Tag Archives: change

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

Advertisements

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!

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?

EMPOWERED progressive INFORMATICS

people tags

digit tags

The Birth of a (Virtual) Nation

Praise the Lord God of all thinks collective! In her infinite and forever appealing way, she has ensured that we are NOT alone. There is a reality of the matrices that blend social and cultural justice activities with very cool information and communication technologies (ICTs).

And it goes by the name of Informatics — that some of us old farts didn’t even know much about until recently.

From my perspective, what’s important is the new identification of this sector. Or what it’s founders call Community Infomatics (CI), the science of data and information storage and management made possible by information and communication technologies and marrying this with all of the wonders of community engagement for good stuff.

(I know it all sounds like something that chops and dices and it sold on early morning TV, but we hope to change this too!)

Community Informatics is, to me, the perfect way to use the knowledge and understanding of the progress that surrounds us and connecting it and all that it captures with EMPOWERMENT justice and activism.

Which, in my mind, is exactly what RadicalNOT is all about: talking about this as it hits the streets of change running at full and powerful speed. So to see that there are others already engaged … well … it’s enough to make a grown man delirious!

But more about my emotional health later. For now I just want to feed you the Wikipedia URL that talks about CI and that lays the groundwork for why I’d call it EI, or EMPOWERMENT INFORMATICS. Here is what one of the summary paragraphs says:

Cultures ensure their growth and survival by continuing the norms and mores that are the bases of their way of life. Communities can use the infrastructure of ICTs as a method of continuing cultures within the context of the Internet and the World Wide Web. Once a cultural identity is defined within the context of these technologies, it can be replicated and disseminated through various means, including the sharing of information through websites, applications, databases, and file sharing. In this manner, a group that defines its cultural identity within the construct of technology infrastructure is empowered to hold valuable exchanges within the spheres of economics, political power, high and popular culture, education, and entertainment. [emphasis added]

RadicalNOT endorses this view wholeheartedly. I love it. It makes my sociological heart go pitter patter!

I encourage you to jump over and take a look at the second discovery that got me pushing my Viagra aside. See the perspective’s manifesto of desires, so to speak, offered by the sector’s lead founding proponent, Michael Gurstein: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_informatics

Gurstein’s piece offers many elements of what this transformation means and why they are so important. We’ll dissect this soon.

In the meantime, start thinking of themes for the celebration party! True and effective impact is in the making, and its name is EMPOWERED INFORMATICS!!