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Maryland 2006 Political Plan v5-JA Goals-050619

Maryland 2006 Political Plan v5-JA Goals-050619

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Published by ACORN Whistleblower
ACORN 2006 Political Plan for Maryland.
ACORN 2006 Political Plan for Maryland.

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Published by: ACORN Whistleblower on Nov 20, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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EXECUTIVE SUMMARYOrganizational Background
 ACORN is one of the nation’s largest and most successful networks of community organizations, withover 230,000 low and moderate - income members organized into 1200+ neighborhood chapters in104 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has been building solidly rooted and powerfulcommunity organizations that are committed to social and economic justice, and have taken actionand won victories on thousands of issues of concern to our members, through direct action,negotiation, legislative advocacy, and voter participation. Fundamentally, ACORN’s goal is to ensurethat low and moderate income families have the power to act effectively on their own behalf in thestruggle to build a more progressive America. ACORN helps those who have historically been lockedout become powerful actors in our democratic system
Maryland ACORN opened its first office in1999 in Baltimore. It has since grown to a statewide organization with 5500 members in 18 chapterslocated in 3 regions: Baltimore city, Baltimore County, and Prince George’s County. At theneighborhood level ACORN members have fought for, and won, stronger code enforcement, better policing, trash clean-ups, and community control over vacant lots. Through legislation, civicparticipation, and negotiation, ACORN’s low-income members create long-lasting, concrete changesin their communities, cities, and state.
Maryland ACORN’s 2006 Political Plan will:
Register 100,000 people to voteTarget and mobilize 105,000 drop off voters
Political HistoryNotable Accomplishments
With over 5500 member families in 18 chapters and 3 cities, Maryland ACORN has had a number of successes:Maryland ACORN has worked to build relationships with other organizations that represent low andmoderate-income people in the city, as well as numerous faith and community based organizations.
One of Maryland ACORN’s significant achievements has been our leadership role inCLUB (Community and Labor United for Baltimore), along with AFSCME, SEIU theBaltimore Teacher’s Union, the City Union of Baltimore, the Coalition Against GlobalExploitation, BRIDGE.
In the fall of 2002, Maryland ACORN achieved one of the largest victories in Baltimoreorganizing history by changing the structure of the Baltimore City Council by creatingsmaller, single-member districts in a city that has been ruled by slate politics for nearly100 years.In order to create the new 14 single member districts of the Baltimore City Council:
Maryland ACORN organized a petition drive in cooperation with AFSMCE, TheBaltimore Teachers Union, the City Union of Baltimore, and the League of Women togather 20,000 signatures.
The result of this collective action led to a strong neighborhood base within thosedistricts
Baltimore ACORN has made financial justice one of our signature issues.
ACORN has published several groundbreaking studies on racial disparities in mortgagelending, and has worked educate the public and policy makers about predatory lendingbefore the term was widely known.
ACORN members and staff have educated virtually every public official about how tostop predatory lending, and have crafted anti-predatory lending legislation on the cityand state level. ACORN members have created sustained pressure on predatorylending.In 2001, Maryland ACORN launched the ACORN Environmental Justice Project to organize for stronger enforcement of lead paint laws and to train investigators to identify environmental hazards inhomes such as lead based paint, asthma triggers and carbon dioxide, mold, and pest infestation.
ACORN currently runs the largest scale lead testing program in the city as part of theAEJP, and is also one of the few groups that use dust wipe sampling, which is the mosteffective way of detecting residential lead hazards.
Maryland ACORN also runs the only lead testing program that is community based andfocuses on building the capacity of low income communities to assess and address their own lead hazards. We have trained 50 ACORN members, staff, and tenants to becomecertified lead testers with the MDE, and have conducted over 500 lead tests.In 2006 Maryland ACORN partnered with the Baltimore Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope (CASH)campaign to operate a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance site.
In the first tax season in Baltimore City ACORN completed 1000 tax returns, andrecovered over $500,000 in Earned Income Credit for low and moderate incomefamilies.Across the country, ACORN has secured a number of wins for low-income families:
ACORN led and won the campaign to increase the minimum wage in Florida. ACORNbuilt a coalition of organizations that took on the restaurant industry and other employer interests, qualified the constitutional amendment ballot initiative through a massivesignature-gathering campaign that gathered over a million signatures, and educatedand mobilized the public to give Floridians a dollar an hour raise, indexed for inflation.
Registered 1.13 million voters to vote, and contacted 2.3 million voters to GOTV. Theincrease in turnout from 2000 in ACORN precincts was 20% higher than the increase innon-ACORN precincts.
Currently, Maryland ACORN has chapters in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Prince George’sCounty. We are opening field offices in the Eastern Shore,Our registration and mobilization efforts will be focused on the following geographies:
Baltimore City
Baltimore County
Prince George’s County
Campaign Issues
A key component of ACORN’s voter engagement strategy is to connect issues that affect the lives of our constituency with the election. In Maryland, our number one issue utilities, but there are other 
additional issues our program will be focusing on, in order to engage the broadest range of our constituency.With a 35-year history of fighting and winning for low-income families, ACORN is a trusted messenger on these issues. In Maryland, ACORN members are mobilizing to improve living conditions, increaseaffordable housing, fight for fair utilities policies, and increase the minimum wage.
Lead poisoning is a particularly bad problem in Baltimore—Baltimore children are poisoned at arate four times the national average. Lead poisoning results in permanent, irreversible brain andnerve damage. This can lead to increasing burdens on schools and neighborhoods as largepopulations of children are frustrated in school because of their lead poisoned status. Lead poisoningresults from the occupation of aging housing stock that has not been maintained in the proper manner.
Colleen Moore, a development psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in anarticle for the Winter edition of Rethinking Schools, stated that currently African American childrenunder the age of 5 are poisoned at a rate 16 times that of a middle class or upper income white child.Lead poisonings tend to occur in neighborhood clusters—where large tracts of housing were built andhave not been subsequently renovated. Within the next year Maryland ACORN will conduct 500 newlead tests for low and moderate - income renters and homeowners. Empowering communities toassess and address their own environmental problem is central to the mission of ACORN’s lead andHealthy Homes programs. Toward these ends, ACORN will train 75 new tenants and communityleaders to become certified lead testers with the MDE. We have also worked to tie lead abatementwork to job training opportunities through our partnerships with Community Resources and theMinority Contractors League. By the end of next year ACORN will have 20 new contractors certified inlead abatement.
Working in collaboration with the city to redevelop vacant houses into decent affordablehousing represents an important breakthrough for building ACORN Housing’s capacity to meet thehousing needs of low income people in Baltimore City. Transforming the city’s 42,000 vacant housesinto homes for low and moderate income families will not only address urban blight, but can also helpavert the affordable housing crisis that looms on the horizon for low income families in Baltimore.Within the next year the ACORN Housing Corporation wants to acquire 200 vacant houses from thecity that will be targeted for redevelopment. ACORN is also working to expand housing efforts toinclude developing financing programs for home repairs. Locally, our Edmondson Village ACORNchapter has worked in collaboration with the Baltimore City Housing Department to provide homerepair grants to neighborhood residents. Within the next year ACORN wants to establish a city-wideprogram that will have the capacity to serve 600 families.Our experience in Florida has shown that minimum wage ballot initiative campaigns and similar campaigns on economic issues can appeal to voters, regardless of their party enrollment or incomestatus, as well as serve as a vehicle for engaging voters outside of our traditional base in other issues. In Maryland, ACORN will be focusing on the minimum wage issue in lower-income whitecommunities.Polls have also shown that the minimum wage issue can increase turnout of our base and, when thecandidate identifies himself with the issue, can also impact a voter’s decision on a candidate. Morepeople turnout to vote for an increase in the minimum wage than voted for any other single candidateor issue. In Florida, 1.2 million more people voted for an increase in the minimum wage than voted tore-elect George W. Bush; in Nevada, 127,314 more people voted to increase the minimum wage thanfor George W. Bush. Over half of Florida and Nevada voters responded to pollsters that candidates’stances on the initiative had an impact on their decision to vote for the candidate. Democratic votersare more than three times more likely than Republicans (34% to 10%) to be motivated to vote by aminimum wage initiative. Over half of the voters polled reported that the candidate’s stances on the

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