Let's make a deal

Jan 7, 2013

An omnibus deal looms in the dismantling of a huge program that was supposed to provide a case-by-case review of recession-driven home loans and foreclosures but wound up with only one payout -- $1.5 billion to consultants.


From E. Scott Reckard in the LAT: "Banks and regulators worked late Sunday to finalize a nearly $10-billion settlement that would halt a much-maligned program to review foreclosures from the height of the housing crisis, according to four people familiar with the talks."


"At least 14 banks are involved. Since the reviews began in late 2011, the banks have paid $1.5 billion to consultants examining foreclosure records -- but not a penny to aggrieved borrowers. Both bankers and regulators found that result untenable, officials have said."


"The new agreement could be announced as early as Monday morning by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the arm of the Treasury Department that regulates banks with national charters, four people familiar with the negotiations said. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions were sensitive and incomplete. The principal negotiators included six big banks that provide customer service on 90% of all U.S. home loans: Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., U.S. Bancorp and PNC Financial Services."


Some 30,000 low-income children in L.A. County are helped by the Head Start program, but major changes are coming that may split the program up.


From Lillian Mongeau in EdSource: "Head Start in Los Angeles County, the largest provider in the nation, could be broken up into a cluster of smaller programs under a new grant process aimed at improving quality in the federally-funded early childcare program for low-income families."


"For the first time in Head Start history, grantees whose programs did not meet certain quality standards in federal inspections have been required to reapply for their funding and to compete with new applicants for the available funds. Grantees, mostly nonprofits and school systems, had been receiving pro forma grant renewals for decades."


“We anticipate that the funding to California Head Start programs will remain stable,” said California Head Start Association executive director Rick Mockler. “The question is who will be the grantees? Who will be the program providers?” That announcement was originally scheduled for the end of last year, but in November the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pushed it to the spring with no exact date given."


What's the world coming to when you get charged for street parking on a Sunday? It's coming to San Francisco.


From the Chronicle's David R. Baker: "A 65-year-old tradition died quietly this weekend, when for the first time, San Francisco started requiring drivers throughout the city to feed parking meters on Sundays."


"The tradition's end came so quietly, in fact, that many drivers didn't notice."


"On the heavily metered streets of North Beach, block after block of parking meters flashed "expired" on Sunday afternoon. Some drivers who had parked there had paid. Most hadn't.

Those who stiffed the meters didn't get tickets. For the first three weekends, the city plans to hand out warnings, making sure people know about the change. But those warnings were hard to find Sunday."


The L.A. mayoral race is heating up, with less than two months to go and the opposing forces making their moves.


From the LA DAily News' Rick Orlov: "And now the race for mayor gets serious."


"With only 57 days left until the March 5 election, the campaigns are about to get into hypermode with appearances, forums, debates, mailing and advertising - all to appeal to about an estimated 30 percent of the city's 1.7 million voters."


One of the biggest factors in the upcoming election is the unknown impact of a super PAC on behalf of Kevin James, the former radio talk show host and federal prosecutor, who is running a campaign of blaming the incumbent politicians for all the problems in the city. James, the only prominent Republican in the race, has been promised up to $4 million by Fred Davis, the conservative ad man who came up with the "demon sheep" ad used against former Rep. Tom Campbell by Carly Fiorina in her race for the U.S. Senate."


Meanwhile, the family of a Sacramento jail inmate who died in custody has filed a lawsuit in federal court, contending that the prisoner died because authorities refused to help him as he vomited for hours.


From the Bee's Denny Walsh: "A Sacramento County jail inmate died a year ago because a sheriff's deputy and a nurse refused to give him help for constant vomiting of blood over at least 12 hours, according to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed in federal court."


"The 17-page complaint alleging civil rights violations was filed on behalf of the inmate's mother and three sisters. It was filed electronically Saturday by attorney Stewart Katz.

The death of Mark Anthony Scott was the direct result of a failure to summon emergency medical care which, in turn, stemmed from "defective policies and practices" at the Sacramento County Main Jail and Correctional Health Services, the complaint alleges."


"Scott's death was a consequence of inadequate Sheriff's Department policies, practices and training regarding the recognition and response to an inmate's obvious medical needs."

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