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Petaluma City Council backs Occupy's push to delay foreclosures

The Petaluma City Council voted Monday to ask mortgage lenders and regulators to halt foreclosures during the holidays, a symbolic gesture that granted a real victory to protesters who proposed the idea.

The council also voted to ask Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas to refrain from assisting evictions from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, getting applause from the members of Occupy Petaluma who rallied support for the foreclosure moratorium.

"They gave us what we wanted and then some," said Amy Hanks, a health care provider who spoke on behalf of the Occupy protesters. "We are very pleased."

Council members acknowledged they have scant ability to regulate foreclosures, especially for loans that have been repackaged and sold to investors who couldn't find Petaluma on the map. But they said it was important to send a message.

"I hope we can prompt some second thinking on the parts of some of these financial institutions," Vice Mayor Mike Healy said.

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