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Extra Extra Special Edition: Vehicle recalls, police misconduct, U.S. Border Patrol tactics
We took a break from publishing Extra Extra during the 2014 CAR Conference. Here are some of the stories that ran while we were away:
Fords with faulty transmissions not recalled | WTAE Pittsburgh
Following the redesign of Ford Fiesta and Focus transmissions in 2011, hundreds around the country said they're concerned about the safety of the vehicles. They have reported difficulty shifting as well as odd crunching and grinding noises as the cars change gears.
Dozens of consumers in Western Pennsylvania filed lawsuits alleging that, despite assurances from dealers, the vehicles do not function properly. The cars have not been recalled.
Law enforcement disrespects community members hearing kept quiet | 12 News Phoenix
The hearing was kept quiet.
Officers with the Dobson Bike Patrol displayed a lack of respect to the homeless and immigrants in their community, keeping bulletin boards of mocking photos and signs. One officer even posed for a photo as a Nazi stormtrooper.
The hearing resulted in disciplinary action against the officers, but the department kept their misconduct quiet. Former Mesa Police Chief George Gascón said that the hearing could not be publicized because it involved personnel issues.
Previously convicted workers cleared without background checks | KCRA Sacramento
The California Department of Social Services cleared workers without the proper background checks, a KCRA 3 investigation found. The department allowed some with felony arrest records for crimes like elder and child abuse to work in nursing facilities, foster homes and daycares.
The state said officials have been issuing “criminal records clearance” letters to workers while investigating their charges. However, the department's director denied the office had issued clearance letters to anyone with a conviction for a serious charge.
Report questions tactics of U.S. Border Patrol | The Los Angeles Times
The LA Times obtained a report criticizing the U.S. Border Patrol for a “lack of diligence” and its use of tactics that may give officers an excuse to open fire. The report by law enforcement experts was the result of a review commissioned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Of 67 cases involving border patrol officers reviewed by the Police Executive Research Forum, 19 resulted in death.
UC lost millions on interest-rate bets | Orange County Register
The University of California has lost tens of millions of dollars, and is set to lose far more, after making risky bets on interest rates on the advice of Wall Street bankers.
University officials agreed to the financial deals – complex contracts known as interest-rate swaps – because they believed they could save money in the midst of an aggressive building spree.
But the deals are now costing the university an estimated $6 million a year, according to its financial statements.
In General Motors Recalls, Inaction and Trail of Fatal Crashes | The New York Times
The death of 16-year-old Amber Marie, who died when her 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt crashed the air bag failed to deploy, was an early warning in what would become a decade-long failure by G.M. and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address a problem that engineers and regulators had been alerted to years ago.
For a resurgent General Motors, which has twice apologized, the recall is a major embarrassment as it tries to escape the shadow of its bankruptcy and government takeover. It has been sued, and now faces an investigation by the safety agency and the possibility of a criminal investigation, similar to the criminal inquiry Toyota is facing after recalls over the unintended acceleration of its vehicles.