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In brief


September 11. 2013 11:21PM
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City aims to seize


bad mortgages


A San Francisco Bay Area city is moving ahead with its first-in-the-nation plan to use the government’s constitutional power of eminent domain to seize hundreds of underwater mortgages.


The Richmond City Council voted 4-3 early Wednesday to set up a Joint Powers Authority to bring more cities into the plan. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin says the city of El Monte in Southern California has expressed interest, and she believes other cities will follow.


Under the plan, Richmond would use eminent domain to seize the underwater mortgage. It would then offer the bank fair market value for it and give the homeowner a new loan that would lower monthly payments and improve the owner’s chances of staying.


Banks have filed lawsuits to stop Richmond from going ahead.


Airways say gov’t


wrong about them


American Airlines and US Airways say that the government’s opposition to their planned merger shows that it doesn’t understand the airline industry.


The airlines said in court filings late Tuesday that the U.S. Justice Department’s analysis of the merger ignores competition that now exists from low-cost carriers such as Southwest. American says that the government instead relies on “anecdotes involving small numbers of passengers” and an idealized but outdated vision of the industry.


A trial on the government’s lawsuit is scheduled to begin Nov. 25 in Washington.


The airlines raised familiar arguments in the filings to support the merger. They said that it would offer customers more flight options and improve competition by creating a stronger rival to the nation’s biggest carriers, United and Delta.


Economists back


Yellen for Fed


More than 350 economists have a signed a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to nominate Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to be the Fed’s next chairman. The letter is designed to draw attention back to Yellen amid signs that Obama is leaning toward nominating his former economic adviser Larry Summers.


The letter, whose signers include economists with past ties to Obama, credits Yellen for prescience in warning in 2005 about an impending real estate meltdown, for her consensus style of leadership and for her commitment to job growth.


Obama is expected to announce his nomination as early as this month. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s term ends Jan. 31, 2014.


The White House on Tuesday declined to comment when asked about the letter.




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