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By Tim Hunt

Green is keeping his options open

Uploaded: May 24, 2012

You've got to give Union City Mayor Mark Green credit for covering his bets.
Green is one of five candidates running for the 20th Assembly District. Judging by the mail flooding our box, Jennifer Ong has plenty of dough for mailers. She, Bill Quirk (a Hayward councilman and scientist)) and Sababjit Kaur Cheema (a transportation engineer and educator) are the declared Democrats in the race.
Luis Reynoso, a Hayward school trustee, is the lone declared Republican, while Green stated no party preference.
The top two vote-getters advance to the November primary with the winner taking the 20th seat.
Perhaps looking at polls and to presumably to preserve his options, Green applied for the vacant seat and is one of the five finalists for appointment to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. The seat was vacated by the resignation of Nadia Lockyer after a very public unraveling of her professional and personal life.
The other finalists include the retired supervisor Gail Steele and a past challenger for that seat, former Union City Councilman Richard Valle. The other finalists are Ana Apodaca and Sheryl Grant.
The supervisors are scheduled to make a decision on Election Day, June 5. The election results will not be known until that evening at the earliest or later depending on how close the race is.
Whoever is selected must stand for election in November to finish the final two years of the term.
Seeing Green on the ballot twice would be interesting, to say the least.

SPEAKING OF NUMBERS, Mason-McDuffie Mortgage executive Bill Godfrey believes the mortgage industry has gotten a bad rap in the financial crisis that triggered deep recession that the United States and European countries are still trying to escape.
The collapse of the housing bubble along with the minimal standards for many borrowers has been cited as a cause of the world-wide financial crisis.
The driver in the world-wide crisis, Godfrey believes, was Wall Street's bundling of mortgages and then selling credit default positions against them.
Godfrey, who handles the secondary market for the San Ramon-based firm, did the simple numbers: $10.5 trillion in outstanding single-family mortgages; 5 percent foreclosure rate (this February it was 3.4 percent compared with 3.6 percent in 2011); and assume 50 percent loss on each loan.
The total impact is a loss of $262.5 billion—a relatively trivial number in the world economy.
Bill points to the derivatives industry, which is a $600 trillion market compared to $10.5 trillion for single-family homes.
This is the Wall Street invention that allowed for multiple trading of the same mortgage tranches because it was all based on potential defaults. Without any new bonds, Wall Street could rapidly create and trade new securities, thus multiplying the problem hugely when the underlying mortgages were not sound.
The derivatives themselves are complex instruments, but the numbers speak for themselves—the problem was created by Wall Street and its foreign cousins and the politicians choose to bail them out instead of letting the firms (with the exception of Lehman Brothers) take their medicine for bad decisions (as is happening with JP Morgan Chase)