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July 05, 2008



Funny, Obama's name is absent from today's Tribune story. Jarrett is mentioned, but not her major role in the Obama campaign.


Good point. It was the Tribune story that used the words "change and hope". Obama didn't bring much of that to his constituents. He talks a lot about his time in Chicago, as a community organizer and state Senator. I don't remember hearing him mention he coauthored the bill creating tax credits for developers. He didn't mention it in this ad. Maybe the Republicans can give him some free advertising and mention it in one of theirs.

Thanks for the comment!

Mike Volpe

Don't forget that Obama also received a "VIP" loan of his own from Northern Trust. In reality, Barack Obama is everything he claims to be against with regards to housing. While he stumps by giving speeches in which he mentions stories of poor folks being taken advantage of, and proclaims with righteous indignation that the close relationship between banks and politicians created this problem, he is in fact as close to banks as any other politician. He has been corrupted as much as any other politician. Too bad the MSM for the most part is not covering this. Here is how I summarized it...



Great post, Mike. There's got to be a GOP ad in there somewhere, if McCain will use it. Obama is a hypocrite, no doubt whatsoever.

Here is something I read this morning about Obama and Northern Trust, the bank Obama supposedly had no prior relationship with:

Barack Obama served on the board of directors of Woods Fund of Chicago from 1993 to 2001.
The fund also used Northern Trust for financial services, which is the same company that provided Obama his 2005 mortgage.
As reported previously, the Obamas' financed their upscale Hyde Park home in 2005 through a mortgage with Northern Trust and obtained a better than average mortgage rate. Coincidentally, Woods Fund had started using Northern Trust investment services a couple of years earlier. The 2005 Woods Fund 990-PF tax filing shows that the fund paid $105,583 in fees and also participated in a Northern Trust private equity fund. Ayers and Stanback were still on the board of directors at that time so it is possible that one of them was somehow involved in helping Obama choose Northern Trust.

Here's the link.

Grove Parc Tenants Association

Tenants call on all candidates to support Human Right to Housing

In recent days, leading news organizations around the country have reported on the housing policies of Senator Barack Obama, following a feature article published in the Boston Globe which highlighted the example of the Grove Parc Plaza Apartments, a subsidized housing complex in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood that we call home.

The Globe Article, while rightly raising concerns about the failure of the private sector to adequately provide for the housing needs of the poor, unfortunately leaves out half of the story. Grove Parc is not just an example of the failures of past policies, but a beacon of hope for the way forward. Tenants have not only stopped foreclosure and the displacement of some 500 low income families, but also brought in new management committed to working with the tenants to rebuild affordable and quality housing for all residents. In so doing, we have highlighted two fundamental principles that both presidential candidates would do well to heed as they finalize their housing policy platforms,-- first, the full participation of tenants, who have the biggest stake in housing policy, and second, the guarantee of quality housing for all as a human right and social responsibility.

In the wake of massive housing cuts, privatization, and foreclosures that have left millions without a stable home – problems for which both major political parties must take responsibility - it is time for both candidates to tell the American people how they will ensure quality housing as a human right and reality for every American family. In short, the new administration must ensure a roof over the head of all American families.

Never has it been clearer that government has to play an active role in ensuring that America’s families have safe, decent housing. Millions of home-owners are facing foreclosure. Gas, food and utility prices are sky-rocketing. Thousands of units of public housing are being torn down from New Orleans to Miami to Chicago and close to 500,000 families - including many elderly and disabled - may soon be put out on the streets due to Congress under-funding HUD’s subsidized housing program by $2.8 billion this year. Homelessness and poverty will continue to rise until we treat housing as a human right rather than a source of profit for speculators and developers. In Chicago, for example, a recent study published in the Chicago Tribune shows that a minimum wage worker would have to work 97 hours a week, 52 weeks a year to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. Low-income communities of color, in particular, are being ravaged by this crisis, which extends far beyond housing. Displacement weakens our communities and in so doing makes problems like youth violence and unstable schools even worse. The promise of “mixed-income” communities has been a smoke screen for a set of policies that have involved tearing down lots of housing and replacing very little of it. The people affected by these policies are never at the table when they are created.

While the Globe article raises important points about the problems in both public and subsidized housing, it fails to highlight the role played by massive budget cuts to HUD, which has created a lack of oversight over all HUD programs. These cuts have been carried forth by both parties, and their effects have been made even worse by rampant corruption in the last HUD administration, whose Bush-appointed National Secretary, Alphonso Jackson, recently stepped down amidst allegations of contract steering.

But there is another way forward. Our nation needs to guarantee the Human Right to Housing for all of its citizens, regardless of income and race, and to ensure that the people affected by policies are active participants in creating them. As a start we call on both candidates to commit to:

• Fully fund HUD
The 2008 HUD subsidized housing budget was under-funded by $2.8 billion dollars, threatening to triple the rents of 500,000 families overnight (40% of whom are the elderly and disabled) unless Congress acts fast.

• Support tenant empowerment and oversight
Grove Parc is turning around because as tenants we are taking control of our housing. We chose a new management company, stopped HUD from foreclosing on our complex, and have won awards around the country for our efforts. Grove Parc is proving that when the people who live in housing finally have a voice in how it is run another future for subsidized housing is possible.

• Declare a moratorium on demolition of public housing and foreclosures
Most of the public sees housing subsidies as hand-outs to the poor, not realizing that the vast majority of HUD subsidies go to first time home buyers. Ironically, now both groups are in the same boat, unsure of where to look for housing as banks are bailed out but homeowners are left hanging while the few safety nets that exist continue to be decimated by the current administration.

• Create a comprehensive plan to ensure the human right to housing for all
We hope that the both campaigns will see this as an opportunity to take a strong stand for Housing as a Human Right and to take a critical look at the failure of privatizing housing and the need for strong public oversight and tenant control. Some will undoubtedly use the stories of wasted money and failed housing in the Globe article as justification to further cut these programs. Cutting badly needed subsidies in any housing program, especially in economic times like we are in, is irresponsible, unethical and inefficient, creating many unforeseen costs to society. With better oversight and regulation, an expansion of all housing programs and tenant inclusion in policy-making, the Human Right to decent and safe housing can become a reality for all.

“Housing is a Human Right – We won’t go without a fight!”


The Facts

The response to Grove Parc's response above says "Some of the tenants are angry that Obama didn't notice their plight" and say that those "some" are right and we are wrong. Actually the only tenants the reporter talked to were the same tenants who wrote this response... Did you ever consider that maybe the reporter might be distorting tenants' words? Notice the quote... it says "nobody noticed"... not "Obama didn't notice."

In fact the problems at Grove Parc extended WAY back to before he represented the district. And it was HUD's failure cause somehow they managed not to notice the deterioration until suddenly the land was valuable to a nearby expanding institution - the university of chicago - at which point they took action to displace residents, and residents had to fight HUD as well as the owners to get to the point we're at today.


Are you saying HUD was in collusion with the University of Chicago? I can well imagine HUD might want to sell the property (I'm no fan of HUD), but they could not have pulled it off if the property had passed inspection. I've seen nothing that would convince me the property was in good enough shape to pass inspection. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Regardless, the fact of the matter is Obama's friends and supporters were in charge of managing the property. They were paid handsomely to do so. They did not. But somehow they are not to blame. Oh, and if Obama did notice, what did he do about it? Did he force his friends and contributors to do what they were paid to do? Did he stand up for his constituents? Whose side was he on, anyway?


Malkin -- No peace in Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens: What Obama and Jarrett left behind

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The Federalist Papers

  • Degree of Madness
    "...... ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm.....But what DEGREE OF MADNESS could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity." Federalist #46 James Madison

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