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The Center on Policy Initiatives and Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, respectively a progressive think tank and community activism group, held a joint press conference outside City Hall this afternoon to raise awareness of and tout a new survey indicating heavy support for a proposed San Diego ordinance that seeks to ensure proper maintenance of foreclosed homes.

“I live right across the street from a house that’s been foreclosed on, and it’s in horrible condition,” said Rafael Bautista, a City Heights resident and Alliance member. “There’s all types of criminal activity going on at the property.”

Implementation of a Property Value Protection Ordinance, as it’s called, would require foreclosing banks to register properties in default with the city and then monitor their occupancy status, taking responsibility for property maintenance and security once a home is abandoned or its occupants are evicted.

The city’s code enforcement office would be beefed up to handle complaints, with funding coming from registration fees paid by foreclosing lenders and the ability to levy $1000/day fines on banks that fail to properly maintain properties.

Chula Vista, hit hard at the beginning of the foreclosure crisis, was one of the first cities in the nation to pioneer such a program in 2007, which has since been copied by 75 cities in the state of California alone. Chula Vista has collected over $3 million in registration fees and fines since implementing their law.

A poll of 600 likely voters conducted last month found that 70 percent of those were supportive of the proposal, including the $1000 daily fines for noncompliance. Only 14 percent said they were opposed.

City councilmember Lorie Zapf, chair of the Land Use and Housing Committee, has scheduled a hearing on the ordinance for July 11.

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