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Sat Jul 14, 2012

Governor signs Collateral Sanction Reform Bill -Fox News Cleveland

Governor John Kasich met with Greater Cleveland Congregations members Monday to discuss collateral sanctions reforms. "You don't want to look the other way when you have a human being that has a chance to realize their God given potential," Kasich said. With that realization, Kasich ceremonially signed into law the Collateral Sanction Reform Bill. It removes job barriers for nearly 2 million Ohioans with criminal records.

 

 
 
Sat Jun 30, 2012

Moving forward on criminal justice reform: Rev. Jawanza Colvin, Rabbi Joshua Caruso and The Very Rev. Tracey Lind -Cleveland Plain Dealer

Earlier this year, nearly 1,000 people from the 40 diverse religious and community groups that constitute Greater Cleveland Congregations gathered at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood to speak with one voice: Our state needs criminal justice reform. Senate Bill 337, which revises Ohio's archaic system of collateral sanctions for ex-offenders re-integrating into our communities, is a tremendous step in the right direction, and we celebrate Gov. John Kasich signing this bill into law.

Sat Jun 16, 2012

City Council gives preliminary OK to bottle tax hike -The Baltimore Sun

An increase to Baltimore's bottle tax — the linchpin of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's plan to raise funds to renovate the city's decrepit school buildings — received preliminary approval from the City Council Monday, likely assuring the measure will become law.  The legislation would raise the tax on bottled beverages from 2 cents to 5 cents in July 2013. Supporters hailed the tax increase as a key step toward the biggest overhaul of city schools in decades.

Sat Jun 16, 2012

New Milwaukee housing program rebuilds houses, lives -Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Martin Sinclair stood Thursday on the steps of the vacant, neglected house in the 2500 block of N. 52nd St., and before a gathering of bankers, government officials and area residents, he confessed.  "I came from the streets and I ran with guys who tore up the community," said Sinclair, 28, an ex-offender. "Now I have the opportunity to give back and fix what I helped to destroy."

Wed Jun 6, 2012

Mitt must stop running from Romneycare -New York Daily News

By Michael Gecan and Cheri Andes

In 2006, then-<a data-cke-saved-href="\\" href="\\&quot;http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mitt+Romney\\&quot;" title="\\&quot;Mitt" romney\\"="">Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney helped save the lives of two sick women: Tammy Stafford and Lavern Barnes.

Mon Jun 4, 2012

Banks: Nearly 1,000 Prince William Co. homeowners eligible for mortgage settlement help -The Washington Post

MANASSAS, Va. — Nearly 1,000 homeowners in Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park have been identified as eligible for assistance in the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement announced this year, two banks reported Sunday at a community meeting.

The announcements about how the housing settlement will affect Prince William County came at a community meeting sponsored by Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), which has been pressing banks to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in Prince William County to compensate for the devastation caused by the wave of foreclosures.

Tue May 29, 2012

East Brooklyn senior citizens are calling on city officials to make intersections safer to cross -New York Daily News

When Evelyn Patterson, 76, crossed Rockaway Blvd. in Ocean Hill on her way to church last month, she had the light — but still found herself dodging speeding cars.  Patterson was too slow for impatient drivers who were turning onto the three-lane street from Eastern Parkway before she was done crossing.

Tue May 15, 2012

In Health Care, Cheaper Can Be Better -The Boston Globe

An Irish adage says: “When you come to a wall that is too high to climb, throw your hat over the wall, and then go get your hat.” That’s what Massachusetts started with its 2006 law requiring just about everyone to get coverage and arranging to make that coverage affordable. Now, it’s time to get the hat.  Legislation to contain costs is the necessary sequel. Reducing costs won’t just rescue health care; it will also help rescue our schools, our roads, our museums, our wages, and the competitiveness of our corporations; that’s because every additional nickel we spend on health care comes from somewhere else — somewhere also important.

Tue May 15, 2012

For New York Police, There’s No End to the Stops -The New York Times

New York City’s public advocate, Bill de Blasioput forward a modest proposal last week. He wants the Police Department to include the number of street stop-and-frisks, which is in a state of geometric expansion, in its weekly review of precinct crime statistics.  A few hours later, a cannonade sounded at City Hall.  “When Bill de Blasio last served in the city’s executive branch, there were 2,000 murders a year,” Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said. “Mr. de Blasio may be nostalgic for the days when the A.C.L.U. set crime policy in this city, but most New Yorkers don’t want rampant crime to return.”

Fri May 11, 2012

Why stop and frisk? Here’s a better way -New York Daily News

By  / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Mayor Bloomberg recently invited a group of clergy for a discussion of the Police Department’s stop, question and frisk procedures and their impact in the African-American and Hispanic communities. We attended and appreciated the opportunity to hear the mayor’s views and to share our own.

Wed May 9, 2012

House Vs. Senate Health Reform Plans: Let The Comparison Shopping Begin -WBUR NPR Boston

The Massachusetts House released its plan for cutting health costs on Friday. The Senate isreleasing its own plan today. And now begins the public “compare and contrast” period, the ingathering of input that could influence the final bill that the legislature is expected to pass this summer.

Let us commence. This just came in from the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, which has been campaigning for lower health costs:

Tue May 8, 2012

Ken Cuccinelli looks at foreclosures in Manassas neighborhood -The Washington Post

Virginia’s top cop and Prince William County resident Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II toured a foreclosure-wracked neighborhood Thursday in Manassas.  He met privately with organizers and religious leaders from Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) and then toured the Manassas neighborhood of Georgetown South as neighborhood leaders described how vacant properties affect a place — and, as organizers and religious leaders put it, how banks and lenders used dubious tactics that helped Prince William become one of the worst hit places for foreclosures in the state.

Fri Apr 27, 2012

Predator GE: We Bring Bad Things to Life -The Nation

If the Justice Department wants to get serious about investigating financial fraud by Wall Street big boys, it ought to drop by the White House and interview Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric. Immelt is chair of President Obama’s jobs and competitive council, where he strategizes about how to revive American manufacturing. In some other places, only thirty miles from the White House, Immelt is known as the subprime foreclosure king.

Fri Apr 27, 2012

Openness is key to Cleveland school reform -Cleveland Plain Dealer

Greater Cleveland Congregations supports the legislation agreed upon by Mayor Frank Jackson and the Cleveland Teachers Union to reform the Cleveland School District, and urges the Ohio General Assembly to pass it in its current form.

Wed Apr 18, 2012

Obama’s mortgage unit is AWOL -NY Daily News

By Michael Gecan and Arnie Graf

Three months ago, in his State of the Union speech, President Obama announced a new task force to investigate mortgage fraud and bring some measure of relief to the 12 million American families who are either losing their homes or in danger of losing them.  The new Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group would be co-chaired by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, U.S. Attorney John Walsh of Colorado and three Washington insiders from the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Obama said, “This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.”  Whether or not the President, attorney general and others intend to get around to this task someday, “speed” was a terrible word to choose. Because 85 days after that speech, there is no sign of any activity.

 
Tue Apr 3, 2012

The Olympic Games Help Londoners -The New York Times

Britain last hosted the summer Olympics in 1948, just after World War II when we were broke and our aspirations were low. The Stadium was dominated by a quote from the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin: “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. The essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.” This time around, Londoners can do more than take part: we can win.

Fri Mar 30, 2012

Clergy, children protest cuts to city after-school programs -The Baltimore Sun

Religious leaders joined hundreds of children and parents in a march around Baltimore's Inner Harbor on Thursday afternoon to protest Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's proposed budget cuts to after-school programs.  "Our children are our jewels, not the Inner Harbor," Bishop Douglas Miles, co-chair of Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, said in front of the Baltimore Convention Center as children and parents cheered.

Fri Mar 30, 2012

Bronx photo exhibit depicts poor living conditions for some in public housing; organizers call for action -New York Daily News

A girl in a pink-painted bedroom sits on a bunkbed wearing an airmask over her nose, clutching a machine to help her breathe.  The image is one of nearly two dozen photographs featured in the new exhibit, How The Other Half (Still) Lives: Bloomberg's Legacy?  Taken by photojournalist Ana Brigida, the photos show tenants living with crumbling walls, exposed pipes and moldy ceilings at various public housing complexes in Bronx, Harlem and lower Manhattan.

“They're amazing photographs that show the beauty and strength of people who are basically being condemned to deteriorating health because of the city's lack of will to truly fix these problems,” said Marielys Divanne, lead organizer with South Bronx Churches and Manhattan Together, the community organizing groups sponsoring the exhibit.


 
Fri Mar 23, 2012

Leggett commits to Silver Spring senior housing project -The Montgomery Gazette

County Executive Isiah Leggett on Tuesday committed $1.5 million toward a senior housing project next to the future Silver Spring Library.  Leggett unveiled the plan in a meeting with Action in Montgomery, a group of religious congregations lobbying for improvements in senior living, at the Kehilat Shalom synagogue in Montgomery Village. Housing and Community Affairs Director Richard Nelson said the project could be completed as early as late 2014.

Tue Mar 20, 2012

DC groups pool buying power to save on electricity -Associated Press

Some pray in churches, mosques and synagogues. Others aren't religious, serving the community by providing housing or education.  However, the leaders of more than 100 religious and community organizations in the Washington area share one interest: saving money on electricity to better serve their communities. That's why they will gather Tuesday to review bids they requested from electricity suppliers to power their church halls, charter schools and nonprofit organizations.

Tue Mar 20, 2012

Before Games, Workers Win a Big Event -The New York Times

LONDON — Enveloped in a warm, glimmering haze, the Olympic Stadium looks like a vast, silvery spaceship come to unlikely rest in the working-class East End.  Our viewing platform is no less unlikely. I’m standing with Lina Jamoul, a community organizer, at the top of a giant new shopping mall. It feels as though someone in Santa Monica should file a claim for grand-theft mall. Brutal, despairing riots swept across the ancient working-class neighborhoods near here less than a year ago, and vast public dollars devoted to sport could appear grotesque.  Except that Ms. Jamoul and her fellow thousands with the East London Communities Organization have turned these games into a triumph. In a few months, as tourists descend on these neighborhoods, every Briton working inside the Olympic perimeter, including tea fetchers and souvenir shop workers, will make wages worth about $4 an hour above this country’s minimum wage.

Wed Mar 14, 2012

Religious, business leaders support aggressive cap on health cost increases -The Boston Globe

 

Religious and business leaders in Massachusetts are calling for state lawmakers to rein in health spending more aggressively than House Speaker Robert DeLeo has proposed, but groups representing doctors and hospitals warned that slowing spending too sharply could be harmful.  The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, which has provided a significant consumer voice throughout the state’s health care overhaul, said Tuesday night that DeLeo’s proposal to cap health care cost increases at about 3.7 percent annually, an amount comparable to the yearly growth in the state’s economy, was insufficient. DeLeo said recently that was his goal for containing costs in a long-awaited bill expected to be filed shortly and acted on by legislators this summer.

Tue Mar 13, 2012

Tutoring services offered at MPS lack a progress report -Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Providers of after-school tutoring services mandated for low-income students in underperforming Milwaukee Public Schools receive millions of dollars in taxpayer funds but operate under limited oversight and with little accountability for results, according to a report released Monday.  The tutoring, which can cost nearly $2,000 in federal dollars per child, is not reaching as many students as it could, and it's difficult to tell whether the students served are making academic gains as a result, a report by Common Ground says.

Sun Mar 11, 2012

Pr. William religious leaders want answers from GE over housing crisis -The Washington Post

 

In October, a group of Northern Virginia religious congregationsgathered at Freedom High School in Woodbridge to discuss housing issues in Prince William County and demand action.  Under the banner of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), religious leaders wanted banks to pledge to help Prince William, one of the communities hit hardest by foreclosures in the region.

Tue Mar 6, 2012

Virginians protest General Electric over foreclosures -Center for Public Integrity

 

A crowd of Northern Virginia residents and clergy members marched to General Electric's offices in Washington DC today, demanding that the company's CEO, Jeffrey Immelt, take responsibility for helping homeowners who received subprime loans from the company's now-closed mortgage arm, WMC Mortgage Corp.

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