Philadelphia, Green Party Candidate for Sheriff Pledges to Halt Evictions
Cheri Honkala, homeless advocate and Green Party candidate for Sheriff of Philadelphia, Pa., if elected pledges to halt home evictions and challenge the power of banks and for the development of community-based land trusts. There are over 40,000 vacant properties in Philadelphia, and community-based ownership of these properties offers the means to house people in need.
Cheri Honkala, candidate for Sheriff of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has emerged as the Green Party's highest profile candidate in the 2011 election year.
Ms. Honkala's campaign slogans, "Keeping Families in Their Homes," "The People's Sheriff," and "Referendum on America," reflect her pledge, if elected, to declare a moratorium on home evictions until the economic climate in Philadelphia changes.
"I'm running for Sheriff because something needs to be done to address the plague of home evictions being faced by too many poor and working families in Philadelphia," said Ms. Honkala, who is using her campaign to help build the nation-wide movement to reverse the growing dominance of banks and other corporations over our government and local communities.
Cheri Honkala discussed her campaign and "zero evictions" platform at the Green Party's 2011 Annual National Meeting in Alfred, New York, on August 5 (
Ms. Honkala would be the first woman sheriff in Philadelphia. The city's past sheriff, who resigned during a corruption investigation, cooperated with banks in evicting families from homes as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis, and Ms. Honkala's Democratic and Republican competitors in the race intend to continue using the sheriff's office as a tool for the financial industry.
The crisis was triggered when low- and middle-income working Americans were unable to refinance their homes after they were issued adjustable-rate mortgages. The subprime mortgage crisis, stemming from misleading lending practices by banks and other financial companies, touched off the 2008 economic meltdown.
"Our so-called political leaders don't dare to do anything of substance against the banks," said Jason Bosch, chief of staff for the Cheri Honkala campaign. "Cheri Honkala's campaign is the most significant thing happening in this country to challenge these banks and the direction they are taking all of us. Philadelphia voters have the unique opportunity to do something that no other voters in America have -- to change policy with one vote. If Cheri gets elected there will be no evictions. This will force banks to the table and expand the discourse around these issues to include the voices of people who are struggling just to survive and keep a roof over their heads. This is a campaign of national significance."
The Honkala campaign supports the development of community-based land trusts. There are over 40,000 vacant properties in Philadelphia, and community-based ownership of these properties offers the means to house people in need of homes and to create more urban gardens and public spaces that will strengthen communities. Ms. Honkala sides with immigrants facing raids and deportations that tear apart families, affirming that she will stand with poor working class people of all nationalities and refuse to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Cheri Honkala, a tireless advocate for the nation's poor and homeless, founded the local Kensington Welfare Rights Union and the national Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign, which works to help people who cannot get help through bureaucratic channels find solutions to their housing crises. She has organized numerous street demonstrations in Philadelphia, as well as efforts to reclaim and occupy vacant homes for poor families in need of housing.
Ms. Honkala was included in Philadelphia Magazine's list of 100 Most Powerful Philadelphians and was named Philadelphia Weekly's "Woman of the Year" in 1997.
David Cobb, the Green Party's 2004 presidential nominee, called Cheri Honkala "a long-distance runner for social justice" and added, "I think Cheri's campaign can become the 'signature' national electoral campaign for progressives of all stripes in 2011."
The Cheri Honkala campaign headquarters is located about 100 feet from the site where Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence. Ms. Honkala has dedicated her campaign to forging a new independence -- independence from the big banks and other corporations, which Jefferson himself warned about. "I hope we shall... crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country."
(Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, November 12, 1816)