ACORN Reborn: Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment

ACCE (Facebook)
ACCE (Facebook)

On Friday, the Los Angeles County Superior Court heard a case brought by real estate investment firm, Wedgewood, against a couple who had lost their home in foreclosure — and who retaliated by staging a protest in front of the CEO’s own house, in the middle of the night, with the help of a group called the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).

It is a rare case of a senior executive fighting back against the aggressive tactics used by radical left-wing groups like the now-defunct Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).

Plagued with charges of voter fraud, hundreds of secret bank accounts, embezzlement and corruption charges, ACORN  supposedly disbanded in 2010. But Many former ACORN leaders reorganized as independent state and local chapters, now stronger than ever.

In California, ACORN Executive Director Amy Schur, became the Executive Director for ACCE. ACCE also took over the office space previously occupied by ACORN California, at 3655 So. Grand Avenue, Suite 250, Los Angeles, CA 90007 — they just updated their business cards and changed the name on the door.

Millions of dollars currently pour into ACCE each year from corporations, foundations, millionaires and hedge-fund managers, the very same people they denounce on their website, whom they claim need to be held “accountable.”

With all this money, ACCE trains community organizers and runs petition drives, marches, protests, sit-ins, anti-gentrification teach-ins, and much more.

ACCE’s website highlights the group’s involvement in the minimum wage issue, increasing taxes, voter registration programs, the early releases of criminals, and an extensive campaign operation in which they recruit campaign managers, field canvassers and turn out the vote for their preferred causes.

Their current crusade deals with housing. Not in an effort to make housing more affordable, but to add restrictions on lending institutions and the federal government regarding sales of their distressed loans.

ACCE has joined forces with other liberal activists in an effort to discredit HUD Secretary Julian Castro from becoming Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential pick. They have emailed petitions to several million people attacking Castro over his handling of federally distressed mortgages. The group also launched an anti-Castro website:

Under the same housing banner, this past week, ACCE held a California Capitol Lobby Day, where the leadership and members urged lawmakers to take action against the California Realtors and Apartment Association, whom ACCE describes as “the corporate interest behind our housing crisis and driving the cost of living, housing costs and growing inequality in CA.”

California has some of the strongest housing protection laws in the nation. The timeframe from delinquency to the time a property may be sold at auction takes more than three years to complete.

As Forbes notes:

In the average default, homeowners have missed their mortgage payments for an average of 18 months before the bank started the foreclosure process.

The average time to complete a foreclosure once it starts in California is now 429 days.

Bank-owned properties sold in the first quarter of 2014 took an average of 220 days to sell after they completed the foreclosure process. That’s actually down from 247 days in the fourth quarter of 2013, but it’s still 28 percent higher than the average of 172 days in the first quarter of 2013.

That now puts the entire distressed property disposition process at an average of 1,213 days from delinquency to REO sale — well over three years.

Yet ACCE wants to increase the foreclosure barriers, and eliminate the eviction process. That would put owners of rental properties at real risk. After more than a year without income from a property, landlords may themselves be forced to default. With high commercial property loan exposure, financial institutions would be forced to avoid new loans, stifling the economy and reducing construction jobs for homebuilders.

Combined, that means fewer rental properties are available over time, and rents are higher for everyone, hurting most the low-income groups ACCE claims it wishes to help.

Just follow the donor money and you will see that the bank sit-ins, protests at a CEO’s home or rallies in front of apartment buildings are not spontaneous, but rather orchestrated by a group of professional organizers who seek media exposure and fundraising opportunities.

Hector Barajas is an on-air analyst for Univision and partner at Revolvis Consulting Inc.


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