PROPOSED LOS ANGELES COUNTY PARCEL TAX

On Tuesday July 5th, The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted  to put a measure on the November ballot that would levy a one-and-a-half cent per square foot parcel tax on properties countywide to fund parks development and maintenance.

If approved by voters, the parcel tax is estimated to raise roughly $95 million annually. The annual tax bill for a 1,500-square-foot house would be $22.50.

The board’s vote was 3-1. Supervisor Don Knabe voted against the measure because a sunset clause that would end the tax in 35 years was eliminated. Supervisor Michael Antonovich was absent for the vote.

The Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks, Open Space, Beaches, Rivers and Water Conservation Measure would replace funding under Proposition A, first passed more than 20 years ago. The last of that Proposition A funding is set to expire in 2019.

Supporters noted that the measure seeks to raise $10 million more than the original Proposition A.

In 2014, the board tried to replace Proposition A funding with Measure P, which fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for passage, with 62.8 percent in favor.

The new measure has a greater needs-based component, though 50 percent of dollars raised will go back to the communities where they were raised.

Advocates said parks are about more than play, citing studies that green space can boost health and help keep neighborhoods safe.

The parks assessment found that about 51 percent of county residents do not live within a 10-minute walk of a park.

The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations opposed the measure.

A representative for the Motion Picture Association of America warned that the tax could impact future production decisions, saying it would amount to a five-fold increase over what its members currently pay.

Priorities for spending the money — should the measure pass — have been set based on meetings with residents from 188 study areas aimed at identifying each community’s top 10 parks projects. Thirty-five percent of funds will be tagged to pay for those projects.

Another 15 percent will be used to fund parks maintenance in the communities where taxes were levied. Thirteen percent will go to high-needs communities.

Another 13 percent will be used for environmentally-oriented projects, including beach and waterway clean-up; with 13 percent more for regional trail and accessibility projects that connect urban areas to nature.

The balance will go to related job training for youth and veterans and to administrative costs.

Should the  measure pass, the county will only have a fraction of the money needed to complete the $8.8 billion in priority projects identified by the area study groups and another $12 billion in deferred maintenance.

A two-thirds majority of November voters is required for passage.

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The Top 17 November Ballot Measures

 

17 ballot measures set to go before voters Nov. 8 will number 51 through 67. The Secretary of State has announced the numbering of the ballot on Friday July 1, 2016.

Given the financial wherewithal of some of the groups and people involved, voters can expect to become very familiar with various proposition numbers in the coming months.

Here is how the numbers line up:

▪ 51: Authorizes $9 billion school construction bond

Authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds: $3 billion for new construction and $3 billion for modernization of K-12 public school facilities; $1 billion for charter schools and vocational education facilities; and $2 billion for California Community Colleges facilities. Bars amendment to existing authority to levy developer fees to fund school facilities, until new construction bond proceeds are spent or December 31, 2020, whichever is earlier. Bars amendment to existing State Allocation Board process for allocating school construction funding, as to these bonds. Appropriates money from the General Fund to pay off bonds. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State General Fund costs of $17.6 billion to pay off principal ($9 billion) and interest ($8.6 billion) on bonds over a period of 35 years. Annual payments would average $500 million. Annual payments would be relatively low in the initial and final few years and somewhat higher in the intervening years.

▪ 52: Locks in a quality assurance fee on hospitals

Increases required vote to two-thirds for the Legislature to amend a certain existing law that imposes fees on hospitals (for purpose of obtaining federal Medi-Cal matching funds) and that directs those fees and federal matching funds to hospital-provided Medi-Cal health care services, to uncompensated care provided by hospitals to uninsured patients, and to children’s health coverage. Eliminates law’s ending date. Declares that law’s fee proceeds shall not be considered revenues for purposes of applying state spending limit or determining required education funding. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State savings from increased revenues that offset state costs for children’s health coverage of around $500 million beginning in 2016-17 (half-year savings) to over $1 billion annually by 2019-20, likely growing between 5 percent to 10 percent annually thereafter. Increased revenues to support state and local public hospitals of around $90 million beginning in 2016-17 (half-year) to $250 million annually by 2019-20, likely growing between 5 percent to 10 percent annually thereafter.

▪ 53: Requires public vote on revenue bonds of more than $2 billion

Requires statewide voter approval before any revenue bonds can be issued or sold by the state for projects that are financed, owned, operated, or managed by the state or any joint agency created by or including the state, if the bond amount exceeds $2 billion. Prohibits dividing projects into multiple separate projects to avoid statewide voter approval requirement. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: The fiscal effect on state and local governments is unknown and would vary by project. It would depend on (1) the outcome of projects brought before voters, (2) the extent to which the state relied on alternative approaches to the projects or alternative financing methods for affected projects, and (3) whether those methods have higher or lower costs than revenue bonds.(15-0003.

▪ 54: Prohibits votes on bills not in print for three days

Prohibits Legislature from passing any bill unless it has been in print and published on the Internet for at least 72 hours before the vote, except in cases of public emergency. Requires the Legislature to make audiovisual recordings of all its proceedings, except closed session proceedings, and post them on the Internet. Authorizes any person to record legislative proceedings by audio or video means, except closed session proceedings. Allows recordings of legislative proceedings to be used for any legitimate purpose, without payment of any fee to the State. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased costs to state government of potentially $1 million to $2 million initially and about $1 million annually for making additional legislative proceedings available in audiovisual form on the Internet.

▪ 55: Extends a temporary income tax increase on wealthy filers

Extends by twelve years the temporary personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 on earnings over $250,000 (for single filers; over $500,000 for joint filers; over $340,000 for heads of household). Allocates these tax revenues 89% to K-12 schools and 11% to California Community Colleges. Allocates up to $2 billion per year in certain years for healthcare programs. Bars use of education revenues for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how revenues are to be spent. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state revenues annually from 2019 through 2030—likely in the $5 billion to $11 billion range initially—with amounts varying based on stock market and economic trends. Increased revenues would be allocated under constitutional formulas to schools and community colleges, budget reserves and debt payments, and health programs, with remaining funds available for these or other state purposes

▪ 56: Increases the state tax on cigarettes by $2 to $2.87

Increases cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack, with equivalent increase on other tobacco products and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. Allocates revenues primarily to increase funding for existing healthcare programs; also for tobacco use prevention/control programs, tobacco-related disease research and law enforcement, University of California physician training, dental disease prevention programs, and administration. Excludes these revenues from Proposition 98 funding requirements. If tax causes decreased tobacco consumption, transfers tax revenues to offset decreases to existing tobacco-funded programs and sales tax revenues. Requires biennial audit. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net increase in excise tax revenues in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.6 billion annually by 2017-18, with revenues decreasing slightly in subsequent years. The majority of funds would be used for payments to health care providers. The remaining funds would be used for a variety of specified purposes, including tobacco-related prevention and cessation programs, law enforcement programs, medical research on tobacco-related diseases, and early childhood development programs

▪ 57: Changes parole rules for some nonviolent offenders

Allows parole consideration for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies upon completion of full prison term for primary offense, as defined. Authorizes Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to award sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior, or educational achievements. Requires Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to adopt regulations to implement new parole and sentence credit provisions and certify they enhance public safety. Provides juvenile court judges shall make determination, upon prosecutor motion, whether juveniles age 14 and older should be prosecuted and sentenced as adults. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net state savings that could range from the tens of millions of dollars to the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually primarily due to a reduction in the prison population from additional paroles granted and credits earned. Net county costs that could range from the millions to tens of millions of dollars annually, declining to a few million dollars after initial implementation of the measure.

▪ 58: Restores some bilingual education programs

(1) Existing law, as added by Proposition 227, a measure approved by the voters at the June 2, 1998, statewide primary election requires; among other things, that all children in California public schools be taught English by being taught in English. Proposition 227 specifies that English learner pupils, as defined, be educated through sheltered English immersion, as defined, during a temporary transition period not normally intended to exceed one year. Proposition 227 further, provides that its requirements relating to sheltered English immersion instruction may be waived with the prior written consent of a pupil’s parent or legal guardian as specified. Proposition 227 also encourages family members and others to provide personal English language tutoring to English learner pupils.

This bill would amend and repeal various provisions of Proposition 227. The bill would, among other things, delete the sheltered English immersion requirement and waiver provisions, and would instead provide that school districts and county offices of education shall, at a minimum, provide English learners with a structured English immersion program, as specified. The bill would authorize parents or legal guardians of pupils enrolled in the school to choose a language acquisition program that best suits their child, as provided.

(2) Existing law requires, on or before July 1, 2014, the governing board of each school district and each county board of education to adopt a local control and accountability plan and requires the governing board of each school district, and each county board of education to update its plan on or before July 1 of each year. As part of the process for developing the local control and accountability plan, existing law requires the superintendent of the school district or the county superintendent of schools to both present the plan or annual update to the plan to a parent advisory committee and an English learner parent advisory committee for review and comment, and to respond, in writing, to comments received from the committees. Existing law also requires the superintendent of the school district and the county superintendent of schools to notify members of the public of the opportunity to submit written comments regarding the specific actions and expenditures proposed to be included in the local control and accountability plan or annual update to the plan.

This bill would, as part of the parent and community engagement process required for the development of local control and accountability plan, require school districts and county offices of education to solicit input on, and provide to pupils, effective and appropriate instructional methods, including, but not limited to, establishing language acquisition programs, as defined.

(3) Proposition 227 also specifies that a pupil’s parent or legal guardian has standing to sue for enforcement of its provisions and, if successful, to receive normal and customary attorney’s fees and actual damages, but not punitive or consequential damages. Proposition 227 further provides that school board members, other elected officials, and public school teachers or administrators who willfully and repeatedly refuse to implement its provisions may be held personally liable for fees and actual damages by a pupil’s parent or legal guardian.

This bill would delete those provisions.

(4) Proposition 227 provides that its provisions may be amended by a statute to further its purpose passed by a 2/3 vote of each house of the Legislature and signed by the Governor.

This bill would delete the requirement that the amendment further the purpose Of Proposition 227, and would revise the vote threshold to a majority vote in each house of the Legislature.

(5) This bill would make these provisions operative on July 1, 2017.

(6) The California Constitution authorizes the Legislature to amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute that becomes effective when approved by the electors.

This bill would provide that it would become effective only upon approval of the voters, and would require the Secretary of State to submit this measure to the voters for approval at the November 2016 statewide general election.[8]

▪ 59: Questions voters on “Citizens United” ruling (Advisory only)

Shall California’s elected officials use all of their constitutional authority, including, but not limited to, proposing and ratifying one or more amendments to the United States Constitution, to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) 558 U.S. 310, and other applicable judicial precedents, to allow the full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions and spending, to ensure that all citizens, regardless of wealth, may express their views to one another, and to make clear that corporations should not have the same constitutional rights as human beings?[4]

▪ 60: Requires condoms for adult film actors

Requires performers in adult films to use condoms during filming of sexual intercourse. Requires producers of adult films to pay for performer vaccinations, testing, and medical examinations related to sexually transmitted infections. Requires producers to obtain state health license at beginning of filming and to post condom requirement at film sites. Imposes liability on producers for violations, on certain distributors, on performers if they have a financial interest in the violating film, and on talent agents who knowingly refer performers to noncomplying producers. Permits state, performers, or any state resident to enforce violations. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potentially reduced state and local tax revenue of millions or tens of millions of dollars per year. Likely state costs of a few million dollars annually to administer the law. Possible ongoing net costs or savings for state and local health and human services programs. (

▪ 61: Imposes price controls on state drug purchases

Prohibits state agencies from paying more for a prescription drug than the lowest price paid for the same drug by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Applies to any program where the state is the ultimate payer for a drug, even if the state does not purchase the drug directly. Exempts certain purchases of prescription drugs funded through Medi-Cal. Fiscal impact: It is the opinion of the Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance that the measure, if adopted, may result in a substantial net change in state or local finances

▪ 62: Replaces the death penalty with life in prison

Repeals death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder and replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Applies retroactively to persons already sentenced to death. States that persons found guilty of murder and sentenced to life without possibility of parole must work while in prison as prescribed by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Increases to 60% the portion of wages earned by persons sentenced to life without the possibility of parole that may be applied to any victim restitution fines or orders against them. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduction in state and local government costs of potentially around $150 million annually within a few years due to the elimination of the death penalty.

▪ 63: Imposes new gun-control restrictions

Prohibits possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines, and requires their disposal by sale to dealer, destruction, or removal from state. Requires most individuals to pass background check and obtain Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition. Requires most ammunition sales be made through licensed ammunition vendors and reported to Department of Justice. Requires lost or stolen firearms and ammunition be reported to law enforcement. Prohibits persons convicted of stealing a firearm from possessing firearms. Establishes new procedures for enforcing laws prohibiting firearm possession by felons and violent criminals. Requires Department of Justice to provide information about prohibited persons to federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state costs in the tens of millions of dollars annually related to regulating ammunition sales, likely offset by various regulatory fees authorized by the measure. Increase in court and law enforcement costs, not likely to exceed the tens of millions of dollars annually, related to removing firearms from prohibited persons as part of court sentencing proceedings. These costs could be offset to some extent by fees authorized by the measure. Potential increase in state and local correctional costs, not likely to exceed the low millions of dollars annually, related to new and increased penalties.

▪ 64: Legalizes recreational use of marijuana

Legalizes marijuana and hemp under state law. Designates state agencies to license and regulate marijuana industry. Imposes state excise tax on retail sales of marijuana equal to 15% of sales price, and state cultivation taxes on marijuana of $9.25 per ounce of flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves. Exempts medical marijuana from some taxation. Establishes packaging, labeling, advertising, and marketing standards and restrictions for marijuana products. Allows local regulation and taxation of marijuana. Prohibits marketing and advertising marijuana to minors. Authorizes resentencing and destruction of records for prior marijuana convictions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Net reduced costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to potentially exceeding $100 million annually to state and local governments related to enforcing certain marijuana-related offenses, handling the related criminal cases in the court system, and incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Net additional state and local tax revenues potentially ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually related to the production and sale of marijuana. Most of these funds would be required to be spent for specific purposes such as substance use disorder education, prevention, and treatment.

▪ 65: Redirects revenue arising from state ban on plastic bags (see Proposition 67)

Redirects money collected by grocery and certain other retail stores through sale of carry-out bags, whenever any state law bans free distribution of a particular kind of carry-out bag and mandates the sale of any other kind of carry-out bag. Requires stores to deposit bag sale proceeds into a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board to support specified categories of environmental projects. Provides for Board to develop regulations implementing law. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: If voters uphold the state’s current carryout bag law, redirected revenues from retailers to the state, potentially in the several tens of millions of dollars annually. Revenues would be used for grants for certain environmental and natural resources purposes. If voters reject the state’s current carryout bag law, likely minor fiscal effects

▪ 66: Speeds up the death penalty process

Changes procedures governing state court appeals and petitions challenging death penalty convictions and sentences. Designates superior court for initial petitions and limits successive petitions. Imposes time limits on state court death penalty review. Requires appointed attorneys who take noncapital appeals to accept death penalty appeals. Exempts prison officials from existing regulation process for developing execution methods. Authorizes death row inmate transfers among California state prisons. States death row inmates must work and pay victim restitution. States other voter approved measures related to death penalty are null and void if this measure receives more affirmative votes. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state costs that could be in the tens of millions of dollars annually for several years related to direct appeals and habeas corpus proceedings, with the fiscal impact on such costs being unknown in the longer run. Potential state correctional savings that could be in the tens of millions of dollars annually.

▪ 67: Referendum to uphold or repeal a law restricting single-use carryout bags

If signed by the required number of registered voters and timely filed with the Secretary of State, this petition will place on the statewide ballot a challenge to a state law previously approved by the Legislature and the Governor. The challenged law must then be approved by a majority of voters at the next statewide election to go into effect. The law prohibits grocery and certain other retail stores from providing single-use bags but permits sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags

State law sets the ballot order based on the type of measure as well as when signature checkers finished sampling millions of signatures turned in by supporters. The fall election will feature the most measures since March 2000, when voters saw 20. Lawmakers could add still more after they return from summer recess Aug. 1.

For complete information please visit the Secretary of State website:  http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/ballot-measures/qualified-ballot-measures/

It should be noted that these ballot measures do not include a number of local measures which will also be on the ballot.

June Cities Report

AZUSA

After a controversial decision made in May sparked backlash and created a rift in the community, city officials said they would consider changing their vote on a development project at the city’s flagship property in downtown.  For the property known as the Block 36 site, located on the corner of Highway 39 and historic Route 66, the city considered two mixed-use development projects: One by the Charles Co. included a bowling alley and an arcade as its anchor tenant, and the other, by the Serrano Group, offered an art house movie theater as its main attraction.  In a 3-2 vote, the council went with the bowling alley proposal, despite popular support for bringing a Laemmle theater to Azusa. The move prompted residents to mobilize on social media and some began circulating a petition that asked the City Council to reconsider their decision. The petition received 286 signatures. At the meeting, speakers shared their vision of a revitalized downtown and a thriving urban community. Some also spoke of how a theater built by Laemmle, a Los Angeles-based chain specializing in independent and foreign films, could help the city capitalize on the recent arrival of the Gold Line, drawing visitors from throughout the San Gabriel Valley.  After hearing concerns from the community, the Council voted unanimously to change their vote for the Block 36 site, a move that brought hugs and handshakes all around.  The new vote rescinds the decision made May 16 and paves the way for the theater and apartments to be built at the site. It also opens a dialogue with the Charles Co. to find a different site for the bowling alley project within the city. Arman Gabay, principal of the Charles Co., said that after hearing support for the theater, he had reached out to Laemmle Theatres and offered to incorporate the theater in their project, but the offer was rejected. Days later, he penned a letter to the city indicating their willingness to relocate their project in an effort to be a “long-term partner” with the city.  The decision authorized city staff to begin negotiating with both companies to reach development agreements for the dual mixed-use projects. As proposed, both projects would build over 100 residential units, which could create congestion and pose parking problems.  Azusa already has seen its share of parking issues downtown following the March opening of the Gold Line, which saw packed parking structures at its easternmost terminus in Azusa, forcing commuters to find parking in nearby neighborhoods.  The city moved to implement a permit parking program for residents in downtown, which is expected to be finalized this summer. City officials are also working with Metro, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, to devise a plan to build a new park-and-ride facility and open up existing parking spots near the station.

 CHINO HILLS

A new Kaiser Permanente regional lab is scheduled to take up residence at the former Great Indoors retail center on Peyton Drive near the 71 Freeway. The project, which is expected to open in early 2017, promises to bring 300 new employees–and robots–to the city. The site, on the west side of the 71 Freeway at 13000 Peyton Drive, will fill the former 150,000-square-foot Great Indoors furniture retail center that had closed during the Great Recession in 2008. Kaiser Permanente’s Inland Empire Satellite Regional Reference Laboratories will serve the lab processing needs for the Inland Empire, Orange County, San Diego, Baldwin Park and Downey—50 percent of Kaiser Permanente’s members in Southern California.  In the immediate vicinity, Kaiser has hospitals in Fontana and Ontario, in addition to a number of clinics throughout the region. The lab will serve the needs of Kaiser members in the Inland Empire and the San Gabriel Valley, with state-of-the-art automation. Robots will function not unlike how Amazon uses them at its goods processing facility in San Bernardino.

CLAREMONT

Despite nearly nine decades of stewardship of the Claremont water supply, Golden State Water Co. continues to neglect addressing deficiencies in the system, attorneys for the city said on June 15. Rather than fixing those operating deficiencies, such as inactive wells and low-pressure fire hydrants, the water company’s rate increases have subsidized shareholder dividends and big executive salaries, Kendall MacVey said during Claremont’s opening statement on in Los Angeles Superior Court. The city of Claremont is suing Golden State to acquire its water system via eminent domain. The trial, which will be decided by a judge, started on June 14.  The city’s goal is to gain greater control of the local water supply and distribution system, enhance customer service and improve public transparency. Claremont also wants to set the water rates.  Residents had been fighting with the water company over its rate increases since 2012, prompting the city to file its eminent domain case in 2014 to take over the water system. A Claremont-owned water system would require a public and transparent rate-setting process, MacVey said. The city would not only have to notify customers of any proposed increases, it would have to schedule a public hearing and any opposition would have to be taken into consideration.  In contrast, Golden State files an application with the California Public Utilities Commission for its rate changes every three years. MacVey dubbed it “a propose and oppose” model: The public learns of rate increases when Golden State files an application with the CPUC, leaving no opportunity for the public to offer input prior to the filing. The water system is part of Golden State’s Region 3, which includes Claremont, Apple Valley and Barstow—all of which have different water needs and populations but are under the same rate-setting process.

GLENDORA

Champion Real Estate Company announced the acquisition of a grocery-anchored neighborhood retail center in the City of Glendora, California. The property consists of an existing 85,615 square foot, free-standing, and vacant former grocery building located at 655 S. Grand Avenue. Champion intends to reconfigure and reposition the property as a smaller 70,500 square foot grocery-anchored neighborhood shopping center that will include several national, credit tenants. The center also is designed with two new retail pads in the existing parking field, plus additional supporting retail to expand the tenant base and meet community needs. The City of Glendora Planning Commission approved Champion’s repositioning and development plan on March 1, 2016. The vacant former grocer has been acquired by a Champion affiliate which currently is obtaining demolition and building permits.

INDUSTRY

A  planned housing community attracting up to 7,500 new residents, or a 1,000-acre solar farm?

These two diverse projects—the first proposed by an Orange County home builder, and the other supposedly suggested by the City of Industry—emerged Wednesday as possible developments on Tres Hermanos, a 2,500-acre cattle ranch straddling the border of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. Neither project received approval from the state oversight board in charge of liquidating the substantial holdings of the City of Industry’s former redevelopment agency, including the pristine tangle of oak woodlands, riparian habitat and hillsides owned by the city since 1978, but located entirely outside city limits in Diamond Bar and Chino Hills. Instead, the board directed the city to present a formal proposal for buying the ranch by Aug. 31, after GH America Inc. and its partner, South Coast Communities of Irvine, accused the city of blocking the sale.  The developer and its partner also accused the city of violating a state law requiring the quickest and most lucrative sale of such lands so money can reach local schools and community colleges. Put in a defensive stance, Jamie Casso, the city attorney, reluctantly promised a formal proposal from the city for the August or September meeting of the board. John Gordon, attorney for GH America, pressed the board, saying his client made a $101 million bid for the property more than a year ago.  Since then, Gordon said the city has interfered in the legal duty of its former redevelopment agency—now referred to as the Successor Agency to the Industry Urban-Development Agency—and the county oversight board to sell redevelopment lands and redistribute the proceeds to fire districts, schools and other agencies left out of redevelopment funding for decades.  But after the June 2015 city election, in which three new council members were elected with the backing of former Mayor Dave Perez, the city asked for the sale to be halted and said it wanted to buy the property back. This occurred after an audit done by KPMG found the city paid more than $326 million to companies owned by Perez and his family over the past two decades. While many of those payments were vague and invoices incomplete, the audit noted, about $3.4 million was paid to Perez for the upkeep of Tres Hermanos Ranch. The audit questioned the rental of vehicles and equipment, but said it wasn’t possible to determine if more than $500,000 of materials and supplies purchased by Zerep, Perez’s company, were related to work performed at city-owned facilities, including Tres Hermanos Ranch. South Coast Communities presented a plan for 1,881 homes on large lots, as attached units and as single-family tract homes.  The master-planned community would conform to both cities’ general plans for affordable housing, as prescribed by state law. The development would include 300-400 affordable units in each city; 336 units built in zones allowing only 1 unit per 5 acres; 18 acres for commercial uses, and 20 acres for mixed use. About 40 percent would be open space, leaving a good portion for trails. The development would be worth $1.1 billion.

 IRWINDALE

 The City of Irwindale has filed another lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods, the manufacturer of Sriracha sauce. The legal skirmishes between the condiment company and the  city first made headlines in fall 2013, when the city of Irwindale, which is home to the Sriracha factory,  tried to halt production at the factory, arguing that it created a “public nuisance,” and that the strong chili odor was making residents sick. The city claimed that “the odors were so strong and offensive as to have caused residents to move outdoor activities indoors and even to vacate their residences temporarily to seek relief from the odors,” in their 2013 lawsuit. Shipments of the iconic, fiery hot sauce were briefly halted by the California Department of Health, sparking global fears of a coming Sriracha shortage.  Now, more than two years after dropping their original lawsuit against Huy Fong Foods, the city of Irwindale has once again filed suit against the company, alleging that they are owed more than $400,000 in unpaid fees. According to the city, Huy Fong Foods has failed to abide by a 2009 agreement where the company agreed to make 10 payments of $250,000 over 10 years in lieu of paying taxes to the city. The payments are due every January, and after completing payments on schedule for the first three years, the company allegedly failed to pay in 2015 or 2016. The city asserts that it has sent letters to Huy Fong Foods and has also met in their offices to request payment. David Tran, owner of the company, asserts that from the very beginning he offered to contribute $250,000 per year for 10 years for the benefit of the Irwindale Community through the City of Irwindale. But “because we had this odor issue where all five of the City Council members unanimously declared it a public nuisance, without real basis,” Tran believes that Huy Fong Foods is being treated unfairly, so he stopped contributions

LA VERNE

It doesn’t have the money yet, but the La Verne City Council contemplated opening a teen center among several items approved with the aim of providing additional services and programs for local youth. The council approved creation of an ad hoc committee to explore establishing a teen center in town. Members also accepted a $258,000 grant for the city’s preschool programs at La Verne Veterans Hall and Oak Mesa Elementary School. A teen center was first suggested by the La Verne Youth and Family Action Committee shortly after the committee was founded in 1993. Dormant for many years, committee members brought it back to the front burner during council strategic planning meetings.

The council named Mayor Don Kendrick and Councilwoman Robin Carder as its liaisons to an ad hoc committee that would look for a teen center location, explore construction options, find financing sources, review design concepts and costs and calculate future projections for the center. Although the city does not have any money, they want to explore funding options to create a teen center in  town. The Council also heard about a $258,000 grant from the Los Angeles Universal Preschool, a nonprofit organization which supports children and family programs and administers preschool grants channeled through Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s office. The grant will help the city’s preschool programs go high tech. The city’s proposal sought funds to purchase three computers, two copiers, WiFi access at both sites, three projectors and screens, tablets for the 184 participating preschoolers, new tables and chairs and a small playground. The city will purchase new equipment and materials by September so they are in place when the children return for the 2016-17 preschool year.

ONTARIO

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved Rep. Ken Calvert’s bill Tuesday that would facilitate the transfer of L.A./Ontario International Airport to a local authority.  In January, the majority leader introduced Bill 4369, which would take future passenger fees at ONT to help pay off the cost for the two terminals, a 2015 condition of returning the airport to local ownership. Under the settlement agreement, the Ontario International Airport Authority will pay Los Angeles World Airports $50 million from passenger facility charges in the first five years; and another $70 million from passenger facility charges in the final five years.  The Federal Aviation Administration was expected to hand the Ontario International Airport Authority its certificate of operation July 1.  Because the legislation was being held up as part of the much larger Federal Aviation Administration re authorization bill/debate taking place, Calvert requested it be considered separately, given the time sensitivity. The FAA’s re authorization bill has already been extended three times, officials have noted.

POMONA

Pomona adopted a $95 million general fund budget that’s roughly $1 million below the current year’s spending. The city had to absorb 2 percent raises, already approved, for police personnel and an increase in the contract with Los Angeles County for fire protection. To balance the budget, $1.8 million had to be taken out of the $16 million reserves, a fund the council had been carefully rebuilding. Labor contracts expire June 30 and groups have been told there’s no money for raises. And despite shrinking the full-time workforce from 750 to 548 since the recession, City Hall may have to figure out how to pare more people from the payroll. City staff noted that the Police Department is fully staffed at 271 employees, 163 of them sworn, for the first time in years.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA

A 17,324-square-foot multi-tenant auto park on Arrow Route has changed ownership. The Rancho Cucamonga-based retail brokerage firm Progressive Real Estate Partners, recently announced the $2 million sale. The auto park, built in 2005 and anchored by the Meineke Car Care Center, is ideally situated on Arrow Route which is a major east-west thoroughfare with close access to three major freeways, according to the firm. In addition to Meineke, the 87-percent leased property at 9199 Arrow Route is also home to AA Smog Center and Elite One Auto Collision Center.

UPLAND

As interest rates continue to remain low, Upland Unified School District officials made the decision to  refinance its existing bonds. For the second straight year, the district refinanced several of its General Obligation Series B Bonds, first issued in 2008. The move will save the district $29.2 million in taxes over the life of the bond, according to Isom Advisors, which provides financial services for the district.

The average annual savings districtwide will be $1.2 million, which means property owners in the district will see a reduced tax rate on future bills, about $14.45 for a single family home with the median assessed value of $315,000. Interest rates on the outstanding bonds from the authorization in 2008 ranged between 5.59 percent and 6.65 percent. The interest rates for the new bonds issued in May will be between 0.68 percent and 3.76 percent. The bonds, which were approved by voters Feb. 5, 2008, have been used to upgrade and renovate classrooms, libraries and technology throughout the district. Taxpayers would begin to see a change in their property tax bills in the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1st.

WEST COVINA

The West Covina Firefighters’ Association may soon vote on a contract, after working for two years without one. The 72-member association has attempted to quietly negotiate a contract with the city through formal negotiations, informal discussions with the city manager, and mediation with a state-appointed mediator without success, association President Matt Jackson said. Jackson blamed the turnover of the city manager position during the time period for the delay. Since negotiations started West Covina has had three city managers. Talks are still going on between the city and the unions representing the police department, police management and non-sworn police employees.

 

NAR Goes After Patent Trolls Targeting REALTORS®

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The NAR has filed a petition with the U.S. Patent Office challenging patent infringement claims by companies that demand payment from real estate companies for “old and widely available” technology.

The action was taken to protect real estate professionals who are allegedly being victimized by “patent trolls,” according to the NAR. One company singled out is Data Distribution Technologies (DDT), which has sent letters to real estate companies demanding payment for infringing on its patent. But DDT is considered a “patent troll,” NAR reports, because its “business” is buying over-broad patents and sending “license letters” to users of the products.

“With this action, we’re telling the company and other patent trolls that our industry won’t tolerate these kinds of tactics against innocent real estate professionals who use well-known, ordinary technologies and business methods,” said NAR Associate General Counsel Ralph Holmen. “We intend to help protect members from being forced into cost-of-litigation settlements based on over-broad, invalid patents.”

NAR filed what is known as an Inter Partes Review (IPR) petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  While the IPR is pending, most courts will stay any related litigation under the same patent. A win for NAR will make it difficult for the company to proceed against other real estate companies with similar over-broad patent claims.

“We’re sending a message to this company, and more broadly to any company that relies on over-broad, invalid patents coupled with illegitimate ‘troll’ patent litigation tactics to make money, that the real estate industry is prepared to fight back,” Holmen said.

The Patent Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board is expected to respond to the Petition in about four months.

CAR Request: Help Stop Rent Control Bill

Chris Holden AssemblymanRED ALERT – Call to Action

C.A.R. is OPPOSING AB 2502 (Mullin), a bill that would weaken the rent control limitations contained in the landmark “Costa-Hawkins” law sponsored by C.A.R. in 1995. C.A.R. opposes AB 2502, which undermines existing Costa-Hawkins’ protections by allowing local governments to impose mandatory inclusionary zoning (i.e. rent control) on newly constructed rental housing, without any consideration for the economic viability of the project.

  • You can help by using the information below and calling your representative at:
    (800) 798-6593, and enter the PIN number for your legislator. Representing Citrus Valley are:
    Assemblymember Chris Holden, Pin 5844# (Pictured above)
    Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez, Pin 5270#.

    (Enter your PIN number followed by the # sign) Urge the Assemblymembers to oppose AB 2502AB 2502 effectively repeals part of the C.A.R. sponsored Costa-Hawkins legislation that says new construction in a rent control jurisdiction is exempt, or NOT subject to rent control. It is vitally important that you reach out to your elected representative today!
  • Background: Under existing law (Costa-Hawkins), new construction of rental units is not subject to local rent control ordinances. AB 2502 seeks to use “inclusionary zoning” to undo that provision in Costa-Hawkins. “Inclusionary Zoning” ordinances allow local government to require builders to set aside (include) a percentage of units at below-market rent levels. In the appellate case Palmer v. The City of Los Angeles, the court held that the City of Los Angeles could not use inclusionary zoning to evade Costa-Hawkins. AB 2502 essentially undoes that court decision, and would effectively repeal the new construction exemption of Costa-Hawkins.Talking Points
    • AB 2502 would exacerbate the housing affordability crisis in California. The Governor has proposed a far better solution in the May Revision of the state budget.  C.A.R. supports the Governor’s proposal to streamline the local government approval process for housing developments that have 5 – 20% of the newly constructed units set aside for low or very low-income residents. Unlike AB 2502, this proposal incentivizes developers to build new affordable housing units.
    • AB 2502 discourages the creation of new rental housing. The bill would make it a virtual certainty that local jurisdictions with rent control ordinances would expand their ordinances to include new construction, discouraging the development of rental housing, at a time when it is most needed.
    • AB 2502 dramatically weakens Costa-Hawkins. Costa-Hawkins was passed by the Legislature in 1995, at a time, like today, when new rental housing was desperately needed. The new construction exemption in Costa-Hawkins was specifically designed to encourage the building of new rental units.
    • AB 2502 seeks to disguise the expansion of rent control as “inclusionary zoning.” This bill gives local government the power to adopt a “my-way-or-the-highway” policy for the new rental housing construction. If the builder doesn’t agree to the demands of local government and set aside the required number of units, the builder CANNOT build the housing.
    • Rental housing is desperately needed. At a time when rental housing is scarce, it makes no sense to discourage the building of new rental units!
    • Inclusionary zoning makes every unit in a development much more expensive because the cost of the units must be increased to accommodate the below market rate units.  

For More Information, please contact Rian Barrett at rianb@car.org.

A few of our accomplishments

Realtor Party: Vote Act Invest

At the local level CVAR:

1) Defeated two costly parcel taxes in local communities

2) Defeated the Eminent Domain of Mortgages in 3 CVAR communities

3) Elected Pro-REALTOR® candidates in local communities

 

At the State Level CVAR and CAR:

1). Halted an expensive $75 per-document housing fee

2). Prevented the passage of a Professional Services Tax

3). Halted a costly Point of Sale environmental retro-fit

 

At the Federal Level CVAR and NAR:

1). Maintained the Mortgage Interest Deduction

2). Retained the 1099 Exchange

3). Stopped a tax on Mortgages for Roads and Highways

Get Involved

Realtor Party: Vote Act Invest
Support Your Business
The Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS® is dedicated to advocating for real estate professionals and their clients in the political arena. We want to make it easy for you to get involved and support your business!

Get the Call for Action From Anywhere!

The new REALTOR® Action Center mobile app contains a host of features to help you VOTE, ACT and INVEST while on the go.

Receive a notification alerting you to a Call for Action. The new mobile alert format will make participation a snap. No forms to fill out. Short, fast and easy!

  • Mobile Investing: Make your annual investment to support the Realtor Party Action Committee via your phone!
  • Action Profiles: The app contains a summary of your REALTOR® Party engagement, including a list of open action items and actions you have already taken.
  • Advocacy Reports: Track your state and local associations’ advocacy efforts to help us reach our annual 15% goal.
  • REALTOR® Party Tracker: Learn how your state and local associations are using NAR programs to build political strength in your own backyard. Find out what tools and programs NAR is providing our association, and how much money those programs cost.
What RPAC Does and Why We Urge You to Support It

Since 1969, the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) has promoted the election of pro-REALTOR® candidates across the United States. The purpose of RPAC is clear: REALTORS® raise and spend money to elect candidates who understand and support their interests. The money to accomplish this comes from voluntary contributions made by REALTORS®. These are not members’ dues; this is money given freely by REALTORS® in recognition of how important campaign fundraising is to the political process. RPAC doesn’t buy votes. RPAC enables REALTORS® to support candidates that support the issues that are important to their profession and livelihood.

When Congress is considering legislation that affects the real estate industry, NARcalls on its members to act. Simply by contacting your Member of Congress through an e-mail, Tweet, or a phone call, you can ensure that your business remains strong. NAR members join together and speak with one loud, powerful voice.  It does make a difference!

What’s Happening on Capital Hill?

One of the most important services organized real estate provides is representation in the halls of government. Stay up to date with what is going on and visit our Government Affairs section of the website to read the most current political news.

National Government Affairs News

The Washington Report is a weekly publication compiled by the Government Affairs division of the National Association of REALTORS®, covering legislative and regulatory policy activities affecting all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
Click to Read the Washington Report

Receive Government Affairs News via Email

To receive government affairs news via email, Subscribe to NAR’s Weekly Report newsletter and check Legislative & Regulatory Issues.

 California Government Affairs News

The Citrus Valley Association of REALTORS® encourages its members to be familiar with issues that directly impact their business and to support state and federal initiatives to ensure a viable real estate market.
Read California Government Affairs News