As the two-term mayor of Richmond, CA, I’m intensely proud to announce that for the first time ever, a city – my city – is going to force Wall Street bankers to reduce mortgage principal for local homeowners as a way to help struggling Richmond families avoid foreclosure and eviction.
We’re all in. As I told the New York Times on Tuesday,
“We’re not willing to back down on this,” said Gayle McLaughlin, the former schoolteacher who is serving her second term as Richmond’s mayor. “They can put forward as much pressure as they would like but I’m very committed to this program and I’m very committed to the well-being of our neighborhoods.” 
It’s no secret that the top servicers in Richmond – Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase – and their allies are going to fight this tooth and nail. Here’s why: on Monday, we mailed letters to mortgage servicers and trustees offering to negotiate the purchase of certain mortgages. We backed the offer up by stating that we will consider using our eminent domain authority to purchase the mortgages if they don’t deal.
As Richmond mayor since 2006, I can tell you that this effort will make Richmond a better place to live for all our families. This action will help stem the foreclosure crisis – which cost us $242 million in 2012 alone – and help a big chunk of the 46% of city homeowners who are underwater right now. The best part is that this won’t cost the city a dime. The program’s private partners are bringing the expertise AND the funding.
If we make this program work here in Richmond, then this can be a model for around California and the entire country!
Tell Wall Street bankers to do the right thing and sell their troubled loans to us. Warn them that they risk eminent domain proceedings if they resist this common-sense approach to Local Principal Reduction, which is helping struggling homeowners stay in their homes and jump-start the rebuilding of some of our hardest-hit neighborhoods.
We will make sure that the Wall Street bankers know that you and thousands like you support Richmond’s historic program to end the foreclosure crisis and reinvest in struggling communities.
Stand with us here.