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Biden pledges New Deal-like economic agenda to counter Trump

July 10, 2020

By BILL BARROW and MARC LEVY Associated Press : examiner – excerpt

DUNMORE, Pa. (AP) — Democrat Joe Biden turned his campaign against President Donald Trump toward the economy Thursday, introducing a New Deal-like economic agenda while drawing a sharp contrast with a billionaire incumbent he said has abandoned working-class Americans amid cascading crises.

The former vice president presented details of a comprehensive agenda that he touted as the most aggressive government investment in the U.S. economy since World War II. He also accused Trump of ignoring the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis while encouraging division amid a national reckoning with systemic racism.

“His failures come with a terrible human cost and a deep economic toll,” Biden said during a 30-minute address at a metal works firm near his childhood hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania. “Time and again, working families are paying the price for this administration’s incompetence.”

Biden’s shift to the economy meets Trump on turf the Republican president had seen as his strength before the pandemic severely curtailed consumer activity and drove unemployment to near-Great Depression levels. Now, Biden and his aides believe the issue is an all-encompassing opening that gives Democrats avenues to attack Trump on multiple fronts while explaining their own governing vision for the country…(more)

Bill to create state public bank could jumpstart SF efforts

July 10, 2020

By Ida Mojadad : sfexaminer – excerpt

California may move $10 billion of its investment banking funds to rebuild…

California may move $10 billion of its investment banking funds to rebuild its economy battered by coronavirus and convert the financial arm into the country’s second state public bank.

Assemblymembers David Chiu, who represents San Francisco, and Miguel Santiago, who represents part of Los Angeles, announced Assembly Bill 310 on Thursday to turn the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, known as IBank, into a state public bank.

That bank would eventually allow various agencies and departments in California to make deposits, freeing it from fees and investment choices of big banks. For cities like San Francisco, which is in the process of creating its own local public bank, the state bank would help jumpstart that effort after it was stalled by coronavirus…

But time isn’t on the side of bill proponents. Chiu and Santiago acknowledge AB 310 will face great resistance before being passed, all while having just five weeks to gather support and bring it through the California Legislature. Its recess was extended to July 27 and bills must be passed by Aug. 31.

“It will be a fight, there’s no doubt about that,” Santiago said Thursday. “It’s going to be a very quick, brutal process. This is an opportunity for us to reinvest California dollars in California communities.”…(more)

It appears that the North Dakota model may be the one that California embraces. In many ways, that may be the best way to launch a public bank as the model already exists, and the cities would be spared the expense they can hardly afford at this time, while they may take advantage of access to cheap financing through the state bank. We have been wondering what the next step might be and now we have an answer. Preparing for the day when the friendly Fed may open in Washington is in our opinion a good first start. Stay tuned for more details and discussions on the pubic bank option and the legislators who support it: https://zrants.wordpress.com/public-banks/

Thank you David Chiu and Miguel Santiago for carrying this effort to establish and public bank forward. We need a strong financial foundation to get through the next couple of years and the nation fights the epidemic.

SF Superior Court ends Zero Bail Policy, threatening public health

July 10, 2020

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

In a secretive and inexplicable move, judges decide that even minor crimes can keep suspects in jail for up to 30 hours — as jail COVID cases rise by 40 percent.

The San Francisco Superior Court has chosen not to continue the Zero Bail Policy that has reduced county jail populations across the state.

That, a broad coalition of legal and health advocacy groups says, is a likely reason that the number of COVID cases in the local county jail system has gone up 40 percent since June 18… (more)

EDD told to reduce response time, reform online operations in scathing news conference

July 3, 2020

By Melanie Woodrow : abc7news – excerpt (see video)

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — State legislators held a scathing news conference Thursday morning calling on California’s Employment Development Department to reform its ways immediately as countless constituents deplete their savings waiting for unemployment benefits.

California’s Employment Development Department says it is working around the clock, seven days a week processing unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

But despite paying more than $37.5 billion in benefits over the last few months and processing more than seven million claims, there are hundreds of Californians who have told 7 On Your Side and state lawmakers that they’ve received only one payment or no payments at all… (more)

Nuru scandal prompts new rules for Public Works to prevent corruption

June 29, 2020

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer -excerpt

The alleged public corruption engaged in by former Public Works head Mohammed Nuru was able to go on unchecked for years due to gaps in city contracting and gift rules that he exploited, according to a new report.

The City Controller’s investigation of the Public Works department resulted in eight recommendations in a report released Monday to reform its operations to prevent the sort of behavior for which Nuru is accused…

The report noted that seven of 15 contracts fast-tracked for homeless services were worth $10 million and “were awarded through no discernable selection process and are at the greatest risk of fraud or abuse in the award process.”…

City Controller Ben Rosenfield said that his office is “seeking to rectify bad policies and practices that undermine” transparency, accountability, and ethical behavior around city services and spending of taxpayer money.

Supervisor Matt Haney has vowed to introduce legislation to implement the recommendations of the report... (more)

2020 Housing Bills: Legislation in an Age of Uncertainty

June 28, 2020

embarcaderoinstitute – excerpt

1. Introduction

Amidst profound uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and new economic climate, California’s State Senate and Assembly have pressed ahead with a flurry of housing bills that attempt to address the state’s housing challenge. A number of these bills represent adaptations of earlier upzoning bills, including the heavy-handed SB-50 which failed in a Senate floor vote in January 2020. Other bills pursue developer bonuses and incentives for moderate-income and market rate housing, with little obvious benefit to lower-income households. These bills also create new complexities and potentially set up conflicts between local land use and state law — with no clear path for resolution.

The Embarcadero Institute has prepared a summary analysis outlining each bill’s potential effects, benefits, interactions with existing legislation, and inconsistencies. The bills can be broadly categorized into six buckets, defined by their approach and potential impact. Some fall under multiple categories:… (more)

Date Driven analysis of the 2020 Housing Bills

Central Bank Digital Currencies: a Revolution in Banking?

June 26, 2020

By Ellen Brown : truthdig – excerpt

Several central banks, including the Bank of England, the People’s Bank of China, the Bank of Canada and the Federal Reserve, are exploring the concept of issuing their own digital currencies, using the blockchain technology developed for Bitcoin. Skeptical commentators suspect that their primary goal is to eliminate cash, setting us up for negative interest rates (we pay the bank to hold our deposits rather than the reverse).

But Ben Broadbent, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, puts a more positive spin on it. He says Central Bank Digital Currencies could supplant the money now created by private banks through “fractional reserve” lending – and that means 97% of the circulating money supply. Rather than outlawing bank-created money, as money reformers have long urged, fractional reserve banking could be made obsolete simply by attrition, preempted by a better mousetrap. The need for negative interest rates could also be eliminated, by giving the central bank more direct tools for stimulating the economy(more)

This sounds like a market based process of changing the system. In many ways we are already doing that.

State Bills Force Density for All

June 22, 2020

by sebraleaves : medium – excerpt

Photo by Zrants

California state legislators are pushing bills to override local control, while the media is fixated on the pandemic. It is up to citizens to warn each other about the power grab.

I decided to explain what is going on among housing activists on both sides of the arguments over housing developments after my friend asked me why progressives hate single family housing. I realized that all the brands and rhetoric are confusing. People don’t know who to trust. I will try to paint a clear picture of the situation.

There is a land use battle raging in Sacramento over state control versus local control regarding zoning and development in the midst of a pandemic. The result will determine who decides where when and how we should live. This is a call to action. Now is the time for the public to speak out…(more)

https://medium.com/@SebraLeaves/state-bills-force-density-for-all-a5a01eedde25

This is a call to action!

Market Musings: The pandemic is putting some San Francisco landlords in crisis

June 19, 2020

By Larry Rosen : sfexaminer – excerpt

We have this image of “the landlord” — this predatory, over-funded, 1980s yuppie meme, polo shirt-wearing tech bro.

I know you don’t want to hear this, but these are challenging times for San Francisco landlords, and they may be fixing to get a lot worse. The party, which has lasted years, may be over — for who knows how long.

Or maybe you do want to hear this. Maybe you rejoiced at word that San Francisco rents had fallen 9.2 percent year-over-year, and that the Board of Supervisors had voted to permanently ban evictions against tenants who “can’t pay rent due to coronavirus-related issues.” I mean, we stand against a lot of things here in San Francisco; very few of them do we stand against with more passion than landlords… (more)

Everyone is going to suffer from the economic downturn except for the people who wisely aniticipate a downturn and saved for it and some of them may be threatened if the problem persists too long. How many landlords do you expect to see living in tents in the coming months? That is what separates the landlords from the tenants. Tenants should negotiate cheaper rents and landlords should negotiate with their lenders.

Wall Street is Better at Gambling Than Finance

June 19, 2020

By New Economic Thinking

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