President's Message

Reflection and Moving Forward

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This is the time of year when we all need to take the appropriate time to reflect on the year, make important distinctions, gather up our wins and losses, and evaluate what happened. Then we take everything we’ve learned through our entire lives and gather it all up to move forward and plan the new year. Proudly, I get to say that this has been, in many ways, one of the best years AACSC has ever had—the forward motion, positive changes made, challenges met, and finances for the year—each have not been better in all our history that we can recount. For that, I am extremely proud of our current staff and Executive Board and Officers for their leadership, decisiveness, wisdom, and courage in the face of all the industry naysayers, ill-informed, and those who refuse change no matter how bad things get.

The problem is that some of us spend far too much time looking into that tiny, rear-view mirror of the past and not enough time looking into that massive windshield of the future. When we get stuck on the past, it is a killer in business and progress, and we always need to be on guard for that. The world never stops spinning and growing, and if we cannot grasp that, then we are in big trouble no matter what we do or whom we do it with. Reflection is important, no doubt, but staying there too long is counterintuitive, counterproductive, and has been the source of decline and/or stagnation everywhere you see it, including our own businesses or families. Like any plant on the earth, if it is not growing it is dying, or like my mentor, Darren Hardy says, “If you’re not improving, you’re falling behind.”

The past year took a lot of effort, time, knowledge, courage, introspection, and a boatload of humility to ask for the help we’ve asked for from you—our members, our Staff, our Board, and outside consultants and professionals in order to put us in the position we have arrived at today—in one of the most promising positions we’ve been in since those of us who have been affiliated the longest with AACSC have seen in a long time. There has been a lot of growth and change, and when those things happen, they feel tough—they feel chaotic, but the numbers don’t lie. Change is tough, but necessary. Change is natural. Change is necessary to stay ahead of the wrong philosophies of our local and statewide economics, such as enacting the poorly thought out confines of rent control and other punishing and hindering policies. If we don’t believe these philo sophies will be reintroduced again at a later point with upgraded messaging and thinking (aka: CHANGE) then we are in for big trouble in the future. At the same time, we need to upgrade and change as well to combat for the future win. The same is true for our innerworkings of our association—to remain relevant, to reach and hold onto being the premier association — we need to think about the changes we need to make, and we need our members far more involved and engaged.

As President of the AACSC this year, I came in with two major goals, which #1 had to do with Board Engagement. Admittedly, before this year, the engagement of our Board was not what it should have been, but let’s face it—several years ago, and for many years prior, there was an Executive Leader who ran the show, did so well, and did so much that there wasn’t much left for anyone else to do! A superpower she was, indeed! But, by this time in 2018, change was beyond necessary and change came to the AACSC in fantastic ways; now, I have never seen this Board so deeply engaged, knowledgeable, and continuing to learn and grow—and I have to say I am extremely proud of them for rising to that challenge and blowing the goal away in ways I never imagined.

Goal #2 was to have the best financial year we’ve had in the last five years, and we pulled together and decimated that goal as well. At the beginning of the year, we pushed and pushed for higher budgeting goals, and pushed ourselves, our members, and our Staff to deliver, and even though we didn’t hit every goal the way we wanted, we sure ended on a positive note to the likes of which we never expected or can recall from our recent past.

At the same time, there is also news that is not positive that we also need to reflect on and plan for 2019 and beyond. As of now, we’ve missed some of our deadlines in getting next year’s Board and Officers elected, which we usually have done by now, and that leaves some uncertainty moving forward. No matter how that turns out, we need our members’ voices now more than ever in the coming years to hold our feet to the fire and to make sure we are going after the proper goals and mission of this Association—to preserve, protect, and enhance the rental housing industry. Our members’ voices are very powerful, and you need to check in on us and inspect what you expect from us. You need to make sure we are changing with the times and situations and staying ahead of the opposition and naysayers—within our circle along with externally, and frankly, as a member, I would spend most of my time on the internal—what are we doing and delivering as an association? How are we helping you and doing what we say?

We need to see to it that we are the leaders of education in property operations and management. We need dedicated staff working full-time on legislative advocacy, growing our membership footprint, and combining forces to educate our lawmakers on the unintended consequences of their laws and actions, as well as to educate renters in the same way. We need to open our doors to the opposition to educate them as well and come to viable solutions that don’t include punishing anyone but instead working out solutions that can fit us all.

We are very hopeful after this tumultuous, yet fantastic year we’ve had in our association and industry, but the hard work has truly just begun, and we cannot allow the rear-view dwellers to send us backwards. We need to continue the forward push; 2019 is going to be the most important year the AACSC has faced in many, many years and we need our members to be highly engaged and involved. We need you on committees to see what we are doing and to help be the voice of forward motion to keep us on track to meet and exceed your expectations.

Cheers to 2018, cheers to you, and cheers to 2019!

This has been an absolute honor, and I cannot be prouder of this experience and hopeful for our future.

Thanksgiving and the Moment of Truth

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Of all the months for elections to be held, we've decided on November, the absolute worst month for such a divisive act - not to mention disrupting our Thanksgiving, which is the best holiday. It's almost an oxymoron to put both in the same article, let alone sentence, but here we are trying to put a note about each in our magazine and articles.

Traditionally, we haven't done much in the way of putting out voter guides as it may "ruffle feathers," and I get that. But there is no reason I cannot tell people how I plan to vote, so that's what I am going to do here. And though I don't have the room to explain all the details, you can bet that concerning our industry, I've done my research (I hope you have, too) and have decided on the following (but you should always vote the way you think is right for you).

Proposition 1: Bonds to Fund Specified Housing Assistance Programs. SUPPORT

Proposition 2: Bonds to Fund Existing Housing Program for Individuals with Mental Illness. SUPPORT

Proposition 3:
Bonds to Fund Proj1ects for Water Supply and QuaJity, Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Water Conveyance, and Groundwater Sustainability and Storage. SUPPORT

Proposition 4: Bonds funding Construction at Hospitals Providing Children's Health Care.  SUPPORT

Proposition 5: Property Transfer Tax Changes. SUPPORT

Proposition 6: Eliminates Road Repair and Transportation Funding and Requires Electorate Approval for any Measure to Enact Certain Vehicle Fuel Taxes and Fees. I will SUPPORT, but you can bet they will go after something else next to raise taxes.

Proposition 8: State Regulation of Kidney Dialysis Clinics and Limits Charges for Patient Care. Too much wrong with this, so I will OPPOSE.

Proposition 10: Could repeal. the Costa-Hawkins housing safeguard. OPPOSE, OPPOSE, OPPOSE!

LOS ANGELES COUNTY BALLOT MEASURE:
Measure W: Public Health and Safe, Clean Water Program. Too much wrong with this: I will OPPOSE.

CITY OF LONG BEACH BALLOT MEASURES:
Measure AAA: City Auditor's Authority. SUPPORT
Measure CCC: Ethics Commission. SUPPORT
Measure DOD: Citizen Redistricting Commission. SUPPORT
Measure WW: Hotel Workplace Requirements and Restrictions. Way too much wrong with this; I will OPPOSE.

As far as for which people I am voting for office, I typically like to see how Craig Huey breaks it down. His no~nonsense approach voter guide always helps to "cut through the rhetoric, election propaganda, and biased media coverage." Here, you will find breakdowns (or Governor, Statewide Offices, Legislatures, Judges, and more: https://www.craighuey.com/ la_ voter _guide_)

One word of caution: when you get to certain offices up for election and find that there are only two people running and they are from the same party, but not your party- make sure to do your research first.

Finally, Thanksgiving-food comas and aromas, family, fellowship, unplugging, unwinding, naps, relaxation, FOOTBALL and another nap.

Some info I dug up and would like to remind everyone about this fantastic holiday:

Thanksgiving originated as a harvest festival and has been celebrated nationally since 1789. The event that Americans commonly call the "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the "New World" in October 1621. This feast lasted three days and was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.

Happy Thanksgiving, and get out the vote!

It Sure Is Scary!

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It seems like each year I find out an increasing number of people are Halloween lovers—fanatics even—and the holiday seems to be gaining in popularity all around due to the love people have of graphic shows like Game of Thrones, or their general comfort in becoming more festive, dressing up weird or creepy, and turning their decor toward the dark. People seem to be coming out of the woodwork (pun totally intended) each season to outdo themselves and others in dark, creep-o, or weirdo. And, no—I am not describing some of the bills and propositions circulating in Sacramento each year. (Although I do admit that sometimes there are not many things scarier!) Just making an observation about Halloween is all.

So, in this month’s issue, it seems appropriate to give some safety advice and fun facts I’ve gathered from different sources in time for the holiday.

Fun Facts:

  • Jack-O-Lanterns were first made from turnips.
  • Halloween is more Irish than … St. Patrick’s Day? (What?) Its origins come from a Celtic festival for the dead called “Samhain.” Celts believed the ghosts of the dead roamed Earth on this holiday, so people would dress in costumes and leave “treats” out on their front doors to appease the roaming spirits.
    As it evolved, people then had to dance for their treats.
  • In Alabama it’s illegal to dress up as a priest, nun or rabbi, and—get this—in California it’s illegal to use silly string! Really? (Pay no attention no the weirdo comment above!)

Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treaters:

  • Stay in large groups with a responsible adult (let this carry through to November when you step into voting booths, too).
  • Have flashlights, glow sticks or other lights / reflectors incorporated with costumes so each person can be easily seen.
  • Examine everything carefully before ingesting it (let this also carry through to November in the voting booths before you swallow a bill or proposition before thoroughly inspecting it).
  • Warn all candy-givers, friends and neighbors about the dangers of allowing Prop 10 to pass, and Vote NO!

Tradeshow!

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Trade Show… with a Side of Vote “NO!” on Prop 10


It is that time of year again—one of our favorite times at the AACSC—the Trade Show and Industry Awards Breakfast! There is nothing better than seeing the smiling faces of all those who have been nominated, along with those who have won awards in our industry. It is such a great time for coming together and finally being rewarded for (what mostly seems to be) a thankless job doing the hard work we do running the businesses of housing pro viders and managers. What a tough job it is and what talent, thought, and precision is needed to be successful in any of that.

So much goes into the education and training for these jobs, and it is fantastic to be able to award others, thank them, recognize them, and pat them on the back for so many jobs well done! I know I cannot wait, and I hope you feel the same. Let’s get everyone we can to the Trade Show to accept their awards and nominations as well as to look at updating and/or expanding the use of our masterful vendors and their updated technology, wisdom, and raw desire to help others. The NAA (National Apartment Association) our “Mothership” will also be sharing a booth with the AACSC and we could not be happier that they are stopping in for a visit.

Another thing we love about September is that it’s not November! Yes, the doom and gloom of getting out the vote and combatting the lies and/or myths of what we truly do, think, and wish to see in our industry. We often cringe at the bewildering and unchecked myths being promoted like, “evictions cause homelessness.” Not true—the lack of work/jobs causes lack of funds, which leads to foreclosures/evictions, and unpaid debts of all kinds, which then leads to homelessness. If a person who is working and making a decent wage receives a notice to move, other than being a major inconvenience (I abhor moving too), that doesn’t make them homeless—they can find a new place, which state law gives 30-60 days (more than plenty of time) to do so.

Simply put, as a great friend of the AACSC, Charles Del Campo says, “Homelessness isn’t a housing issue, it’s a jobs issue, and our politicians need to do what’s right to bring the better paying jobs here, and the lost ones back. Instead of using pity to promote a damaging, knee-jerk agenda, put pressure on the politicians to bring better paying jobs back.” I would go further to say that we also need to bring better life and job skills training to our schools and young ones, and we are wasting valuable time and money getting away from these sub jects by focusing on the very broken “fix” of rent control.

Consider this: If people don’t have money to eat, the government and our “feed the hungry” friends never petition/protest supermarkets demanding egg, milk, and produce control (at least they’re not given the time of day if they do). No—the government issues food stamps or EBT (“Electronic Benefit Transfer”) cards, or the Federal Government provides grants to states for food (like with WIC). Why not have an ERT (“Electronic Rent Transfer”) card where people are assisted in that way? If we had a Federal “RENT” and/or “ERT” card program in place the burden is shared (via taxes) and no one group is singled-out or punished; however, well-paying jobs backed by skilled training would be even better! Another great thing to consider about our supermarkets though, is that since there are so many of them they all must compete for business, thus driving prices down. Imagine that…

Housing providers are doing the right things to make our economy flourish and thrive in a free market and our elected officials need to work to do the same. We appreciate and congratulate the officials we have been speaking with who have really been attentive over the last year — truly hearing us out and understanding the consequences of pulling things like Costa-Hawkins off the books and further expanding rent control. The Long Beach City Council, along with our representatives in the State Legislature, have all been especially understanding on approaches for a fair and sustainable fix. This hasn’t moved for too long, but now the wheels are finally turning and eyes are opening to the solutions—and not price control or constant intervention. See you at the Trade Show … and remember: Vote “No!” on Prop 10!

It's Not Over Til It's Over

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Many experts on both sides of the political aisle know full well that our great State’s utmost economic threat right now is the crisis in our housing economy. We mentioned recently about how some laws are just cleverly named but end up doing the opposite of what they are titled, and although I believe that all Americans (all people worldwide, actually) should have a basic healthcare plan—as well as a basic investment, time management, career, education, and retirement plan, too—there is no doubt that the “Affordable Care Act” has indeed not achieved what it was titled. No matter how you feel about the ACA, there is no denying that prices skyrocketed following its inception. Although it made it more affordable for some people, it has not come close to achieving the level of care promised and it pushed prices out of reach of others. It’s much more of a burden for the public than a benefit, and certainly we can do better.

This is the same type of a play on words we are up against now for the “Affordable Housing Act” now being considered across the State, which is the repeal of the one thing keeping current rent controlled cities afloat—the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act. As many of you know, Costa-Hawkins allows vacancy decontrol. It keeps rent-controlled cities from directing pricing on vacant apartments, keeps cities from being able to include condos and single-family residences into the ordinances, and keeps from adding properties built after February 1995 from becoming part of a “rent stabilization ordinance.” The latter is one of the most important details of Costa-Hawkins because it keeps new development on the table. Our problem is not a price control problem; it’s a supply problem and a ton of red tape to jump through from city to city to keep development moving forward.

It is no wonder that the NAACP, California Community Builders, United Latinos Vote, California Senior Advocates League, American G.I. Forum, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and CalTax (just to name a few) are all against this repeal and rent control initiatives themselves. It hurts who they want to protect, especially minority communities.

The State and cities really need to make up their minds on what they want to do if they plan to allow an increasing number of people to live/migrate here. If they don’t want to turn people away, then they need to unlock the bottleneck of new development to make a place for new settlement instead of punishing housing providers and current residents by making it impossible to find quality accommodations at an affordable price. I love our melting pot here in LA and I would love to see it expanded, but this isn’t the way.

The repeal of this law (and really the current allowance of rent control to be initiated in cities has been and) will continue to hurt families, workers, and businesses—most of which are the people who it aims to protect, along with the newcomers who are risking a lot moving here.

Look no further than what is already happening in rent-controlled communities to the union workers and specialized tradesmen/women due to those ordinances even with having the ability to increase market rents on a vacancy: Minimum work and purchases (spending by the housing providers) for the upkeep and remodeling of apartments. This affects maintenance supply stores to the workers themselves as well as their office teams—schedulers, billers, and the like. It limits the work of painters, plumbers, electricians, suppliers, builders, pest control companies, gardeners, tax in come for the city, and more—which is not the goal of rent control, but the repeatedly proven reality. This goes much deeper than it seems most of these pushers of the wrong kind of change care to look at. They are taking this at face value—the name only—and making very incorrect assumptions that have already and will continue to reinforce the unintended consequences raining down on our people and economies.

Don’t let this happen. Spread the word and prepare to get out the vote; this is going to be a fight that none of us can afford to lose because it affects every facet of our economy. Keep abreast of what’s going on as well as keep engaging with our Association and PAC. Donate today to help the fight—we all need to get ahead of this before we allow it to destroy our economy and the many pains that will surely follow.

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