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Ethnically Diverse Richmond, Calif., Worries Wall Street

Roundup: Why the City Council voted for an eminent domain plan to protect distressed homeowners.


The high number of many foreclosed homes has led the Richmond, Calif., City Council to pass an action requiring homes be sold at market value.(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

This weekly roundup of stories, from Oct. 2-9, focuses on opportunity and economic growth for America's minority communities. 



Ethnically Diverse Richmond, Calif., Worries Wall Street. The Richmond City Council passed a plan last month to stave off foreclosure for many underwater homeowners, requiring note holders to sell at current fair-market value or possibly face loss of the property. Supporters organized a rally the day before the council voted on the eminent-domain concept, wherein the government can seize private property for public use. Said Archbishop Franzo King: "For the rich, eminent-domain works. But when the poor or black or brown people see it as a solution to a problem the banks don't feel like dealing with, we're on the wrong foot." The move could have deep ramifications for homeowners and lenders across the nation, not just in Richmond, where 69 percent of its residents are people of color (about 40 percent Latino), nearly a third are foreign-born and 16 percent lives in poverty. The Washington Post

Opinion: 'Lawsuit Lending' Puts Families at Risk. Febe Zepeda, of the Rio Grande Valley Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, and Baldomero Garza, of the League of United Latin American Citizens, explain how lawmakers are looking for ways to combat law firms who lure clients—often the poor or undereducated—who pay upfront and boast a slogan like "If your case loses, you don't pay." NBC Latino



Minorities, Especially Proportion of Black Americans, Feeling Furloughs. The impasse in funding the government affects 880,000 Americans, but in many cases the effects on black Americans ares especially hard. According to the Office of Personnel Management,African-Americans comprise 17.7 percent of the federal workforce and represent 13.6 percent of all Americans. The federal workforce is 34 percent people of color—specifically, 8 percent Latino, 5.8 percent Asian, and 2.5 percent Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. New America Media

Immigration Cases Put on Hold. "Frustrated." That's how Estrada Gonzalez felt when the shuttering of the nation's 16 immigration courts canceled his green-card hearing in Phoenix. Said attorney Elizabeth Chatham of the American Immigration Lawyers Association: "For most people, they have been waiting for years for their hearings. Now they are in a state of limbo." The Arizona Republic

Crisis Said to Be Harming Minority Business. With the Small Business Administration suspending its lending program, Hector Barreto, chairman of the Latino Coalition and a former SBA administrator, said the federal funding crisis is hindering entrepreneurial minorities. The suspension of the SBA's lending program and process for securing government contracts will hurt many small-business owners. "The government shutdown has the U.S. markets sliding, and although government can shut down, small businesses need to keep moving forward," he said at the Latino Coalition's 2013 West Coast Economic Summit, in Oakland, Calif. NBC Latino

  • Barreto Q&A: Hispanics Entrepreneurs Should Secure More Loans. Businessweek

Opinion: Minority-Owned Firms and the Government Shutdown: Increased Hardship. By Natalie Madeira Cofield, president and CEO of the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce. Forbes



New York Minorities, Women Set Record for State Contracts. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that businesses owned by minorities and women secured a record $1.49 billion in state contracts during fiscal 2012-13. That amounts to 21 percent of state contracts, up 12 percent since he took office in 2007. Albany Times-Union

5 African-American-Owned Banks Secure $1M. The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation will bestow $1 million on each of five black-owned banks, hoping to stoke loans for individuals and businesses in minority communities. The recipients include Industrial Bank, the last African-American-owned bank in the greater Washington area. American Banker

California Filipinos in Spotlight to Go Green. Asian-Americans rate highest among Californians eager to embrace cost-cutting measures and reduce environmental impact, and Kalusugan Community Services is specifically helping Filipino-Americans in the San Diego area reduce their energy bills. Mari Rose Taruc of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network said, "We want them to save some money … so they can buy other things they need—food, clothing...." APEN works toward policies that help ethnic and disadvantaged communities live a greener lifestyle. Among them is a bill now in the state Senate that seeks to help more groups engage in state's clean-energy programs. New America Media


Immigration's Impact Key in Texas Comptroller Race. Candidates running to succeed Texas Comptroller Susan Combs say that if elected, they would pursue an update to the 2006 analysis of the economic impact of undocumented people in the Lone Star State. Texas Tribune

L.A.-Area Asians Feel Hit of Hard Times. About 11 percent of Sri Lankans who have settled in Los Angeles live in poverty, and the family incomes of another 25 percent are in the lowest bracket. According to a report by Asian-Americans Advancing Justice, the county's population of Asian-Americans, including Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, has grown twice as fast as any other. It said, "Between 2007 and 2011 the number of unemployed Asian-Americans in Los Angeles County grew 89 percent; the number of unemployed NHPI grew 111 percent. Over the same period, the number of Asian-Americans and NHPI living below the poverty line countywide grew 20 percent and 84 percent respectively." LA Beez


Blighted Midwest Areas Welcome Immigrants. Officials struggling to forestall further decay in portions of Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, and St. Louis are working to attract entrepreneurial immigrants. Recently the Dayton, Ohio, City Commission voted to make the city "immigrant friendly," which was enough to spur Islom Shakhbandarov to tell other Turks—both high-skilled workers and laborers—to consider relocating to Ohio. "We want to invest in the places where we are accepted better," he said. "And we are accepted better in Dayton." Added Richard Herman, a lawyer who advises Cleveland on immigration matters, "We want to get back to the entrepreneurial spirit that immigrants bring." The New York Times

Ohio Housing Programs Have $1B Impact. Nine NeighborWorks housing groups in Ohio had an economic impact of $1.4 billion economic over five years, according to a report released by the NeighborWorks Collaborative of Ohio. Grady Appleton, executive director of the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corp., said that high amount surprised even him. "It shows that you get a big bang for your buck when you invest with one of our organizations." The report said the housing programs created 5,400 jobs and $696.9 million in economic benefits from 2008 to 2012; indirect and induced benefits added the rest. NeighborWorks is a nationwide alliance of more than 240 community-development and affordable housing organizations. Akron Beacon-Journal

Opinion: New Rule Makes It Easier for Small Businesses to Find Funding. By Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., a cosponsor of the revise JOBS Act. Arizona Capitol Times

Point Your Browser to .uno. Dot Latin has outlined plans to roll out .uno, an Internet extension intended to "globally connect and unite Hispanic and Latino communities, businesses, individuals, and consumers in support of a bicultural and bilingual Internet." The Domains

  • Meet Juan Diego Calle, Latino Owner of the Domain .co    NBC Latino


CEO Summit: LatinoVision's 6th annual gathering is set for Oct. 16 in New York.

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