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Handover of Control Calms House Republicans

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One of those characteristics of the United States’ experiment with democracy that we tout as a shining example for the rest of the world is the peaceful transfer of power. The fact that every four (or eight) years a new President takes office via the voting booth and not by the tip of a sword or barrel of a gun is pretty amazing. Similarly impressive was the handover of control of the House Republican caucus (and by extension, the House of Representatives itself) last month. Due in large part to the fact that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was willing to take the job of Speaker, a potentially divisive vote within the caucus was avoided. He truly was “the one” who could unite the caucus and put a pin in the intraparty squabbling which dominated for the past several months. Now, let’s see how long he can maintain it.

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May 2017

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There are a few things that are true when it comes to legislation—it is always a moving target, you never know what will pass until the vote is taken and the most important thing of all is that YOUR voices count. Each and every one of your voices counted. Case in point is AB 1506, the bill that would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act. This is a perfect example of our industry, along with the Realtors, CalRHA and all of our California partners making sure that the message regarding the oppo sition to this bill was heard. Now, this certainly does not mean that the fight is over, not by a long shot, and we will certainly see this effort again next year. So while we can take a breath that this bill was pulled for this year, let’s also take time to thank those who helped in this effort. But stay tuned—part two is still to come.

I also want to acknowledge the following members for taking their own time to attend and participate in our Sacramento Legislative visits in early April: Gary DeLong (VP and Chairperson for Statewide Legislative Committee), Steve Schiro, Curt Knabe, Keith Kennedy, Malcolm Bennett and Elaine Hutchison. Along with our other California partners, we had over 100 members who lobbied on behalf of the rental housing industry—THANK YOU!

I also want to thank Ron Kingston, our AACSC State Lobbyist, who organized and made all of our appointments, created the leave behind documents for our Legislators and provided us with the important facts and talking points to address at our meet ings. AACSC was professional and prepared — thank you Ron for making us look good.

In other news, AACSC showed support at the April 4th Long Beach City Council meeting and to Vice Mayor Rex Richardson as he proposed a few considerations to help landlords/owners who accept Section 8 Housing Vouchers. There is still work to be done on what that will ultimately look like, but AACSC was brought in to the discussion and provided much needed input and background regarding the issues that have long stifled the program. Working together we hope that we can come to some agreement on how we can work to make the program better, and we have worked hard to establish these relationships.

In a final note I want to thank all of our golfers and members who attended our 11th Annual AACSC Golf Classic. With Interval House as our charity of choice, it is always a great day on the links and a great dinner to end the day. Our vendors, golfers and members have supported this event, and each year it just gets better and better. So, hope you all had a “birdie” kind of day, were able to stay away from the “bogey”-man, and that you enjoyed the view along the way. See you next month.

Potential Section 8 Program Changes

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I am excited to share with you all the great news regarding the legislative successes that we’ve had so far this year. Let’s begin on the local front. We are tackling the local problem with the Section 8 Housing Voucher Program, and working closely with Long Beach Vice Mayor Rex Richardson to streamline the program to make important changes. The current recommendations include the following: streamlining the Housing Choice Voucher inspections, waiver of certain permits and inspection costs for apartment owners who accept the Housing Choice Vouchers, and creating a damage mitigation fund to provide financial assistance to landlords to mitigate damage caused by tenants during their occupancy under the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The last and maybe best improvement is to make vacancy payments to landlords to hold units while the landlord is going through the approval process.

These potential changes will make the Section 8 program one that all landlords should be looking at. Here’s why this is such an important achievement. The Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) has been struggling for years and has desperately needed some attention. The staff and Board of AACSC helped to identify issues that have sidelined the program. AACSC worked with the City and together are working on resolutions that will help both landlords and tenants. More important than this is that it demonstrates once again that AACSC can be very effective in improving the business environment for landlords and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

On the State front, members of AACSC’s legislative committee and our Executive Director, Johanna Cunningham, traveled to Sacramento and with our lobbyist, Ron Kingston, spent several days meeting with and educating members of the State Senate and Assembly on the merits of various proposed bills they will be considering this year that will directly affect the rental housing industry. The most egregious bill that we lobbied against was AB 1506, a bill to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, which is our main legislative protection against runaway statewide rent control laws. Our efforts helped force the bill’s author (Bloom) to remove the bill from consideration for this year. (He plans to reintroduce it again and we will need to continue to be ready to respond.)

I also think it’s important for you to know that the AACSC members who made the trip to Sacramento did so at their own expense. These passionate individuals feel so strongly about our industry that they are willing to sacrifice their time and money for your benefit. We all owe them a sincere Thank You! One of the main reasons that we were successful was that our lobbyist, Ron Kingston, had us so well prepared. Ron provided us with concise summaries of every bill that we discussed in our meetings. He arranged all the appointments with the legislators and gave us detailed background information on every legislator we met with. We knew our stuff in those meetings and it paid off. Ron did a terrific job for us, and we’re lucky to have him. That’s all for now. Thanks for your continued support.

November 8, 2016, State Propositions Review

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The Apartment Association takes positions on State and local voting measures that impact the rental housing industry. This November, there are 17 State propositions, but only one of which will have an impact on rental housing. That ballot measure is Proposition 51, which authorizes $9 billion in general obligations bonds for school construction and modernization. The Apartment Asso ciation supports the measure, not only because the measure is necessary to fix and modernize California’s broken public schools, but it also takes a common-sense approach to paying for the construction by using bonds instead of local parcel or property taxes. The Apartment Association is not taking a position on the other 16 State propositions because they are unrelated to the rental housing industry.

The following are descriptions of each of the statewide propositions to be voted on, on November 8, 2016:

1. Proposition 51: Authorizes $9 billion in general obligation bonds for school construction and modernization:
SUPPORT.
2. Proposition 52: Requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to amend laws that require hospitals to pay fees that are used for obtaining federal matching funds for Medi-Cal.
3. Proposition 53: Requires voter approval for the State to issue more than $2 billion in bonds to finance a single project.
4. Proposition 54: Requires bills to be in print for 72 hours before being acted upon in the Legislature.
5. Proposition 55: Extends Prop. 30 (of 2012) income tax rate on high earners for an additional 12 years.
6. Proposition 56: Increases the tobacco tax by $2 per pack.
7. Proposition 57: Requires judges, instead of prosecutors, to determine if criminal defendants under 18 years of age should be tried in juvenile court.
8. Proposition 58: Amends 1998’s Prop 227 to allow public school students who speak limited English to be taught in languages other than English.
9. Proposition 59: Seeks voter opinion on whether the Legislature should use whatever influence or power it has to overturn the Citizens United decision, which prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by nonprofit corporations.
10. Proposition 60: Requires adult film performers to use condoms.
11. Proposition 61: Prohibits the State from paying more for prescription drugs than prices paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
12. Proposition 62: Repeals the death penalty, and replaces it with life without the possibility of parole.
13. Proposition 63: Prohibits the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines; requires background checks for ammunition purchases; requires lost or stolen guns to be reported to law enforcement.
14. Proposition 64: Legalizes marijuana use beyond medicinal purposes, and institutes a tax on marijuana sales.
15. Proposition 65: Redirects money collected by retail stores from selling carry-out bags to a fund administered by the Wildlife Conser vation Board.
16. Proposition 66: Sets time limits on State court death penalty reviews, and requires appointed attorneys who take non-capital appeals to accept death penalty appeals.
17. Proposition 67: Referendum to overturn SB 270: the plastic bag ban.

Multi-Family Rehab Loan Program

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The City of Long Beach offers 0% interest loans to qualified owners of multi-family rental properties consisting of five or more units located within the City.

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