SRCAR Encourages your Support of AB 1098.

On Friday, August 30, the legislature passed AB 1098, a bill that would reinstate VLF funds to the four newest cities in California, including Menifee and Wildomar. We encourage you to download the attached letter of support and email it to the following people. The Governor could make a decision on this measure at any time so time is of the essence.

Thanks to Senators Anderson and Emmerson and to Assemblymen Jeffries and Nestande for their affirmative votes to move this bill forward. 

SUPPORT letter for AB 1098 

nancy.mcfadden@gov.ca.gov,

gareth.elliott@gov.ca.gov,

anna.pozdyn@gov.ca.gov ,

gavin.newsom@ltgov.ca.gov

http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php


2010 Recap Realtor Report

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


City Manager panel welcomes Realtors to our new home.

Yesterday our Association held our inaugural event in our brand new home. We closed escrow back in March and have been doing the TI’s  since then  and completed our move just last week. There’s still a couple areas under construction and we’ll bring you more photos when we’re all done.

mgrBut timing presented a terrific opportunity for our association to acquire a new facility, to own our own home free and clear and have a great place for our members to meet, to learn and to shop. As I tell folks, it’s always a good market for somebody and in this case, what was a bad market for the Jaguar dealer that previously owned the place turned out to be heaven-sent for Realtors. Big facility, lots (but never enough) parking, nice high-tech gadgetry, a huge meeting room with food prep facilities that can be rented out – a win-win for SRCAR.

mgrSo for our kick-off event, we did an RAF fundraiser featuring a panel of four of our local city managers moderated by yours truly. Temecula’s Shawn Nelson, Murrieta’s Rick Dudley, Menifee’s Steve Harding and Wildomar’s Frand Oviedo joined us for the morning providing city updates and fielding questions from over 150 Realtors.

mgrWe started the morning with a breakfast put on by our affiliates – including fresh-made strawberry waffles by the one and only Billy McDougal, eggs, sausage & bacon prepared by Judy Edgerton, plus fresh fruit, muffins, juices and coffee from our terrific support team of affiliates. Waffles were so popular we set up back-up waffle irons in the board room to meet demand.

mgrThe facility seats nearly 200 at tables, well over 300 in conference seating. The front of the room features two large projection screens to present slides, overheads, video or live feed directed from the media center. There are also 55″ screens strategically placed in the lunch room, the board room and behind the front desk so live events can be played throughout the facility, webinars can be conducted or calendars of coming events and other promotions can be played during normal business hours. For us that’s all pretty cool stuff.

mgrAs I noted in my remarks, we are indeed fortunate to have the city managers in place we do. With 5 cities in close proximity, the potential is there (and has been in the past) to compete for housing, compete for businesses and work counter-productively to the well-being of the region. Our city managers and councils have adopted a more cooperative mode the past few years understanding that each location may be a better fit for one particular venue and that a win for one is a win for our region.

mgrEach Manager gave a 15-20 minute overview of where their city is financially, what they have planned, how the housing crisis has both hurt and helped them, how they’re coping with budgetary restrictions, how they’re working with businesses and attracting new jobs to the area. The Managers were uniformly upbeat believing we’ve been through the worst for our area, we’ve adjusted to that decline and are poised to benefit from the pending up cycle. With continued strong demand for housing, inventories of 3 months or less and stable to slight price appreciation for the past 18 months, they are well supported in their idea that, at least for us, the worst may be over.

Questions from members covered a range of topics from healthcare to builder fees to infrastructure improvements. Our cities continue to move forward with civic projects and substantial highway improvements funded by local redevelopment fees because – as one manager put it, if we don’t use it the state will just steal it – as they have done the past couple years.

mgrA great morning was capped by an opportunity drawing including a flight over the valley, a day at Disneyland and an iPad. Everyone who attended took home something from the event, some a little more than others. Welcome members to our new Realtor home.


Southwest California March Housing Update

Here’s the March housing update for Southwest California. In addition to unit sales and median price for the past 2 years, I’ve also compared our Q1 sales for 2009 with this year to see where the trendlines are. Overall, sales are up slightly constrained only by lack of inventory. Our median price is holding it’s own – up a little/down a little by city. After 3 years of dropping like a rock, holding steady looks good. There’s also a demand chart showing inventory levels at around 2 months for each of the 6 cities.

However, the chart on sales and inventory by price point illustrate that inventory of homes in the salable range under $400,000 is only about a month. The final chart shows our mix of product with REO’s now comprising less than 20% of our market, down from nearly 90% just 18 months ago. Short sales now make up over 50% of our market but have a failure rate of 70%. So backing out the 5 year inventory of $million$$ plus homes that aren’t selling and the percentage of short-sales that won’t sell – our inventory is in desperate need of an infusion. We wish the banks would either foreclose and sell, or get out of the business.

March Housing Summary – Southwest California

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Southwest California Legislative Council Announces Position on Bills

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The Southwest California Legislative Council, with whom SRCAR is an advocacy partner, today adopted the following positions on current/pending legislation:

Support – ACA 30 (Jeffries) To abolish the office of Lieutenant Governor.
Self explanatory – this largely ceremonial position requires salary & staff expenses and the duties could be consolidated with the Secretary of State.

Support – AB 1671 (Jeffries) To prevent the Governor from appointing vacancies on the County Board of Supervisors.
A recent example in Riverside County left us without the ability to pass certain bills at the county level while Sacramento played politics with us. Our local positions should not be state appointed.

Support – AB 1672 (Jeffries) To make the California Air Resources Board an elected rather than appointed body.
The CARB is one of the most egregious examples of the lack of accountability on state boards & commissions with the Chair stating publicly that if she had to worry about being elected she would worry about all the jobs cost by their recommendation – but she’s not so she doesn’t.

Oppose – AB 1594 (Huber) To prohibit construction of the peripheral canal.
An attempt to circumvent the wording and intent of the state water coalition recommendation and the Nov, ballot initiative.

Oppose – AB 518 (Lowenthal) Provides incentives for cities and counties to reduce or eliminate free or subsidized parking.
Would prove particularly costly to outlying areas like Southwest County where 60% of our residents commute and are forced to park either at work or when they go shopping.  Unintended consequence is a reduction in people going to the malls reducing revenue to shopowners and downstream job market.


Oppose – SB 657 (Steinberg) Require retail sellers and manufacturers to implement policies to eradicate slavery and human trafficking from their supply chain.
Legislation already exists prohibiting slavery and human trafficking. To expect your local grocery store or hardware store to be able to track it’s products back to their origin and potentially take action against some foreign source is ludicrous. Besides, doesn’t Darrell Steinberg have anything better to worry about – like our state budget?


Oppose – SB 810 (Leno) Single payer health care system
We are in agreement that the state should be the appropriate body to determine this issue – rather than the federal government, but this bill is not the answer and would only increase the debt load of the state.

Founded in 2004, the Southwest California Legislative Council is a regional advocacy coalition of the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce, Murrieta Chamber of Commerce, Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Wildomar Chamber of Commerce. Its mission is to provide a basis for the four chambers of commerce to act on local, state and federal legislative issues to secure a favorable and profitable business climate for our region.


These Women Mean Business

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In case you’ve been in a post-holiday siesta or simply water-logged, you’re already aware that four of our six cities in Southwest California have women Mayors this year, joining six other cities throughout the Inland Empire. Media outlets have had a field day dubbing our area ‘Estrogen Alley’ and talking about ‘Women Taking Charge’. But the fact is that in most cases our Mayors are not elected to that post, they’re simply chosen by their fellow council members, typically in a set rotation schedule. As Lake Elsinore Mayor Melissa Melendez characterized the situation, “… it’s not some staged take-over, it’s just a unique set of circumstances. It’s more indicative of the fact that women in general are getting more involved in the political process, being elected to city councils in
greater numbers and being elevated to this position with more frequency than we’ve seen in the past.”

Indeed while some, including Murrieta Mayor Kelly Bennett and Wildomar’s Bridgette Moore are serving their first term on the council, Temecula had Mayor Pat Birdsall as far back as 1992 (& 1997) and Mary Ann Edwards in 2009. Canyon Lake’s Nancy Horton follows Mary Craton into the seat and Corona Mayor Karen Spiegel served that city previously in 2006.

The Valley Business Journal recently spoke with some of these ladies about the job and what they plan to bring to the business community and economic development during their tenure. The overwhelming response was that Southwest California cities are ‘Open For Business’.

mooreMayor of one of Southwest California’s newest cities, Wildomar, Bridgette Moore said their new City Manager Frank Oviedo has been tasked with economic development and growth as a priority. According to Moore, Wildomar has more undeveloped land that many of their neighboring cities along with a real need for business growth in the area. “We recently surveyed our citizens and found that bringing restaurants to the city was first on a lot of lists. We are also encouraging other retail partners, technology firms and medical manufacturers to locate here not just for the tax revenue but to serve the needs of our residents.” …and a hotel.
Moore’s Arizona family had to stay in another city when they came over to attend her inaugural meeting. “Yes, a hotel would be very welcomed here.”

“We’ve also reduced some of our developer fees in line with WRCOG recommendation and we’re streamlining our application and permitting process so there’s no surprises and no delays. You’ll find a real ‘make it happen’ attitude in Wildomar. If it’s a good business, it’s good for Wildomar.”

melendezLake Elsinore Mayor Melissa Melendez emphasizes the unique attraction of the lake to their community. They currently have a very aggressive specific plan to develop the area around Diamond Stadium and another marina and resort plan for further up the lake. “Unfortunately those plans are on hold right now due to the economy but they’re still solidly in place.”

“We need jobs for our residents right now – that’s our priority. We love the CostCo’s and Target’s, our auto dealers have been terrific but we need an Abbott, somebody with hundreds of jobs to keep our people off the freeways to Orange County every day.” To accomplish that, the city has worked with a corporate recruiter to introduce Lake Elsinore to prospective businesses. The Mayor is also instituting monthly ‘Coffee with the Mayor’ meetings. One series will be in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce focusing on existing businesses – what they need to succeed and grow and how the city can help. Another series will join city staff and planners with developers and prospective business targets to talk about planning issue, fee structures and what the city can do to make Lake Elsinore a more attractive destination.

“I know we compete, to a degree, with the established master plan communities like Temecula, Murrieta and Corona,” says Melendez, “but we can all work together. We share more than boundaries, we share goals and we share our successes throughout the region. Lake Elsinore is a very different city than it was just 10 or 15 years ago. I would encourage businesses to take a second look at us through new eyes.”

bennettIn nearly 20 years as a city, Kelly Bennett is the first women to be elected to the Murrieta city council, thus its first Mayor as well, although she hesitates to put much significance to that. “It simply allows me the opportunity to represent my city in what for me, is extraordinarily important – the attraction and support of viable businesses in the city.”

“I have the opportunity to work very closely with several great groups that help us get the word out. City Staff, including Economic Development Director, Bruce Coleman, the Chamber of Commerce, the EDC and WRCOG. We also attend conferences like the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) and the World Trade Center, San Diego, a group that positions San Diego and regional businesses for international recognition and global market success.’ Bennett noted that Murrieta is focused on three objectives: manufacturing, including nourishing ‘green’ companies; expanding education opportunities, including establishing a local 4 year under-graduate curriculum; and health care. The new physician-owned-Loma Linda healthcare campus, under construction in North Murrieta, is an endangered species under the current federal healthcare proposal. Yet we desperately need medical services and the professional and ancillary jobs it will create. The City is also aggressive in creating outreach programs for businesses. Their Broker Work Group regularly attracts 100 or more local commercial and residential Brokers, developers and planners to its meetings. The City recently introduced the Business Roundtable, and Visionary Workshops to solicit comments on the new general plan review.

“One thing I’m particularly excited about is the potential under AB 811, the Energy Efficiency for Cities and Counties Act. We are developing a program to attract green tech  manufacturers providing energy efficient/cost effective products for our homeowners. You’ll be hearing a lot more about that this year.”

While the Mayors readily acknowledge they don’t have any ‘special powers’, they do get to conduct council meetings, sign mountains of paperwork, spend a lot more time on the job, and generally be the public face of city government at numerous events throughout the region and state. One Mayor I spoke to was picking up children from school while another was grabbing late evening dinner at a local (healthful) drive-thru. As with any Mayor, male or female, there’s a delicate balance.

Our Mayors are also united in hoping the state recovers soon, without ‘borrowing’ any more City cash. They are all facing constrained budgets while maintaining services. They are similarly committed to bringing jobs to the region, to retain and grow our existing business base and to keep more of our citizens off the freeway. And they all have a huge ‘Open House’ sign in front of their cities.

Southwest California appears to be off to a good beginning as we enter this second decade of a new century, and in capable hands.


How Much Is The New State Budget Taking From YOUR City?

Nice article in the on-line Sacramento Bee. Plug in your county and city and/or agency and see how much the recently passed state budget will be costing them. Of course it’s not a tax – they are just ‘borrowing’ an extra $15.00 per resident. I’m looking forward to the day they pay that back. They’ve been borrowing from cities and other agencies for years. Anybody who runs their business in a style that actually makes money is likely to see that money stolen – um, borrowed by the state.

On the plus side they remind us that –  Some of these lost funds will be offset by A) federal stimulus money and B) the ability of local governments to borrow lost property tax revenue against the state’s promised repayment. So the state taketh and forceth us to rely on yet more Obama bail-outs for subsistence. Like the federal gov’t is flush with cash. Oh, I forgot, they own the mints – they can just make more and it’s, like, FREE that way, isn’t it?

Database: See how much your local government will lose under state budget

Government entity County Type of government Estimated amount state will borrow or take this fiscal yearDescending Amount borrowed per resident
Wildomar Riverside City Government $0 $0
Murrieta Riverside City Government $1,483,325 $15
Murrieta Redevelopment Agency Riverside Redevelopment Agency $2,548,524
Lake Elsinore Riverside City Government $684,923 $14
Lake Elsinore Redevelopment Agency Riverside Redevelopment Agency $6,970,262
Temecula Riverside City Government $1,543,055 $15
Menifee Riverside City Government $14,236 $0

Open Rancho Springs Hospital Now

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Open Rancho Springs

Greetings,

Please take 1 minute and click on the attached Action Alert. Our community is under-served by medical facilities yet there is a gorgeous state-of-the-art facility sitting fully staffed but unable to open right in the Golden Triangle. State agencies are playing politics with our health care and we need to let them know we’re tired of it.

rancho springsSend a letter to the following decision maker(s):
Director, Office of the Governor – Inland Empire Larry Grable (if you live in California)

Below is the sample letter:

Subject: Open Rancho Springs Medical Center NOW!

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

I am writing to bring to your attention a potentially dire medical services issue that impacts thousands of lives throughout Southwest Riverside County, an area with a population of approximately 500,000.

The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) and the California Department of Health Services (CDPH) are responsible for reviewing and approving applications to construct and license new healthcare facilities in California. Once OSHPD issues a ?Certificate of Occupancy?, it is entered into a process for an array of further reviews by CDPH. The CDPH has the authority to license the new facility for use.

In early November 2008, Rancho Springs Medical Center, located in the City of Murrieta, completed a $53,000,000 state of the art expanded hospital facility; almost five months after completion Rancho Springs still has not received final approval licensing to open the facility. The completed facility is fully, furnished and staffed with 60 medical professionals including nurses, nurse practitioners, and physicians, but unable to provide much needed medical services to an already statistically proven underserved population. The opening of the facility is stalled due to CDPH’s unwillingness to approve the project, directly and negatively impacting the taxpaying citizens of the region.

We are asking for you to join with us to solve this problem. We are hoping to find a solution by curtailing the increasing difficulties with hospital construction and licensing in order to provide medical care and employment in our region.

I urge you to fix this problem here and now so we may prevent similar issues from happening throughout California.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Take Action!
Instructions:
Click here to take action on this issue
Tell-A-Friend:
Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.
Tell-a-Friend!

What’s At Stake:
This letter has also gone out from our partners at the Southwest California Legislative Council.
Campaign Expiration Date:
April 26, 2009


Small Business Call-to-Action.

You may be aware that the Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors has been a supporting Partner of the Southwest California Legislative Council since its inception. The SCLC, a coalition of Southwest California Chambers of Commerce, Legislative Representatives and business representatives – advocate on behalf of Southwest County Businesses. Each of you, as working Realtors, is the owner of your own business. The SCLC has proven to be an effective lobbyist for local concerns and we have a great dialogue with our local Legislators.

Today the SCLC posted recommendations on the Proposition votes upcoming in May. I’ll cover that in other posts.

They also issued this Action Alert to let your Legislators know how you feel on the Employee Free Choice Act. This is Federal Legislation that has a decidedly un-business friendly twist. While the bill’s impact on Realtors would probably not be significant, I encourage you to consider the impact from a small business standpoint.

Click on the bills for more info and a chance to make your voice heard. You’ll be done in about 12 seconds. Thanks

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Each year, the we take positions on issues that impact Southwest California businesses. We also provide you with the tools to play a role in our efforts! Click on a issue below for a brief summary and then submit your letter of support or opposition.

Federal Proposals

Action Needed: Protect Secret Ballot Elections for Southwest California Workers

Two Federal proposals, H.R. 1409 and S. 560, would undermine long standing principles of workplace democracy and fairness and result in employees having less ability to determine if they wish to be represented by a union. It does so by allowing unions to collect employee signatures in public-or so-called “card check” and do away with the secret ballot process.

H.R. 1409 – Employee Free Choice Act

S. 560 – Employee Free Choice Act

We Mean Business

Each year, we hold our State Legislators accountable to issues that impact Southwest California businesses. Find out our Legislators rank on those issues.

Click for the 2008 Vote Record

A Coalition of the Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce,

Murrieta Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Elsinore Valley Chamber of Commerce

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