Friday actions for SAFE: protest and press conference


Protest and Press Conference

This action is protesting the auction of Marquette Bowman’s family home. This home was left to her by her father who was a victim of a predatory reverse mortgage. We are coupling this protest with a a press conference announcing Barton victory in court over RCO and Quality Loan Services! A summary judgment of default has been issued against Quality Loan Services and RCO in the Barton Case. The outcome of the Barton litigation shows exactly why ongoing litigation is grounds for delaying auctions where there are questions as to property ownership.

Where: 4th & James in front of the King County Administration Building across from the King County Courthouse
When: Friday October 10, 2014 @ 10:00am
Meetup: At Einstein’s Bagels on 4th and Cherry at 9:30am

Demand Delivery

Join us in delivering a demand letter to Wells Fargo Bank on behalf of Jane Mair in her continued battle to keep her house!

Where: We will be meeting at the Food Court on the Southwest corner of 3rd & Marion in Downtown Seattle
When: Friday October 10, 2014 @ 4:15 pm

Please Join Us In Our Continued Fight For Housing As A Human

King County Sheriff’s Department Arrest Jean Barton and Her Son, Drag Disabled Veteran Byron Barton to The Hospital

Two weeks ago, SAFE activists held a press conference where they asked the question, “Who runs this town?” Today, Sheriff Urquhart, stepping up to the role of corporate goon, answered the question definitively; property developers do. Thanks to a hastily-obtained search warrant, a mother and her son have been handcuffed, stuffed into a cop car, and taken down to county jail to be held. Byron Barton has been removed against his will from his childhood home and taken to a undisclosed hospital. The Bartons’ home is now occupied by unknown “renters”.

This was not an eviction; it was a raid against Seattle citizens outside the primary jurisdiction of the King County Sheriff’s Department –an extraordinary move to place a family in jail at the behest of Triangle. The Sheriff’s department forced their way into the Barton home with a search warrant and detectives. They did not have an unlawful detainer, which is the specific court document that would have allowed the Sheriff’s department to enact a legal eviction. The current unlawful detainer is under appeal.

The Sheriff issued a contradictory statement about today’s arrests. Sheriff Urquhart said of the arrests that “Triangle Property Development…is a victim of bureaucratic inaction…I was not willing to let that continue.” Does this mean that he will not allow elected officials to interfere with his interpretation of the law?

This is a clear about-face from just last week. At a court hearing regarding the Barton’s case, a representative of the Sheriff’s Department argued that the enforcement of criminal statutes, including trespassing charges, was in fact the purview of the Seattle Police Department, not King County Sheriffs. The Judge agreed. Why has the Sheriff’s Department now gone out of their own stated jurisdiction, and arrested the Bartons as criminal trespassers?

“This is a total violation of civil rights,” the Barton’s attorney Jill Smith said of the forcible eviction and arrest.

At this time, Byron Barton’s whereabouts within the hospital system are unknown. “The helplessness, I’m sure, is overwhelming for him,” Jean Barton said.

Victory at the Barton's blockade!


Thanks to the fighting spirit of Jean and Byron Barton, last week SAFE members were able to stop their eviction from taking place. The blockade lasted 5 days, and ended in a final push to City Hall to demand justice for the Bartons. Thanks to the Seattle Mayor’s office, the Bartons are now safely in their home awaiting their civil land dispute to be heard in court. This victory could not be achieved without the hard work, quick thinking, and resiliency of SAFE and our partners SHARE, Nickelsville, Seattle Solidarity Network, Jess Spear, Kshama Sawant and her office, Washington CAN, and Food not Bombs. Special thanks goes out to the West Seattle Weekly, who covered the event exhaustively and imbedded with us early Monday morning before our City Hall action, and to every person who sent an email to Mayor Murray demanding justice for the Bartons.

We won this victory together, and we should all be proud!

The next step is to use this momentum to speed up the policy change we have been demanding since we began. We will be meeting with the King County Sheriff’s Department to push for transparent evictions and protocols that protect the safety, rights, and dignity of evicted homeowners. We will be pushing the city council of Seattle to use eminent domain to halt the many evictions of Seattle homeowners. We are also pushing the Washington Attorney General to begin actually pursuing penalties for the criminal activity that banks engage in that result in evictions like the Barton’s.

We know that stopping an eviction is just a victory in a battle, but effecting systemic change is a victory in the overall war on eviction and foreclosure.


6:30PM, Tuesday July 22nd

– SAFE’s weekly meeting. Food will be served.


Where: The SAFE House, Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (corner of Graham St), Seattle WA 98108 map





Beginning 9:50am, Friday, July 25th– RCO Auction Protest!


Thousands of homes are sold at auction in King County each year, and not all of them are a result of legitimate or legal foreclosures. SAFE members will be staging a loud protest during a Routh Crabtree Olsen property auction in Bellevue this Friday.  We will be holding a “party-like” protest, with singing, instruments, and a decent amount of noise in very close proximity to the auction. Join us! Bryce is bottom lining this event.

Where: 13555 SE 36th St., Bellevue


SAFE members are encouraged to take the fun political compass test to see where they stand in relation to our politicians and leaders, and even historical figures like Gandhi and Stalin! Take the test. Lets see where we all fall in the spectrum, closer to the Dalai Lama or to Hitler?


Go here to sign the petition to save the Squire Park Plaza from more Goodman Realty’s greed. (Goodman Realty was the villain in the Tenant Union’s fight to save Lockhaven. Goodman Realty is buying up non-profit properties and turning them into corporate cash cows. We must stop them!


Go here to sign the Tenant’s Union’s petition to save the Theodora (home to veterans, elderly and disabled low-income households) and learn more about this fight.

















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SAFE newsletter

6:30PM, Tuesday May 20th: SAFE’s weekly meeting with SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKER PAUL BODEN. Food will be served.

Paul Boden is the Executive Director of WRAP (Westland Regional Advocacy Project) and he travels the country speaking and educating others on the issues of homelessness and social justice. Please join us to welcome Paul Boden to Seattle and listen to his input on the housing justice fight. Go here for WRAP‘s website.

Where: The SAFE House, Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (corner of Graham St), Seattle WA 98108 map


4:30PM-5:30PM, Friday May 16th – Picket Kendra Todd!

SAFE will be picketing Real Estate vampire Kendra Todd to demand that they negotiate a bank tenant agreement with local bus driver Jo-Ann Rose. Kendra Todd are guilty of stealing homes, threatening Jo-Ann, and assaulting SAFE members so this real estate agency deserves to be told that we won’t take their abuse. We need as many people there as possible to show Kendra Todd that they’re not going to get away with their criminal actions. Jo-Ann Rose shall NOT be moved. Email bottom-liner Ismael to let him know you’re coming.

Where: The SAFE House, Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (corner of Graham St), Seattle WA 98108 map



10AM-2PM, Saturday May 17th – Work Party at the Beacon Food Forest.

The Beacon Hill Food Forest is a community project to provide locally grown, sustainable food that helps the environment and everyone’s bills. All are welcome to volunteer, they have work parties every month as listed on their website. SAFE unanimously voted to endorse the Food Forest and sends volunteers every month. Come and join us to meet your neighbors, get some sun, and exercise gardening!


Where: Corner of 15th Ave S and South Dakota St, Beacon Hill, Seattle WA. map


5PM-8PM, Sunday May 18th – SAFE Signs Work Party.

Zarna is coordinating a work party to make the signs SAFE needs over the next few months. It’s plenty of fun so join us to paint, spray, draw, stencil and do all kinds of creative things. Wear old clothing you don’t mind messing up.

Where: The SAFE House, Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (corner of Graham St), Seattle WA 98108 map



This past week has been very difficult for SAFE because Dana‘s house was demolished on Monday by corrupt real estate developer Omar Lee and his associate Adam Nguyen. SAFE tried to stop this disaster by protesting the demolition. Dana and Ivy went onto the property and refused to move, accepting that the police would arrest them. SAFE members told the police that it was immoral to arrest Dana for defending her home but they arrested Dana and Ivy anyway, allowing the demolition team to swoop in and smash up Dana’s beautiful 100-year-old home. KOMO4 covered the disaster on the 6pm news, go here to watch. Go here to read Dana’s story.

On Tuesday SAFE also picketed Real Estate Vampire Kendra Todd to make them take Jo-Ann‘s check so Jo-Ann can pay to stay in her home. Bryce bottom-lined the event and SAFE members made noise outside Kendra Todd’s busy office building. Kendra Todd were well aware that we were outside and they didn’t like the bad publicity so join us on Friday for another picket. We can force them to accept Jo-Ann’s check and let her pay to stay in her home.

SAFE also held a Solidary Potluck BBQ at Jo-Ann’s house on Saturday to inform her neighbors about our upcoming eviction blockade. It was a huge turnout with much food and many speakers who talked about their own individual fight against the banks. Jo-Ann wishes to thank everyone for coming and supporting her fight to save her home.

SAFE’s Board met on Tuesday to approve hiring Zarna as SAFE’s Message Coordinator. Zarna is very excited to begin work as an official employee of SAFE next week! She wishes to thank SAFE for having such confidence in her and will do her very best to further SAFE’s mission of economic justice and systemic change.

SAFE voted unanimously to endorse the Tenant’s Union’s campaign entitled the Theodora Rescue Committee. The Theodora in Ravenna is home to veterans, elderly, and disabled low-income households. It has been providing affordable housing to Seattle for over a hundred years and is one of only a few HUD buildings left in Seattle. Now, Volunteers of America and Goodman Real Estate have entered into a purchase agreement that will displace the Theodora’s low-income households. Go here to sign the Tenant’s Union’s petition for the campaign and learn more about this fight. SAFE Organizer Ismael is our liaison with the TU.


SAFE’s 2nd birthday party on May 1st was a lovely event. We had more people than chairs and had to bring in extras. Kshama Sawant also joined us to celebrate SAFE’s two years of fighting the banks. One family drove all the way from Longview to be part of the evening! Selena was our MC, and we had singers, piano players, celebration videos from SAFE’s two years, cake, and great Chinese food. Here’s a video Chris King made of the event.


Recently SAFE held a very successful demand delivery and press conference at Wells Fargo Tower downtown on behalf of Jane and Marilyn and as part of the National Day of Action to protest this giant toxic bank. The security guard was all over us but SAFE members focused only on the task of reading our demand letter. Outside, we had both TV and newspaper press coverage. We made the KING5 6pm and 9pm news and Northwest Asian Weekly published an excellent article about the event. Go here to read.


Seattle has more empty houses than homeless people on the streets so SAFE is calling for a moratorium on bank evictions in King County. SAFE Organizer Josh did a radio interview with Mike McCormick on this topic and you can go here to listen. SAFE members also attended a meeting in the Seattle City Council Chambers some time ago to demand a moratorium. We dominated the tone of the meeting, totally discrediting the inaccurate foreclosure report being presented. Go here to watch us in action and go here for a press release about the meeting. SAFE Vice President Olu also met with city council members Bruce Harrell, Sally Clark, and Nick Licata to discuss housing justice, urge principal reduction and a moratorium on bank evictions.














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SAFE actions and events

6:30PM, Tuesday April 22nd – SAFE’s weekly meeting. Food will be served.

Where: The SAFE House, Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (corner of Graham St), Seattle WA 98108 map


4:30PM-6PM, Friday April 18th – Protest Bank of America in Columbia City.

This will be SAFE’s fifteenth action at this location and this week will be a vigil and picket. Ismael has been fighting for years to save his home from this giant toxic bank and SAFE is standing with him. Rosie was one of households included in this campaign but recently SAFE received word that Rosie’s mediation resulted in BofA granting Rosie a three month trial modification! With Ismael’s house still on the line, please join us and we can win victory for Ismael too. With so many bank evictions happening, SAFE is calling for a moratorium on bank evictions in King County and SAFE Organizer Josh did a radio interview with Mike McCormick on this topic. Go here to listen.

Where: Meet up outside the Library on Rainier Ave so we can proceed together to BofA,  4825 Rainier Ave S, Seattle WA 98118  map


2PM-4PM, Saturday April 19th – Canvassing Jo-Ann’s neighborhood

SAFE members will meet up at Jo-Ann’s house before canvassing her neighbors to let them know about her fight. We want to inform as many people in the community as possible so they can support Jo-Ann and SAFE if it comes to an eviction blockade. The canvassing SAFE does is one of the most important parts of our struggle against the big banks so join SAFE organizers Bryce and Josh in this most vital outreach to build the movement. We need you! Email Bryce or Josh to let them know you’re coming.

Where: Jo-Ann’s house, 10426 63rd Ave S, Seattle WA. map




10AM-9PM, Saturday April 26th – 15Now Conference

Our allies at 15Now are bringing all their supporters together to launch the $15 an hour ballot initiative. Consider attending to discuss the campaign, get trained up for the actions, and organize. Let’s make the $15 an hour minimum wage in Seattle a reality! Go here for their website.

Where: Franklin High School, 3013 S Mt Baker Blvd, Seattle WA 98144, next to the Mount Baker light rail station. map


11PM-1PM, Sunday April 27th – Tenant’s Union March

Our allies at the Lockhave Tenant’s Union are mobilizing to call on Landlord and Mogul developer John Goodman to not displace his tenants, and to stop ruining the communities of Ballard, Ravenna, and Seattle! There will be a March from Ballard Commons that will end with a rally at 12:30 at “Golden Tides”, Goodmans personal marina and residence, 6017 Seaview Ave NW. Go here for more information and to RSVP.

Where: Meet-up at Ballard Commons Park, corner of 22nd, and 57th to march and join the rally. map The rally itself will be at 6017 Seaview Ave NW, Seattle WA. map


1:45PM-5PM, Sunday April 27th – Backbone Anti-Oppression Workshop

SAFE members have been invited to attend Backbone’s workshop with trainers from The Canopy Collective (an eco-feminist cooperative) to learn how to unite and fight back against all the kinds of oppression. The workshop will feature ways in which we can work together to build our community’s capacity for positive change. Please attend to learn more about how to be effective in the battle for social justice. Go here to register, look for the “2 hour” sections.

Where: Pigott Auditorium, Seattle University, Seattle WA. map




SAFE members attended the meeting in the Seattle City Council Chambers a couple of weeks ago to demand a moratorium on bank evictions. SAFE members came out strong and we dominated the tone of the meeting, totally discrediting the inaccurate foreclosure report being presented. Go here to watch us in action and go here for a press release about the meeting.


Last Wednesday the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) hosted the Hong Kong Dock Workers and SAFE Organizers were invited to attend the meeting. It was an inspiring evening where two leaders of the Hong Kong Dock Workers gave an in-depth discussion of their unprecedented Strike to improve working conditions – which included 24-hour shifts, no opportunity to eat or go to the bathroom, incredibly low wages, and a polluted working environment. SAFE members met with our brothers and sisters across the pacific who are so heroic in their efforts for justice and so generous in their outlook. Go here for ILWU’s latest article on the Hong Kong Dock Workers.


SAFE’s fourteenth picket of BofA in Columbia City for Ismael last Friday was a powerful event that had a lot of local support. Previously SAFE staged a demand delivery for Ismael at BofA and managed to bring the bank to a standstill where even the security guard wouldn’t move. Ismael has now received a letter from the bank saying that they have received his paperwork. Please join us this Friday for an action outside BofA in ColumbiaCity to save Ismael’s home.


This past Saturday, SAFE completed its’ work party at Bethany UCC under Ismael’s sterling leadership. The Bethany grounds look great and it’s all thanks to Ismael and the volunteers who showed up both Saturdays and put in hours of work to help both SAFE and Bethany church.


Last but not least, SAFE is declaring VICTORY!!! We’ve been here for two years now, and we want to celebrate in style on our birthday on May 1st by taking part in the May Day parade. Then, as Jane has been granted a permanent loan modification for her house (in another fantastic victory!), she wishes to have a celebration at China Harbor for all of SAFE’s members on the evening of May 1st. Please RSVP to Lyn so we can anticipate our numbers and book appropriately. More details to come…





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Rodney Tom harms the homeless

Rodney Tom hurts the homeless

From Publicola (third item):

Word is Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina), head of the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus, wanted the bill killed to snub ardent low-income housing advocate and speaker of the house Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford).

Bill co-sponsor Sen. Hobbs tells Fizz: “Tom told me and Sen. Benton that he told Angel to stop the bill in committee.”


I’m baffled as to why Tom wanted to kill this bill,” Hobbs concludes. “It was bipartisan. And wasn’t that why the MCC was formed?”

Westlake Rally Tuesday 5PM, march to City Hall Wed morning

Tomorrow (Tuesday) Occupy CEHKC (the Campaign to End Homelessness in King County) is having a rally in Westlake Plaza downtown Seattle from 5PM to 7PM. Members of SAFE will be attending as part of the coalition. Some will be occupying Westlake for the night.

Wednesday morning at 7:30AM members of Occupy CEHKC will march to City Hall from Westlake. SAFE will be present with our “Housing is a Human Right” banner.

500 homeless have died on the streets of our city since Occupy CEHKC began its vigil. There are more empty houses in Seattle than homeless sleeping on the streets of our city thanks to the banks displacement and this systematic economic disparity probably helped prompt Seattle to elect the first Socialist to the city council in a century. Time to standup and fight back.

The coalition’s demands are that Seattle:

1.) Stop evictions based on illegal foreclosures.

2.) Divest from Banks unfairly foreclosing on homeowners

3.) Increase Reduced Rate Bus Tickets

4.) Maintain Metro Bus Services

5.) Adopt Low Income Bus Fares

6.) Accelerate both the preservation & construction of affordable housing.

Members of Occupy CEHKC (pronounced “check”) are: SHARE, WHEEL, Nickelsville, Transit Riders Union, and SAFE. Learn more at:

Also on Friday, the campaign to save Jane’s home from Bank of America’s greed continues. Come to the north side of the Red Apple parking lot on North Beacon Hill at 4:30pm to protest the BofA at: 2555 Beacon Ave S

We have been hitting this bank up for the past 8 weeks as part of a direct action campaign to save a household from displacement only 2 blocks away. The home is still scheduled to be auctioned on Friday the 13th in December.

When We Fight, We Win!

Learn more at:

Beacon Hill and Bank of America

SAFE: Standing Against Foreclosure and Eviction

Commentary by Bryce Phillips (a SAFE Member)

SAFE’s roots are in the Occupy movement which emerged in 2011. The roots of SAFE can also be found in struggles of workers and the unemployed in the 1930s, where eviction blockades and move back-ins were common. There was a moratorium on bank evictions in 25 states and struggles for civil rights, racial and gender equality, free speech, protecting the environment, and peace that continue to this day. It can be found in the movement to confront the World Trade Organization, and the increasing unchecked power of corporations and financial institutions over our lives. SAFE is directly inspired and informed by the struggle of City Life/Vida Urbana in Boston for the rights of tenants and “bank tenants”— those of us who pay our hard earned money to the parasitic banks to continue to live in our homes.

The Occupy movement exploded worldwide in a matter of days, it was a great spectacle that challenged the oppressive status quo in the streets and in the realm of ideas. The scope was enormous and the location, goals, and direction rather vague. There was an exciting but unrealistic sense that we could change the world overnight by sheer outpouring of emotion. It was a spark that burned bright but burned out quick. SAFE emerged from the embers as an organization dedicated to the long, arduous task of waging the battle on a daily basis. Confronting the biggest threat to our communities—especially on Beacon Hill in Seattle where SAFE began—displacement.

The vision is to come together and build community in our communities amongst a great diversity of race, ethnicity, age, religion, and to organize a spirited defense of that community from the forces that seek to destroy it. Jane Jin Mair came to Beacon Hill from China where she fought for human rights and marched in Tiananmen Square. As the only English-speaker in her family, she manages the finances—that of her sister and mother. Bank of America has exploited and taken advantage of Jane’s family at every turn, harassing them with phone calls, losing their paperwork, and trying to take away the home they have worked so hard for. Those “bloodsuckers” as Jane aptly describes them, have no right! BofA happens to have a branch located only a block away from the home of Jane’s sister right on North Beacon Hill. This is exactly the kind of fight SAFE was made for!

On a daily basis, working people in the Beacon Hill community come to that Bank of America to deposit their paychecks and probably to have confusing and infuriating conversations about their accounts and mortgages as well—in a word to get ripped off. Even most of the bank employees know the fraud and duplicity of their employer, they see it firsthand. Beacon Hill has been waiting for a fighter like Jane and an organization like SAFE to lead the way. This is where real community organizing takes place. Are things going on in legislatures and courts important, yes, it is at the community level however where the big changes take place. Across America and in Seattle in particular, there is a crisis of displacement from the city. Thousands of homes sit empty, more than even the growing amount of people sleeping on the streets.

Rents jump as much as 40 percent in a single year while the City of Seattle tears down a livable housing project that served those in need since the 1930’s to make way for yet another playground of wealthy developers. Will Seattle be a city of walkable, livable, diverse communities we find on Beacon Hill, or will it become a soulless corporate office park and upscale shopping mall? We will be putting Bank of America on notice! If they wish to continue doing business in this community they need to stop destroying it! Join us; together we can create a livable community one neighborhood at a time!


Wednesday Sept. 25th 2:00 PM – Seattle City Council Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee Meeting – Chair Nick Licata and all the committee members need to hear our battles, demands and solutions. Show up at 1:45 to sign up for public testimony; each person gets 2 minutes. This week’s agenda, click here. Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall, Floor 2, 600 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104. Meeting is held every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.

Thursday Sept. 26th 4:00 PM – Chase Picket for Alton and Demand Delivery in West Seattle at the Junction. Contact Sonia Hoglander for more information

Friday Sept. 27th 4:00 PM – Beacon Hill Picket at BofA for Jane – meet at Red Apple on Beacon Hill at 4PM. We will be picketing BofA for 45 minutes. Contact Bryce Phillips for more information.

SAVE the Date, Oct 26th – Halloween Party – This is to celebrate our successes. We are chasing out the ghosts and goblins of the banking industry. Let us shine the magical light of truth on the shadow economy and take back the power for the people. They lock their doors, they flail about trying to quiet our voices, they are indignant that we fight back AND WE are RIGHT! Those moments, those looks on their faces are better than any costume we could dream up. They are losing and we are the champions of the world! More details to come! Sheri bottom-lining; contact her to help.


Lobbying Training Friday Sept. 6th – Nancy Amidei gave training on how to Lobby, this was amazingly informative and on the heels of Strategic Planning will help us formulate a comprehensive plan of attack. Eminent Domain, Eviction Moratorium, Principle Reduction, Debt Forgiveness, whatever, you gotta know the game to win the game.

September 11th – Seattle City Council Housing, Human Services, Health, and Culture Committee Meeting – Washington CAN (Reset Seattle) and SAFE filled the chambers to give testimony regarding foreclosure and eviction travesties in the Seattle area. Cornell University law school professor Robert Hockett delivered the astounding report about the state of housing in Seattle, “Post-Bubble Foreclosure-Prevention and -Mitigation Options in Seattle” pdf

September 13th – Demand Delivery for Alton who is suing Chase for non-good faith negotiation during mediation. Document & Demand Delivery for Jane fighting for fairness with BofA. We delivered with great gusto at both locations, Beacon Hill was especially busy this Friday afternoon, many took notice; even tellers gave us the fist up approval. Chase at Othello Station is a good place for a future Banner Drop for rush hour commuters. Follow up pickets are scheduled for the 26th (Alton) and 27th (Jane).


Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM: Weekly SAFE Meeting: Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (corner of Graham St). All are welcome! This is where we bring new participants and have free attorneys available from time to time. Find out what SAFE is about and what we are working on. Our objective is to end bank evictions through mutual aid and direct action with homeowners/bank tenants that are fighting the banks to stay in their homes. This is the first step to getting involved!

Angeline Thomas from Seattle University Law School will with us on the 8th to answer questions.


You can reach us at or 206-203-2125. Please visit our web site: .

Eminent Domain

In Richmond, CA, half the homes are underwater (the homes are worth less than the mortgages). The city, which is composed mainly of people of color, is hemorrhaging financially, but the mayor, Gayle McLaughlin, an Occupy Wall Street activist and Green Party member, wants her city to invoke eminent domain to stanch the bleeding. The plan would be for the City to buy the underwater mortgages from the banks at about 80% of market value, then sell them back to the homeowners at full market value. If the banks don’t voluntarily comply, the City of Richmond would invoke eminent domain to force the banks to sell.

Richmond’s plan, of course, has Wall Street and the real estate lobby writhing in apoplectic convulsions. “You’re violating the sanctity of private property!” “All contracts will become void!” How odd it is we never hear these complaints when a city uses eminent domain to build a new shopping center or highway.

When the San Bernardino, CA, County Council contemplated studying eminent domain about a year ago, the same financial lobbies came down on them so hard, the Council immediately backed off.

Wall Street: “Hey … San Bernardino … Yeah, you, I’m talkin’ to you … Come here … Now what’s this I hear about you and eminent domain? … Listen … You listenin’ to me? … If I hear one more word about this eminent domain thing, no one in your little county will ever get another mortgage loan again … You got that? … Good boy.”

Whether Richmond’s politicians can withstand a similar onslaught remains to be seen, but even if they can, how eminent domain will actually play out is another matter. If the banks can’t forestall it, they will do whatever they can to subvert it. Everything depends on how willing the people are to fight the banks.

On July 29, 2013, the NY Times published a front-page story about Richmond’s approach. The Times named two other cities considering the eminent domain tactic: Newark and Seattle!

If the tactic of eminent domain takes hold in Seattle, we must be vigilant and not rely on the good conscience of the politicians to secure our interests. (According to archeologists, the genes that produced political conscience were permanently destroyed some 300 million years ago at about the same time reptiles first appeared on the planet.)

On Aug. 6, 2013, Amy Goodman of talked with the mayor of Richmond, CA, and also interviewed Laura Gottesdiener, the author of A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home. In the past six years, according to Gottesdiener, the banks have evicted ten million people across the US. Ten million people equates to the entire population of Michigan

This Past Week:

July 31 to Aug. 5: Backbone’s Localize This! Summer Camp was a great success. Several SAFE members attended, made contacts, took seminars, and supported a demonstration against the Army Corps of Engineers who evaluate projects without considering the impact on climate change. (We’re not making this up!)

Aug. 2: Auction Protest at Northwest Trustee Services: Fannie Mae bought Larry and Flor’s home at auction. Our focus now is on persuading Fannie Mae to accept a rental or lease-to-own agreement with Larry and Flor.

Upcoming Actions:

SAFE’s Tactical Working Group is currently planning an action that, due to its nature, we will only be able to announce on very short notice. Please watch your e-mail and text messages.

Aug. 17, Sat., 4 − 7 PM: SAFE Fund-raiser: At the Bethany Playground (behind the sanctuary and SAFE House)

Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM: Weekly SAFE Meeting: Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (NE corner of Graham St). All are welcome!

Sundays, 5:30 – 7:00 PM: Weekly SAFE Active Member Homeowner’s/Bank Tenant’s Support Group: Also at 6230 Beacon Ave S.

Needs vs. Profits

On every newsletter we send you and nearly every flyer, brochure, and banner we produce SAFE includes the words “Housing is a Human Right!” Our belief is that all human beings, solely because they are human beings, should have a right to safe, clean, and dignified shelter.

This is a tad different from the way things work in the US, where hundreds of thousands of people bed down at night in parks, shelters, and under bridges, while a few distinguished people, like Sen. John McCain, cannot recall how many mansions they own.

At SAFE we focus on foreclosure and eviction, but those who face the tragic and degrading realty of being thrown out of their homes are frequently beset by medical problems, divorce, and unemployment, experiencing the humiliation of being without money, food, water, medicine, transportation, and so on.

A society committed to the well-being of all its people not only regards housing as a human right, but also food, clothing, medical care, etc. – in short, all basic human needs. Does this mean we all are entitled to have our basic needs met by society? Yes! The satisfaction of our basic needs is a human right. Does this mean we have an obligation to work in and for such a society? Yes! Those who are able should work to sustain such a society.

But if everyone’s basic needs are already met, if everyone has food, clothing, shelter, and so on, why bother with the drudgery of work? Just stay home and enjoy a life of leisure.

If we are to avoid a society of forced labor – as in Russia shortly after the 1917 revolution – we must change the nature of work from drudgery to that which is intrinsically fulfilling.

To do this we must satisfy two necessary conditions. First, all the people should own the economy, not just the 0.1%. Our factories, our banks, and our land must not be the private property of the few, but the property of everyone. When a person goes to work, s/he should perform a job not for the enrichment of the factory’s owner, but for the benefit of the society at large.

Second, the people themselves must control the economy. Simply nationalizing the factories, the banks, etc., doesn’t suffice. It merely takes these economic institutions out of the hands of private capitalists and places them under the control of government bureaucrats.

When the people democratically own and control the economy, the nature of work shifts radically. Instead of a profit-obsessed management monitoring and directing your work life, you and your coworkers would decide what, how, and when to produce goods and services.

Exactly how decisions are made within a society and how decisions at the factory level are coordinated with other factories in the same industry and with local, regional, national, and global communities have been the subject of much debate. When people participate in economic decisions at their jobs, however, for the good of everyone, not just the 0.1%, people would be willing to work because they are active participants in the labor process. Instead of being treated as exploited commodities, the workers would be treated as creative, respected human beings.

At SAFE we don’t just fight the banks, we fight against a society run by and for the banks. We fight not only for our neighbors, especially the dispossessed, but we fight to build a society that encourages the well-being and development of everyone.

— Stephen Price, SAFE Volunteer 

Housing is a Human Right!

Questions?  Comments?

Upcoming Actions:

Fri., Aug. 2: Auction Protest at Northwest Trustee Services: For Larry and Flor. Gather at the SAFE House at 9:00 AM, leave promptly at 9:10 AM.
Now through Aug. 5: Backbone’s Localize This! Summer Camp. See for details.

Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM: Weekly SAFE Meeting: Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (NE corner of Graham St). All are welcome!

Sundays, 5:30 – 7:00 PM: Weekly SAFE Active Member Homeowner’s/Bank Tenant’s Support Group: Also at 6230 Beacon Ave S.

This Past Week:

July 26: Demand Deliveries: SAFE members deliver demand letters to Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Chase branches in West Seattle. Two Seattle policemen at the Chase branch usher us out. (Why does Seattle pay police to protect bank branches? Chase cannot afford its own security?) At the BofA branch a private security guard run in to the branch just seconds before we arrive, locking in and locking out BofA’s own customers. Wells Fargo’s branch manager lets Dorli read our entire letter.

July 31: Eviction Blockade: Sheriff Urquhart’s office notifies SAFE members at 9:30 AM that he is coming sometime after noon to evict Jeremy. We immediately activate the RRN (Rapid Response Network). By 11:30 a few dozen SAFE supporters begin picketing in front of Jeremy’s house. At 1:00 PM large police SUV’s block off both ends of the 700 block of So. Henderson St, where Jeremy lives. Within a few minutes Sheriff Urquhart, his Chief of Staff, and a Captain, along with about ten additional deputies deploy, ready to evict. Four SAFE members — Dorli, Josh, Lauren, and Kshama — sit with their backs against Jeremy’s front door. The deputies come onto the property, pick up the protestors, arrest them, enter the house, and bring Jeremy outside. A locksmith then changes the locks in minutes. As KING 5, KOMO TV, the Seattle PI, and KBCS cover the story, the police handcuff the arrestees, put them in a small paddy wagon at the end of the block, take their ID’s, then release them on the spot, without taking them to jail. Jeremy begins moving his things to the home of another SAFE member. In the meantime, SAFE plans its next steps to fight Wells Fargo. (Deutsche Bank apparently owns Jeremy’s home, but Wells Fargo has full authority to dispose of his property as they see fit.) The result is that Jeremy now lives in a different, less spacious home; South Park has another empty house for the neighborhood’s arsonist to target — yes, three empty homes in South Park have been set afire, one as many as three times in the past three years — and Wells Fargo is left with an asset they will not sell. Why? Because SAFE will make it clear to any prospective buyer that Jeremy’s South Park home comes, for no additional charge, with a long-term protest. This is Wells Fargo’s “solution” to the foreclosure crisis: ruin families and neighborhoods! SAFE’s solution: Let Jeremy pay to stay in his home. The banks cannot simply throw people out of their homes without hearing from the people, especially when Seattle has more empty homes than people sleeping on the street. Wells Fargo, this protest ain’t over.