Privatization (News)

5 Ways the Government Used Our Money to Save Big Banks and Screw Us

The Nation

The government hasn't exactly been forthcoming about how it has made buckets of money available to the banking sector. But here's what really happened. As we mark the end of the first year of the financial bailout, the public seems to regard the government's actions with a toxic combination of rage and confusion. People are pissed off but too bewildered to know what to do with that anger. The confusion isn't an accident. The government hasn't exactly been forthcoming about how it's made buckets of money available to the banking sector. When it does disclose some information--such as in July's SIGTARP report from the Treasury or the Federal Reserve's weekly balance sheet--it's in the form of intimidating descriptions, accounting mumbo jumbo and technical reports that do little to illuminate just what the hell is going on.

Luke Cole - Environmental Justice Lawyer Dies


Luke Cole, a San Francisco attorney who was one of the pioneers in the field of environmental justice - filing lawsuits for poor plaintiffs or people of color whose communities were being ravaged by corporate polluters - died in a head-on car crash Saturday in Uganda. He was 46.

Mr. Cole and his wife, Nancy Shelby, were on vacation and traveling on a rural road in western Uganda about 7:30 a.m. when "a truck veered to Luke's side of the road," said Mr. Cole's father, Herbert "Skip" Cole.

Mr. Cole died, and his wife was injured. She was flown to Amsterdam, where she underwent an eye operation Monday, Herbert Cole said.

Capitalism Triumphs Over Democracy as Bailout Passes the House


The House voted this afternoon to pass a modified version of the Bush-Paulson bailout plan by a 263-171 margin. 172 Democrats and 91 Republicans supported the measure.

Before the vote, CNN reported, "At least 20 House members said Friday they had switched positions and would now support the proposed $700 billion bailout of the nation's financial system.

"Among the 20 converts is Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Illinois, his chief of staff, Kenneth Edmonds, said.

"Edmonds said Jackson is changing his vote because "he received assurances from (Sen. Barack Obama) that, if elected, his administration will aggressively use authority in the bill to prevent foreclosures and stabilize the housing market."

East Bay local agencies ask voters for money

East Bay voters face a double-edged ballot on Nov 4.

At the same time they pay more at the pump and the grocery store, cash-strapped local public agencies are asking for money, too.

Of the 58 local ballot measures on Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano County ballots, a third propose new or extended taxes totalling more than $750 million.

Nearly half the measures raise funds for schools either through bonds repaid with property taxes or parcel taxes.

The largest is a $500 million parks bond for the East Bay Regional Park District. A handful of cities seek cash to pay for new police officers, street repairs and library services.

Key System helped East Bay cities grow

Oakland Tribune

With its unusual width and prominent location off Solano Avenue, Key Route Boulevard in Albany can't be missed.

Still, many residents may not know that this street is named after the Key System, a rail car line that connected East Bay cities such as Albany, Berkeley and Oakland to one another and to San Francisco.

"This is what people did to commute in the old days," said Christiaan Klieger, senior curator of history at the Oakland Museum of California.

Lennar sells take in Richmond condos

Inside Bay Area

RICHMOND — Lennar Corp. has jettisoned its ownership stake in two condominium projects near Marina Bay here, another indicator that the housing market has yet to escape its multi-faceted meltdown.

The company sold its interest in the 488-unit Marina Shores and the 224-unit Marina Cove, residential developments located in the Marina Bay area of Richmond. Both projects were launched as a venture consisting of Lennar and Emerald Fund. Kennedy Wilson bought Lennar's stake in the two condo projects, which total 712 units.

Oakland City Council strikes down new tax

Oakland's fiscal problems got $12 million worse Tuesday, when the City Council rejected a landscaping and lighting tax increase approved by property owners two months ago but challenged for improperly weighting votes.

The loss of the anticipated tax funds bumps the city's projected revenue shortfall this year to $50 million - 10 percent of its general fund budget - and will send city officials scrambling in the coming months to make deep spending cuts, including possible layoffs.

Oakland Council OKs Four Finalists for Army Base Development

The Oakland City Council voted late Tuesday night to approve four finalist developers to bid on its 108-acre Oakland Army Base Gateway Development project. The four finalists—pared down from an original list of eight developers who bid on the job—will now be invited to submit requests for proposals within the next four to six months.

Uh-oh: Lennar’s $25 million shipyard funding gap

 Sup. Chris Daly wants an immediate hearing into the fiscal health of Lennar’s construction project at Hunters Point Shipyard, (you know, the one where they repeatedly messed up the asbestos dust monitoring).

Daly made his request at the June 10 Board of Supervisors meeting, following the discovery that the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency has applied for, but has so far been denied, a $25 million grant to subsidize infrastructure costs at the site.

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