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New 2016 AACSC Board President Installation

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Steve Schiro
2016 AACSC Board President

We invite you to the installation of the new AACSC 2016 Board President, Steve Schiro, on January 29th at the Virginia Country Club in Long Beach.

 

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Who Wins and Loses with Supreme Court’s Gerrymandering Case

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The use of the “Disparate Impact” theory to enforce fair housing compliance in California

 

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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.

April 2017

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16,422 steps—that’s how many, give or take a few, that I walked on our National Apartment Association (NAA) Lobby Day. Also attending were long-time AACSC member Malcolm Bennett, our California Rental Housing Association (CalRHA) President Larry Cannizzaro, other CalRHA members and more than 3,000 multi - family housing partners from across the nation.

The goal was to reach all 535 Congressional members either in person or by leaving our materials behind with senior staff or whomever was available in their office. Of course, the day we lobbied on the Hill was that same day that the discussion to make changes in our Health Care was beginning to heat up so many were back and forth to the floor to vote or were in meetings, so we took our meetings with the members where we could—in the hall, outside Committee Rooms, walking… it didn’t matter where, but one way or the other we were going to get our message out that housing matters, that appropriate Tax Reform was indeed important and that we needed to extend Flood Insurance across the states.

If you have never been to Lobby Day, either on the National level or within your state, I will dare to say that as a multifamily housing provider it is in your best interest that you, at the very least, let your voice be heard. Yes, I said it again.

There is nothing like beginning your day early in the morning in the very crisp air of Washington D.C. and all that entails. Senators, Congressmen and women, staffers, interns, and security personnel fill the halls of the marble buildings like the Rayburn, Longworth and Canon. Once you enter that door, the world outside is left behind and your world becomes different somehow. You are there to fulfill a purpose, not for yourself, but for each of you who own property and provide housing, who are selfless in your willingness to give back to your residents and community and provide a place to live, only asking to be fairly compensated for the privilege.

You want your message to resonate with each elected member. Your goal is to say the “perfect” thing that will help them understand how important this visit is to our industry. When you leave you can only hope that you told your story in a sincere and powerful way. Yes, they “get it”—then, it is on to the next appoint ment, down the elevator and into the tunnels that connect one building to the next. By the end of the day, you are familiar with the maze of tunnels and where to find the cafeteria where you can take a little time to reflect on how the day is going. Maybe it is time to change shoes, but soon enough it is time to move on.

By the end of the day you gather together with everyone else from across the country to say “Good job,” and “How did your meetings go today;” “Great,” is the reply. Each person leaves with a sense of accomplishment, a hug for friends you made along the way and a “travel safe back home and see you at the next meeting.” But no meeting as important as the ones you just left behind.

As I said my goodbyes, I decided to walk the final leg back to the hotel. Within just a few minutes I found myself passing another group of women in red along the side of the Capitol building for Women’s Day. It reminds me that each group who visits the Hill has their own purpose, goal and message. Then I arrive at my temporary home with 16,462 steps left behind in the ongoing effort to tell our own important message.

Multifamily owners matter. I will be back next year and the year after that until I know they “get it.” I do. Until then, thanks for the memories and be sure to support your PAC—remember that there are many who are walking the halls on your behalf and that they are the front line soldiers who go to bat for those who may not be able to walk those 16,462 steps. Your contribution makes that passion to support our industry an easy walk as each year we begin again with a crisp walk into those marble halls on your behalf.

Meaningful Reform of ADA Access Laws

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The first significant reform to the State’s disability access laws, authored by Senator Richard Roth was signed into law in April. Senator Roth’s bipartisan measure, SB 269, was written to protect California’s small businesses and the disabled community.

“This is a major victory for all Californians,” stated Senator Roth. “SB 269 is a common-sense solution that will guarantee access for disabled Californians by providing small business with the tools and resources necessary to comply with state and federal disability access regulations. I am glad the Governor agrees with the critical need for this reform, and I am proud to have delivered this victory for California’s small businesses and dis ability community.”

Over the past decade, the Legislature has attempted to write meaningful reform ADA access laws and regulations. The most recent and substantial measure was SB 1186 (a 2012 measure that was signed into law). While SB 1186 created important policies regarding certified access specialists (CASPs) and compliance notification requirements, there were significant barriers to ensuring small businesses to having the necessary resources and tools to maintain compliance with federal and state dis ability access laws. As a result, many businesses found themselves out of compliance with the laws. This created a difficult situation for the disabled community from having full and equal access to facilities and services.

SB 269 establishes a presumption that certain “technical violations” are presumed to not cause a person difficulty, discomfort or embarrassment for the purpose of an award of minimum statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim, where the defendant is a small business and the defendant has corrected, within 15 days of the service of a summon and complaint asserting a construction related accessibility claim or receipt of a written notice, whichever is earlier, all of the technical violations that are the basis of the claim and the claim is based on one or more of the following violations:

  • Interior signs, other than directional signs or signs that identify the location of accessible elements or facilities or features, when all of those elements, facilities or features are accessible.
  • The lack of exterior signs other than park ing signs and directional signs (including, signs that indicate the location of accessible pathways or en trance and exit doors when not all pathways, entrance and exit doors are accessible).
  • The order in which parking signs are placed or the exact location or wording of parking signs, provided that the sign is clearly visible and indicates the location of accessible parking and van accessible parking.
  • The color of parking signs provided that the color of the background contrasts with the color of information on the sign.
  • The color of parking lot striping, provided that it exists and provides sufficient contrast with the surface upon which it is applied and is reason ably visible.
  • Faded, chipped, damaged or deteriorated paint in otherwise fully compliant parking spaces and passenger access aisles in parking lots, provided that it indicates the required dimensions of a parking space or access aisle in a manner that is reasonably visible or;
  • The presence or condition of detectable warning surfaces on ramps, except where the ramp is part of a pedestrian path of travel that intersects with a vehicular lane or other hazardous area.


The bill states that the above presumption affects the plaintiff’s burden of proof and is rebuttable by a preponderance of the evidence showing that the plaintiff did, in fact, experience difficulty, dis com fort or embarrassment on the particular occasion as a result of one or more of the technical violations listed above.

Finally, the bill protects certain businesses from liability for minimum statutory damages in construction-related accessibility claims made during the 120-day period after the business obtains an inspection of its premises by a CASP.

Ron may be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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(562) 426-8341

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