Category: Flap’s California Blog Links

Feb 09 2012

Flap’s California Afternoon Collection: February 9, 2012

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U.S. President Barack Obama gives details of the $26 billion deal to settle charges of widespread mortgage fraud by some of the nation’s largest banks in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, February 9, 2012. Pictured (L-R) are Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Attorney General Eric Holder,Obama, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, Indiana Attorney General Gregory Zoeller and Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel.

These are my links for February 9th from 15:10 to 15:18:

  • Obama administration reaffirms support for California high-speed rail

    “Despite a series of a cautionary reports by outside agencies and groups, the Obama administration is reaffirming its commitment to California’s $98.5-billion bullet train project.

    U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood traveled the state this week and met privately with Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday to discuss the embattled project, issuing a statement of support through the governor’s office.

    “Over the past week, I have traveled all over the Golden State and have found a strong base of support for the California High-Speed Rail project, from workers who will build it, manufacturers that will supply the trains to run on it and businesses that will benefit from using it,” LaHood said. “The Obama Administration is committed to High-Speed Rail because it is good for the economy and the nation. I look forward to working with Governor Brown to make this project as successful as possible.”

    For the White House, California appears to be the lone subscriber to the president’s vision for high-speed rail. Facing budget deficits and sluggish growth, Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin have all scrapped their proposals.”

  • Carmen Trutanich will run for L.A. district attorney

    “Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich announced Thursday he will run for district attorney, ending months of speculation.

    “I love my job as City Attorney, but I can’t do my job to protect residents — nor can our local police and sheriffs — without a crime fighting partner in the DA’s office,” Trutanich said in a statement.

    Trutanich collected nearly $1 million in donations last year, amassing a campaign war chest that dwarfs those of the declared candidates. Five prosecutors with the district attorney’s office — including Alan Jackson, Bobby Grace, Jacquelyn Lacey, Danette Meyers and Mario Trujillo — are also vying to replace retiring Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley.”

  • How the housing settlement might affect you

    “The legal settlement reached Thursday among five big banks, the federal government and 49 states won’t fix the housing market, but it should help two categories of homeowners who are plentiful in California.

    The $25 billion settlement has provisions aimed at people who are behind in their payments and under threat of foreclosure and for those who have kept up with their payments but whose homes are worth less than they owe.

    People in the first category – those behind in their payments – will be eligible to have the principal they owe on their loans reduced, making it easier for them to catch up and remain current.

    People in the second category will be eligible to refinance their loans even though they might not be able to meet the usual loan-to-value ratios required by banks.

    It is these people who have probably been the most frustrated by the collapse of the market. They are generally employed, have good credit, and have kept paying on their loans even as many others have simply walked away from their homes and their loans and handed the bank the keys.

    For their trouble, though, these folks have been told they cannot refinance to take advantage of historically low interest rates because their new loans would still be for more than their homes are worth, or at least too big to provide the 20 percent cushion banks typically require between the value of the loan and the value of the home.

    It’s not yet clear how many of these people will be allowed to refinance, and exactly what the rules governing the process will be. All of that will be hammered out over the next six to nine months as the settlement is implemented.

    The settlement covers loans owned and serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo.”

  • Mortgage, foreclosure deal could help homeowners, housing market

    “In unveiling a landmark $25-billion settlement of investigations of foreclosure abuses, federal and state officials said Thursday they were holding the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers accountable for the problems while also providing help to up to 2 million homeowners affected by the collapse of the housing market.

    “This isn’t just about punishing banks for their irresponsible behavior,” Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said at a Washington news conference. “It’s also about requiring them to help the people they harmed by funding efforts to help homeowners stay in their homes.”

    The deal between federal officials, attorneys general from California and 48 other states, and the five servicers — Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase Co., Wells Fargo Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. — was completed after more than a year of negotiations to settle investigations into foreclosure improprieties, such as robo-signing.

    “Today we pick up another piece of the wreckage caused by the foreclosure crisis,” said Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan.

    The settlement sets new national standards for mortgage servicing, to be overseen by an independent monitor, that officials said would end the frustrating runarounds by consumers who try to get their mortgages modified or make other changes.”

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Feb 08 2012

Flap’s California Afternoon Collection: February 8, 2012

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Newt Gingrich is coming to California

These are my links for February 8th:

  • Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate -“For the last several years, Democrats have been relentless at trying to undo a hotly debated tax incentive for large corporations that was signed into law as part of the 2009 deal. And now they’re launching another shot.

    The 2012 edition of “Cancel That Corporate Tax Break” at the state Capitol kicks off with a novel, and perhaps politically powerful, proposal from Assembly Speaker John Perez: use the resulting $1 billion in extra tax revenue to dramatically downsize the cost of a college education for middle-class families.

    Perez formally introduced his plan Wednesday afternoon, to be contained in two bills — AB 1500 and AB 1501. One bill will modify the state law allowing national corporations to calculate their tax liability based on their sales revenues inside California; the second bill will create a need-based scholarship for all UC and CSU students whose families make between $70,000 and $150,000 a year… a scholarship paid for with the higher corporate tax revenues.

    Perez called it a matter of “tax equity” in a conference call with reporters launching his PR blitz, and even suggested that easing the financial pressures of California college students could itself provide an economic stimulus, given the widely agreed on importance of higher education to the state’s economy.”

  • California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign -“A group that hoped to put a sweeping public employee pension reform measure on the November ballot is suspending its campaign.

    “It’s a sad day for pension reform in California,” said Aaron McLear, spokesman for Sacramento-based California Pension Reform.

    Although the group had drafted two measures that qualified for signature collection, it couldn’t raise the $2 million or so needed to mount the petition effort for either one. “

  • Assembly speaker wants to trade tax breaks for scholarships -“Assembly Speaker John Pérez announced Wednesday he will push to end corporate tax breaks in order to lower tuition by two-thirds for middle-class, California students at state universities.

    “The pressures of the recession and massive fee increases have eroded, or even ended, the dream of higher education for too many California families,” Pérez (D-Los Angeles) said in a statement. “Now it is time for our state to reinvest in our system of higher education.”

    The plan would be financed by canceling $1 billion in tax breaks that benefit large, out-of-state corporations and began in 2009.

    The additional revenue would finance scholarships for students whose families make less than $150,000 a year but earn too much to qualify for financial aid. If eligible, California State University students would save $4,000 per year, and University of California students would save about $8,200 per year.

    Roughly 150,000 CSU students and 43,000 UC students could be affected by the plan.”

  • It’s California time for Newt Gingrich -“Newt Gingrich is headed to California next week to bolster his campaign’s dwindling bank account.

    Spokesman R.C. Hammond announced Wednesday that Gingrich would hold eight fundraisers in the three-day swing through the Golden State. He’ll then head to friendly territory in Georgia — the state he represented for 11 terms in the U.S. House — to stump and enlarge his warchest. Georgia is a part of a slew of states that vote on Super Tuesday or March 6.”

  • Vin Scully on working: ‘I don’t want to lose my friends’ -“In the March issue of Golf Digest, Dodgers broadcaster (and former CBS golf announcer) Vin Scully talks about his love of the game and of just being out on the course. “The crack of the bat in baseball is a gorgeous sound,” he tells Guy Yocom. “But you don’t quite get the full effect unless you’re very close to the field, because the roar of the crowd often gets to you before the crack of the bat does. In golf, there is all that delicious silence, so the sound of a top pro hitting the ball is so pure. The feeling the pro gets—that sweet sensation that goes through the hands, up the arms and into the heart—the sound gives the fans a taste of that.”

    Scully shares some favorite experiences on the course at Bel-Air Country Club with the late columnist Jim Murray and others, such as Sandy Koufax. He also shares some of his fears about retirement and why he’s coming back next month for his 63rd season with the Dodgers at age 84.”

  • The State Worker: California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign -“A group that hoped to put a sweeping public employee pension reform measure on the November ballot is suspending its campaign.

    “It’s a sad day for pension reform in California,” said Aaron McLear, spokesman for Sacramento-based California Pension Reform.

    Although the group had drafted two measures that qualified for signature collection, it couldn’t raise the $2 million or so needed to mount the petition effort for either one.

    In November, Calfornia Pension Reform submitted a proposal to put future state and local public employees into defined contribution plans and another measure that would have shifted future workers into hybrid pensions. In January, it received the title and summary for both, intending to determine which would poll better and then shop that plan to potential campaign donors.”

Enjoy your afternoon!

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