Corona Sign Ordinance.

Corona Sign Ordinance

I know it’s not you but… we have been notified by the TIGAR association in Corona that their city people are having sign ordinance problems – and it’s all the dastardly OUT OF AREA AGENTS that are gumming  up the works. So a copy of their sign ordinance is attached for your viewing pleasure.

If you list properties in Corona, or hold open houses there, you need to be aware of the rules. They’re actually not bad and have mostly to do with sign size and hours &  areas of placement. Otherwise they reserve the right to pick up your signage and, if it doesn’t stop there, they could rescind the whole ordinance and you’d get NO (0) signs.

So play along. I know, it’s not you.

Here’s the ordinance…


Lenders prepare for lower loan limits; stop accepting certain applications


In anticipation of the expiration of current loan limits on Sept. 30, 2011, Bank of America has decided to stop accepting conventional and government applications for loan amounts that will exceed the permanent loan amounts.  The deadline to submit loan applications was July 1.

According to an email from Bank of America, conventional loans that exceed the permanent loan limits will now be required to use non-conforming programs.

Barring Congressional action, the maximum FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac conforming loan limit will decline to $625,500 beginning Oct. 1, 2011, from the current $729,750 limit, though the majority of counties will fall far below the $625,500 maximum.  The conforming loan limit determines the maximum size of a mortgage that FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) can buy or guarantee.  Non-conforming or jumbo loans typically carry a higher mortgage interest rate than a conforming loan and require a higher down payment, increasing the monthly payment and negatively impacting housing affordability for California home buyers.

Again, barring congressional action (heh), conforming loan limits in Southwest California will likely revert to about $425,000. Not that big a deal right now but in a couple years we’ll be priced out of the market again and looking for alternatives. How do you think Subprime and Alt-A loans got so popular out here? Couldn’t get a conforming loan for a median price home.

 


New Home Assessment Data from Larry Ward

The word is out from our County Assessor, Clerk Recorder Larry Ward – another round of declines for property taxes in Riverside County. This makes three straight years of dropping assessments, a year longer than the last go-around in the 90’s.

But a couple of things have changed. This year many of the dropped assessments will go to commercial properties, which are continuing to lag residential properties. When I spoke with Larry earlier this year he was hopeful there would not be a need for further reductions this year after taking property values for the county back to roughly 2002 levels last year. Indeed as we have seen from my reports, residential values have remained virtually flatlined through the past 24 months after dropping over 50% in the previous 18 months. Assessed property values for the county for 2011 will be just over $200 billion, down over 16% from their peak of $243 billion in 2008.

This will be felt next year by the county as well as our cities, who are struggling to keep services afloat. Property taxes are the single largest source of operating funds for our cities and county and a substantial and real drop as we have experienced puts a real crimp in budgets, especially following the recent state decisions to further plunder city coffers of redevelopment funds, vehicle license fees and some of the basic operating funds cities have always counted on to get by. For the county it will mean a drop of nearly $5 million in property tax revenue from their earlier estimate of $266 million, a reduction of nearly 1% from their current budget of $582 million.

A second major change from Ward’s office is in the way the changes will be reported to property owners. Every year along about this time people got used to seeing a little postcard in their mailbox telling them what next years assessed value on their home would be. This year that’s not happening. In an effort to shave $200,000 from his budget, Ward will be posting the new assessments on-line on July 15. You can review your property tax assessment at www.riversideacr.com. If you don’t have internet access, well then you’re probably not reading this but in case you know somebody who may not browse, they can obtain a written assessment by calling 951-955-6200. They could also write to

Assessor, County Clerk, Recorder Larry Ward
P.O.B. 12004
Riverside CA  92502-2204

One final change tis year. If you think your assessed value should be higher or lower, it might cost you to find out. There has been debate among the County Supervisors to charge a fee to challenge your assessment. Should your challenge prevail and the property re-assessed, the fee would be refunded. But if the initial assessment stands then you will forfeit that fee. This has been proposed for two reasons – first as a cost measure to help defray some of the expense of researching individual properties after the process has already been done. Second, to minimize the rash of frivolous filings that occurs every year without foundation. Appears the only time people want their home to be worth less than it actually is is for tax purposes. And while this is understandable, your ‘gut feel’ of what your home is hopefully worth for tax purposes costs the county a lot of money to show you otherwise and that is being addressed by the new fee structure. If  you purchased your home after January 1, 1999, chances are Larry’s got you covered. He’s been one of the most aggressive and accurate Recorders in the state as far as making sure you aren’t over taxed.

 


What's wrong with our Association?

Yesterday I stood in the back of the room during our Tuesday morning mls marketing meeting. As usual it was well attended and the highlight yesterday was the forum by candidates who are running for our board of directors. We are truly blessed to have an exemplary crop of folks who are willing to give of their time to help guide our association into the future. It wasn’t that many years ago we had one or two people, if we bullied them into running. Now we have a surfeit of well qualified people from members from our Young Professionals Network to people who have been in the industry for 30+ years.  We have three openings this year and 8 people interested in filling them. The future looks bright.

But a question was raised from an audience member during the Q & A referring to a ‘disconnect’ between the board and the members. Now keep in mind I sat on the board for 12 years, chaired it three times and have sat in the back of the room as an observer the past 2 years. Never have I seen a board more connected to the members. Everybody on our board is a practicing Realtor®. They come from big franchise offices and one man brokerages. There are salespersons and brokers. There are people that work hard to do 5 deals a year and others who do 80 or more. There are people with lending and appraisal experience, men and women, young and not-so-young – in short, a board that mirrors our membership pretty well.

This board is also very engaged. There have been times in the past where board members were just padding a resume but todays board members sit on a variety of committees, several are traveling directors to our state association, some travel to national association meetings, others are involved in our regional and state mls, some are members of our fraud task force and some have stepped in from our future leadership pool, the Young Professionals Network, to become leaders today.

How do you even intimate these people are ‘disconnected’ from our members? They represent the very best of our members. And the people running for the positions represent a continuation of that excellence – it is insulting to them and to the current board to say they’re disconnected.

But then I had to step back and consider the source. Not everyone out there is connected, that’s obvious. The person calling for more transparency in board meetings is obviously not aware that board meetings are open to everyone to attend and that minutes are subsequently posted to the association website. In spite of repeated efforts to inform them, they’re disconnected from the bigger picture.

Another member bemoaned the lack of ‘outreach’ to get members to attend the Tuesday morning marketing meetings. This has been an ongoing  issue over the years as people tend to come to the meetings when times are tough but don’t attend when times are good. But even during the best of times attendance seldom exceeds 1% or 2% of our members plus a healthy dose of affiliates. Again, some members are disconnected. They think the entire association revolves around these Tuesday morning meetings simply because that’s the one thing THEY attend. As one director pointed out, an email goes out every week reminding members of the meeting – they can either choose to attend or not. Apparently of our 3,500 members, about 3,440 regularly choose ‘not’. Yet amazingly enough many of those people are very successful without attending the meetings. Not a lack of outreach, simply a matter of choice and priority.

Some pointed to a lack of Broker involvement or commitment to force their agents to attend these meetings. We have a very robust Broker community that take a very active role in our association. We hold regular meetings with them to provide information and solicit their input and these meetings are very well attended. Right now we are involved in an ongoing efforts to get a majority of our Brokers signed onto the Broker Involvement Program through CAR & NAR. The BIP has been shown to increase the response rate for calls to action by anywhere from 2 – 3 times. That’s critical for our state and federal legislative programs – far more critical at this juncture than pressuring these Brokers to force their agents to attend a Tuesday morning  meeting. Not only that, most Brokers have their own weekly marketing meetings and if they’re going to have their agents kill a morning a week, they would just as soon it be at their own office meeting. Their choice, not the association’s position to badger them.

Unfortunately, as all people running for office, our candidates treated all these questions with a gravitas often undeserved. Sometimes the premise behind a question is invalid and it’s OK to point that out. And as much as we’ve been told over the years “there are no stupid questions”, we all know better, don’t we? In any group there’s bound to be at least one asking stupid questions repeatedly. Yet our candidates, to their credit, dealt with each question, often according it way more legitimacy than it deserved. A couple even twisted themselves into corners on what they would do if elected trying to address every realm of some obscure question. Welcome to the world of politics.

Ah well, bless the candidates for stepping up. Three of them will go on to represent our members very effectively and develop that special connection. The ones not elected will still continue to contribute as they have over the years which brought them to this position today. Yesterday they staked out their positions and answered questions for an hour – all for the benefit of 5, count ’em, 5, people who had not yet voted. They treated it like it really made a difference – because it does. If you don’t like it, get involved yourself. It’s easy. All you have to do is step out from the back of the room lobbing vollies and move to the front of the room fielding them.


Southwest Healthcare expands facilities/services in Murrieta & Wildomar

In a major step forward for our hospitals and our community, Universal Health Services recently announced the opening of  greatly expanded Southwest Healthcare facilities at both Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta and Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar. Long-time readers may recall my rants from early last year wherein the hospitals appeared to be locked in a life-or-death (for residents of our community) struggle to open new emergency rooms and other much needed facilities that had been built, outfitted and staffed for over a year.

I’m not going to dredge up all that unpleasant history at this point other than to say significant changes were made at the hospitals while other changes were taking place at the state agency. Finally last month the state gave the go-ahead to open these  facilities at first on a partial basis, followed quickly by a full opening. (In the interest of full disclosure, I was one of 5 new members named to the Board of Governors for the two facilities, though I take no responsibility whatsoever for the progress made).

New CEO Ken Rivers initiated a sea change of atitude by instilling the concept that each patient is not just a patient but a family member. Treat each person you meet as if it’s your own parent, sister or child. Together with some tweaks to procedural issues raised by state and federal regulators, the level of care is reaching new heights.

new er

The move at Rancho Springs opened up a $50 million expansion which saw emergency beds go from 8 bays separated by curtains to 30 fully private bays with not only state-of-the-art medical and trauma gear but flat screen TV’s in every room and family comfort stations.

er

Equally important for the community is the entire 2nd floor dedicated to womens services, pre-natal care and a host of other services. These include spacious suites for Moms that have individual sleep-chairs for Dads, infant warmer beds and specially designed facilities to accomodate all services within the same room – including C sections and other procedures. No more wheeling the patient around here and there, most everything can be done within the comfort of her private suite.

wc

One opening that has been delayed is the dual bay neonatal intensive care unit with surgical centers. Originally staffed and trained, the two year wait to open meant that staff was moved to other areas and now must be re-trained so this much needed opening has been delayed for a few more months.

In addition to being a regional trauma care center, Inland Valley Medical Center also added to their own ER center as well as a much needed cardio-vascular care center. Intensive Care Units were also expanded at both facilities and new technological advances were incorporated into both the new facilities and the existing buildings, an ongoing process.

One more very cool thing – you can visit the nursery anytime to see the newborns. Check out theses little bundles and their happy Mom’s. Friends and relatives from across the country and around the world can log on and see how Mom & baby are doing. Grandma in Topeka can go in and see when Casey T. was born, how big she was and view several snapshots of the nipper.

More beds, more space, more technology and more caring – means a better healthcare experience for all our patients. After all, we know you really don’t want to be here and would just as soon be on your way as quickly and easily as possible.

It’s not just about healthcare, it’s about people care. I like being part of that.


Is your safety worth $1.99? New Realtor safety app looks promising.

This is very cool and I just had to share. Every so often we hear about a Realtor getting attacked or worse showing property or at an open house. NAR has designated Realtor Awareness & Safety seminars, individual offices have set up training and awareness methods including the famous ‘blue file’ call. (If you suspect a problem, call the office and ask for the ‘blue file’). But this lady built an app that at the touch of your screen allows you to call 911 and a friend and sets off an alarm. Another handy feature is the ‘Save Creep Data’ which walks you through a description process while the details are fresh in your mind.

This doesn’t take the place of taking safety precautions on your own behalf but it might just help save your butt if you do get into one of those situations.

Austin Realtor Releases REAL ALERT– the Personal Safety App for iPhone!

Austin, Tx. – (Wednesday, May 25, 2011) – On May 17, Austin Texas real estate agent Michelle Jones released REAL ALERT, a personal safety application designed for real estate agents. The App was developed by Michelle in order to increase personal safety awareness and provide quick access to emergency services.

The National Association of Realtors reports an increase in crimes against real estate agents in recent years. These crimes, ranging from minor thefts and assaults to rapes and even murder, occur throughout the country. Local media coverage of one of these violent attacks prompted Michelle to develop the App. “I’ve heard about attacks against agents for years, but seeing the local coverage of the violent attack of a San Antonio agent really scared me. I didn’t want to be the next victim.” says Michelle.

The Michigan Realtor Magazine advised that “The first step in preventing any crime is the knowledge that it can happen to you.” Real estate agents are particularly vulnerable to criminal attacks. Michelle’s husband, Thaddeus Jones states “After hearing about the San Antonio incident, I no longer felt comfortable with Michelle showing vacant listings and hosting open houses alone. I began going with her whenever possible and that began to interfere with my career and ultimately interfered with hers, too. Michelle and I decided to get serious about finding a better solution and there just wasn’t anything available on the market.” Being unable to find a comprehensive product that made her feel safe, Michelle decided to take matters into her own hands.

From one screen, REAL ALERT allows you to save precious moments with Quick tap “Call 911” and a Quick tap “ALARM” to ward off potential attackers. It allows you to speed dial your emergency contact with Quick tap “ALERT A FRIEND”. You can use it to LOCATE the nearest HOSPITALS using your current GPS location and record “CREEP DATA” – details about a suspicious person before they are forgotten.

After coming up with a solution that would make husband Thaddeus comfortable and her feel safe, Michelle approached a programmer she knew and hired her to program the app. “I’m not an overly technical person and definitely not a programmer” says Michelle. “I developed REAL ALERT to satisfy my own safety needs and quickly realized that it is a perfect solution for anyone, regardless of age or profession, that wants to protect themselves from potentially dangerous situations. I’m confident that it will help save lives.”

REAL ALERT is currently available on iTunes at a price of $1.99. It is listed in the ‘Lifestyle’ category and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. REAL ALERT is available for download at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/real-alert/id436455476?mt=8

Media Contact Michelle Jones – Developer, (512) 470-3173, realalertapp@gmail.com


Southwest California Realtor Report for April 2011

Here’s the monthly report for Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Menifee and Canyon Lake. The report contains information on Single Family unit sales and median price for the region as well as a recent article on legislative issues dealing with homeownership.

If you find the type is a bit small for your viewing pleasure, simply click on the title to go to a full size version on Slideshare.com.

 


Another Reason California's in the Crapper: Tom Ammiano.

Every once in awhile a legislator comes along who is just so horrendously, laughably bad that even by California’s low bar, they are exemplary. If you’re involved at all, you start to recognize the same names popping up time and again over the years to the point where any bill that has their name attached you just automatically assume is going to be bad – and it usually is. Too bad because sometimes they do have a cogent thought but not often enough to disregard the voluminous reeking detritus that daily disgorges from their oral orifice.

The newest Drum Major for California’s ‘A**holes on Parade’ has to be Assemblymember Tom Ammiano. Let me just say three words about Tom – San Francisco & Democrat. Adding the term ‘liberal’ to that would merely be gilding the lily – an exercise of which Tom might approve.

Ammiano has risen through San Francisco politics from educator to Supervisor to Assemblymember having never actually held a private sector job. He’s been on the public dole his entire career. This is also the same district that gave us Nancy Pelosi, so we would not be remiss to flavor their political judgment with a grain or three of salt.

ammiano

(unretouched photo – can’t say the same for that face)

Ammiano’s main claim to fame in the assembly is his perennial bill to legalize marijuana in the state. If the general public outside San Francisco has heard of him at all, it’s probably for that. But that pales in comparison to some of the bills he routinely introduces. Just in this legislative session alone he has produced more than his share of clunker bills that should be relegated to the outhouse instead of the state house – for example:

  • Earlier this year landlords, apartment owners and Realtors united against a bill that would have extended a landlords  ‘pay or quit’ timeframe from 3 to 14 days. That means if you own a home or an apartment complex and somebody decides not to pay you, rather than tack a notice on their door telling them they have 3 days to pay up or leave, they would now have 2 weeks to live off you rent free – more if they contest the eviction. Why did he propose this? His ‘constituents’ are going through some hard times and just need some more time and a little understanding.

HELLO! We’re all going through some hard times. What about the hard times your landlord is going through? But it’s OK for him to carry your deadbeat constituents for 2 weeks, is that right? How about the small landlord who has a house rented and suddenly he’s in default because your constituent decided not to pay? That’s OK too? Well, as long as your constituents aren’t inconvenienced I guess. After some considerable pressure, he amended the bill to remove the most onerous language and it now simply says the eviction process can be halted at any time as long as they pay the rent owed and landlord attorney fees capped at $350. Property managers across the state are still against the measure.

  • Earlier this year Ammiano declared that ‘sports are a vital economic activity’ and proposed that the legislature create a ‘statewide sports authority’.
Yeah, we can’t get rid of the bloated, overpaid state committees and commissions and task forces currently driving our state into bankruptcy – we need a statewide sports authority. Dumb ass.
  • Ammiano has proposed a bill which would limit the number of charter schools in a given area to 10.

Let’s see – charter schools traditionally have a higher success rate, produce more college bound students, enjoy smaller class sizes and attract more motivated teachers. Yeah, let’s limit them and force those kids into Californian’s superbly under-performing and over-funded public school system where 60% to 70% of students in your constituency fail to graduate. That makes sense? Well, it makes sense I guess if your former colleagues in the teachers union helped get you elected, otherwise -ehhh, not so much.

  • Here’s a fun one. Ammiano has proposed a bill to let California counties ‘opt out’ of the federal Secure Communities Program. The SCP mandates that when people are booked into local jails their immigration status is checked to see if they are deportable. “We’ve got to improve the RIGHTS of the people who are the foundation of our society”, according to Ammiano.

That’s wrong on so many levels. Of course he has the backing of both Los Angeles and San Francisco counties, who prefer not to check anyway and would rather just let these people remain here to commit more crimes I guess. And of course our new Attorney General, also a strong supporter of illegal immigration, supports the bill. A spokeshole recently declared that some 25% of people brought to jail end up not being convicted of a crime but may end up being deported anyway because of their immigration status. Hmmm, perhaps nobody explained to the nimrod the definition of the term ‘illegal immigrant’. By definition they have broken the law and should be deported.

Just one of the many reasons California continues it’s downward trajectory – people unclear on the concept who are elected to positions of authority. Ammiano is one of those who has never held a private sector job, has never had the pressure of meeting a payroll or producing a product or service in a competitive marketplace. Among his notable accomplishments prior to getting elected to the Assembly was the expansion of diversity and sensitivity training to include gay and lesbian curriculum to the kindergarten level for San Francisco schools. Oh, and as a Supervisor one of his great contributions was permitting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a charity group of drag queens, to close Castro Street for their Easter Parade. Attaboy Tom, way to focus on the important stuff.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Ammiano’s first exposure outside his limited constituency, came in 2009 when he yelled ‘you lie’ at then Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger at a public event. He followed this up saying Arnie could “kiss my gay ass”. Apparently Arnie wasn’t interested and promptly vetoed a bill of Ammiano’s that had passed both houses of the legislature unanimously. His note to Ammiano explaining the veto is attached for your edification. If you read down the left side of the page you find an acrostic message from the then Gov. Statisticians put the odds of a message like that appearing randomly at over 2 billion to 1.

arnie fu

We should be saying that to more of Ammiano’s bills.

Of course that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.


The right of property is the guardian of every other right.

Briefing Report: The Value of Property Rights

“The Right of property is the guardian of every other Right, and to deprive the people of this, is to deprive them of their Liberty.” – Arthur Lee

The Bedrock of a Free & Prosperous Society

The institution of the right to private property is perhaps the single most important condition for a society in which freedom and prosperity is to flourish. This notion of private property can seem fairly straightforward, especially for people living in a free-market society such as the United States. As noted in the book Unleashing Capitalism:

One reason for its familiarity to us is that private property is a bedrock principle of market capitalism. Think of a growing economy as an award-winning Broadway show. Private property is like the stage crew, constantly working behind the scenes to make sure the show runs smoothly. Private property, while perhaps underappreciated, is vital to ensuring that the economy will grow and prosperity will rise over time.

Yet in our modern political age, the importance of private property rights has faded to the background and has at times been termed little more than a “philosophical exercise that has no practical implications.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Across the nation, and particularly in California, property rights are becoming ever more vulnerable to infringement by government control in several forms: excessive taxation, regulation, and the process of takings (i.e. eminent domain). This undermines property rights and thereby suffocates economic growth prolonging our economic woes.

The protection of private property is vital component necessary for the economic growth and prosperity that will play a key role in lifting California out of her perpetual economic malaise.

The Cornerstone of American Exceptionalism

“Property,” John Adams wrote, “is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty.”

America’s founding was shaped by the radical declaration that our right to private property was and is inherent and inalienable. This novel and revolutionary idea, embodied in our Founding documents, challenged the historical practice of man’s rights being determined, limited, and granted by the state. This reorientation of the grantor of rights – from our Creator rather than from those in authority – dramatically redefined who was sovereign while simultaneously placing chains on the powers of government. The state would now be the protector – rather than the arbiter – of man’s inherent and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the fruits of his labors1.

The right to hold private property is a well-documented principle of the Founding Fathers. William Blackstone, whose Commentaries on the Laws of England shaped much of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, wrote that “the law of the land… postpone[s] even public necessity to the sacred and inviolable rights of private property.”

Thomas Jefferson stated: “all power is inherent in the people… they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.” Thomas Paine, in Rights of Man, cites property, along with liberty, security, and resistance of oppression, as chief among inherent individual rights.

Such reasoning led to drafting the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, where it states, “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The need to protect private property rights, once so obvious to Jefferson and Adams, is now becoming lost in a tangle of intrusive government takings.

Governmental forces (excessive taxation, regulation, and strong eminent domain powers) make property rights less secure, increasing owner uncertainty. Greater uncertainty decreases the willingness to undertake capital investment and accumulation thereby reducing the productivity of labor and depressing wages. Greater uncertainty also curtails transactions transferring property to new owners who discover more valuable uses. Ultimately, economic growth stagnates. When government undermines private property rights, the economy suffers and this thwarts prosperity for the future2.

The Millstone of Eminent Domain

The clearest example of government infringement on private property rights is the use of eminent domain. Eminent domain is the power governments have to confiscate private property as long as it is for a legitimate “public use”. Whereas eminent domain was initially intended to ensure that public services (ie roads and highways) were available to the public, local and state governments often use eminent domain for any project that is considered economically beneficial. Public use, as a practical matter, has morphed into a more ambiguous “public benefit.”

The most jarring example of this morphed “public benefit” was the city of New London’s abuse of eminent domain and the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the action in Kelo v. City of New London (2005). In Kelo, the Supreme Court held that held that the Constitution allows governments to seize private property and transfer it from one private land owner to another in the name of economic development. In other words, after the Kelo decision, governments can use their eminent domain power to take homes for potentially more profitable, higher-tax uses, powerful evidence, as Justice Clarence Thomas suggests, that something is seriously awry with the Supreme Court’s vision of the Constitution.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor framed the problem very simply in her blistering dissenting opinion: “Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner, so long as it might be upgraded i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the legislature deems more beneficial to the public in the process.” This decision went well beyond what the founders intended when they wrote the just compensation for public use clause.

While some political observers note that the power of eminent domain is rarely used in the Golden State, the Institute for Justice – a leading legal advocate against eminent domain abuse – has documented nearly 200 projects across the state that have threatened or used eminent domain for private gain. Within each of those projects, dozens, hundreds, if not thousands of homes, businesses, churches and farms have been impacted.

National polling confirms that the public is overwhelmingly opposed to the use of eminent domain for economic redevelopment. Some 87 percent responded that government shouldn’t have such power. Some 88 percent responded that property rights are just as important as freedom of speech and religion.

Regulatory Takings

Today, government imposition of regulatory regimes that signifi­cantly diminish the value and enjoyment of private property may present an even more common threat than abuse of eminent domain. Property owners are increasingly subjected to regulatory “takings” – where the use of their land is drastically restricted and, consequently, the overall value of the land diminishes.

The problem begins, therefore, with the growth of government regulations at the federal, state, and local levels of governance that deny owners the legitimate use of their property. A prime example can be seen in the advancement of the environmentalist movement. Just as the inflation of the 1970s moved people into higher tax brackets, so the environmentalism of the 1990s has given government new rationales for controlling the use of property. While there is little doubt that cleaner air or less traffic congestion are a positive end goal, when they are accomplished through heavy handed regulations, we may be sure that our liberties are also being restricted. Production and prosperity also tend to decline, and in the case of those people who bought land anticipating that they would be able to develop it – but now find that they have paid a high price to keep it idle – there is also manifest injustice3.

Leonard Gilroy of the Reason Foundation describes the infringement of property rights through land use regulation as follows:

…contemporary land use regulation often uses public policy to mandate the private provision of amenities that benefit the community-at-large. As the regulatory scheme influencing local land use has grown more prescriptive and restrictive, there has been an increasing curtailment of private property rights. Landowners in many communities nationwide have been restricted in their ability to use their land in the ways that they had intended when they purchased their property, dramatically reducing their property’s value and imposing an economic hardship on them.

If investors don’t know what they own, or can’t be sure of defending their property rights, then they either won’t invest or alternatively they will demand higher rates of return when they do. This idea applies to both tangible and intellectual rights. The net impact tends to be dual — lower levels of investment and higher interest rates, neither of which is conducive to faster economic growth.

Stimulating the Economy

Well-defined and enforced private property rights are the cornerstone of a free-market economy. The positive economic effects of private property are widespread and well documented. Secure property rights promote specialization and exchange, provide incentives for conservation and preservation of resources, and promote technological innovation, entrepreneurship, capital accumulation, and investment. In essence, secure property rights underlie economic growth.

This relationship is confirmed in The Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. As demonstrated in the chart to the right, property rights and economic prosperity go hand in hand.

On average, GDP per capita is over 10 times higher in nations with the strongest property rights than in those with the weakest property rights.

One of the government’s primary roles is to ensure that people can own and make decisions regarding how they will use their property and ideas – which in turn spurs entrepreneurial growth. As such the same correlation between strong property rights and economic growth must pertain to state and local governments.

In a free market economy, one of the strongest incentives that drive entrepreneurs is the desire to please customers and thereby earn a profit. To flourish, entrepreneurs need an economic environment that encourages private property and free markets.

In a system where the government or some central planner owns the nation’s resources and decides how they are allocated, entrepreneurs do not profit from their successes; thus, there is a much smaller incentive for them to be creative. In a free market economy, entrepreneurs can use their property and ideas in ways they think are best, and they can benefit directly from their successes in the form of higher profits or salaries.

Simply put, private property is necessary for economic growth and prosperity.

Conclusion

Today Californians are besieged on all sides by government infringement on their right to own property and use it to its fullest extent. As government and bureaucracy continue to grow, federal state and local governments alike are wielding far-reaching environmentally based land use restrictions, “growth controls,” unreasonable zoning hurdles, facility permitting regimes, and, now, potentially, crippling carbon dioxide emission limits. Throw in the threat of eminent domain and tax policies which diminishe productivity and undermines the security of ownership, and it is easy to see why California’s economy continues to struggle.

One of the most important steps that lawmakers can take is to serve as strong advocates of property rights, and ensure that new laws do not further erode those rights.

By focusing on the importance of private property rights and providing greater protection of those rights, federal, state and municipal leaders will witness the economic growth they have long pursued through other means.

For more information on this report or other Local Government and Housing issues , contact Ryan Eisberg, Senate Republican Office of Policy at 916/651-1796.


Jesus Christ Superstar Starts Final Weekend Run

The Temecula Valley Players production of Jesus Christ Superstar enters the final weekend of it’s 3 week run this Thursday, April 21 at the Old Town Temecula Theater. Some of you old Hippies will not doubt remember the debut of this exciting piece of musical theater from your halcyon days. For the rest of you, JCS was first staged on Broadway in 1971 as the first rock opera. Staged by Andrew Lloyd Weber with lyrics by Tim Rice,  the piece roughly follows the last week of Jesus’ life – provided of course that Jesus had a good voice and was surrounded by lots of singing, dancing Apostles, priests and hookers.

jcs

The Temecula Valley Players version is true to the original production and brings together a diverse collection of some of our Valley’s most talented thespians. For Director Marc McCullough, staging this production has been a lifelong passion. Jason Call, who channels Ted Neely as Jesus, first played a minor part in the
production when he was 14. Now some 24 years later he has achieved his dream to bring the lead role to the stage. Several of the other players have also had an abiding fascination with this unique piece of theater and have eagerly endured months of rehearsals to fine tune the production.

The cast of nearly 50 people includes youngsters of 7 and 8 years old up to a couple ‘senior members’ of nearly 60. Many of the actors are what we refer to as
‘triple threats’, they are equally adept at singing, dancing and acting. I am actually the antithesis of a triple threat in that I can’t really sing or act and I certainly can’t dance, but I do have a certain presence. Thus the role of High Priest suits me fine as foil to the scheming Annas and the evil Caiaphas.

priests

If you haven’t had a chance to catch this local production, tickets for the final 5 performances are gong fast but a few seats remain available. For more information and showtimes visit: Jesus Christ Superstar.