Urge Governor to Return $331 Million to Homeowners

Return $331 Million in Misappropriated Funds to Help 800,000 California Homeowners in Distress

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In 2012, California Attorney General Kamala Harris negotiated a settlement with many of the banks to help homeowners struggling as a result of the financial crisis. $350 million was supposed to go to assistance programs for California homeowners.

In 2013, Facing a huge deficit, Governor Brown took the money to balance the budget. Now that the state is projected to see major surpluses, we want the money to be used for its original intended purpose.

On June 12th 2015, the California Superior Court ordered the Governor to return $331 million he illegally took from a homeowner and renter fund. The fund could help millions of homeowners, future homeowners and present renters. However, the state legislators still need to work with the Governor to pass legislation to re-appropriate the money.

Help us by showing the state legislators you want this done. Many legislators are already supporting the return of the money.

More about the issue:

NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/16/business/california-has-to-repay-331-million-to-homeowners-fund-court-rules.html

SF Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Judge-Brown-and-Legislature-illegally-raided-6329098.php

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California Court Rules That Governor Brown Unlawfully Diverted $331 Million from National Homeowner Special Deposit Fund by BofA, Wells Fargo and Other Major Banks

Court Ruling: click here

Press Release: click here

New York Times Article: click here

Press Release California Court Rules That Governor Brown Unlawfully Diverted $331 Million

 

Groups Demand that $369 Million Improperly Taken from Attorney General Bank Settlement be Returned to Homeowners Facing Foreclosure

At 9:30 a.m. on March 14th, major Black, Latino and Asian American organizations filed a Petition in Sacramento Superior Court demanding that Governor Brown return up to $350 million out of California’s share of the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement that was secured by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, so that it can be used as intended – to aid the state’s millions of homeowners in distress via direct relief and through grants to the organizations that support them.

The full text of the petition for writ of mandamus can be viewed here.

Letters of support have been sent to the Governor by HomeFree-USA, the largest minority-led, HUD-approved home counseling intermediary in the nation, with affiliates in California, including the NAAC; and Operation HOPE, a national organization headed by John Bryant that also offers HUD-approved home counseling, and whose Chairman is leading civil rights figure and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young. Both organizations state that they are available to meet with the Governor and the Petitioners to resolve the lawsuit.

The lawsuit has been covered by Gretchen Morgenson at the New York Times.

Philippines – Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund

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Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest typhoon on record in Philippines has devastated the central island provinces. Antique, among the provinces in the direct path of the typhoon will be the beneficiary of a fundraising campaign by the NAAC and Pandan Bay Foundation.

Over 12,000 families lost their homes in Antique. These families need food and building materials. The province of Antique is still experiencing power outages after Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated parts of the Visayas last week. Officials state the entire province is still without power as of Monday. Of the over 50,000 people that were affected, the majority of them are state government evacuation centers. The Antique provincial government estimate the damage to government facilities and over P50 million. (Source: GMA News – http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/334921/news/regions/antique-province-still-without-power-over-50k-people-affected)

See below photos taken by local residents of Pandan, Antique:

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We are reaching out to our network to provide aid in this time of need. All proceeds will benefit the province of Antique, Philiippines.




How Big Banks Can Go Beyond ‘Satisfactory’ Regulatory Ratings

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Many minority-led church groups are working closely with the federal regulators and the National Asian American Coalition in encouraging financial institutions to achieve Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”approach to economic development and community reinvestment.

As representatives of these organizations, we are heartened and encouraged by Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry’s recent speech at American Banker’sRegulatory Symposium. Curry’s position that banks should move far beyond “satisfactory”ratings and that regulators will have “heightened expectations”when auditing internal controls are especially important to Main Street communities. They are also important in attempting to meet King’s inclusionary message of fifty years ago, which foreshadowed the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act.

For too long, large banks and the vast majority of mid-size banks have ignored Main Street needs. With the rarest of exceptions, no one from Main Street is on any large bank’s board of directors. Further, with only a few exceptions, financial institutions’ strategies are focused on profits and avoiding federal government penalties, rather than on how they can ensure the growth and well-being of their retail customers.

Curry’s “heightened expectations”for large banks should and must include whether our communities are substantially better off as a result of their presence. Otherwise, the subsidies that the people provide to the banking industry will be ill-spent, particularly during a period of budgetary constraints.

This approach is consistent with the 150-year history of the OCC, as Curry pointed out to a thousand community leaders and more than two dozen banks in his speech and comments at the National Asian American Coalition’s recent conference. Curry cited this advice that one of his predecessors provided to banks a hundred and fifty years ago: “Pursue a straightforward, upright, legitimate, banking business … ‘Splendid financiers’ is not legitimate banking, and ‘splendid financiers’ in banking are generally either humbugs or rascals.”

Every large bank has different needs and different aspirations. It is, however, up to the Comptroller of the Currency and other federal regulators, such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve, to set especially high standards that create economic development, jobs and healthy communities throughout our nation.

Main Street and faith-based communities have a few specific suggestions for the OCC and other regulators that we expect will follow the leadership standards set forth by the Comptroller.

First, all financial institutions that have $10 billion or more in federally-insured deposits should be included within the Comptroller’s aspirational standards of going well-beyond “satisfactory”ratings. Therefore, CRA ratings should be revamped and very high standards should be required before a bank receives an “outstanding”CRA rating.

Second, no mergers or acquisitions should be approved unless a large bank has either an “outstanding”rating in all categories (lending, service and investments) and/or submits, after receiving community input, a future CRA plan that will ensure a subsequent “outstanding”CRA rating.

Third, all large banks, as part of this process, should annually hold community Main Street forums attended by their CEOs and lead directors. The bank should then file a report on these forums with the appropriate regulator and include comments and input from the community.

Fourth, socially responsible community investments should reflect the asset size or the FDIC-insured deposit base of the financial institution.

Fifth, innovative programs should be required to maximize the achievement of the American Dream of responsible homeownership shared by the overwhelming percentage of Americans, including new immigrants.

Sixth, innovative plans to help our nation’s more than five million small minority-owned businesses (many located in underserved communities) through lending and technical assistance should be instituted to substantially complement and/or supplement the generally inadequate Small Business Administration programs.

Seventh, the limited financial education programs previously supported by the banking industry must be drastically overhauled. This includes major investments in K-12 financial education and a major overhaul of financial education to assist communities to withstand a broad array of sophisticated, but unethical practices. This includes the practices of unregulated institutions, such as payday lenders and debt collectors.

Lastly, all of the banking regulators should hold joint annual bank/community forums in major areas of the nation. These forums should include substantial input from Main Street that could assist regulators and the banking industry in achieving well-beyond “satisfactory”performances.

by ANTHONY HUGHES AND SERGIO DE LA MORA

Anthony Hughes is chair of the Social Action Committee of the San Diego County Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. Sergio De La Mora is senior pastor of Cornerstone Church of San Diego. Both partner closely with the National Asian American Coalition.

Link to Original Article: http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/how-big-banks-can-go-beyond-satisfactory-regulatory-ratings-1063065-1.html

Dispute over who will pay for San Onofre Plant closure

http://www.cbs8.com/story/23589955/dispute-over-who-will-pay-for-san-onofre-plant-closure?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9370481

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Who should pay for the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant? Tuesday night, San Diegans made their answer known, loud and clear: not SDG&E customers.

SDG&E says it was greatly affected when the plant closed. They had to pay to buy power from other sources and they had to pay for replacement generators when the old ones failed.

But at a public meeting Tuesday dozens said they would be affected much worse if customers end up on the hook for those costs.

“My mom is the only one that’s working and she makes minimum wage,” said Maria Mendoza, a high school senior.

When Mendoza took the podium she wanted the California Public Utilities Commission to know her family is struggling.

“I’ve had to find a job because there isn’t enough money in our house and just adding extra money to our bill is just going to be too much,” continued Mendoza.

Classmates at King Chavez High School stood by her along with others eager to speak against the idea of customers paying for the closure of San Onofre Nuclear Plant.

San Diego Gas and Electric is seeking about $800 million from customers to cover costs associated with the plant closing in early 2012.

Before the CPUC meeting in Kearny Mesa, advocate Mark Toney reminded supporters that the plant closed due to faulty generators – by no fault of the public.

“They don’t have the right to charge you for their mistake,” Toney added.

In a statement SDG&E says:

“The CPUC typically has allowed utilities to recover their sunk costs in power plants that have been taken out of service. We are confident the CPUC will make a decision that is fair to our customers and shareholders.”

The CPUC says commissioners will have to decide to rule for or against the electric companies with the possibility of refunds.

SDG&E says its rates will not go up as a result of the plant closure. Public utilities representatives did not even want to speculate on when rate payers can expect a ruling from commissioners. But Tuesday’s demonstrators are hoping to have a resolution by the end of the year.

SDG&E shared ownership of the San Onofre Nuclear Plant. California Edison owned nearly 80 percent of it until its closure.

Link to Original Article: http://www.cbs8.com/story/23589955/dispute-over-who-will-pay-for-san-onofre-plant-closure

By Matt Johnson, Reporter

Residents protest rate hikes related to San Onofre

SAN DIEGO – San Onofre may be shut down, but the debate over who pays continues.

Residents gathered Tuesday to protest San Diego Gas & Electric rate hikes prior to a California Public Utilities Commission public hearing in San Diego.

Protestors held signs reading “You Break It, You Buy it” and urged commissioners to put the cost of decommissioning the plant with the utility, Southern California Edison.

“We shouldn’t have to pay a dime for this,” said Donna Gilmore, San Clemente resident. “If the PUC rewards Edison for this boondoggle what kind of message does that send?”

The Commission held a public hearing in the afternoon and evening, giving residents an opportunity to voice their concerns.

“For everyday people it’s really hard, these rate increases that are being proposed,” said Derek Casady, La Jolla resident. “I hope they do the right thing.”

Ratepayers are also concerned the utility is trying to charge for the power plants that are being used to replace San Onofre. CPUC chairman Mike Florio said a vote will take place on that issue next month.

“People do have to pay for the energy they use, but they shouldn’t have to pay twice for it,” said Florio. “That’s what we’re concerned about is that the utilities are asking for recovery of the plant that’s not running and the plants that are running to replace the one that’s not running. That’s overreaching in my view.”

Ray Lutz, spokesman for the Coalition to Decommission San Onofre, a grassroots organization, said he will be asking the CPUC to develop a Citizens’ Oversight Panel for the $4 billion decommission fund.

“We need a citizen panel there to watch every single dollar that’s spent,” said Lutz. “And make sure it’s spent wisely and that there’s no waste, fraud and abuse that goes on.”

Critics said documents prove Southern California Edison and the manufacturer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, were aware of problems with the replacement steam generators and chose not to make changes. They said Tuesday that’s reason enough to lack trust.

by  

Reporter

Link to Original Article: http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/10/01/taxpayers-protest-rate-hikes-related-to-san-onofre/#ixzz2h4dtlSfw