Tag Archives: advocacy

Claw Back Housing – EMPOWERMENT RESOLUTION 2015

imageFor some reason, housing issues don’t stay on the radar screens of hopefulness for very long. People just don’t seem to know what to do with those banks, government-supported finance institutions and realtors who took – and continue to take – so selfishly of most average people’s foundations of wealth.

I have a suggestion, and it’s related to my recent positing of 15 Empowerment Resolutions for 2015 (see below). It’s number 2, actually, though order isn’t really that important. I’m writing on them as I can with the hope of having a year’s discussion on realistic models of change.

Anyway, hEre is what I wrote as my #2 2015 resolution: “EMPTY HOUSES – Income equality ties us to financial institutions to buy and maintain a house and a home. Why not force proactive investments from the banks to prioritize living stability?”

First, if you need a good overview on the issue, read what Bill Moyers posted on the issue, one of President Obama’s big errors. (Read this piece folks, it’s enlightening!)

Here’sResolution page 1 how an EMPOWERMENT mentality would fix the housing criminality that occurred and that must be rebalanced.

We need to require that banks or real estate investors who sit on empty property – often in blighted neighborhoods – reset their prices for these places back at pre-meltdown appraisal levels. Then they must be made to give commensurate loans to individuals that include a right for owners past, present or future to “claw back” unreasonable forces that seek to hurt or exploit their investments over a period of five years. The banks are profiting massively from incentives to force people out of their homes. Why can’t we get TARGETED gifts of our own to right their wrongs? (Do you know that the bank service agents, as incentives to derail foreclosure adjustments, we given gift cards from Target to derail the efforts of consumers to rescue their homes? No kidding!)

But it even forcing this kind of pull-back economic provision isn’t enough. To ensure that the banks and financiers play fairly, they must be made to identify Neighborhood Impact Zones (since they and the government like these kinds of designations) that are designated to receive any artificial profits that happen from finance game playing while the region resets it’s fairness. Such steps, by the way, are not that different from CLAW BACK provisions in sophisticated corporate contracts when cheating occurs.

I think an approach like this would have the impact of creating countervailing force against the tendency of housing/home profiteers to divert away investment benefits in affordable housing districts. See, we know simple ownership doesn’t provide an automatic voice in the housing agreements once consumers are on the hook. Developers normally come in, invest, and drive locals and affordability away, and the banks literally give their employees gifts to favor profits for them over home stability.  My proposed rates pull these forces back under control.

It will take some smart thinking, but it will work. Don’t believe me? Prove it. The market is fighting to put social and community purpose into financial spreadsheets. It’s called Impact Investing. Why can’t our otherwise empty neighborhoods be the proactive players in using these interests to recapture their own?

HERE ARE THE REMAINING 2015 Empowerment Resolutions:

Resolution page

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Nickel-a-Meal FAST FOOD Empowerment

image2015 EMPOWERMENT Resolution #1 — FOOD CHANGE

The header graphic I designed a few years ago as a commentary on many of the leaders of the food and fast food sector. All the companies had anti-obesity or healthy eating corporate activities on their web sites, though most failed to live up to their promises.

The game is a bit different now. There are a number of significant food activists organizations in place now, and many people writing about geo-food strategies. But for the most part the major fast food conglomerates still control the Eating Games … where we all run around in hopes of not getting killed by their profit and marketing ploys.

As good as the challenges are, however, almost none seek to use the dollars in the food sector as dietary empowerment. Most actually blame us for not eating well or exercising as we should. Let’s Move is no exception, nor are other activist initiatives that seem to be afraid of the power of food money. Even Brazil came up short here.

In a website on AngrySodas – this poor treat is an easy and cheap target of a lot of criticism – I proposed a new way to deal with is. It centers on what I called a Nickel-a-Meal Campaign, an answer to my first 2015 Empowerment Resolution! (Which you can see as a previous past.)

My idea assumes we can use electronic money transfer systems as a form of an organic revenue collection process – sort of like making virtual plastic donation jars where those who use ATM/Credit Cards chip in an extra nickel with each burger purchase. When we swipe our cards now, many profit-making finance entities get a portion of what we spend before the McBurger monger does.

But what’s so bad is they do so by tapping into finance systems built with public resources – yet we have to cut and thus no voice. There is even an oversight body without us being present!

The Nickel-a-Meal Campaign seeks to rebalance this. I suggest an extra five cents (per burger, per meal?) be collected electronically after the main purchase transaction is processed, exempting it from fees and taxes. Then these nickels could be gathered and instantly transferred to food empowerment agencies in the region where they were received.

The stream of money is pretty massive. Perhaps $50 million PER WEEK, if large portions of food business participated! And if we utilized a unique finance system we create, it thrives as a community-inspired money source for EMPOWERED FOOD CHANGE!

How many advocacy agencies have access to even a portion of such a budget?

This kind of idea needs thinking and support – not to mention the drive of some supposedly caring food outlets.

Tell me what you think!

PEACE-olence – Hybrid Between Peace & Violence

We need a new term for the harmony and radical transformation we seek that lies somewhere new in the fields between peace and violence.

Coming off the annual high of MLK Day, we’re reminded of the attraction of both ideals (riotous discontent has its place), and of the shortcomings of each in major degrees.

peace burnWhich is why I propose a comfortable hybrid; an upgrade, that goes beyond the failures of the compromises of the past – compromises that often tried to appease the disputing advocates for each perspective by mouthing the best of each but settling on an ineffective and unstable patch of false bravados.

We need to accept that even good expectations have a taste of badness, just as bad ones can bring about goodness. Hence my alternative: PEACE-olence.

IMHO, this reconceptualization puts peace first but doesn’t downplay the fact that we need radical, profound, dramatic and sometimes even destructive change.

The future is heading towards us at the speed of a digital rocket, and there is no getting around the reality that it will destroy many social, cultural and even economic conventions. And we owe it to ourselves and the future to have our eyes and capabilities open to this wide-ranging truth.

Before everyone gets in a tizzy about my putting peace and violence on a loving teeter-totter (where each side gets deserving traction at some point to make the game worth playing), think about where we are in the evolution of our society, and in particular of our business, communications and connectivity levels. The best that has come out of the innovations of these sectors is thought of these days as being DISRUPTIVE, which is a rather violent expression, because they literally blow our past expectations away.

Not sure about this? Google “disruptive innovations” on the phone in your hand. Then share the results with the half the world now within your reach. See if they like your take on the results, good or bad.

As for peace, that’s problematic also; more than most of us like to admit. One person’s or group’s version involves unleashing classified security documents to let openness and honesty club secrecy and deception, while another lets us speak pornographically from the privacy of our home front – on the assumption that no one knows of our preferences.

Not being able to fathom this killed the King.

PEACE-olence, to me, does a good job of reminding us that our last efforts haven’t worked S we like. Injustices prevail, protests are getting angrier, and we use impersonal means to destroy people, places and facts from a false sense of distance – some would say like a sniper oblivious to the narrowness of his own dramatically false sense of patriotism.

Let’s put PEACE first but also not be afraid to play on the balance of a reality where riots and wars and dissatisfaction still prevail.

PEACE-olence works for me!

EMPOWERMENT RESOLUTIONS: 15 Steps to Change 2015

Jan 1

To change the world we with the gift of Empowerment, we need to get started on several fronts. Here are 15 ideas for 2015 …. My details for your arguments in the months ahead! Happy to hear your thoughts, complaints or suggestions. Merry New Year to All! (Oh…Thanks Mr. President for 2014)

Page 1 … 1-7…

Resolution page 1

Page 2 … 8-15 …

Resolution page

2015 – Year of EMPOWERMENT

photo-37It’s time to get down and dirty and have fun with the idea that liberalism AND conservatism have come up short.

Both simply try too hard to find solutions to major social and cultural flaws by seeking partisan compromises of comfort. Essentially they each assume we’ll all get along better if we just try harder – either by mistakenly lionizing the past, or in ways perceived as desirable but not too radical.

Super speed technology and interactive accessibility have shown us we can do better; that we can make an entirely new playing field where ideas can grow in virtually any direction without making new problems, exploiting justice or worsening long standing problems and failures.

Empowerment strategies are unique, as mentioned in a recent video blog for RadicalNOT. [Not posted yet; search RadicalNOT YouTube after Dec. 26th! Sorry.]

They are approaches towards change that go as deep as necessary to improve or upgrade the promises we’ve made as a nation to be fair, respectful and just to all. They can adjust failed practices here and there, or they can open entirely new avenues towards much different kinds of solutions.

2015 needs to be the year for making EMPOWERMENT options more understandable.

There are existing EMPOWERMENT approaches for EVERY social, economic, gender, racial or identity challenge. And there will be more to select from once open, virtual discussions refine their ways and means.

MY RESOLUTION: 2015 needs to be the YEAR OF EMPOWERMENT.

How about 15 viable ideas for EMPOWERED change?

Sell Detroit to Highest IMPACT Bidders

Appreciation to those whose work I've usurped. But I did help start the concept.

Appreciation to those whose work I’ve usurped. But I did help start the concept.

This is a true, reasoned, viable, heartfelt, practical and EMPOWERING suggestion for the city of Detroit: sell yourself to the highest team of Impact Investment companies.

Seriously. It’s worth the gamble. Impact Investors are a new breed of financiers looking for ways to put social responsibility costs and benefits into the ways and means of profiteering. To stay in the club, they actually have to practice what they preach. See for yourself. One of my favorite places is The Global Impact Investment Network.

Which is made all the more fascinating because folks don’t really know what the concept entails. They only know – thanks to passionate advocates like Jed Emerson – that they have to gamble on a better business future and be serious about their convictions. And already they are investing billions because the see the return on their investment in the concept as being helpful and worth trillions.

So let’s say a group of “Too Big To Care About Money” companies (or individuals with obscene wealth) each commit a nearly unnoticeably small share of their absurd profits — $25 billion each, with a commitment of the same amount again and again as needed over a period of about 10 years. Of course, because this is an Impact Investment, there will have to be a few restrictions … subject to collective discussion about how they are enforced. But basically they will require:

  • That the investors not rename the city with their monikers or other self-benefiting tags.
  • That they turn complete control of the money to a major collection of caring and passionate citizens who represent the major stakeholder groups, with such group being designed by said stakeholder interests in a fair and just way.
  • That, say, only about 60% or so of the funds can be used as loans to businesses with green and sustainable ideas, with the proviso that they payback the money in socially responsible returns (or cash).
  • That the rest of the money be used to build programs and projects and concept and strategies that empower people and families across many spectrums.
  • That all activity done by the oversight body be posted online and made available for discussion in real-time or as damn close as possible – including all decisions about how money is spent.
  • That, once engaged, said investors must lock away into another charitable entity sufficient resources or value worth at least $300 billion more to sustain the flow of growth and development until the ideas germinate.
  • And that a collaboration of universities be empowered to see, review, study, publish and share their objective takes on all that happens throughout this Impact Investment Experiment.

In return for this, the investors and corporations get … warm and fuzzy feelings of goodwill.

And the people get a city completely dedicated to making and maintaining an empowered and empowering urban place that works like a fair and just nation envisioned.

See? No problem. Sell Detroit.