city of Chicago cannot expand its size. But it can look at the black community as the source for Building a New Chicago.
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