Friday, February 27, 2009 has been updated - Transportation

Important new information has been posted on the web site. Please click on the headline: 2.27.09 Important New Information and Deadlines Regarding Transportation Projects and Federal highway Administration Dollars at

Thursday, February 26, 2009

CDFI Fund Update: New Webpage Created for CDFI Fund's Recovery Efforts

To comply with requires related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Recovery Act), the CDFI Fund has created a new section to its public website that will be the source of all information related to the CDFI Fund’s implementation of the Recovery Act.

The new webpage is located at:

The CDFI Fund will be releasing its detailed implantation plan, via this new webpage, in the very near future.

President Obama's FY 2010 Budget Request Doubles Funding for CDFI Fund

National Fairness Campaign Session III Washington DC March 9 2009

National Fairness Campaign Session III Washington DC

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice African American History Month Program

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Every year, in February, we attempt to recognize and to appreciate black history. It is a worthwhile endeavor for the contributions of African Americans to this great nation are numerous and significant. Even as we fight a war against terrorism, deal with the reality of electing an African American as our President for the first time and deal with the other significant issues of the day, the need to confront our racial past, and our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country, endures. One cannot truly understand America without understanding the historical experience of black people in this nation. Simply put, to get to the heart of this country one must examine its racial soul.

Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us. But we must do more- and we in this room bear a special responsibility. Through its work and through its example this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must - and will - lead the nation to the "new birth of freedom" so long ago promised by our greatest President. This is our duty and our solemn obligation.

We commemorated five years ago, the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. And though the world in which we now live is fundamentally different than that which existed then, this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past nor has it been willing to contemplate, in a truly meaningful way, the diverse future it is fated to have. To our detriment, this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race. And so I would suggest that we use February of every year to not only commemorate black history but also to foster a period of dialogue among the races. This is admittedly an artificial device to generate discussion that should come more naturally, but our history is such that we must find ways to force ourselves to confront that which we have become expert at avoiding.

As a nation we have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race. And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by "American instinct" and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character. And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated.

As a nation we should use Black History month as a means to deal with this continuing problem. By creating what will admittedly be, at first, artificial opportunities to engage one another we can hasten the day when the dream of individual, character based, acceptance can actually be realized. To respect one another we must have a basic understanding of one another. And so we should use events such as this to not only learn more about the facts of black history but also to learn more about each other. This will be, at first, a process that is both awkward and painful but the rewards are potentially great. The alternative is to allow to continue the polite, restrained mixing that now passes as meaningful interaction but that accomplishes little. Imagine if you will situations where people- regardless of their skin color- could confront racial issues freely and without fear. The potential of this country, that is becoming increasingly diverse, would be greatly enhanced.

I fear however, that we are taking steps that, rather than advancing us as a nation are actually dividing us even further. We still speak too much of "them" and not "us". There can, for instance, be very legitimate debate about the question of affirmative action. This debate can, and should, be nuanced, principled and spirited. But the conversation that we now engage in as a nation on this and other racial subjects is too often simplistic and left to those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest. Our history has demonstrated that the vast majority of Americans are uncomfortable with, and would like to not have to deal with, racial matters and that is why those, black or white, elected or self-appointed, who promise relief in easy, quick solutions, no matter how divisive, are embraced. We are then free to retreat to our race protected cocoons where much is comfortable and where progress is not really made. If we allow this attitude to persist in the face of the most significant demographic changes that this nation has ever confronted- and remember, there will be no majority race in America in about fifty years- the coming diversity that could be such a powerful, positive force will, instead, become a reason for stagnation and polarization. We cannot allow this to happen and one way to prevent such an unwelcome outcome is to engage one another more routinely- and to do so now.

As I indicated before, the artificial device that is Black History month is a perfect vehicle for the beginnings of such a dialogue. And so I urge all of you to use the opportunity of this month to talk with your friends and co-workers on the other side of the divide about racial matters. In this way we can hasten the day when we truly become one America.

It is also clear that if we are to better understand one another the study of black history is essential because the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other. It is for this reason that the study of black history is important to everyone- black or white. For example, the history of the United States in the nineteenth century revolves around a resolution of the question of how America was going to deal with its black inhabitants.

The great debates of that era and the war that was ultimately fought are all centered around the issue of, initially, slavery and then the reconstruction of the vanquished region. A dominant domestic issue throughout the twentieth century was, again, America's treatment of its black citizens. The civil rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's changed America in truly fundamental ways. Americans of all colors were forced to examine basic beliefs and long held views. Even so, most people, who are not conversant with history, still do not really comprehend the way in which that movement transformed America. In racial terms the country that existed before the civil rights struggle is almost unrecognizable to us today. Separate public facilities, separate entrances, poll taxes, legal discrimination, forced labor, in essence an American apartheid, all were part of an America that the movement destroyed. To attend her state’s taxpayer supported college in 1963 my late sister in law had to be escorted to class by United States Marshals and past the state’s governor, George Wallace. That frightening reality seems almost unthinkable to us now. The civil rights movement made America, if not perfect, better.

In addition, the other major social movements of the latter half of the twentieth century- feminism, the nation's treatment of other minority groups, even the anti-war effort- were all tied in some way to the spirit that was set free by the quest for African American equality. Those other movements may have occurred in the absence of the civil rights struggle but the fight for black equality came first and helped to shape the way in which other groups of people came to think of themselves and to raise their desire for equal treatment. Further, many of the tactics that were used by these other groups were developed in the civil rights movement.

And today the link between the black experience and this country is still evident. While the problems that continue to afflict the black community may be more severe, they are an indication of where the rest of the nation may be if corrective measures are not taken. Our inner cities are still too conversant with crime but the level of fear generated by that crime, now found in once quiet, and now electronically padlocked suburbs is alarming and further demonstrates that our past, present and future are linked. It is not safe for this nation to assume that the unaddressed social problems in the poorest parts of our country can be isolated and will not ultimately affect the larger society.

Black history is extremely important because it is American history. Given this, it is in some ways sad that there is a need for a black history month. Though we are all enlarged by our study and knowledge of the roles played by blacks in American history, and though there is a crying need for all of us to know and acknowledge the contributions of black America, a black history month is a testament to the problem that has afflicted blacks throughout our stay in this country. Black history is given a separate, and clearly not equal, treatment by our society in general and by our educational institutions in particular.

As a former American history major I am struck by the fact that such a major part of our national story has been divorced from the whole. In law, culture, science, athletics, industry and other fields, knowledge of the roles played by blacks is critical to an understanding of the American experiment. For too long we have been too willing to segregate the study of black history. There is clearly a need at present for a device that focuses the attention of the country on the study of the history of its black citizens. But we must endeavor to integrate black history into our culture and into our curriculums in ways in which it has never occurred before so that the study of black history, and a recognition of the contributions of black Americans, become commonplace. Until that time, Black History Month must remain an important, vital concept. But we have to recognize that until black history is included in the standard curriculum in our schools and becomes a regular part of all our lives, it will be viewed as a novelty, relatively unimportant and not as weighty as so called "real" American history.

I, like many in my generation, have been fortunate in my life and have had a great number of wonderful opportunities. Some may consider me to be a part of black history. But we do a great disservice to the concept of black history recognition if we fail to understand that any success that I have had, cannot be viewed in isolation. I stood, and stand, on the shoulders of many other black Americans. Admittedly, the identities of some of these people, through the passage of time, have become lost to us- the men, and women, who labored long in fields, who were later legally and systemically discriminated against, who were lynched by the hundreds in the century just past and those others who have been too long denied the fruits of our great American culture. The names of too many of these people, these heroes and heroines, are lost to us. But the names of others of these people should strike a resonant chord in the historical ear of all in our nation: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Charles Drew, Paul Robeson, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Vivian Malone, Rosa Parks, Marion Anderson, Emmit Till. These are just some of the people who should be generally recognized and are just some of the people to whom all of us, black and white, owe such a debt of gratitude. It is on their broad shoulders that I stand as I hope that others will some day stand on my more narrow ones.

Black history is a subject worthy of study by all our nation's people. Blacks have played a unique, productive role in the development of America. Perhaps the greatest strength of the United States is the diversity of its people and to truly understand this country one must have knowledge of its constituent parts. But an unstudied, not discussed and ultimately misunderstood diversity can become a divisive force. An appreciation of the unique black past, acquired through the study of black history, will help lead to understanding and true compassion in the present, where it is still so sorely needed, and to a future where all of our people are truly valued.

Thank you.


Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan

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February 18, 2009

Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan

Executive Summary

Read the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan Fact Sheet HERE

Read Support Under the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan: Three Cases HERE

The deep contraction in the economy and in the housing market has created devastating consequences for homeowners and communities throughout the country.

  • Millions of responsible families who make their monthly payments and fulfill their obligations have seen their property values fall, and are now unable to refinance at lower mortgage rates.

  • Millions of workers have lost their jobs or had their hours cut back, are now struggling to stay current on their mortgage payments – with nearly 6 million households facing possible foreclosure.

  • Neighborhoods are struggling, as each foreclosed home reduces nearby property values by as much as 9 percent.

  1. Refinancing for Up to 4 to 5 Million Responsible Homeowners to Make Their Mortgages More Affordable

  2. A $75 Billion Homeowner Stability Initiative to Reach Up to 3 to 4 Million At-Risk Homeowners

  3. Supporting Low Mortgage Rates By Strengthening Confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is part of the President's broad, comprehensive strategy to get the economy back on track. The plan will help up to 7 to 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages to avoid foreclosure. In doing so, the plan not only helps responsible homeowners on the verge of defaulting, but prevents neighborhoods and communities from being pulled over the edge too, as defaults and foreclosures contribute to falling home values, failing local businesses, and lost jobs. The key components of the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan are:

1. Affordability: Provide Access to Low-Cost Refinancing for Responsible Homeowners Suffering From Falling Home Prices

  • Enabling Up to 4 to 5 Million Responsible Homeowners to Refinance: Mortgage rates are currently at historically low levels, providing homeowners with the opportunity to reduce their monthly payments by refinancing. But under current rules, most families who owe more than 80 percent of the value of their homes have a difficult time refinancing. Yet millions of responsible homeowners who put money down and made their mortgage payments on time have – through no fault of their own – seen the value of their homes drop low enough to make them unable to access these lower rates. As a result, the Obama Administration is announcing a new program that will help as many as 4 to 5 million responsible homeowners who took out conforming loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to refinance through those two institutions.
  • Reducing Monthly Payments: For many families, a low-cost refinancing could reduce mortgage payments by thousands of dollars per year:

Consider a family that took out a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of $207,000 with an interest rate of 6.50% on a house worth $260,000 at the time. Today, that family has about $200,000 remaining on their mortgage, but the value of that home has fallen 15 percent to $221,000 – making them ineligible for today's low interest rates that now generally require the borrower to have 20 percent home equity. Under this refinancing plan, that family could refinance to a rate near 5.16% – reducing their annual payments by over $2,300.

2. Stability: Create A $75 Billion Homeowner Stability Initiative to Reach Up to 3 to 4 Million At-Risk Homeowners

  • Helping Hard-Pressed Homeowners Stay in their Homes: This initiative is intended to reach millions of responsible homeowners who are struggling to afford their mortgage payments because of the current recession, yet cannot sell their homes because prices have fallen so significantly. Millions of hard-working families have seen their mortgage payments rise to 40 or even 50 percent of their monthly income – particularly those who received subprime and exotic loans with exploding terms and hidden fees. The Homeowner Stability Initiative helps those who commit to make reasonable monthly mortgage payments to stay in their homes – providing families with security and neighborhoods with stability.

  • No Aid for Speculators: This initiative will go solely to helping homeowners who commit to make payments to stay in their home – it will not aid speculators or house flippers.

  • Protecting Neighborhoods: This plan will also help to stabilize home prices for all homeowners in a neighborhood. When a home goes into foreclosure, the entire neighborhood is hurt. The average homeowner could see his or her home value stabilized against declines in price by as much as $6,000 relative to what it would otherwise be absent the Homeowner Stability Initiative.

  • Providing Support for Responsible Homeowners: Because loan modifications are more likely to succeed if they are made before a borrower misses a payment, the plan will include households at risk of imminent default despite being current on their mortgage payments.

  • Providing Loan Modifications to Bring Monthly Payments to Sustainable Levels: The Homeowner Stability Initiative has a simple goal: reduce the amount homeowners owe per month to sustainable levels. Using money allocated under the Financial Stability Plan and the full strength of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, this program has several key components:

      • A Shared Effort to Reduce Monthly Payments: For a sample household with payments adding up to 43 percent of his monthly income, the lender would first be responsible for bringing down interest rates so that the borrower's monthly mortgage payment is no more than 38 percent of his or her income. Next, the initiative would match further reductions in interest payments dollar-for-dollar with the lender to bring that ratio down to 31 percent. If that borrower had a $220,000 mortgage, that could mean a reduction in monthly payments by over $400. That lower interest rate must be kept in place for five years, after which it could gradually be stepped up to the conforming loan rate in place at the time of the modification. Lenders will also be able to bring down monthly payments by reducing the principal owed on the mortgage, with Treasury sharing in the costs.

      • "Pay for Success" Incentives to Servicers: Servicers will receive an up-front fee of $1,000 for each eligible modification meeting guidelines established under this initiative. They will also receive "pay for success" fees – awarded monthly as long as the borrower stays current on the loan – of up to $1,000 each year for three years.

      • Incentives to Help Borrowers Stay Current: To provide an extra incentive for borrowers to keep paying on time, the initiative will provide a monthly balance reduction payment that goes straight towards reducing the principal balance of the mortgage loan. As long as a borrower stays current on his or her loan, he or she can get up to $1,000 each year for five years.

      • Reaching Borrowers Early: To keep lenders focused on reaching borrowers who are trying their best to stay current on their mortgages, an incentive payment of $500 will be paid to servicers, and an incentive payment of $1,500 will be paid to mortgage holders, if they modify at-risk loans before the borrower falls behind.

      • Home Price Decline Reserve Payments: To encourage lenders to modify more mortgages and enable more families to keep their homes, the Administration -- together with the FDIC -- has developed an innovative partial guarantee initiative. The insurance fund – to be created by the Treasury Department at a size of up to $10 billion – will be designed to discourage lenders from opting to foreclose on mortgages that could be viable now out of fear that home prices will fall even further later on. Holders of mortgages modified under the program would be provided with an additional insurance payment on each modified loan, linked to declines in the home price index.

  • Institute Clear and Consistent Guidelines for Loan Modifications: Treasury will develop uniform guidance for loan modifications across the mortgage industry, working closely with the bank agencies and building on the FDIC's pioneering work. The Guidelines will be used for the Administration's new foreclosure prevention plan. Moreover, all financial institutions receiving Financial Stability Plan financial assistance going forward will be required to implement loan modification plans consistent with Treasury Guidance. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will use these guidelines for loans that they own or guarantee, and the Administration will work with regulators and other federal and state agencies to implement these guidelines across the entire mortgage market. The agencies will seek to apply these guidelines when permissible and appropriate to all loans owned or guaranteed by the federal government, including those owned or guaranteed by Ginnie Mae, the Federal Housing Administration, Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, Veterans' Affairs and the Department of Agriculture.

  • Other Comprehensive Measures to Reduce Foreclosure and Strengthen Communities

    • Require Strong Oversight, Reporting and Quarterly Meetings with Treasury, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve and HUD to Monitor Performance

    • Allow Judicial Modifications of Home Mortgages During Bankruptcy for Borrowers Who Have Run Out of Options

    • Provide $1.5 Billion in Relocation and Other Forms of Assistance to Renters Displaced by Foreclosure and $2 Billion in Neighborhood Stabilization Funds

    • Improve the Flexibility of Hope for Homeowners and Other FHA Programs to Modify and Refinance At-Risk Borrowers

3. Supporting Low Mortgage Rates By Strengthening Confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:

  • Ensuring Strength and Security of the Mortgage Market: Today, using funds already authorized in 2008 by Congress for this purpose, the Treasury Department is increasing its funding commitment to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ensure the strength and security of the mortgage market and to help maintain mortgage affordability.

    • Provide Forward-Looking Confidence: The increased funding will enable Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to carry out ambitious efforts to ensure mortgage affordability for responsible homeowners, and provide forward-looking confidence in the mortgage market.

    • Treasury is increasing its Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements to $200 billion each from their original level of $100 billion each.

  • Promoting Stability and Liquidity: In addition, the Treasury Department will continue to purchase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities to promote stability and liquidity in the marketplace.
  • Increasing The Size of Mortgage Portfolios: To ensure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can continue to provide assistance in addressing problems in the housing market, Treasury will also be increasing the size of the GSEs' retained mortgage portfolios allowed under the agreements – by $50 billion to $900 billion – along with corresponding increases in the allowable debt outstanding.
  • Support State Housing Finance Agencies: The Administration will work with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to support state housing finance agencies in serving homebuyers.
  • No EESA or Financial Stability Plan Money: The $200 billion in funding commitments are being made under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act and do not use any money from the Financial Stability Plan or Emergency Economic Stabilization Act/TARP.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Morris Williams, NCRC Board Member


1823 Andina Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio 45237
(513) 641-5446

December 1, 2008

Hon. Barney Frank, Chairperson
House Financial Services Committee
US House of Representatives
2252 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515

Hon. Christopher Dodd, Chairperson
Senate Banking Committee
US Senate
448 Russell Building
Washington, DC

RE: Economic Bail Out of Taxpayers/Homeowners

Dear Chairman Frank and Chairman Dodd:

The purpose for this letter is to encourage Congress and the Administration to spend taxpayer dollars to bail out the taxpayers/homeowners and secure their assets and wealth.

The Hamilton County Community Reinvestment Group (HCCRG), located in Cincinnati, Ohio, has as its mission, to increase fair and equal access to capital, credit, and financial services. Based on this mission, HCCRG sends this letter to you because of the central roles you play in influencing the economic legislation, regulations, and programs relative to the foreclosure crisis, the “bail out,” and all of the issues which led up to both. This letter is also sent to you because legislative leaders represent those constituents who voted them in, and Congressional leaders state “they represent the best interest of all American taxpayers and voters.”

Families have lost their homes, their greatest asset. Whether they were owners or tenants, they have also lost most of their personal belongings, their self esteem, and have lost their trust in their government’s willingness to protect them from gauging and other economic crimes. As HCCRG’s representative to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), I have met many times with bank executives, regulatory leaders, and congressional leaders, as well as with you and/or your lead staff. I am satisfied that enough facts have been presented on a number of unethical and illegal practices of Main Street Banks, Wall Street Banks, Government Services Enterprises (GSEs –Fannie Mae/FreddieMac), Mortgage Bankers, and others which have significantly contributed to this deep recession.

Mr. Frank and Mr. Dodd
Page 2

We have also shared our data relative to the lack of regulatory enforcement by the Federal Reserve, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Justice Department. We have expressed our views concerning the poor functioning of mortgage rating agencies, as well as an ineffective Securities and Exchange Commission that is suppose to ensure transparency in the financial markets and protect investors from the corporate fraud and other insider manipulations identified in Congressional briefings. Therefore, I won’t detail their failures in this letter.

However, government money (taxpayer money) has been, is being, and will be used to bail “failed financial institutions,” and individual rich investors out of financial difficulty, so that their assets and wealth are secured. So, HCCRG raises the question, why won’t Congress and the Administration spend taxpayer dollars to bail out the taxpayers/homeowners and secure their assets and wealth?

This recession begin out of the financial markets (lenders, securitizers, appraisers, raters, regulators, etc.) from which too many loan, securitization, and other financial policy and program decisions were made that have been called everything from, unethical to illegal. We now know that too many homes were over appraised, and the interest rates assigned were higher than the assessed risk required. We now know that “risk-based pricing” was higher to create a wider investment opportunity for lenders, Wall Street, and rich investors. These high cost loan terms had nothing to do with real risk of the borrower. Why should homeowners be required to pay for corporate attorneys or even their own lawyers when the crisis was induced by the lenders and investors at many levels far away from the original loan? Congress can provide additional protection by amending bankruptcy provisions so that homes cannot be lost because of this recession.

HCCRG understands that liquidity for financial institutions is necessary. But, the determination of how much tax money to give away should be determined after you first, spend “bail out” dollars (taxpayer dollars) to restore liquidity to taxpayers who are homeowners in foreclosure; homeowners in default; and other homeowners with predatory mortgage terms. A moratorium on foreclosures and deep restructuring of predatory loans will go far to stop the bleeding at the core of our economy; provide liquidity to lenders through restored mortgage payments; and most important, keep families in their homes. A large number of these homeowners may ultimately become the first in their family to leave a home, a valued fixed asset, to their children as an inheritance.

By definition, net income is what workers have to spend. Given our economy, “cured” mortgages should be no more than 24-30% of net income. This provides an (emergency) cure for the largest number of homeowners (taxpayers), and the amount of dollars saved each month can be spent in other sectors of the economy. To achieve this, principal and interest rates must be cut; adjustable rate mortgages must be converted to 30-40 year fixed rates; balloons must be significantly reduced or eliminated. Late charges, other penalties, and even legal fees must be waived. If these terms are not treated as many have recommended, our observation suggest that most of these families will be in default again within a year.

In addition to “bail out” dollars, money should be recaptured from a minimum of five years of excessive executive bonuses, executive salaries and “retirement and other parachutes.” These dollars should be invested in financial instruments that provide the capital for major system restoration of all homes wherein loans were/are modified and restructured. This type of bail out will create jobs in all housing crafts, create and sustain jobs of suppliers and for manufacturers. The capital from these jobs will provide

Mr. Frank and Mr. Dodd
Page 3

additional liquidity for banks through deposits from contractor/worker incomes, and from consumer and business expenditures. Homeowners will gain instant equity (which we should freeze); they will gain an improved standard of living; and they will regain their self-esteem. Surrounding properties will regain value, and the investment grade quality of mortgages and mortgage backed securities will be strengthened. Income taxes, property taxes, and sales taxes will be generated for government services, and all of these funds, when deposited, will provide even more liquidity for banks.

It is HCCRG’s position, that in addition to Federal Reserve member banks borrowing capital at an extremely low cost at the “Fed Window” and having access to FDIC insurance to help banks attract deposits, the Congress and Administration also have many other tools to do more than just “encourage” banks to solve the problems they created. Giving taxpayer money to Wall Street Banks enables them to buy again from Main Street Banks. Giving taxpayer money to Main Street Banks enables them to buy again from Mortgage Banks, and loan, at great rates, to the upper middle classes and the rich and wealthy. By definition they are alright and will be better off once the economy at the bottom is restored. Massive foreclosures and subsidized corporate bailouts that have created false “buy low, sell high” market opportunities at the cost of working and middle class homeowners are the reasons why so many have called this a “class war” on Americans.

Many media sources and even many legislators flee from the idea of a class war. We heard continuing stories for the Wall Street Banks and Main Street banks to get a government bailout. But, where are the continuing stories about the taxpayer being bailed out? I participated in the S&L bailout discussions on Capital Hill, and watched all the rich investors and financial institutions “made whole.” But, working and middle class homeowners hurt during that crash, got little or no financial compensation from that bailout…and here we are again. This time, homeowners, who are also taxpayers, must benefit from their own money, otherwise the Congress and the Administration will really, only represent the rich investors and “too large to fail” businesses, while the majority of Americans and small business are left to their demise.

While the above steps can provide an immediate boost to the economy, infrastructure repair (roads, bridges, streets, fresh water pipelines, etc.) and green strategies (energy, clean air and water) will not only begin to restore our country and strengthen our future, these additional steps will generate hundreds of thousands of well paying jobs that cannot be sent overseas; feed families and businesses, including the automobile and other industries. All of these steps combined will enable workers to obtain private sector health and educational benefits until other slower steps can be implemented. Nevertheless, if the Congress intends to keep scores of other businesses from failing, extended unemployment benefits must be authorized, and a $2,000 stimulus check must be issued, which would allow for savings, debt reduction and consumer spending. Although these are pass through monies that provide individuals some cash flow (liquitity) and support, these monies go directly to banks before they are spent and provide liquitity to all consumer based businesses.

Even though HCCRG’s primary focus is Hamilton County and America, through NCRC, we participate in global banking, workforce development, and production considerations as well. In this regard, HCCRG recognizes that another component of any economic recovery is the degree to which the American government, corporations and citizens can achieve profits from outside America.

Mr. Frank and Mr. Dodd
Page 4

Bank and environmental regulators who enforce, as well as establish consumer protection rules; and a justice department that aggressively litigates against fraud, race discrimination, and other violations are clear necessities given America’s experiences with the S&L scandals and bailout, and now these scandals and “Bank Bailout.”

There is a lot in this short letter, but a lot must be done now, simultaneously. By the time President-Elect Obama takes office, too many families will have lost their homes and jobs, and too many small businesses will have closed. Recovery for them will almost be impossible. As time is of the essence, the only responses HCCRG requires are your actions.

For additional comments and clarity, I can be reached at 513-641-5446 and/or at the addresses appearing on this letterhead.


Morris Williams


CC: HCCRG Advisers

John Taylor, CEO, National Community Reinvestment Coalition
President George Bush
President-Elect Barack Obama
Henry Paulson, Treasury Secretary
Hon. Nancy Pelosi, US House of Representatives
Hon. Harry Reid, US Senate
Hon. Steve Driehaus, Ohio State Representative, US House of Representatives-Elect
Hon. George Voinovich, US Senate
Hon. Eric Kearney, Ohio State Senator
Hon. Tyrone Yates, Ohio State Representative
Hon. Todd Portune, President, Hamilton County Commissioners
Hon. Mark Mallory, Mayor, Cincinnati, Ohio

Friday, February 13, 2009

Open Post - What Do You Think?

What did you think on todays National Capacity Building Symposium in Cleveland and the stimulus billcalled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

A Message from Governor Ted Strickland

Welcome to Ohio's virtual headquarters for information regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — also known as the federal stimulus bill.

President Barack Obama is currently working with Congress to pass legislation that will kick-start the national economy through investments in areas such as:

  • Producing Clean and Efficient Energy in Ohio
  • Investing in Science and Technology to Advance Ohio's Economy
  • Modernizing our Roads, Bridges, Transit and Waterways
  • Developing a 21st Century Education System
  • Implementing Tax Cuts that Make Work Pay and Create Jobs
  • Lowering Healthcare Costs
  • Providing Assistance to Ohio Workers Hurt by the Economic Downturn
  • Saving Public Sector Jobs and Protecting Vital Services for Ohioans

We must act strategically and boldly to take full advantage of this unique opportunity to make lasting investments in our state. And we must do so in a way that is accountable and transparent and meets the critical economic development priorities of our communities across the state.

This website is an interactive portal for entities to submit expressions of interest in federal stimulus dollars and to view general information about the federal stimulus. Although the bill will not be finalized until signed into law by the president, it is expected that all stimulus grant and loan funds will ultimately be distributed to governments, business and other organizations and not directly to individuals. We will provide additional information on the stimulus as it becomes available.

Thank you for your interest and for your support in continuing to build Ohio's economy. Working together, we will invest the federal stimulus resources wisely to ensure Ohio's continued economic growth.

Ted Strickland

Monday, February 9, 2009

The National Fairness Campaign Symposium in Cleveland

“Enforcement and Regulation”
A Retrospective & Best Practices Identification Symposium

To be held at the Unified Technologies Center at Cuyahoga Community College main campus on Friday 13th 2009, Cleveland, Ohio 9:00 AM - 4:00PM

The National Fairness Campaign will review past political agreements and governing compacts and their relationship to the social, economic development environment under an Obama Presidency. The National Fairness Campaign will also identify and address historic moral gaps.

Ohio is a focal point of the National Fairness Campaign because it is middle America, and has demonstrated past and current innovations to address fairness and capacity building, including state government minority business development programs, initiatives to increase the budget for the African American males commission, and the creation of the proposed 2009 American Reinvestment & Recovery Program and federal solutions.

National Fairness Campaign Steering Committee

General Chairman Joseph Debro - Co-Founder, National Association of Minority Contractors [NAMC]

Co-Chairwoman Pandora Ramsay - Founding President, Ohio Fairness Campaign

Co-Chairman Irvin Henderson - member of Board of trustee's of the CRA Fund, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

Co-Chairman Fred Hargrove Sr. PE,MBA – President of Hargrove Engineering and Chief Engineer for MDi's BioSafe Level IV Facility AEC/GC ops.

Convener of the National Fairness Campaign Steering Committee

Dr. Robert Day - President, Center for Urban & Rural Redevelopment

Steering Committee Adviser and Panel Moderator
Lawrence Auls and Executive Director LISW, LTD who is a published author

Current Cleveland Panelists

William F. Pickard, PhD – a successful 25 year business owner of manufacturing facilities, Chairman and CEO of Vitec USA, an owner of McDonalds franchisees and a volunteer instructor at Alabama State University

Mark Batson – President, PolicyBridge, Inc

George D. Edwards - Founder and President, Black Trades Council of Ohio

John Lawyer - Interim Vice President, Campus Planning and Operations, Case Western Reserve University

Clifford King - Vice President and CRA Officer, Dollar Bank of Cleveland

Jeff Johnson - Former Ohio State Senator and former city of Cleveland Director of Community Relations.

William Patmon - Former City of Cleveland of Councilman, former Chair of Affirmative Action and Employment Committee.

Carl White – President, The NET Video

Kathryn M. Hall CDP,MA - Resource Specialist Director Major Gifts, Health Programs, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Zakiyyah Saleem - Founder of Buckeye's for Change.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Current Future National Fairness Campaign Cities

Cleveland, Ohio 13th Feb. 2009

Washington DC 9-10th March 2009

Columbus, Ohio

Houston, Texas

New York City

Oakland, Ca.

Chicago, Ill.

Detroit, Mi.

Miami, Fl.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

good work, looking forward to more

Hershel, I really enjoyed the few hours I spent listening to your live symposium yesterday afternoon. I used a Skype hookup and was able to work on the accounting while I listened. Yesterday's content was something you won't read about in this morning's paper or see on Meet The Press. It was an evolution that I think is here to stay. We're finally getting straight talk from people who have been at the scene, and getting it without filters or spin.

Joe Debro was incredible, just no nonsense and stripping away the euphemism, the politically correct and the calculated phrases. We don't have time for that sort of thing any more, and he helps us get up and moving.

Pandora Ramsey gave a new perspective to the intrigues swirling around in the Ohio Fairness Campaign, and mentioned two of our hometown team, Peter Lawson Jones and C. J. Prentiss, quite favorably. Irvin Henderson had some critical insights into economic forces, and Dr. Day showed me a little of what he's made of, and I'm looking forward to working with him.

Lawrence Auls was right on the money when he wrapped it: There has not been another higher quality discussion of these issues than what occurred there, with you all on the conference line, yesterday. I'm looking for repeats and ramping this up, now that we're going into the third time around.