New Orleans Comcast deigned to meet with representatives of Local 100 United Labor Unions in their offices in Houston on Monday. Once again they tried to slather the butter on the bread with stories of their “good intentions” about internet access for the poor. Once again they promised that they would get back to us. Once again when we asked for real numbers of enrollees and real numbers of goals for outreach and enrollment, the only replies we could get still added up to “no.”
Orell Fitzsimmons, field director for Local 100, sitting in the meeting with a number of our leaders from Head Start units at Gulf Coast and Avance, who knew how little had been done to inform and enroll the children – and parents – they serve, had an excellent line for the Comcast representative. He informed Comcast clearly that, “We are not a faith-based organization. We can’t take your word on how well you think you are doing. We have to know the facts and the real numbers.” Fitzsimmons later told me he even quoted Ronald Reagan at one point from the old SALT missile days, and told Comcast we would need to be able to “verify.”
Maybe we weren’t hearing correctly, but the Comcast VP – they all seem to be VPs – seemed to be saying “make me!” Furthermore he seemed to be insinuating that only the FCC could make them produce the numbers. If that’s the case, then that’s where we will have to go to make this program work, if Comcast won’t live up to its promises.
On another front there was a report on possible progress for some of the homeowners facing foreclosure. The story, as always, was disconcerting when it came to the codependence of the feds with the banks. HUD secretary Shaun Donovan seemed to be wheeling and dealing to buy off different states to accept a deal which would reduce mortgage levels by a small number (the Times reported $20,000 per mortgage, which is a trickle in many communities), and tried to buy off California’s AG with a disproportionate share of the settlement. Luckily, it appears that a number of the state attorneys generals are hip to the fact that the banks only real interest seems to be a “get out of court free” card from them, which Donovan and the feds seem more than willing to help facilitate. Fortunately for many struggling homeowners a number of AGs are insisting that they will not waive their right to sue for the banks shenanigans.
At this point given how long suffering many homeowners have been and how many have already lost their houses, we all ought to hope for real justice, since clearly the time for a quick fix is long gone.