Oakland Debate Richmond Foreclosure Strategy

City may need to assist neighbor while handling its own difficult foreclosure horizon

With lots of talk and no action, the public meeting to decide on how to handle the Richmond future foreclosures was an important one nonetheless. The reason is because Richmond may well need the support of surrounding cities as the city struggles with increasingly impatient banks.

The Oakland city council spent over two full hours debating the Richmond eminent-domain strategy (known as Richmond Cares program). Some councilmembers looked to show solidarity to Richmond, and to also look into the looming Oakland foreclosure problem. Other councilmembers wanted the city’s attorney to look over Richmond’s proposal and consider utilizing a similar program for Oakland.

And in usual bureaucratic fashion, the whole issue was tabled until November 19 when the council reconvenes. However, the debate over the situation is at least not a dormant one as councilmembers continued to argue their points following the close. The city is currently grappling with foreclosures that is not much different than that seen in Richmond.

The majority of speakers that pushed for Oakland to back the Richmond program in some capacity were highly vocal. “The people of Oakland are truly in a very desperate situation and we need all of the help that we can get,” said Councilwoman Desley Brooks.

Jovanka Beckles, a Richmond councilperson, was happy to hear that Oakland may join the support system for the Richmond program to lower the principle for the city. “That’s great and beautiful,” she said. “I hope they take it further by looking into the program themselves.”

The attempts to shield Richmond from the liability of a increasing number of foreclosures does have its resistance. The Bank of New York filed a suit against Richmond a week prior, which was recently dismissed. The city is pressing forward regardless of the likely litigation to come its way.

“These are big companies. They have a lot of power, they have a lot of money,” Beckles said. “None of us as individual cities can do it alone, but now we’re seeing that if we band together we can actually succeed.”

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