Quick Hits

Another in our series on articles of interest that need to be published, but don’t warrant or can’t support a full length post. The accompanying graphic is to satisfy “Rule 5” recommendations.

First up is this article on how a Colorado Teachers’ Union is looking out for their membership:

Colorado teachers union challenges arrest disclosure rule

Colorado’s largest teachers union is challenging new rules requiring schools to notify parents about teacher arrests.

The union wants a judge to throw out the rules because they may harm a teacher’s reputation, noting that arrests represent an accusation of wrongdoing, not a finding of guilt. The union also said it’s possible that a teacher could be mistaken for someone else arrested with the same name.

Under the new rules, school districts must notify students’ parents when employees are arrested or charged with any felonies or misdemeanors involving sexual assault, child abuse or indecent exposure. Drug arrests are supposed to be disclosed, but not arrests for marijuana possession.

When we first read about this, we thought the teacher’s union had a point. The concept of “innocent until proven guilty” is a foundation of the American justice system.

However, when one realizes that the schools are disseminating public information on arrests, one has to wonder if there is a line being crossed. The police routinely put out who was arrested, when they were arrested, what a person was charged with and even mug shots. It is not as if the schools are releasing confidential information on the employee.

Do parents want to know that their kids may be being taught by a drug addict? Or a child molester? We would think so. Is it unreasonable for the parent and school to think that the arrest will be distracting to the teacher and therefore affect a child’s education? We think a parent would want to know that as well.

The union seems to want a judge to say that the schools cannot publish freely accessible, truthful information. While the schools at one time may not have decided to publish such information, now that they have the unions seems to be trying to restrict the the exchange of information which would appear to be a violation of the First Amendment.

It seems that the Obama administration is not only willing to vilify banks in their talking points, they are looking to force banks to make what most people would consider vile and heinous actions against seniors.

Spat with Government Was Wells’ ‘Last Straw’ on Reverse Mortgages

Wells Fargo & Co. decided to exit reverse mortgages after federal officials insisted it foreclose on elderly customers who were behind on property tax and insurance payments, a Wells executive wrote in an email to business contacts Friday.

The San Francisco bank had other reasons to shut its 1,000-employee reverse mortgage unit. The industry’s lack of growth, declining housing prices and other issues have reduced its draw for major lenders, prompting other market leaders such as Bank of America Corp. and Financial Freedom Acquisition LLC, a unit of OneWest Bank Group LLC, to pull out as well. The business is simply not central to the mortgage operations of Wells and others.

But the pullout occurred after a disagreement between Wells and the Department of Housing and Urban Development came to a head, Phil Bracken, an executive vice president of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, wrote in the email. Wells was worried that HUD would force it to foreclose on senior citizens with delinquent reverse mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, according to a copy of the message obtained by American Banker.

“The last straw in our decision was the recent HUD decision to require servicers to initiate foreclosure on the Senior Reverse Mortgage customers [who] could not pay their taxes and insurance,” the email said. “When a product or program creates more reputation risk than value … well … you get the picture.”

Under a reverse mortgage, homeowners must continue paying property taxes and insurance premiums. If they lack the money, the lender makes the payments for at least two years while attempting to work out a repayment plan. In the event that fails, the lender is then supposed to seek authorization from HUD to begin proceedings that lead to foreclosure.

That means that the government is demanding that banks foreclose on grandma and grandpa. It is not the government’s money that was loaned; it is the banks. If the bank wants to make a change in the lending agreement with the approval of the customer, that in between the bank and the customer – not the government.

We can see where Wells Fargo would be cast in the light of “heartless bastards” in the wake of throwing an elderly client out onto the sidewalk. No one would care that they were following some HUD rule. The left, the media and the administration would portray their actions as another example of “heartless greed.” Even though it is the government demanding that they foreclose, the bank would be blamed.

For the bank, it is not worth the potential public relations nightmare.

Lastly, a local manufacturer of LED lighting was asked what they thought of Congress’ attempt to roll back the ban on incandescent light bulbs.

Among the companies speaking out on Monday was Lighting Science Group in Satellite Beach, which makes LED bulbs.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Haworth called lighting “the low-hanging fruit” in efforts to reduce energy consumption, noting that it accounts for 22 percent of U.S. energy use.

“There are 4.4 billion traditional light sockets in the United States alone offering a rapid and practical path for billions of dollars in energy savings through the installation of more efficient lighting,” he said in a statement.

But passing the BULB Act, Haworth said, “will inevitably increase energy bills, stifle innovation that is creating U.S. jobs and increase air pollution that harms human health and the environment. Congress should reject efforts to repeal these standards.”

Who would have thought that a company would be against allowing a competing product to sell? We are shocked. Shocked we tell you. This is about LSG making a product that is not competing well against traditional incandescent bulbs so it wants the competition gone. With that competition gone, it can maintain artificially higher prices within the marketplace.

And as for those jobs that incandescent bulbs would stifle?

Lighting Science employs about 350 in Brevard County and is expanding its manufacturing operations in Mexico.

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