Vermont attorney general warns of foreclosure relief scams

first_imgVermont Attorney General William H Sorrell is warning local homeowners in financial distress to avoid offers of quick fixes for their mortgage or foreclosure problems. A series of recent consumer complaints to his office have focused attention on out-of-state companies, many of them in California, promising to “reduce your mortgage,” “lower your monthly house payments,” “get past due payments eliminated,” “stop foreclosure,” and similar claims.In fact, these “foreclosure rescue scams” have collected amounts from consumers in the $1,000-to-$2,500 range but have done nothing to assist homeowners. To make matters worse, it has generally been difficult to recover consumers’ funds, because the companies are often out of business by the time the investigation is begun.According to Attorney General Sorrell, “It is particularly outrageous to see companies scamming consumers who are already facing economic hardship. Vermonters should know that they have local resources available to help them at no cost.”Consumers who are having trouble making their mortgage payments, obtaining a loan modification, or dealing with a mortgage foreclosure in the courts should call the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration’s Mortgage Assistance Program at 1-888-568-4547 (toll-free), or contact the nearest Homeownership Center (there is an online listing of these centers at http://www.vthomeownership.org(link is external)).Source: Vermont attorney general. 5.24.2010last_img read more

NextGen Know-How: Develop your leadership brand

first_img 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr When you think of branding, you might think of marketing strategies used at big companies like Disney, Apple, or Zappos. But we all have a brand, whether we realize it or not.Your personal brand is how you appear to the world. It’s how others see you. It’s your reputation. Your strengths, values, behaviors, and habits all form your personal brand.Your leadership brand conveys your identity and distinctiveness as a leader. What value to you bring as a leader? What do you stand for? How do others see you?Most professionals and leaders are not even aware of what their leadership brand is.Your leadership brand is very important. It’s the basis of many decisions made in the workplace.When your boss and other leaders are making decisions about promotions or other factors, your leadership brand is impacting these decisions, whether you realize it or not. Your personal strengths and talents plus your behaviors is the value you bring to the people you serve. It’s important to know your strengths and personality and leverage them. continue reading »last_img read more

‘Lean In’ event encourages women to run for election

first_imgThe event featured political consultant Lindsay Bubar and Jessica Lall, the last female student body president USC had in 2005. Lall currently works as executive director at South Park Business Improvement District.Both spoke about the lack of women involved today at the university, local and state level. According to Bubar, who graduated from USC in 2003, approximately one-third of all women try to talk themselves out of running for office or have had someone tell them a male would do a better job. Bubar said there is only one elected woman in the city of Los Angeles and only 25 percent of the California state legislature is female.“There’s an ambition gap,” she said. “The problem isn’t that when women run they lose, it’s that women aren’t running.”For her part, Lall said when she ran for student body president, elections were highly competitive but she didn’t think much about her role as a female president specifically until her running mate for vice president called her over winter break and suggested gender might be a larger factor than she anticipated.“He called me and said, ‘I think I should be the presidential candidate and you should be my vice president,’” Lall said. “I said, ‘Well give me a good reason,’ and he said, ‘Well when was the last time a woman was elected?’ I was running around a little unaware that people were looking at me being a female as a disadvantage and that was a really clarifying moment.”Lall instead decided to run as president herself and won, but both she and Bubar — who has served as campaign manager for undefeated congressman Henry Waxman and political director for Wendy Greuel, who lost her bid for Los Angeles mayor — agreed that win or lose, you often learn the most from the campaign experience.“You’re going about 100 miles down the freeway in a bus trying to put the wheels on but the fear of losing should never hold you back,” Lall said.One of the most difficult parts of campaigning, Bubar said, can be asking for money. She also said, however, that asking for funding is an important part of the process and people might actually be offended if someone asks for less than they know a particular person can give. Furthermore, she said if their policies align, women have an obligation to support other women in office. Bubar said that at the moment, men donate more to female candidates than women do.“It’s really important that we support one another,” Bubar said. “The powerbrokers are doing that for men, recruiting men. The boys club is out there.”Lall emphasized that for people running for student government, no candidate is truly that much more qualified than any other. Despite this seemingly disheartening fact, she said women should not be discouraged from running. Women in leadership positions, however, often face their own set of struggles after the campaign.During her time as student body president, Lall also served as her sorority president and she said when she accidentally sent out an email about recruitment that included both her titles, many other chapter presidents felt she was using her position to encourage people to rush her sorority.“Before I knew it, I was in a sorority recruitment citation hearing and I had every single sorority president — people that were my friends — saying I needed to step down as USG president,” she said.She did not resign, and Lall said the incident proved a valuable learning experience.“No one is born knowing how to go about this, but you don’t learn if you don’t try,” she said. “I can say that my experience really has prepared me in more ways than one to be in the position I’m in today.”Bubar said some 40 percent of women currently in Congress were student body presidents.Kaya Masler, executive co-director of the USC Women’s Assembly, said she hoped the event would help to reinforce the idea that women should be involved in government on campus because only someone with a woman’s perspective can truly understand the issues that women face on campus.“I think any women’s organization that is at all political has an obligation to support women in politics,” Masler said. “Ultimately, an underrepresented population is an unprotected one.”Alec White, a sophomore majoring in political science, said he was pleased to see men attend the event because he felt the responsibility of getting a woman elected to office at USC does not just fall on other women.“Even though I’m a man, getting a woman elected to office at USC is still very important to me,” White said. “I was a little discouraged at first seeing how hard it is for women to be elected, but I think events like these really do spread awareness and it really does help empower them to run.”Chanelle Yang, a junior majoring in policy, planning and development, is a member of USC’s Student Coalition Against Labor Exploitation and is considering running for a position in USG to help influence labor policies. Yang also hopes to one day be mayor of her hometown of Oakland and the advice from Bubar and Lall helped convince her that it was a possibility.“I didn’t think I had the capacity to take on that kind of leadership position,” Yang said. “But I realize coming to this that that doesn’t matter. I’m still a college student and I still have time to try it out before I step into the real world.”Editor’s note: This post has been updated to correct the statement about the amount of money men donate to female candidates. The original post mistakenly stated that men give more to charity than women do.Follow the writer on Twitter at @km_guarino On Friday, the USC Women’s Student Assembly, Undergraduate Student Government and the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics hosted the first “Lean In” initiative to get more women involved in student government.Initiative for civic participation · On Friday, panelists from the “Lean In” event discussed the importance of encouraging women to participate in politics and student government at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. – Austin Vogel | Daily Trojanlast_img read more