Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Foreclosures in San Diego

San Diego Foreclosure Property Inventory Increasing
By sdhouserebate
May 12, 2008

...I met with John Cooke at Mission Federal Credit Union (www.missionfcu.org) today, and he said his credit union bends over backward to help their members in trouble by restructuring the loan. The purpose of the credit union is to help its members. It was nice to hear a financial institution agreeing to rewrite some loans. This has not been the case with most lenders...

Interesting video of CCDC head Fred Maas refusing to answer questions of city council

My question: why wasn't Fred Maas investigated at the same time Nancy Graham was investigated? How come she took all the blame for helping developers? Maybe Fred Maas will be investigated now.

See video of Maas refusing to answer questions.

City Council members grilled outgoing CCDC leader Fred Maas on Monday about details of a deal that allows the agency to sequester $6 billion more in property taxes for downtown redevelopment.

Out of the Loop, in a Snit
by Randy Dotinga
Voice of San Diego
Nov. 16, 2010

When it comes to running the city, one might assume that the City Council wouldn't just be in the loop, it would be the loop. That would be a bad assumption, as the council learned last month when the city's downtown redevelopment agency worked out a deal with the state to sequester property tax money. The council had no idea what was going on.

The City Council, which thinks the agency went rogue, spent Monday trying to figure out what it didn't know and when it didn't know it. There was plenty of bipartisan agency-slamming and talk about whether the agency's head deserves to keep his job. It's a rather moot point: he's leaving.

Council, City Attorney Feast Again on Porkfest

November 15, 2010
by Liam Dillon

If the state Legislature is where the late-night downtown porkfest gets fattened up, San Diego's City Council is where it gets slaughtered.

For the second straight hearing, council members sliced and diced staff from the city's downtown redevelopment agency, the Centre City Development Corp., about secret negotiations that led to a last-minute state deal to eliminate limits on downtown redevelopment. The deal happened without the council's knowledge even though members were working on a plan to remove the limits themselves.

Last month, the council had requested a timeline of when key players knew about the deal, which allows the agency to collect $6 billion more in property taxes and potentially finance a new downtown stadium for the Chargers. Outgoing agency head Fred Maas, who had revealed previously that discussions about the deal began in August, attempted to do that Monday afternoon.

Maas said he spoke between five to 10 times with local Republican state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, the provision's sponsor and he had briefed others on the deal.

But that — and a bland memo from Mayor Jerry Sanders' office also released Monday — wasn't enough. Councilman Carl DeMaio wanted to know about how the deal began, specifically contact between Maas and mayoral chief of staff Kris Michell. Maas refused to answer. DeMaio, in turn, openly wondered if he could fire Maas.

"I don't think I feel comfortable with Mr. Maas staying until the end of the year," DeMaio said.

Incidentally, Maas had just formalized his resignation effective at the end of the year, as the city is seeking to replace him with a permanent downtown redevelopment chief.

Had that not happened, Councilwoman Marti Emerald said, she might have sought Maas' removal sooner.

"I think there's probably some of what you're hearing too is that maybe it should be an immediate resignation," Emerald said. "No offense to the great volunteer work you've done, but this City Council is trying to repair the damage done by previous councils and mayors in doing deals behind closed doors that have gotten us into a lot of trouble."

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who also was kept in the dark about the deal, poked a hole in one of the main arguments made by its proponents. City Council, backers say, has the ultimate decision on how and if the city should spend the new money.

But there are restrictions to how that new money could be spent, Goldsmith pointed out. Had the deal not occurred, property tax dollars would have flowed directly to the city's day-to-day operating budget, meaning it could pay for police, fire and other city services. Now the money will be sequestered downtown, meaning it couldn't pay for those services...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Local Housing Executives Charged with Manslaughter

Local Housing Executives Charged with Manslaughter

Amerland Criminal Charges
Will Carless
Voice of San Diego
Jun 29, 2010

Five executives at The Amerland Group, a local developer that specializes in building and operating affordable housing projects, have been charged with manslaughter and more than 100 counts of elder abuse in relation to a 2008 fire at a property they operated in Vallejo in which four people died.

The complaint filed by the Solano County District Attorney names Amerland owners Jules Arthur and Ruben Islas Jr. as defendants, in addition to three other executives who either worked at Amerland or at a subsidiary company that operated the Vallejo building.

I wrote about The Amerland Group's troubled history in this piece last summer. I described the fire and the legal fallout from it in the story.

Here's a snippet:

As the fire raged through the top floors of the building, residents, firefighters and staff went door-to-door in the complex helping the tenants evacuate the building. Four people died as a result of the fire.
No fire alarm ever sounded inside the Casa de Vallejo, according to the [Vallejo Fire Department's investigation] report. No flashing lights alerted the elderly, frail residents to the fire raging above their heads. The fire department report is clear about why the alarm didn't sound:
"Unbeknownst to the Vallejo Fire Department until after this fire, and without neither permission nor prior notification, since approximately June 2008 and up to and including this fire incident of August 15, 2008, the fire alarm contractor (SimplexGrinnell) had disabled the onsite horn and/or horn strobe devices."