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Just Transition article: Urban Blight, Trustee Lots and a Land Bank: residents in Decatur IL stand at the crossroads

#1
Hope you take a look at my article just posted to the System Change Not Climate Change website: Urban Blight, Trustee Lots and a Land Bank: residents in Decatur IL stand at the crossroads:

Urban Blight, Trustee Lots and a Land Bank: residents in Decatur IL stand at the crossroads

This article is inspired by Istvan Meszaros call for us to analyze systems as they currently exist, to expose their inequalities and their inherent attempts to divide and weaken social groups. What is happening in Decatur and in other cities struggling with the loss of manufacturing jobs continues to be viciously played out within the area of housing. I hope my attempt to examine the financial instruments being used by municipalities and states to, supposedly, turn around depressed communities will be of interest to many of you. Please post your stories of housing struggles you are encountering and efforts underway to demand citizen representation in the so-called redevelopment process. Thank you in advance for checking out the article.

Sandra Lindberg
Decatur IL
 
#2
A hugely informative article, Sandra. I knew nothing about any of these "redevelopment" methods, and, as you say, our ignorance just makes it easy for powerful forces to have their way, leaving out the folks that were supposed to be benefited.
Here in Santa Cruz, we're watching our campaign for rent control facing opposition funding mainly from outside the city and even the state to the tune of 10 times what we've been able to raise. And now the mayor's own law firm is weighing in on the side of the opposition (the details are really complicated). A very different issue but another example of how "democratic" process can be anything but and how activists have to be constantly alert to how the system in place actually works.
 
#3
A hugely informative article, Sandra. I knew nothing about any of these "redevelopment" methods, and, as you say, our ignorance just makes it easy for powerful forces to have their way, leaving out the folks that were supposed to be benefited.
Here in Santa Cruz, we're watching our campaign for rent control facing opposition funding mainly from outside the city and even the state to the tune of 10 times what we've been able to raise. And now the mayor's own law firm is weighing in on the side of the opposition (the details are really complicated). A very different issue but another example of how "democratic" process can be anything but and how activists have to be constantly alert to how the system in place actually works.
Is the rent control fight in California fought community by community? At least the CA state legislature hasn't outlawed rent control? Also, when you say outside the community and/or the state, do the owners or potential owners include overseas owners? And is there a squatters movement in Santa Cruz? Perhaps there aren't vacant buildings in which to squat? If you can, I would love to learn more about how you are pursuing the housing fight in Santa Cruz.

In the early '90's I canvassed for CARAL in southern CA. Sometimes our work took us to smaller towns and low-income and immigrant neighborhoods closest to the water. The conditions were crowded and the properties poorly maintained. And yet the residents were paying high rents. Living in CA on the edge financially or socially seemed an especially scary place to me. I admire the work you are doing in Santa Cruz.
 
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