California Homeowners Bill of Rights – New Law for 2013.

The new California Homeowner Bill of Rights becomes law today. If you’re not familiar with this measure, it was a bill carried on behalf of California Attorney General Kamala Harris last year that sought to codify some of the measures set forth in the national mortgage settlement deal struck in early 2012. 

Initially opposed by the California Association of Realtors as well as the California Bankers Association and the California Mortgage Bankers Association, the bill was pushed through the legislature by a closed joint committee  of both houses so when the bill eventually reached the floor, it was voted on immediately and passed to the Governor. Total time in committee, floor and signature was measured in hours rather than days, months or years, as is typical for most bills. 

Due to the secretive nature of the committee structure, there was little opportunity for interest groups to provide input and there was great concern that what emerged would be a very flawed effort reflecting an over reaction to purported lender wrongdoing. However, CAR did have an opportunity to work with the committee to effect some modifications to the final version that removed our opposition to the bill. CAR was not supportive of the bill in its final version but adopted a neutral position, although banking groups remained steadfast in their opposition due to to concerns about meritless litigation that the bill opens up for aggreaved homeowners. 

Here’s what the bill does:

  • Stops dual tracking. Once the process has started for either a loan modification or short sale by the lender, the foreclosure process must be stopped. This is in response to cases where the property proceeds along multiple courses at the same time only to have the foreclosure process conclude days ahead of a short sale approval by another arm of the bank. As pointed out, this frequently resulted in the bank taking the property back and ultimately receiving thousands less in the foreclosure sale than they would have in a short sale. Of course we know the banks are covered either way and really don’t care but ultimately this should result in more short sales and fewer foreclosures, which is better for the recovering market.
  • Under the dual tracking provisions, banks must give an applicant a response to their loan modification before they can start the foreclosure process. If a homeowner has not applied for a loan modification, the bank must inform them of their right to do so before starting the foreclosure process.
  • No more robo signing.
  • Banks must provide a single point of contact to borrowers trying for a loan modification or short sale. Homeowners and Realtors are often frustrated by multiple points of contact and the handoff fr5om one agent to  another within a bank frequently resulting in the loss of paperwork sending the process back to square one while the foreclosure process continues apace in another department.
  • Allows the borrower to sue loan servicers if the borrower thinks they have violated any foreclosure laws. This is one of the most worrisome components of the bill in that it may open the door to frivolous lawsuits resulting in increased costs and unnecessary delays in an already costly and time consuming process. 

With nearly 1 million foreclosures recorded in the state since 2007, California remains one of the hardest hit areas of the country. However, foreclosures are down in most areas by 30% or more in the past year and with prices starting to climb across the state, the hope is that fewer and fewer people will be pushed into foreclosure anyway. Some 30% of state homeowners remain underwater in their loans but the combination of improving employment statistics and home price increases has decreased that by more than 5% in the past year.

The Homeowners Bill of Rights may well provide some relief for harried homeowners and produce further delays to the process, but it will do little to change the underlying ability of a homeowner to ultimately afford their home and will, in most cases, only delay the inevitable. If Sacramento and DC don’t screw it up, an improving economy will do more to aid homeowners than the HBR will ever accomplish – and ultimately that’s the best news for everybody. 

CAR OPPOSES AG’s Homeowner Bill of Rights.

California Homeowners Bill of Rights:

A Lesson in Political Expediency & Unintended Consequences.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris announced in a much heralded press release today that her ‘California Homeowners Bill of Rights’ has ‘taken a key step toward passage’. Here’s the key step – she bypassed every preliminary opportunity for the bill to be discussed, debated or voted on in either the Assembly or the Senate. What she did, or had her minions in the Legislature do for her, was have the bill introduced to a ‘two-house conference committee’ that voted this morning to pass the bill. That means tomorrow or, more probably Monday, the full Senate and Assembly will vote on the bills – SB 900 & AB 278 with no discussion.

You’ve heard me discuss the measures previously as the Nevada Suite of bills, so named for the deleterious results Nevada experienced after passing similar legislation last year. Did I mention the ‘special committee’ was made up of 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans? Now guess what the vote was? That’s called a ‘procedural matter’ in Sacramento. Roughly translated it means ‘bend over’.

Here’s C.A.R.’s take on the issue:

C.A.R. is OPPOSING conference report, AB 278, containing anti-foreclosure legislation sponsored by the state Attorney General. C.A.R. opposes provisions in this measure which will allow anyone to stop the foreclosure process by filing a lawsuit, merited or not, C.A.R. agrees that careful and balanced reforms to the foreclosure process are necessary. However, C.A.R. opposes this conference report because it will further delay the housing recovery by inviting bad-faith lawsuits and defaults, and making it difficult for even well qualified borrowers to obtain financing. Financing is already very difficult to get. This conference report will only make a difficult situation worse.

Initially the Attorney General had sponsored a package of bills; the so-called the “Homeowners Bill of Rights.” For procedural reasons, the majority of these bills have been under consideration by a Conference Committee made up of six legislators. REALTORS® had the opportunity to educate these legislators about C.A.R.’s concerns as part of Legislative Day and since then C.A.R. lobbyists have been working directly with the conferees and legislative staff to make them aware of the unintended consequences of some of these proposals. The Conference Committee has now issued its final report and it must be passed by both Houses of the legislature. These votes may occur as early as Monday, July 2nd.

Background

The Attorney General has sponsored a package of bills to place into California law an expanded version of the national settlement between major banks and state attorneys general. The contents of some of these bills have been under consideration by a Conference Committee comprised of six members who have just approved a conference report on a party-line vote. Some provisions will have the unintended effect of drying up mortgage loans for anyone but the most well-qualified borrowers, and increasing the costs of all mortgages.

One provision allows any borrower, no matter what the circumstances, to file a lawsuit. This will encourage opportunistic lawyers to pursue frivolous lawsuits, bringing unnecessary and unjustifiable delays to an already difficult and time consuming process. The language is so vaguely written that the borrower doesn’t even have to show that they have been harmed to file suit and be awarded damages.

One-sided  attorneys fees may still be awarded only to plaintiffs based on the very broad definition of a “prevailing party” in the report. And, of course, if lenders don’t have the remedy of foreclosure to ensure they can recover their security in appropriate situations, they will be less likely to lend, credit will be less available and the housing market recovery will limp along even more slowly.

C.A.R. is OPPOSED to the conference report because:

 

  • The housing market recovery is still fragile. About half of all sales are of distressed properties. By restricting a lender’s ability to foreclose and exposing them to unnecessary liability, this report will dry up inventory, and it will further discourage lending other than to the most highly qualified borrowers. Additionally, these bills will artificially slow down the foreclosure process, keeping properties off the market that are legitimately in foreclosure. Finally, by removing the threat of foreclosure, the bill erodes the incentive for short sales as well.
  • The bill invites bad-faith defaults and lawsuits. By broadly defining under what circumstances a lawsuit can be filed, even those legitimately in foreclosure can “game” the system. Additionally, the bill creates an incentive for plaintiffs’ attorneys to file frivolous lawsuits even if no harm has been done to the borrower. The courts are already overwhelmed. This bill, by inviting frivolous lawsuits puts an additional strain on the already underfunded courts
  • Lending is already tight. Even the most well-qualified borrowers are finding it difficult to obtain financing. By stopping legitimate foreclosures, banks will be forced to further tighten lending standards at the expense of homebuyers.

 

We’re not intimating that everything contained in the bills is bad and we have been supportive of some of the issues. We also have a competing dual-tracking bill in play that we feel is more balanced and less vague. But this is a take-it-or-leave-it kind of bill – you have to eat the whole enchilada and there are no amendments allowed at this point. All the bad will be with us as law along with the few good things it might accomplish. Sound familiar?

This is also what is referred to as a ‘gut & amend’ bill. For 1 1/2 years some bills have been floating around the Legislature knowing full well they weren’t going anywhere. They were being held for just such a vehicle as this to rise from the ashes and require a last minute vote – often with only minutes of notice.

So this bill will pass UNLESS you can convince your Democratic Legislator to vote against it. Otherwise it’s a simple exercise in vote counting (53 – 27) to ascertain that our housing market will take another hit – a victim of increased frivolous lawsuits, further restrictions on foreclosures and tightened lending standards.

So now you know the proverbial ‘other side of the story’ and it’s not pretty. I encourage you to read the bill at  AB 278 and then read the AG’s release below. While the release summarizes a much glossed over purview of the bills, the devil is in the details. So go to work on your Democratic Legislators and let them know how Realtors® feel, and every homeowner and landlord who doesn’t feel like paying the price this bill will cost.

 

 

NEWS RELEASE

June 27, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(415) 703-5837

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California Homeowner Bill of Rights Takes Key Step to Passage

SACRAMENTO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the passage of two central elements of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights through a special two-house conference committee. The 4 to 1 vote sends the bills to an expected vote next week in both the Assembly and Senate.

The two bills approved by the conference committee are the Foreclosure Reduction Act, which restricts the process of “dual-tracked” foreclosures and the Due Process Rights Act, which guarantees a reliable contact for struggling homeowners to discuss their loan with and which for the first time imposes civil penalties on the practice of fraudulently signing foreclosure documents without verifying their accuracy, a practice commonly known as “robo-signing.” The proposed legislation also includes meaningful enforcement for borrowers whose rights are violated.

The full Homeowner Bill of Rights includes additional provisions to reduce blight, ensure appropriate law enforcement response to mortgage fraud and crime, and protect tenants.  The bills containing these protections are also advancing through the Legislature.

“I am gratified by this vote, which represents one more step toward our goal of achieving a Homeowner Bill of Rights for California,” said Attorney General Harris. “The mortgage and foreclosure crisis in our state demands urgent efforts to help Californians keep their homes. The legislature will now have the opportunity to cast a vote on behalf of California’s struggling homeowners.”

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights was introduced February 29, 2012 at a press conference featuring Assembly Speaker John A. Perez and Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and bill authors from the Assembly and Senate. The goal of the Homeowner Bill of Rights is to take many of the mortgage reforms extracted from banks in a national mortgage settlement and write them into California law so they could apply to all mortgage-holders in the state.

“The mortgage and foreclosure abuse in California ends here,” said Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), co-chair of the Joint Conference Committee. “This committee has passed historic legislation that codifies the
protections eligible homeowners deserve, while helping to stabilize the foreclosure crisis that has thwarted California’s economic recovery. The Legislature has studied, listened and engaged Californians and
industry to find a solution that is fair and effective to mitigate this crisis. I look forward to the full support of the Legislature and Governor in implementing this package.”

“This bill is the result of a long and difficult process in which we received input from all interested parties; including homeowners and the banks and found that foreclosures benefit no one,” said Assemblymember Mike Eng (D-Alhambra). “We ended such dubious practices as having a bank foreclose while a homeowner is in the process of modifying a loan and cut through confusion by making sure that there is a ‘single point of contact’ with mortgage servicers.  With half a million California homes at risk of foreclosure, this action was urgently needed.”

The California Homeowner Bill of Rights extends Attorney General Harris’ response to the state’s foreclosure and mortgage crisis. Attorney General Harris created a Mortgage Fraud Strike Force in March, 2011 to investigate and prosecute misconduct related to mortgages and foreclosures. In February 2012 Attorney General Harris extracted a commitment from the nation’s five largest banks of an estimated $18 billion for California borrowers.

More details about the California Homeowner Bill of Rights are found on the attached fact sheet.  To learn more about how the bills impact California homeowners, review the slideshow at: www.oag.ca.gov.

# # #

You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/california-homeowner-bill-rights-takes-key-step-passage

 

Gov. signs Realtor Bill for short sale relief.

New law gives added protection to short-sale hopefuls On Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 458 (Corbett) into law.  The new law, which contained an urgency clause and became effective upon signing, protects homeowners pursuing short sales by barring first and secondary lien holders from going after sellers for money owed after the short sales close.

Making sense of the story

*     A short sale – a transaction in which the homeowner sells the property for less than is owed on the mortgage – must be approved by the lien holder or lien holders, if there is more than one.

*     Under previous law (SB 931 of 2010), a first mortgage holder could accept an agreed-upon short-sale payment as full payment for the outstanding balance of the loan, but the rule did not apply to junior lien holders. SB 458 extends the protections of SB 931 to junior liens.

*     The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) sponsored the bill and urged lawmakers to pass this much-needed legislation.

*     “The signing of this bill is a victory for California homeowners who have been forced to short sell their home, only to find that the lender will pursue them after the short sale closes and demand an additional payment to subsidize the difference,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce.  “SB 458 brings closure and certainty to the short-sale process and ensures that once a lender has agreed to accept a short-sale payment on a property, all lienholders – those in first position and in junior positions – will consider the outstanding balance as paid in full, and the homeowner will not be held responsible for any additional payments on the property.”

Read the full story <http://www2.realtoractioncenter.com/site/R?i=Y7pJy-rwyTJMoTmgvOXhDA..>

$40 political survival proposal – updated.

Many of you have commented on my earlier blog regarding the proposed $40 dues increase to fund the Realtor Political Survival Campaign. As you recall, that will be voted on in May at our annual meeting in DC. Yesterday we had a 1 1/2 hour webinar with NAR leadership discussing why the additional funding was necessary. At that time the possibility of putting the Public Awareness campaign on haitus for a couple years and using those funds for political purposes was presented as a sort of plan B. According to NAR stats however, that public awareness campaign is a great success – although most of you would just as soon it went away.

Anyway, for those of you opposed to an additional $40 hit on your dues, it appears your voices have been heard, Now you just need to make sure your local association and your NAR Directors are aware of your feelings.

From NAR President Ron Phipps:

To:        Local Board and State Association Presidents

This letter constitutes the official notice required by Article II, Section 10 of the Bylaws of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® of a proposal to eliminate a previously approved membership assessment.

In May of 2010 the NAR Board of Directors approved an assessment of $35 per member for 2011-2013 to be used to continue the Public Awareness Campaign during those years.  The Finance Committee has now offered two alternative proposals regarding funding for the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative.  One proposal eliminates the Public Awareness Campaign $35 Assessment for 2012 and 2013.  That proposal also increases NAR dues by $35 per year to fund the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative.

The other proposal offered by the Finance Committee is being recommended by the NAR Executive Committee.  That proposal would increase NAR Dues by $40 per year to fund the REALTOR® Party Political Survival Initiative.  The Public Awareness Campaign $35 Assessment would remain in effect during 2012 and 2013.

Dues, membership assessments and amendments to membership assessments for the National Association are adopted by the Board of Directors of the National Association.  These issues will be coming before the Board of Directors at its meeting on May 14, 2011.

Sincerely,

Ron Phipps
2011 NAR President

CAR asks legislature to let the citizens decide.

C.A.R. today sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and members of the California Legislature asking them to place the Governor’s budget framework on the June ballot.  The Governor’s budget framework calls for a $26 billion solution – half in the form of budget cuts and half in the form of revenue from the extension of existing taxes.

C.A.R. has not taken a position in support of tax extensions, but is only in support of putting the tax extensions on the June ballot to let California voters decide.

For more information, contact Christopher Carlisle, C.A.R.’s legislative advocate at (916) 492-5200.

I don’t know if I agree with today’s move by CAR – but they didn’t ask me. However, it appears to be in line with recent polls showing the majority of Californians appear to prefer having a voice in this latest budget skirmish. 61% believe the issue of  Gov. Browns tax & cut budget should be decided by a vote of the people. Even 56% of Republicans believe this should be the case although 61% of Republicans also say they would vote
against the tax measure. A majority of voters also indicate they would not vote for any new or increased taxes – but the survey didn’t drill right down to whether the majority would vote to extend the currently increased taxes for another 5 years.

While I am not in favor of the tax increase that was foisted on us two years ago and is now scheduled to expire, if the few Republicans who have not backed themselves into a corner with the No New Tax pledge can negotiate some meaningful cuts – not just the lame-ass cuts proposed by the Governor, it’s worth bringing to a vote of the people. Without the current taxes being extended, there will be foul nastiness ahead for our state. The few real cuts that have been proposed as well as any future cuts, would be to programs that probably should not be cut. The retirement boondoggle, entitlements and growing employment at the state level will not be impacted. Education, police and parks will be.

Whats worse, if the current tax structure is not extended for another 5 years, in addition to the worthless and superficial cuts that may occur, we would likely face a slew of new taxes disguised as fees, levies and outright thievery from our cities and counties. Many of those taxes would also be aimed at independent contractors, small business owners and other housing related areas. I mean, face it folks, our state is broke and should be declared bankrupt if such a thing were allowed and if we had any politicians with enough balls to do it. Unfortunately it’s not and we don’t.

Further, if the tax extension is placed on a special ballot I believe it would pass. It would be supported by massive spending by the  public employee unions, teachers, nurses, etc, as well as the vast entitlement population who live on the public dole. California has reached a tipping point where we have more takers than  givers, people who rely on the system for their income whether it’s direct payroll, retirement or welfare. When that dynamic exists in a state without the political will to address it, the result will inevitably result in those voters making sure their nest continues to be lined as long as the rest of us can pay for it.

Of even greater concern, and something I believe is another inevitability, taxes will get placed on the ballot with the promise of real and substantial cuts to programs and entitlements. The taxes will get passed but the cuts will not occur. We already saw what happened a few years ago when Arnold worked up the machismo to try to tackle a few state employment issues. He was sued under the table  and no jobs were lost. Even the few cost reductions that might have been realized by the imposition of a few months of furlough days was largely negated by the lawsuits necessary to defend the governors right to impose them.

So we’ll get our existing higher taxes extended another five years, the $12 Billion in cuts will not materialize, there will be a call for more ‘fees’ on services and any other way to wring the last few bucks out of the business class and the paying populace and next year we’ll be right back here trying to figure out why we’re another $25 Billion in the crapper.

Ahhh California.

On the upside, it is almost 80 today and the sun is shining beautifully. Had a great lunch with my Congressional Rep on an outdoor patio and it’s almost time to pour a cold one. What? Me worry?

Keep Your Home California – Good News for some CA homeowners.

Keep Your Home California Program

The U.S. Treasury Department has approved CalHFA’s plan to use nearly $2 billion in federal funding to help California families struggling to pay their mortgages.

The Keep Your Home California programs are focused on assisting low and moderate income families stay in their homes, when possible, and leveraging additional contributions from mortgage servicers.

Primary objectives for the Keep Your Home California programs include:

  • Preserving homeownership for low and moderate income homeowners in California by reducing the number of delinquencies and preventing avoidable foreclosures
  • Assisting in the stabilization of California communities

Each of the Keep Your Home California programs is designed to address one or more aspects of the current housing crisis by doing the following:

  • Helping low and moderate income homeowners retain their homes if they either have suffered a financial hardship such as unemployment, have experienced a change in household circumstance such as death, illness or disability, or are subject to a recent or upcoming increase in their monthly mortgage payment and are at risk of default because of this economic hardship when coupled with a severe decline in their home’s value.
  • Creating a simple, effective way to get federal funds to assist low and moderate income homeowners who meet one or all of the objective criteria described above. Speed of delivery will be balanced with fulfillment of the specific program’s mission and purpose.
  • Creating programs that have an immediate, direct economic and social impact on low and moderate income homeowners and their neighborhoods.

2010 Recap Realtor Report

If you click on that little red Realtor Report just above the chart, you’ll get to a slightly larger version of the report which will be easier for your old eyes to read. You’re welcome.

NAR Pres. Elect Moe Veissi Talks Turkey at CAR Mid-Winter

Take-aways from our recent California Association of Realtors Mid-winter meetings.

From NAR President-elect Moe Veissi –

Six of the past eight recessions have ended due to increasing strength in the housing market. The other two were due to wars. That seems like an easy choice. We need to get behind housing. This battle against housing is counterproductive and the attack on the mortgage interest deduction is an attack on one of the basic foundations of the American Dream.

Similarly we should seek to preserve the basics of the GSE’s.They can certainly be improved upon but their services are vital to home buyers. They provide a foundation and critical financial instruments that allow many people to buy homes that otherwise would not be able to. Keep in mind that during the height of the meltdown, Fannie and Freddie had take-back rates of about 3 1/2% while at the same time banks like B of A and Wells were taking back 15% to 18%.

You hear people today who don’t know the history, who don’t know any better – oh, Canada doesn’t have a 30 year fixed mortgage and their housing market is great. Oh, Europe doesn’t have a Fannie/Freddie and their market is great. The fact is, their markets don’t compare with ours. Never have. Nobody does it like us. These other countries are trying to figure out how to do it like we do and we’re trying to figure out how to kill our system and adopt the systems others are trying to get rid of. So why would we try to emulate markets with which we have nothing in common? Why would we destroy 100 years of success to become more like an inferior market? It just doesn’t make sense.

These are not short term problems we are dealing with and they will keep rearing their heads. We have saddled ourselves with tremendous debt so attacks on basic and short term sources of tax revenue will be ongoing. Don’t believe them when they tell you – oh, we aren’t going to take it all away. Just this little bit. Yeah, just that little bit this time. Then  a little more, then a little more, you know how that works.

Realtors just don’t realize the power we have in our communities and our country. But we’ve got to stand up and be counted if we want to be heard. We need to present Congress with 1/2 million Realtor calls on issues instead of 100,000. When we can consistently deliver 1/2 million member voices or more to our Congressional leaders, they will know we mean business.

New laws for 2011 affecting Realtors or your clients

From CAR Government Affairs

The recent end of the 2009-10 legislative session has brought the end of short sale deficiency judgments for first loans, and other new laws affecting REALTORS® and their clients.  To view the full text of the following bills, go to www.leginfo.ca.gov.

No Short Sale Deficiencies: Starting January 1, 2011, a seller’s first trust deed lender cannot obtain a deficiency judgment against the seller after a short sale.  Providing written consent to a short sale shall obligate the first trust deed lender to accept the sales proceeds as full payment and discharge of the remaining amount owed on the loan.  This law applies to first trust deeds secured by one-to-four residential units, but does not limit the lender from seeking damages for fraud or waste by the borrower.  Senate Bill 931.  Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed Senate Bill 1178, our sponsored bill, which would have extended California’s anti-deficiency protection to refinance loans.

Energy Audit in Home Inspection Report:
Beginning January 1, 2011, a home inspection and inspection report may, upon a client’s request, include an audit of the energy efficiency of a home, according to the standards of the Home Energy Rating Systems (HERS).  REALTORS® are also strongly encouraged to give the newly released HERS booklet to residential buyers, because doing so provides a valuable shield from liability.  Delivery of the booklet will be deemed to be adequate to inform the buyer about the statewide HERS program.  Assembly Bill 1809 and California Civil Code section 2079.10.

Restriction on Adverse Possession Claim: Effective January 1, 2011, a claim for adverse possession requires, among other things, certified records of the county tax collector showing that all state, county, or municipal taxes have been timely paid for the five-year period the property has been occupied and claimed.  Existing law merely requires proof that taxes have been paid for the five-year period, not certified proof of timely payments.  Assembly Bill 1684.

Enforcement of MLO Requirements: Effective January 1, 2011, anyone acting as a mortgage loan originator (MLO) without an MLO license endorsement will be guilty of a crime punishable by six months imprisonment, plus a $20,000 fine.  Furthermore, a broker cannot employ or compensate a real estate licensee for MLO activities unless that licensee has a license endorsement.  This law has also given the Department of Real Estate (DRE) the authority to deny or revoke a MLO license endorsement or take other action.  This law also amends the MLO requirements for finance lenders and residential mortgage lenders under the Department of Corporation.  Senate Bill 1137.

Post-Foreclosure Protection for Tenants: Commencing January 1, 2011, a notice to terminate a residential tenant who remains after a foreclosure sale must generally include a statutory notice of the tenant’s rights.  This requirement, which sunsets on January 1, 2013, applies to an immediate successor-in-interest for one year after a foreclosure sale.  The tenant’s rights must be on a separate cover sheet or, for a 90-day termination, incorporated into the notice to terminate.  Another provision of this bill protects a residential tenant’s credit by generally prohibiting the court clerk from revealing unlawful detainer court records unless the plaintiff prevails at trial.  Senate Bill 1149.

Tenant Protection for Domestic Violence Victims: Starting January 1, 2011, a residential landlord cannot terminate or fail to renew a tenancy based on domestic violence against the tenant or tenant’s household members as specified.  This law applies if the person restrained from contact with the tenant by court order or named in a police report is not also a tenant of the same dwelling unit.  If the protected tenant subsequently allows the person restrained to visit the property, or the landlord reasonably believes the person restrained poses a physical threat to others or to quiet possession by other tenants, the landlord may serve a three-day notice to correct or quit.  To further ensure safe housing for domestic violence victims, this law also requires that, for leases entered into after January 1, 2011, a landlord changes the exterior locks of a protected tenant’s dwelling unit within 24 hours after the tenant provides a written request and supporting court or police documentation as specified.  Senate Bill 782.

Protections Against Real Estate Fraud: Effective January 1, 2011, new laws protecting consumers from real estate fraud include, without limitation, the following: (1) Expanding the foreclosure consultant law to include someone who performs a forensic audit of a residential mortgage loan (Assembly Bill 2325); (2) Requiring any mailed solicitation that offers to provide a copy of an owner’s grant deed or other title records for a fee to include a prominent statutory disclosure that the copy service is not associated with any governmental agency and that the homeowner can obtain such records from the county recorder (Assembly Bill 1373); and (3) Increasing the criminal punishment for renting out a residential dwelling without the owner’s consent from six months imprisonment plus a $1,000 fine, to one year imprisonment, plus a $2,500 fine (Assembly Bill 1800).

Other Laws: Some of the other laws that may interest REALTORS® include, but are not limited to, revisions to the mechanics’ lien law (Senate Bill 189); clarification that the prohibition against discrimination of tenants based on source of income pertains to lawful and verifiable income (Senate Bill 1252); extension of the CalVet Home Loan program to include 2-to-4 residential units (Assembly Bill 2087); and lien enforcement by a municipal utility district for a tenant’s delinquent charges (Senate Bill 1035).

New anti-deficiency law for short sellers hits the state 1/1/11

A ray of good news for homeowners in California. Lame-Duck Arnie actually signed a bill that provides some relief for short-sellers.

Existing law prohibits a deficiency judgment by the holder of a first trust deed on a property that has sold through foreclosure. SB931 extends that protection to short-sellers of a property as well. If the holder of a first trust deed or mortgage gives written consent to a short sale, that lender is obligated to accept the sale proceeds and discharge the remaining amount owed (the deficiency). Prior to this law, lenders could pursue a homeowner even after approving a short sale for the balance of the deficiency. It still allows the holder to pursue the seller in the event they determine there was fraud or waste by the borrower and it does not apply to holders of second or subsequent notes.

The California Association of Realtors was optimistic that the Gov. would also sign our sponsored bill SB1178 that would have extended anti-deficiency protection to owners who had refi-ed their homes only to the extent that the subsequent loan was used to pay debt or costs incurred in the purchase of the home. In other words, if you refi-ed only to get a better interest rate but took no  money out, your original anti-deficiency protections would still accrue.

We all know that during the boom years, banks were quick to offer refi-s but slow to disclose that you were giving up a valuable protection by taking them up on the offer. You sacrificed your anti-deficiency protection when you refi-ed. Arnie sided with the banking lobby and declared that SB1178 would interfere with the contract between the bank and the borrower. No matter that there was no disclosure or explanation of the ramifications. CAR will be looking to again sponsor this bill in the upcoming legislative session in hopes that a new Governor will have a better grasp of the issues.

Governor Schwarzenegger holds the distinction of vetoing more real estate friendly and CA sponsored bills than any previous governor of our state. But he talked such a good line when he came to talk with us – we thought he really meant all his accolades about real estate making him the man he is today. Oh well, he turned out to be much less of a man than we all hoped. Some people light up a room when they enter, others when they leave. Don’t let the door hit ya in the bum on the way out.

The list of companies leaving CA continues to expand

California Companies Moving Away or
Shifting Work Out Reaches New Record: 158
(for 2010 alone)

In the three weeks since my last tally, I’ve learned about another 14 companies that have left California completely or re-directed capital to build facilities out of state. The names of the 14 and justifications for listing them appear below. Today’s entry builds upon the Sept. 21 entry 144 Companies Shrink from Calif. This Year – Three Times the Total for All of 2009.

In short:
Total for 9-1/2 months of 2010: 158
Total for all of 2009: 51

Five enterprises represent the type of operations coveted by many California politicians — “green” companies — namely DayStar Technologies, Vetrazzo, SMA America LLC, Enfinity Corp., and Power-One. Those companies have opted for Georgia, Arizona, Colorado and an apparently as-yet-undetermined “overseas location.”

I’ve updated Part III: County-by-County Losses For California Disinvestment Events to reflect these 14 additional entries. In this round, Orange County experienced three disinvestment events; Los Angeles and Sacramento, two; and Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Placer, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara and Ventura counties each suffered one case of “corporate shrinkage.” I’ve also updated Part IV: States, Countries That Gain From California Disinvestment Events.

Nine companies carry the code RELO-OS, which represents an out-of-state or out-of country relocation, while another five are CD-OSG, which means the company directed capital out-of-state for a facility that in the past would have been built in California. I’ve updated Part V: California Disinvestment Events By Category or Type. (I exclude companies building elsewhere to meet growth — see Part II: Examples of Companies Excluded From California Disinvestment Event Listings.)  Also relevant is Part VI: Why California Disinvestment Events Are Greatly Understated.

Gov. Vetoes CAR Anti-deficiency bill. Thanks Arnie. Are you almost gone?

Update!

Governor Vetoes C.A.R.-Sponsored

Anti-Deficiency Bill

On Thursday, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 1178 (Corbett), C.A.R.’s sponsored bill that would have expanded anti-deficiency protections. In his veto message, the Governor made clear his view that the bill interferes with an existing contract. While disappointed in the Governor’s misinterpretation of the bill, C.A.R. is grateful to the almost 13,000 California REALTORS(R) who urged him to sign the bill by responding to the Red Alert.

C.A.R. sponsored SB 1178 to better protect homeowners going through foreclosure. SB 1178 would have ensured that homeowners keep the same “anti-deficiency” protections they have in the original loan after the loan has been refinanced.

California’s anti-deficiency protection for “purchase money” mortgages says that if a homeowner defaults on a mortgage used to purchase his or her home, the homeowner’s liability on the mortgage is limited to the property itself. The law has worked well since the 1930s to protect borrowers, ensure the quality of loan underwriting and allow borrowers brought down by financial crisis to get back on their feet.

Unfortunately, the 1930s law hasn’t kept up with current times. Current law doesn’t apply to loans used to refinance the original purchase debt, even if the refinance was only to gain a lower interest rate. Recent years of low interest rates have induced tens of thousands of homeowners to refinance their mortgages. During those years, almost no one realized that refinancing their mortgage to obtain a lower rate, they were forfeiting their protections and were becoming personally liable on the new note.

SB 1178 would have corrected this injustice by extending anti-deficiency protections to those who have refinanced their loans.

Thank you again to everyone who joined C.A.R.’s Government Affairs Team and fought for our clients.

For More Information

Southwest CA Legislative Council on ballot props

As you are aware, the California Association of Realtors does not take positions on ballot propositions that are not real estate related. On the November 2 ballot are a plethora of propositions but none that are deemed RE Related – so no official CAR position statements.

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However, if you are curious, the Southwest California Legislative Council, a business advocacy group composed of business & civic leaders from the Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore & Wildomar Chambers of Commerce (and of which SRCAR is a founding partner), has considered each propositions during the past few months and has published the following positions:

Proposition 19 – Oppose: Legalization & Taxation of Marijuana.

Prop 19 allows people 21 years and older to possess, cultivate or transport marijuana for personal use while permitting local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years and older. Hotly debated, proponents claim this bill would bring billions into our state coffers and eliminate or greatly reduce the hold of organized crime, especially narco-trafficantes, from a legal and regulated market. Opponents simply don’t want it legalized.

Proposition 20 – Support: Voters FIRST Act for Congress

Prop 20 extends the responsibilities of the Citizens Redistricting Commission and gives the commission the authority to draw boundaries for the United States Congressional Districts.

Proposition 21 – Oppose: Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Fund State Parks

Prop 21 establishes an $18 annual state vehicle license surcharge and grants free admission to all state parks to surcharged vehicles and requires deposit of surcharge revenue in new trust fund for parks. There is no nexus – we would all pay a vehicle license tax to support parks.

Proposition 22 – Support: Local Taxpayers, Public Safety & Transportation Act

Prop 22 would prohibit the State from taking, borrowing or re-directing local taxpayer funds dedicated to public safety, emergency response or other vital local government services. Further, the act would protect vital, dedicaed transportation and public funds from state raids.

Proposition 23 – Support: Suspension of AB32 the global climate initiative bill

Also known as the California Jobs Initiative, Prop 23 would delay the implementation and operation of AB32 until California unemployment rate returns to the levels that existed when the bill was passed, 5.5% or less, for four consecutive quarters.

Proposition 24 – Oppose: Repeal of Corporate Tax Breaks

Prop 24 would repeal several corporate tax reforms that are slated to go into effect in 2010 and 2012. The corporate tax reforms were approved by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger in February 2009 as part of the budget agreement. Democrats got their tax increases as a result but now want to renege on the corporate reform portion of the deal.

Proposition 25 – Oppose: Legislative Vote Requirement for Passage of State Budget

Prop 25 changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget from 2/3 to s simple majority. The only check & balance we have in this state is 2 Republican votes keeping Democrats from simply raising taxes every time they overspend. This bill further states that if the legislature fails to pass a budget by June 15, all members of the legislature would permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses until the budget is passed. Not nearly enough incentive to forgo our slim safeguard of 2/3 requirement.

Proposition 26 – Support: Legislative Vote Requirement for State Levies & Charges

Prop 26 increases legislative vote requirements to 2/3 for state levies and charges with limited exceptions, and for certain taxes currently subject only to majority vote.

Proposition 27 – Oppose: Eliminate State Commission on Redistricting

Prop 27 voids Prop 20 by eliminating the 14 member public redistricting commission and it’s authority and places the authority to set boundaries back with elected representatives responsible for setting their own districts. This gerrymandering approach has resulted in the fact that since 2000 just 1 single legislative seat in Sacramento has changed parties and is responsible for much of the gridlock and dysfunction we are experiencing today.

As always, we encourage you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions about what is best for you and our  state. These suggestions are the result of considerable debate by a 15 member board of local business and civic leaders and represent the consensus of that body, not necessarily the individual opinion of each member.

Remember – I’m a Realtor® and I VOTE. Make YOUR voice heard on November 2.

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Please help eliminate private transfer taxes. Sign here.

On August 12, 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) proposed a regulatory guidance for public comment that would restrict Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks from investing in mortgages with private transfer fee covenants. This guidance would extend to mortgages and securities purchased by the Federal Home Loan Banks or acquired as collateral for advances, as well as to mortgages and securities purchased or guaranteed by government sponsored enterprises (GSEs). This action would end the use of private transfer fees in 60 to 70 percent of the real estate market.

The proposed guidance has been published in the Federal Register and the public comment period has begun.  NAR is asking all state and local REALTOR associations to send a letter to the FHFA opposing private transfer fees and their use in GSEs. Included with this e-mail you will find a draft letter that we have prepared for  REALTOR® associations to use.

You can access a Word version of the letter here: http://www.realtoractioncenter.com/docs/REALTOR-Association-Comments-FHFA-PTF-Guidance-09012010.doc.

You can access a PDF version of the letter here: http://www.realtoractioncenter.com/docs/REALTOR-Association-Comments-FHFA-PTF-Guidance-09012010.pdf.

Additional information:

These letters can be sent FHFA in one of three ways:

1.    You can e-mail comments to regcomments@fhfa.gov.

Please include “Guidance on Private Transfer Fee Covenants, (No. 201O-N-11)” in the subject line of the message.

2.    U.S. Mail: Comment letters can be sent by mail to:

Alfred M. Pollard

General Counsel

Federal Housing Finance Agency

1700 G Street NW. Fourth Floor

Washington, DC 20552

ATTENTION: Public Comments “Guidance on Private Transfer Fee Covenants, (No. 201O-N-11)”

3.    Using the Web: Use the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov.  Please follow the instructions for submitting comments.

PLEASE NOTE: ALL LETTERS MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE FHFA BY OCTOBER 15, 2010.

Please send a copy of your letter to the attention of Jerry Nagy (jnagy@realtors.org) at NAR.

Jerry is coordinating our regulatory response and it is helpful for him to know how many letters have been sent.

Proposition 23 needs your vote.

As you know,CAR does not take ballot positions on issues they deem ‘not real estate related.’ However, I will be posting information from our local legislative business partners regarding the upcoming propositions. Meanwhile, here’s a position paper representing a minority business coalition that pretty much sums up the arguments for and against Prop 23.

Proposition 23 Is Needed to Save Jobs

By Earl Cooper
President/CEO of the Black Business Association

The African American business community has long been wary of California’s global warming law (AB 32) because of its potential negative impact on small businesses in the state.  A large percentage of African American-owned businesses fall into precisely that category.

Unfortunately, our instincts have proven correct.  The independent Legislative Analyst has determined that AB 32 will increase energy costs and result in lost jobs.  The California Air Resources Board (CARB) itself has acknowledged that small businesses will be hit disproportionately hard since they typically spend a larger percentage of their budgets on utilities and fuel.

That’s why the Black Business Association, and African American organizations across the state, strongly support Proposition 23.  By temporarily suspending the state’s costly global warming law, Yes on 23 will save small businesses and families from the electricity, gasoline and natural gas cost increases that would occur if this flawed law were implemented.

Yes on 23 will also save jobs – more than one million of them – by keeping energy costs down.  With 2.3 million people out of work in this state, we need to do everything we can to save jobs.  That’s why we are proud to join with other organizations such as the California Small Business Association, California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business in support of Proposition 23.

There is also growing support for Proposition 23 from cities and counties because according to the Legislative Analyst Yes on 23 will save local governments from the higher energy costs the global warming law would impose.  According to the Legislative Analyst, Proposition 23 also would improve the economy, which will help local governments facing budget problems.

And a recent study found that Yes on 23 would save the City of Los Angeles nearly $200 million per year.  Sacramento County would save over $70 million per year and the City of San Diego would save over $50 million per year.

These local government benefits mean that cities and counties will have more funds available to pay for vital public safety services such as law enforcement and fire protection.  It’s not surprising that the California State Firefighters’ Association and the Los Angeles Police Protective League are among the public safety organizations supporting Proposition 23.

And this is important: while global warming is a serious issue, we need to understand what California can and cannot do to influence it.  According to CARB, California can’t solve global warming all by itself, and in fact can’t even make a difference in worldwide global warming emissions.  So what California small businesses and consumers are left with are higher energy costs and no measurable climate change benefits.

Equally important is the fact that Proposition 23 won’t in any way weaken or roll back any of the numerous clean air and water laws that protect our communities from smog-forming or other emissions that pose a risk to the environment or public health.

That’s why Proposition 23 just makes sense. It will save jobs that are in dire need right now, and keep down energy costs for small business, while maintaining existing laws that are vital for protecting the environment and public health.

Now more than ever, we need Proposition 23.

CalREDD/MRMLS to merge into new statewide mls.

Dear C.A.R. Member,

Big news to report from our board of directors’ meeting in Sacramento: On Saturday, June 12, the C.A.R. board of directors voted to approve a new structure for the statewide MLS that will merge the efforts of calREDD® with the Multi-Regional Multiple Listing Service Inc. (MRMLS).

This joint effort supports and is in line with the principles that have guided our efforts throughout the process of building a statewide MLS. The new structure will create one dynamic MLS provider serving more than 33,000 real estate professionals and 22 REALTOR® associations statewide.

It’s a huge stride forward for our members — combining our respective strengths and resources will significantly accelerate our shared vision and position the new entity to deliver even more expanded and efficient MLS services to you. You’ll have expanded access to MLS information, greater exposure for your listings, and eventually will be able to select either the calREDD® software system or the Tarasoft Matrix platform currently in use by MRMLS. You should expect to see even more choices and increased services over time.

Your Association will remain both a member and a fundamental part of the new entity, and will continue to have the right to approve actions such as merger, dissolution or sale of assets, changes in the purpose of the new entity, and changes in the board composition.

calREDD® and MRMLS will work closely during the transition to the new entity to ensure there are no disruptions in service, the needs of members continue to be met, and associations scheduled to join calREDD® are seamlessly added to the system. The Amador Association of REALTORS® is on schedule for a June 21 launch, followed by the Tehama Association of REALTORS® on June 28.

I’d like to thank our board, and the members of the calREDD® board of directors and its chairman, Mike Silvas, for their hard work and dedication to ensure that our members’ interests were front and center throughout the process. We’ll provide more information as our joint effort progresses.

Also at the Sacramento business meetings, your board of directors adopted a special purpose political assessment of $49 per member for 2011. This special assessment is for the California Real Estate Political Action Committee or, if the C.A.R. member chooses, to direct the funds to the C.A.R. general fund for non-candidate political purposes.

I can’t stress enough how valuable political involvement is. Whether it’s the legislature looking to tap REALTORS®, the transaction, or our industry for additional sources of funding, or placing restrictions on private property rights or on our right to conduct business, we must be continually vigilant in Sacramento to ensure that our interests are fairly represented. This is even truer in today’s fiscal environment, with politicians searching for every available means to cut the state’s ballooning deficits and produce a balanced budget.

Over the past few years, our coffers have dwindled, and while we still have a strong presence and a team of dedicated individuals working on our behalf at the capital, so has our influence. That’s why I contribute to C.A.R.’s political action funds, why I believe each member of the Association should support our efforts in this area, and why I wholeheartedly support your board of directors in their decision.

The special assessment takes effect for the 2011 dues bill cycle. Details on process and implementation now are being worked out; we’ll let you know additional information as it becomes available. I know I can count on you for your support.

Looking ahead, if you haven’t registered for CALIFORNIA REALTOR® EXPO 2010, taking place Oct. 5-7 at the Anaheim Convention Center, early-bird pricing has been extended through June 25, so take a few minutes to sign up today to take advantage of the savings. This year’s EXPO will feature exhibit booths, cutting-edge seminars, and other special events, while Tech Tuesday on Oct. 5 will offer a full day of technology training preceding CALIFORNIA REALTOR® EXPO. You can register online by visiting http://expo.car.org or calling toll-free (800) 242-2732.

C.A.R. also has negotiated a 25-percent discount off the registration fee for members to Inman Connect in San Francisco July 13-15; use promo code “CAR.” http://www.inman.com/conferences/real-estate-connect-san-francisco-2010/register. While you’re at Connect, don’t miss the Association’s four agent-focused sessions during Agent Reboot on July 12.  C.A.R.’s Agent Reboot sessions assist agents with “rebooting” their business and are scheduled from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For a full list of program sessions, please visit http://www.agentreboot.com/.

Sincerely,

Steve Goddard

2010 President

CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

EVERY Realtor becomes an advocacy investor.

I’ve been at our mid-year CAR meetings in Sacramento this week so will have lots to post in the coming days. But I did want to share some phenomenal news with you that at this afternoons Board of Directors session we passed the motion which will have EVERY Realtor becoming an investor in our advocacy effort. The past few years that burden has increasingly been borne by about 20% of us while CAR’s lobbying stature has fallen from top 5 in the state to #33. This at a time when there are almost daily efforts to expand taxes on Realtors and homeowners, reduce mortgage interest deductions, encroach on the private property rights of our clients and worse.

Effective in 2011 the $49 basic cost of staying alive will now be shared by ALL Realtors in the state of California. If you are philosophically or religiously opposed to making political contributions, your investment will be channeled into a general CAR fund used for issues campaigns rather than direct candidate or party expenditures but if you’re a Realtor in California there’s no more free ride while others carry your political water. Welcome to the club!

Senate passes CAR Anti-deficiency Bill

After a failed vote last week, CAR reached out to several senators who had voted against this bill, including Senator Hollingsworth. Senator Hollingsworth shared his legitimate concerns that the bill was too far reaching regarding cash-out refi’s. The bill was amended yesterday and Senator Hollingsworth not only voted for the bill, he stood on the floor and recommended its passage.

Red Alert Update

SB 1178 Passes Senate!

Victory for REALTORS® and Their Clients!

SB 1178 was just approved by the Senate, over lender opposition, with a vote of 30 to 4.

Thank you to the over 5,000 REALTORS® who made a difference by contacting their senator to support the bill! For more information on the vote, see the list below.

C.A.R. is sponsoring SB 1178 (Corbett) to extend anti-deficiency protections to homeowners who have refinanced “purchase money” loans and are now facing foreclosure. Most homeowners didn’t even know that when they refinanced they lost their legal protections, and now may be personally liable for the difference between the value of the foreclosed property and the amount owed to the lender.

Here is how senators voted today.

“Yes” votes: Aanestad, Alquist, Ashburn, Cedillo, Cogdill, Corbett (author), Correa, DeSaulnier, Ducheny, Florez, Hancock, Hollingsworth, Huff, Kehoe, Leno, Liu, Lownenthal, Negrete McLeod, Oropeza, Padilla, Pavley, Price, Romero, Runner, Simitian, Steinberg, Wolk, Wright, Wyland and Yee.

“No” votes: Calderon, Denham, Strickland and Walters.

Not voting: Cox, Dutton, and Harman.

Absent (not in Sacramento that day due to health reasons): Wiggins.

Thank you to everyone who made a call to their senator. Facing lender opposition, many of those who ultimately voted for the bill, may not have done so if they hadn’t received so many calls from REALTORS®.

Proposition 16 – The Biggest Lie on the Ballot.

We’ve all been absolutely bombarded by election ads this cycle. Even people who are into that sort of thing are tired of the bombast and we’ve still got a week to go.

But one of the loudest and most consistent campaigns is being waged by Pacific Gas & Electric for Proposition 16. And let me tell you there is no more cynical and fraudulent campaign on next weeks ballot than the battle over Prop 16.

PG&E has titled Prop 16 the ‘Taxpayers Right to Vote Act’. That’s a lie. The Proposition is about nothing more than perpetuating PG&E’s utility monopoly and they’ve spent over $40 million to do it. Ask yourself – is any publicly run company really that altruistic that they would spend $40+ million dollars just to save their ratepayers or potential ratepayers some money? No even close. Folks – if they’re willing to spend $40+ million on this bill you know the payback has to be significant. And it is. In a rare moment of candor, one of their own ads claims that municipalities are considering spending $2.5 billion dollars to take over their own utility production. That’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, folks, that $2.5 billion or more over the next several years. If PG&E can do an end-run by bamboozling enough people at the ballot box next week, they won’t have to spend money trying to defeat the matter every time it comes before a city or county in the future. Pure & simple.

You see, PG&E has a monopoly on electrical production in their part of the country. Nobody else like Southern California Edison or San Diego Gas & Electric can set up shop in Northern California. As a result, PG&E’s rates are even more onerous than the other utility companies – about 40% higher per kilowatt hour. So several cities in their jurisdiction have opted to produce their own power over the years and many more are climbing on the bandwagon trying to provide a measure of control and cost savings for their citizens. And while the other utliities are sitting back and taking a more wait-and-see approach, you can bet they are salivating at the prospect of a win as well. No more competition in any part of the state for any utility.

PG&E claims that these municipalities are able to just decide to do this on a whim and spend million of your dollars to do it. Nothing could be further from the truth. If your city decides to spend $50 bucks to improve a piece of roadway or $1 million to acquire a piece of land, it is subject to significant review by at least two commissions before it even gets to a vote of the council. Citizens have input every step of the way and if the project doesn’t pencil out it doesn’t fly. In some cities the public does have a chance to vote on the proposal (requiring a 50% majority) while in other cities it is decided by our elected officials, the council.

PG&E knows full well that if this passes and the voting requirement jumps to 2/3 they will never again be faced with an insurrection by a city or county because it is virtually impossible to muster a 2/3rd majority of public votes. Folks, if your city wanted to give away $20 bills on the street corner, you couldn’t get 2/3 of the voters to approve it. And that’s what PG&E is counting on.

Their ads are a lie – blatant and cynical. Rather than being the pro-consumer advocates they pretend to be, they are anti-consumer in that they would rob city and county governments of the ability to control their own destiny and reduce and control runaway utility costs for their residents. Both the California Association of Realtors and the Southwest California Legislative Council have denounced this fraud being perpetrated on the people by PG&E. The Southwest California Legislative Council is comprised of 4 major cities and Chambers of Commerce in Southwest Riverside County. You might be asking, ‘But Gene, the California Chamber of Commerce is one of the organization supporting this bill. Why would your local Chambers come out in strong opposition?’ I found the answer 2 weeks ago at the California Chamber of Commerce 2010 Business Summit in Sacramento. Prominently displayed as a presenting sponsor of the event was – ta-daaa – PG&E. Yeah, that’s right. Money talks. But PG&E money can’t buy off every local Chamber or association who have their constituents best interests at heart.

So when you go to the polls next Tuesday if you think you’re striking a blow for more accountable government and lower taxes by voting for Proposition 16, think again. This is just another egregious example of big money able to buy enough time to tell you a big lie time and again, hoping you’re not smart enough to see through it. I guess we’ll see next Tuesday if they were right.

Vote NO on Proposition 16.

For more information, please go to: PG&E Ballot Initiative Fact Sheet.

The opinions in this commentary are strictly Gene Wunderlich’s personal opinions. While any reasonable and/or rational indivdual should agree wholeheartedly, the opinons reflected herein may not necessarily be those of the Southwest Riverside County AOR,  or any local or state government or other mental institution.

CAR & SCLC Offer Recommendations on June 8 Ballot Propositions

Both the California Association of Realtors and the Southwest California Legislative Council have published recommendations for next Tuesday’s election on the various ballot propositions that you will find. The SCLC is in agreement with the positions supported by CAR and has also staked out positions on a couple of the measures that CAR determined to be ‘Not Real Estate Related’. Feel free to use this voter guide to the upcoming elections and please contact me with any questions. I have also included links to both the CAR and SCLC websites for further clarification on why each organization took the position they did.

Neither CAR nor SCLC endorse candidates in local, state or federal  races. However, CAR does support candidates in local and state races and NAR supports federal candidates with direct contributiuons and, in some cases, independent expenditure campaigns.

CAR Ballot Proposition Positions / SCLC Ballot Propositions

Proposition 13 – CAR: Support    SCLC: Support.
Proposition 13 would prohibit tax assessors from re-evaluating new construction for property tax purposes when the new construction is consider earthquake safety improvements. Tax assessors would only be allowed to re-evaluate for property tax purposes after the building has been sold.

Proposition 14 – CAR: Neutral    SCLC: Neutral
Proposition 14 would require that candidates run in a single primary open to all registered voters, with the top two vote-getters meeting in a runoff. This system would take place in the 2012 elections. This Proposition would not affect Presidential and political party leadership positions.

Proposition 15 – CAR: Not Real Estate Related    SCLC: Oppose
This Proposition was placed on the ballot by legislation (AB 583/Hancock). Proposition 15 would institute a pilot program of publicly-financed elections for the office of California Secretary of State. The publicly-financed election would be funded by taxing lobbyists, lobbying firms and lobbyist employers. The Proposition is currently the subject of litigation.

Proposition 16 – CAR: Oppose    SCLC: Oppose
Proposition 16 is a state constitutional amendment, if passed, would require a two-thirds voter approval before local governments can provide electricity service to customers or implement a community choice electricity program using public funds or bonds.

Proposition 17 – CAR Not Real Estate Related    SCLC: Support
Proposition 17 amends Proposition 103, passed by the voters in 1988, to authorize the use of an additional discount on premiums for automobile insurance policies. In particular, the act would allow an insurer to offer a “continuous coverage” discount to new customers who have maintained their coverage while they previously were customers of another insurer.