Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

 

On Saturday, October 8th, Governor Jerry Brown signed the controversial ‘Dream Act’ into law for California.

Here is the breakdown of what the Dream Act is based on their website at www.dreamact.info:

 

 

The DREAM Act

Over three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year. Most get the opportunity to test their dreams and live their American story. However, a group of approximately 65,000 youth do not get this opportunity; they are smeared with an inherited title, an illegal immigrant. These youth have lived in the United States for most of their lives and want nothing more than to be recognized for what they are, Americans.

The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation ‒ pioneered by Sen. Orin Hatch [R-UT] and Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL] ‒ that can solve this hemorrhaging injustice in our society. Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, qualifying undocumented youth would be eligible for a 6 year long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service.

Currently, only Texas and New Mexico have an equivalent ‘Dream Act’ policy going on right now.  It is pretty funny that California wasn’t the first state to begin this, but then again, gays can’t even get married yet here.  Here is a quote from Governor Jerry Brown about the signing of the Dream ACT:

‘”Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said in a written statement issued by his office.’

Last year Brown signed into law a similar bill that allowed illegal immigrants the ability to receive privately funded scholarships.  These two combine to create the ‘California Dream Act’.  Some opponents of this act cite California’s budget woes, and putting an ‘illegal’ immigrant before another native born American.  Also, other opponents fear that their classes and chances for scholarships will be diminished by the introduction of a potential large group with access that they didn’t have before.

Here is a quote directly Reuters:

‘Under the new law, written by Senator Gil Cedillo, a Los Angeles Democrat, those same illegal immigrants would be eligible for aid from the University of California, California State university system and the state’s 112 community colleges.

They could also apply for Cal Grants, which are cash awards based on academic performance.’ REUTERS

This is a phenomenal achievement and gives California’s and other American’s the ability to understand that children who were born here or were taken here as children did not have a choice.  Chances are, they have lived here for their entire lives and now have the opportunity to achieve their dreams beyond high school just like their peers.  They will have an equivalent chance to receive funds and opportunities beyond what they have grown to expect and learn about America.  This is a big win for the West Coast, where we haven’t had many proggressive moving ‘wins’ in a while.
By: Darryn James

 

Muni management, pointing to the agency’s anemic finances, has moved to put the kibosh this year on year-end payouts from a special trust fund set up for the city’s transit operators.

Unless the decision is reversed – the operators’ union is reviewing its legal options – there will be no annual disbursement, which in years past has put up to $3,000 extra into each worker’s pocket at the start of the winter holiday season.

The cumulative hit to Muni would be $3.5 million this year, said management spokesman Paul Rose. Muni’s operating budget this year is $775 million.

It is “beyond dispute that the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) remains in a state of fiscal crisis. The agency has exhausted its reserves; service cuts remain in effect; and the agency is facing another deficit for the upcoming fiscal year,” Debra Johnson, the agency’s director of administration, explained in a memo to the head of the operators’ union.

At the same time, she dangled the prospect that at least some money could be freed up at the negotiating table. “We invite you to bargain over what amount, if any, that the SFMTA shall contribute to the trust fund for the current fiscal year,” she said.

But Rafael Cabrera, acting president of Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, told The Chronicle Friday that there’s no need to negotiate.

“The MTA has a legal obligation under the charter to fund the trust fund,” he said. “The attorneys are involved and it’s going to be a legal fight.”

Prior to the current fiscal year, which began July 1, Muni spent nearly $18 million in the past three budget cycles to replenish the trust fund. The contribution is based on a complex formula set in the City Charter. It takes into account the benefit packages provided to transit operators in the two highest-paying agencies.

Pay for Muni operators, the second-highest among comparable agencies in the United States, is based on a similar formula.

San Francisco voters overwhelmingly approved a Charter amendment in November to abolish the automatic compensation calculation and force Muni operators to bargain for pay and benefits during contract negotiations. The idea behind the ballot initiative was to give management more leverage at the bargaining table to cut labor costs by getting rid of inefficient work rules.

However, Cabrera contends that until the current contract expires at the end of June 2011, management is obligated to make the trust fund payments.

Nathaniel Ford, executive director of the Municipal Transportation Agency, said Friday that question is being researched by the city attorney. But for now, “our current position is that the operators are not getting the payouts this year.”

E-mail Rachel Gordon at rgordon@sfchronicle.com.

via Muni management moves to stop year-end payouts.

by Yvonne Wingett and JJ Hensley – Aug. 18, 2010 09:46 AM
The Arizona Republic

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors withheld an item from its Wednesday agenda to accept $1.6 million in immigration funding from the state that would help pay for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s immigration enforcement efforts.

The board will consider the matter at a future meeting.

The Supervisors decided not to hear the item Wednesday amid concerns over financial accountability within the Sheriff’s Office.

It is unclear how the Supervisors would have voted on the item, but it is not the first time the Legislative-approved immigration funds have become a sticking point between board members and Arpaio.

Last year, supervisors initially blocked the funding from going to Arpaio’s office. That decision came one month after the Justice Department announced that the Sheriff’s Office was the subject of a civil-rights investigation into allegations that deputies discriminate.

One month later the Supervisors changed their minds and approved the funding with a 3-1 vote.

In 2008, former Gov. Janet Napolitano stripped Arpaio of the $1.6 million and redirected it to a fugitive task force. Republican legislative leadership gave the money back to Arpaio in a budget package in early 2009.

via Supervisors stall on illegal-immigration funds for Arpaio.

IllegalInAmerica Says:

Wow, Sheriff Arpaio is getting investigated for civil rights issues?  And he is still the lead sheriff against illegal immigrants in Arizona?

Somebody get him out of there!  I’ve recently posted an article about how Sheriff Joe is being sued by a number of different people claiming that he “ruined” their political careers by convening and organizing attacks against them while they were at a vulnerable time in their careers.  He spreads lies and hate so that he can gain politically the upper-hand.

What I think is rediculous are his tent cities.  He makes captured people stay in these nasty, surrounded in desert, not up to standards shitholes.  Also, he makes the inmates wear pink underwear… this guy is just freaking nuts.

Check below for a ton more information about this asshole.

Best,

IIA


By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writerAugust 11, 2010: 10:29 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Wells Fargo was ordered to pay more than $200 million in restitution to California customers for manipulating and multiplying overdraft fees, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup of Northern California, in his 90-page ruling Tuesday, said Wells Fargo used “a bookkeeping device” that turned one instance of overdrawing an account into as many as 10, allowing the bank to multiply the number of fees it could collect from a single mistake.

“The bank went to considerable effort to hide these manipulations while constructing a facade of phony disclosure,” he said.

The ruling said Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) must pay $203 million in restitution to California customers for its liberal use of $35 overdraft fees. This is a fraction of the $1.8 billion in overdraft fees that the bank collected in California from 2005 to 2007, according to the court.

“The revenue generated from these fees has been massive,” wrote the judge.

The ruling concluded a two-week bench trial that ended May 7.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Richele Messick said that her company was “disappointed” with the judge’s ruling.

“We don’t believe it’s in line with the facts of the case and we plan to appeal,” she said.

Paul Miller, analyst for FBR Capital Markets, said that Wells Fargo’s handling of the overdraft fees was “always a questionable practice” that has been “going on for years.”

But he said that in the future, bank fees are going to become “more up front than back door,” especially in the wake of financial reform.

“I think with financial reform in general, a lot of these practices are going to change anyway,” he said. “The government is going to take a really hard look at this stuff.” To top of page

via California judge: Wells Fargo manipulated overdraft fees – Aug. 11, 2010.

IllegalInAmerica Says:

WOW!  I’m a Wells Fargo customer!  I wonder if I will eventually see any of the thousands of overdraft fees given back to me by this hellhole of a bank.  I normally wouldn’t have posted this, but feel, at some level, that this is a civil rights issue in the face of financial reform.  We are being owned by these people, creating electronic systems that know to automatically suck your bank account dry.. what the hell is this?  I would rather have Big Brother than my god darn bank account sucked dry like a customers wallet that is watching Twilight in theatres…

Good for the judge who has us in mind… and thank you.

IIA