By Susan Duerksen| May 9, 2012 |
San Diego voters – across the city and across the political spectrum – favor fining banks to cover cleanup costs for foreclosed properties that are not maintained.
In a poll conducted last month, 70% of voters who expect to vote in November said they support $1,000-a-day fines for banks that let foreclosed homes become rundown. The opinion research firm Grove Insight surveyed 600 voters in the city by telephone, and found only 14% opposed the idea.
“San Diegans are fed up with the blight in their neighborhoods, the hazards to their children and the damage to their property values,” said Clare Crawford, executive director of the Center on Policy Initiatives, which commissioned the poll. “And as taxpayers they’re footing the bill for police and fire calls, inspections, maintenance and other services the city must provide bank-owned homes.”
The Property Value Protection Ordinance, proposed by CPI and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), would require banks to register foreclosed properties and pay fines of $1,000 a day when they don’t maintain a home after complaints are received. The money would recover city costs.
The poll found more than 60% support the idea in every geographic region of the city, with 78% support among Democrats and 66% among Republicans and Independents. Overall, 70% of voters support the proposal, including 42% who “strongly” support it. Only 14% were opposed and 16% undecided.
“Foreclosure blight continues to be a serious problem in neighborhoods across our city,” said Councilmember David Alvarez, who is introducing the ordinance. “It’s time San Diego takes action, as many other cities have done, to recover the costs created by foreclosures and force banks to clean up their mess.”
Chula Vista and more than 70 other cities throughout California already have adopted similar ordinances.
ACCE member Rafael Bautista sent letters today to all candidates for San Diego Mayor and Council, asking them to take a stand on the issue publicly before the June 5 election.
CPI and ACCE issued a report last year that estimated foreclosures since 2008 have caused a combined home value loss of $19 billion for homeowners in the City of San Diego and cost taxpayers between $134 million and $855 million.
At today’s Land Use and Housing hearing, San Diego Councilmember Lorie Zapf, who chairs the Land Use and Housing Committee, announced that she has scheduled the first hearing of the proposed ordinance for July 11th, at 2pm. The public is invited to attend this hearing to ensure that the ordinance continues to move forward. Please contact Norma Rodriguez, email@example.com, 619-584-5744 ext. 62 for any further questions.