Following Up On The Back Files

Financial Justice Foreclosure Ideas and Issues Rebuild New Orleans

tim-dechristopherNew Orleans Sometimes it’s worth returning to our old themes and seeing what has happened to issues we have raised consistently in the past.  We did so yesterday with Sheriff Arpaio who should serve as a rally cry for all who seek justice.  There are some other issues worth remembering briefly:

◦     Remember Tim DeChristopher who saved thousands of acres of BLM land on the auction block in Utah by stepping up and putting in bids himself.  This had been a sneak attack auction for oil and gas allocations before the end of the Bush Administration.  Most of the properties DeChristopher challenged have now been pulled by the Obama folks some with scorn.  But, what happened to Tim?  He’s about to go to trial on on two felon criminal charges of interfering with a federal auction and making false statements on bidding forms. Let no good deed go unpunished, eh?  He’s hoping to use his day in court to challenge the environmental land policies of the BLM.  Free Tim!

◦     We’ve talked about the charter school hijacking in New Orleans after Katrina.  One of the poster children I brought up was the expropriation of Benjamin Franklin High School (which I attended, as did my daughter), inarguably one of the finest public high schools in the country.  The one school that represented the best work in many ways of the public system in New Orleans and would have been a beacon for rebuilding was seized by a collection of self-interested teachers, administrators, and parents whose primary interest was their own and not the publics.  The issue of racial balance in the school with the rest of the district and elitist concerns about “watering” down the standards were ever present in the background.  Interestingly, Franklin is one of the four schools reported on a list for potential revocation of the charter, because of what seems financial mismanagement issues:  $1M+ in the hole for 2008 and overruns of $500,000 for 2009.  Franklin seems now a case study for why one needs central management and public accountability through elected school board members.

◦     HSBC, the owner of Household International which was one of the big sub-prime operators, used to defend the purchase and management of Household at every turn, but has now admitted that the purchase was a mistake.  Where once Household seemed a foothold for HSBC broadening its reach in the United States, the continuing problems are leading it to refocus on growing markets in Asia and its long presence there as the Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation.  Past CEOs who wouldn’t listen to the warnings are watching as the current CEO relocates the headquarters and his office from London to China.

◦     Erik Eckholm with the Times notes that infant mortality for African-Americans was finally equalized in Madison, Wisconsin.  Outreach – good old fashion home visits – seem to have made the difference.  When will we learn that we can really fix deep issues by hitting the doors?