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January 24
1888 - Acton post office established; Richard E. Nickel, postmaster [story]


Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris filed a lawsuit Tuesday against one of the nation’s major credit rating companies for inflating its ratings of structured finance investments, which caused California’s public pension funds and other investors to lose billions of dollars.

The complaint, filed today in San Francisco Superior Court, alleges that the McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. and Standard and Poor’s Financial Services LLC violated the False Claims Act and other state laws by using a ratings process based on what senior executives described as “magic numbers” and “guesses.”

“For years, S&P placed its priority on maintaining its market share, instead of the investors who trusted in its supposedly objective ratings,” said Attorney General Harris. “When the housing bubble burst, S&P’s house of cards collapsed and California paid the price—in billions. S&P must be held accountable for its conduct that contributed to one of our country’s worst financial crises.”

Investors relied on S&P and its competitors to rate these securities because they had access to only general descriptions of the assets backing their investments, which often included mortgages. California’s public pension funds also relied on S&P because they are often required to buy securities that received a coveted “AAA” rating, signaling that the investment was top-tier and bore minimal risk.

The complaint alleges that, from 2004 to 2007, S&P systematically misrepresented to the public, and to CalPERS and CalSTRS, that its ratings of structured finance securities were based on an independent, objective and reliable analysis, and not influenced by S&P’s economic interests.

In doing so, S&P lowered its standards for rating securities to gain market share and increase profits, and violated the False Claims Act by making false statements about the nature and risk of investments. The complaint also describes the company’s efforts to suppress the development of new and more accurate ratings models.

In mid-2007, the housing bubble burst. After securities that S&P had deemed the least risky began defaulting, S&P downgraded many residential mortgage backed securities investments. The market collapsed, and of those securities issued in 2007, more than 90 percent were downgraded to junk status.

The California Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) and the California State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) – two of the nation’s largest institutional investors – lost approximately $1 billion.

Attorney General Harris today joined the U.S. Department of Justice and 12 other states and the District of Columbia in announcing lawsuits in Washington, D.C. The other lawsuits allege violations of the federal Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act and state unfair competition laws.

However, California’s suit is unique because it is being filed not only under California’s unfair competition laws but also under the state’s False Claims Act. This suit includes a claim for triple damages – because when the state makes a purchase based on a false statement, the defendant is responsible for the amount lost times three.

The lawsuit arises from a 20-month investigation into the issuance and rating of mortgage-backed securities by Attorney General Harris’s California Mortgage Fraud Strike Force, which she formed in May 2011 to comprehensively investigate misconduct in the mortgage industry. The Attorney General’s additional efforts to investigate the mortgage crisis include securing an estimated $18 billion for California in the National Mortgage Settlement and sponsoring the California Homeowner Bill of Rights, a package of laws instituting permanent mortgage-related reforms.

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LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, Jan 23, 2018
SCV Carjacking Suspect Crashes on 210, Leaving 1 Dead
A suspected carjacker from Santa Clarita caused a wrong way crash on the 210 freeway Monday, killing one person and injuring several others.
Tuesday, Jan 23, 2018
Upgrades at SCV Sheriff’s Station Dispatch; Non-Emergency Calls May Be Delayed
From the Facebook Page of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriffs Station:
Monday, Jan 22, 2018
Man Allegedly Tries to Kill Ex-Girlfriend by Setting Her on Fire
A Castaic man was charged with attempted murder and assault for allegedly trying to set his ex-girlfriend on fire in one of three domestic violence incidents in the SCV Friday and Saturday.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1888 - Acton post office established; Richard E. Nickel, postmaster [story]
The Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees will hold its Business Meeting Wednesday, Jan. 24, College of the Canyons, Canyon Country Campus, located at 17200 Sierra Highway ~ Canyon Country, 91351.
Jan. 24: Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees Business Meeting
State and Federal Disaster Assistance Programs are now available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for eligible homeowners, renters and business owners in Los Angeles County who suffered damages or losses due to the December 2017 Creek, Rye and Skirball wildfires.
Federal Disaster Aid Now Available to Victims of Recent Southland Fires
Starting on Monday, Jan. 29, the city of Santa Clarita will begin work on a federally-funded project which includes the installation of a pre-fabricated steel truss pedestrian bridge over Sierra Highway north of Golden Valley Road, traffic circulation improvements, and trail connections.
Sierra Highway Pedestrian Bridge Construction to Begin Jan. 29
A suspected carjacker from Santa Clarita caused a wrong way crash on the 210 freeway Monday, killing one person and injuring several others.
SCV Carjacking Suspect Crashes on 210, Leaving 1 Dead
The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra will swing into the Santa Clarita Valley for a special one-night-only event to be held at West Ranch High School on Monday, Mar. 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 19: Glenn Miller Orchestra at West Ranch High School
Back by popular demand, Princess Cruises is offering up to 35 percent off select sailings during the redux of the line’s “Exclusively Caribbean Sale,” on select Spring 2018 Caribbean cruises departing March through May 2018.
Princess Cruises “Exclusively Caribbean Sale” Underway
From the Facebook Page of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriffs Station:
Upgrades at SCV Sheriff’s Station Dispatch; Non-Emergency Calls May Be Delayed
Disney/Pixar's "Coco" earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature Film, a film which CalArts alumnus Adrian Molina co-wrote and co-directed along with Lee Unkrich.
CalArts Alum’s Film “Coco” Earns Oscar Nomination
Friends of the Santa Clarita Public Library will hold Antique Appraisal Day on Feb. 10, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the Old Town Newhall Library Community Room.
Feb. 10: Antique Appraisal Day at Old Town Newhall Library
1882 - Author Helen Hunt Jackson arrives at Rancho Camulos; inspiration for "Ramona" novel [story]
A Castaic man was charged with attempted murder and assault for allegedly trying to set his ex-girlfriend on fire in one of three domestic violence incidents in the SCV Friday and Saturday.
Man Allegedly Tries to Kill Ex-Girlfriend by Setting Her on Fire
College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus officials will break ground on the Science Center on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 1:30 p.m.
Jan. 24: Science Center Groundbreaking at COC Canyon Country Campus
The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley has named Canyon High School sophomore Lluvia Partida the 2018 Youth of the Year.
Lluvia Partida Named SCV Boys and Girls Club 2018 Youth of the Year
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will host five grand openings for local businesses in February 2018 - Fantastic Sams, Bodhi Leaf Coffee, Kaiser Permanente, Farmers Insurance and Open Trails E-Bikes.
February: SCV Chamber Hosts 5 Grand Openings
California State Parks is taking reservations for the spring tour season at Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park in Tehachapi, site of a Kawaiisu Native American village.
Reservations Open for Tours at Tehachapi Native American Village Site
The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve will be open March 1 through May 13 (Mother’s Day) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.
March 1: California Poppy Reserve Center Opens in Antelope Valley
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve’s two-day volunteer training for the 2018 spring wildflower season will be held on February 3 and February 10, both Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Feb. 3, Feb. 10: Poppy Reserve Volunteer Training for 2018 Wildflower Season
The 2017 Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey again ranked Santa Clarita among the best cities for doing business in Southern California.
Survey: Santa Clarita Among County’s Best in Cost of Doing Business
Traffic on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard in Valencia is being delayed intermittently between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. today due to filming involving a Cessna airplane that will land at the Valencia Country Club.
Small Plane Landings for Movie Shoot in Valencia Until 4 p.m. Today
Adam Rubio's game-winning RBI single in the eighth inning resulted in TMU's 5-4 win over Marymount California University Saturday.
Mustangs Rally to Beat MCU in the Eighth
With Robert Winslow on the mound, TMU won 13-0 over visiting Marymount California University at Master's in the second game of Saturday's double-header.
Master’s Baseball Team Wraps Opening Series in Dominating Fashion
The No. 4 Mustangs men's basketball team scored a 74-71 win over Westmont before a capacity crowd Saturday in the team's 18th straight victory, and fifth straight to open Golden State Athletic Conference play.
Master’s Holds off Westmont for 18th Straight Win
Hannah Forrar scored 16 points Saturday night but The Master's University women's basketball team still lost to Westmont 62-55.
Westmont Rises Over Mustangs 62-56
It’s not too late to register for the College of the Canyons spring 2018 semester, which will run from Monday, Feb. 5 to Thursday, June 1.
Not Too Late for COC Spring Registration
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies caught and arrested two men and two women from Bakersfield allegedly using credit cards stolen in Santa Clarita to purchase items at a Centre Pointe business.
4 Alleged Credit Card Thieves Arrested on Multiple Charges
Caltrans has reopened U.S. Highway 101 in between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara after nearly a nearly two-week closure due to mudslides.
Caltrans Reopens Highway 101 from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara
A 38-year-old man was arrested on charges including theft and forgery in Stevenson Ranch early Thursday morning.
Man Booked for Alleged Theft, Forgery in Stevenson Ranch
L.A. County health officials have extended a Cold Weather Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley through Monday night due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures.
SCV Cold Weather Alert Extended Through Tonight
In the ninth inning Friday, with Master's well on its way to a 15-7 season-opening win over Marymount California University, Coach Monte Brooks sent Josh Robison to the plate if for no other reason than to see what would happen.
TMU’s Robison Hits 3 Homers in Season-Opening Win
Here is the Castaic/Val Verde public safety and crime information report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for the week of January 1, 2018
Crime Blotter: Theft, Grand Theft Auto in Castaic-Val Verde
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck abruptly announced his retirement on Friday, capping off an eight-year stint leading one of the largest metropolitan police forces in America.
L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck Abruptly Announces Retirement
1839 - Gov. Juan B. Alvarado gives most of SCV to Mexican Army Lt. Antonio del Valle. [story]
1914 - Signal newspaper owner-editor Scott Newhall born in San Francisco [story]
1993 - Hart High grad Dee Dee Myers (1979) becomes first female White House press secretary [story]
Traffic on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard will be delayed intermittently between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, January 22 due to filming involving a Cessna airplane that will land at the Valencia Country Club.
Jan. 22: Filming in Valencia to Prompt Street Closures