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July 13, 2012

Wells Fargo to pay $175 million for systematically robbing black and latino homebuyers

Wells Fargo To Pay $175M Racial Discrimination | ThinkProgress
Yesterday, the Justice Department announced an agreement by Wells Fargo to pay $175 million in order to settle claims that its independent brokers discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers. The Wells Fargo settlement, if approved, will be the second largest residential fair-lending settlement in DOJ’s history. DOJ found that Wells Fargo’s discriminatory lending practices resulted in African-American and Hispanic borrowers paying higher rates for loans solely because of the color of their skin. Minority borrowers were both steered into sub-prime loans and charged higher fees. An investigation by the department’s civil rights division found that mortgage brokers working with Wells Fargo had charged higher fees and rates to more than 30,000 minority borrowers across the country than they had to white borrowers who posed the same credit risk, according to a complaint filed on Thursday along with the proposed settlement. Wells Fargo brokers also steered more than 4,000 minority borrowers into costlier subprime mortgages when white borrowers with similar credit risk profiles had received regular loans, a Justice Department complaint found. The deal covers the subprime bubble years of 2004 to 2009. Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division, said the practices amounted to a “racial surtax,” adding: “All too frequently, Wells Fargo’s African-American and Latino borrowers had no idea they could have gotten a better deal — no idea that white borrowers with similar credit would pay less.” . . .

July 10, 2012

Metal thieves are now just stealing playground equipment

The photo below is of a San Francisco neighborhood playing field where thieves stole most of the bleachers. Metal Thieves Are Now Just Stealing Playground Equipment: SFist
After an epidemic of missing copper wiring, an historical marker, a disappearing cathedral bell, mass grave robberies, and some seafaring pirates, this rash of Bay Area metal thefts has officially gone from baffling, to exciting, to gross and is now just sort of depressing. As the Chronicle reports over the weekend, metal thieves have now started raiding local playgrounds and public sports facilities for anything not bolted to the ground. According to SF Rec and Park spokesperson Sarah Ballard, the department has an estimated "hundreds of thousands of dollars of metal equipment" throughout the parks system. In a recent incident at Crocker-Amazon Playground, which has a nice fresh set of multi-use playing fields, the aluminum bleachers were stolen to be melted down for scrap. Likewise, thieves tried to make off with the metal frames for the soccer goals. While they didn't get away with the goals, park workers have also noticed copper piping for the irrigation system has gone missing. Piles other stolen metal goods also pop up occasionally outside of the park, where the bandits were presumably coming to pick them up later. The thefts are disheartening to say the least, especially considering all the public and private funds that go in to renovating and upgrading the parks. As one neighbor and park activist succinctly put it to the Chronicle: "You get something nice done, and the next day it can be gone."

July 02, 2012

Florida cop refuses to let rape victim take emergency contraception on "religious grounds"

Because cruelly forcing a woman to carry her rapists child to term is more empathetic and loving and Christ-like than allowing her to have contraception. In Florida. Theocracy in a Florida Jail -- The Legal Satyricon
A woman, identified only as “R.W.” went to a rape crisis center in Tampa. She got a pair of morning-after pills, you know, so she wouldn’t have to suffer through a rape AND 9 months of carrying the rapist’s child. She then went to the police station to report the rape. Thereafter, a TPD officer accompanied Plaintiff back to the scene ofthe crime to investigate. (Dkt. 16, at 31). At some point, however, the officer discovered that Plaintiff was the subject of an arrestwarrant for failure to appearand failure to pay restitution. After making this discovery, the officer arrested Plaintiff and took her to the Hillsborough County Jail on OrientRoad in Tampa, Florida (hereinafter “Jail”). The remaining anti-conception pill was taken from Plaintiff upon her arrival at the Jail. (Op. at 2). Yeah, that’s bad enough, right? End the story here and the cops are fucking douchebags. It gets worse. She had already popped her first morning after pill. The second one had to be taken 12 hours later. Since she happened to be in jail, she had to ask her captor for the second pill. When R.W. asked for her second pill, Hillsborough County Jail “private contractor” Michele Spinelli refused on religious grounds. Plaintiff remained in jail overnight,and the next morning requested the anti-conception pill from Spinelli explained thatthe doctor atthe Rape Crisis Center had prescribed it to ensure that Plaintiffdid not become pregnant as the resultofthe rape. (Dkt. 16, at 138). In response, “Spinelli told the Plaintiffthat Spinelli would not give herthe pill because it was against her (Spinelli’s) religious beliefs.” (Dkt. 16, at p 39). (Op. at 2) She did not get pregnant, but she did sue — as she should have.