News

Tri-Valley mayors request federal aid to help struggling homeowners

Mayors ask Congressman McNerney to seek $2.6 million in effort to prevent foreclosures

The mayors of the Tri-Valley are asking Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton)to seek $2.6 million in federal aid to help homeowners who are struggling in the downturn of the housing market.

In Washington, D.C. to meet with McNerney as well as attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors, representatives from Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon and Danville spoke with the congressman Wednesday about their plan to help homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

"A portion would be appropriated for educating those families who are in loans that they're not quite sure what they should be doing with, giving them credit counseling and then specifically working with families who are imminently facing foreclosure," said Danville Mayor Candace Andersen.

The monies would go to the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center, a facility located in Livermore that was created two years ago by the five cities in the region to help first-time homebuyers and others seeking affordable housing. The center provides education counseling and offers prospective buyers better deals with approved lenders that partner with the center.

Andersen said since the housing center already has an ongoing relationship with lenders, the new program the mayors are proposing would utilize those lenders to help homeowners with such things as buying down the interest rate, extending the life of the loan and refinancing.

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Funding from this program would stay with the housing center if homeowners sell their homes--it would not be a gift, she added.

"If they sell the property or otherwise transfer it, then the housing authority would be re-payed and that money would be available to another family in need," Andersen said.

In two years' time, the housing center has helped 75 families and the proposed funding aims to assist 50 families on a cyclical basis, Andersen said.

San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson touted the plan, saying, "This would be the prototype for all cities in the U.S. so we're really excited about this."

The city of Pleasanton has fared well so far in light of the subprime mortgage crisis, despite a steep rise in foreclosures in cities relatively close such as Brentwood, Mountain House, Stockton and Modesto, which have some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. But, Mayor Jennifer Hosterman said it's prudent to prepare ahead of time should the crisis spread to Pleasanton homeowners.

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"Everyone is extremely concerned about confidence in the market," she said. "Certainly, any slumps in the economy will be felt by us as well, but it's a trickle-down and we're not feeling it in Pleasanton yet, but we could."

The mayors stressed the importance of working together on regional needs, such as housing, the economy and transportation.

"This year, we recognized that with so little funding available that we wanted to make sure that our requests were regional in nature and that is the reason for all of us being here together," Hosterman said.

Another issue discussed with McNerney included securing additional funding for the East Bay Regional Communications System, where police and fire officials can work together during emergencies. A total of $808,000 has already been earmarked for the project. McNerney said he will request an additional $3 million in federal funding.

"There's about $70 million of infrastructure that we need to build and of that, we've received $33 million in grants, so we're about half way to getting it built out," said Bill McCammon, interim executive director for the East Bay system.

McNerney said he is continuing efforts to ensure that the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Livermore isn't sold for private development.

The mayors also requested additional funding for an eastbound carpool and toll (HOV/HOT) lane along Interstate 580, which is in the works.

Hosterman said the project is expected to break ground this year and be completed in 2009. She said the new lane is projected to decrease traffic delay time in that lane by 70 percent as well as decreasing delay times in the mixed lanes.

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Tri-Valley mayors request federal aid to help struggling homeowners

Mayors ask Congressman McNerney to seek $2.6 million in effort to prevent foreclosures

by Janet Pelletier / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Jan 24, 2008, 12:16 pm

The mayors of the Tri-Valley are asking Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton)to seek $2.6 million in federal aid to help homeowners who are struggling in the downturn of the housing market.

In Washington, D.C. to meet with McNerney as well as attend the U.S. Conference of Mayors, representatives from Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, San Ramon and Danville spoke with the congressman Wednesday about their plan to help homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

"A portion would be appropriated for educating those families who are in loans that they're not quite sure what they should be doing with, giving them credit counseling and then specifically working with families who are imminently facing foreclosure," said Danville Mayor Candace Andersen.

The monies would go to the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center, a facility located in Livermore that was created two years ago by the five cities in the region to help first-time homebuyers and others seeking affordable housing. The center provides education counseling and offers prospective buyers better deals with approved lenders that partner with the center.

Andersen said since the housing center already has an ongoing relationship with lenders, the new program the mayors are proposing would utilize those lenders to help homeowners with such things as buying down the interest rate, extending the life of the loan and refinancing.

Funding from this program would stay with the housing center if homeowners sell their homes--it would not be a gift, she added.

"If they sell the property or otherwise transfer it, then the housing authority would be re-payed and that money would be available to another family in need," Andersen said.

In two years' time, the housing center has helped 75 families and the proposed funding aims to assist 50 families on a cyclical basis, Andersen said.

San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson touted the plan, saying, "This would be the prototype for all cities in the U.S. so we're really excited about this."

The city of Pleasanton has fared well so far in light of the subprime mortgage crisis, despite a steep rise in foreclosures in cities relatively close such as Brentwood, Mountain House, Stockton and Modesto, which have some of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. But, Mayor Jennifer Hosterman said it's prudent to prepare ahead of time should the crisis spread to Pleasanton homeowners.

"Everyone is extremely concerned about confidence in the market," she said. "Certainly, any slumps in the economy will be felt by us as well, but it's a trickle-down and we're not feeling it in Pleasanton yet, but we could."

The mayors stressed the importance of working together on regional needs, such as housing, the economy and transportation.

"This year, we recognized that with so little funding available that we wanted to make sure that our requests were regional in nature and that is the reason for all of us being here together," Hosterman said.

Another issue discussed with McNerney included securing additional funding for the East Bay Regional Communications System, where police and fire officials can work together during emergencies. A total of $808,000 has already been earmarked for the project. McNerney said he will request an additional $3 million in federal funding.

"There's about $70 million of infrastructure that we need to build and of that, we've received $33 million in grants, so we're about half way to getting it built out," said Bill McCammon, interim executive director for the East Bay system.

McNerney said he is continuing efforts to ensure that the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Livermore isn't sold for private development.

The mayors also requested additional funding for an eastbound carpool and toll (HOV/HOT) lane along Interstate 580, which is in the works.

Hosterman said the project is expected to break ground this year and be completed in 2009. She said the new lane is projected to decrease traffic delay time in that lane by 70 percent as well as decreasing delay times in the mixed lanes.

Comments

New Homeowner
Del Prado
on Jan 24, 2008 at 8:52 pm
New Homeowner, Del Prado
on Jan 24, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Federal aid for the poor is a good thing; but, property values are almost 4 times what they were in the early 90's. With this tremendous rise in values, tax revenues have also spiked. How about working on property tax relief for all residents. This would go a long way in to help struggling families and this is something that you can do without depending on Washington.


Another Pleasanton Communist
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2008 at 11:37 am
Another Pleasanton Communist, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2008 at 11:37 am

If we had a 100% income tax rate...there would be no poor in Pleasanton!!!

From each according to his (her) ability...
to each acording to her (his) need!!!

That is both the Communist...and the Christian way!!!


EJD
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2008 at 3:12 am
EJD, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 27, 2008 at 3:12 am

Socialism does not work! This country was founded on hope. The hope that things will work out. Sometimes people make bad choices. The risk of those choices is that they may lose and have to start again. It is sad that there are people who make bad choices. That is not my fault or the fault of other taxpayers. As a taxpayer who has made some bad choices and some good choices, I should not have to pay for those who have made only bad choices. Look, people who are down on their luck, I have no problem trying to help them get started again. It is called "the social safety net". OK. My taxes go to that and I don't mind paying for it. However, If I lose my home because I become over-extended, or lied about my income in order to buy the home, then it is my own fault and I don't expect the American (or local) taxpayer to bail me out. Life happens. People lose jobs, then overextend themselves on credit and then lose their homes. It has happened to me and I have had to deal with a perfect credit rating dropping to under 400 only to work and build it back up to the point where there is a possibility that I may own a home again. It has been 15 years of hard work, but I am so close to getting back. It is only hard work that made it possible. Fed, state and local governments only need to worry about road maintenance, police and fire - Otherwise they need to butt out!


Mayor Jennifer Hosterman
Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 28, 2008 at 10:59 pm
Mayor Jennifer Hosterman, Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 28, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Dear EJD,

Please do call the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center. I think they can help. I mean that. I wish you well.

Jennifer
..............................
Jennifer Hosterman
Mayor
City of Pleasanton


Cosmic-Charlie
Downtown
on Jan 30, 2008 at 9:16 am
Cosmic-Charlie, Downtown
on Jan 30, 2008 at 9:16 am

I do believe it is not the responsibility of any government to bail out investors, for any reason! No one put a gun to theirs heads to make them sign for those home loans. This is just more "Nanny" government...when is it gonna stop. I don't want any of my tax money given away to people who don't act responsibly.

Considering all of the development that has gone on since the early 90's, and with the inflated values of property here, one would think the % of assessment (for property taxes) would be reduced because because of the windfall the counties are seeing these days. Not only could I not afford to purchase my place today, I would not even be able to pay the property taxes that would be assessed.

And if anyone finds themselves "victim" of un-ethical lenders, and find themselves in foreclosure, then I have some property I could sell them....or maybe a bridge, or a swamp.

The point is…”live within your means”.


PaymentsDue
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2008 at 11:04 am
PaymentsDue, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2008 at 11:04 am

It is all about the politics of the day. Nothing about doing what is right. Darwin’s theories work in the fiscal arena as well. The lowest common denominator should not drive fiscal policy.


Shelley
Downtown
on Jan 30, 2008 at 1:02 pm
Shelley, Downtown
on Jan 30, 2008 at 1:02 pm

I'm looking forward to all the foreclosures. I'll actually be able to find something for a reasonable price. I don't like government helping people who made poor financial decisions. The point is they made those decisions, the decisions weren't made for them. This difference sets apart my agreement for affordable housing but my disagreement with government "bailing out" people.


GTY
Ruby Hill
on Jan 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm
GTY, Ruby Hill
on Jan 30, 2008 at 4:34 pm

If it was the city of Oakland or Tracy requesting government help for people caught up in the subprime mess, I would say OK. But, Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore? Give me a break; 2.6 million, thats how much an average home costs here in my area. I don't mind a safety net for the working poor, but for folks with million dollar homes...not my tax dollars please.


Another Bailout!!
Castlewood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 3:06 am
Another Bailout!!, Castlewood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 3:06 am

MAKE NOTE OF THESE ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO ARE TRYING TO SPEND MORE OF THE SAVERS MONEY!!!! Why bother saving - every time you turn around ANOTHER BAILOUT!
I will not vote for any elected official who is going after more of my money to help those who over extended themselves and bought at the top of the market or used their home as an ATM machine.


Unknown
another community
on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:56 pm
Unknown, another community
on Jan 31, 2008 at 12:56 pm

The problem lies with the Sub Prime Lenders that used their fancy terms when explaining these types of loans to buyers. They have their ways of making the buyer believe that anyone can afford a home that is well beyond their means. The Goverment should be going after those companies and make them pay for the thousands of homes in foreclosure.


Jerry
Oak Hill
on Jan 31, 2008 at 10:36 pm
Jerry, Oak Hill
on Jan 31, 2008 at 10:36 pm

"60 Minutes" reported on this subject a week or so ago. They used forclosures in Stockton as examples. Had some financial guy that explained profits were made from the realitors/builders all the way to Wall Street. More than one person along the way knew what was happening and just pocketed the cash and looked the other way. Said some of the buyers actually made a profit when purchasing the homes.

They ask one of the defaulters if he read the contract - Said he didn't, just did it to better his family. I can understand wanting to better ones self and/or their family but if you don't understand what you're getting yourself into, don't come to John Q. or Jenny O. Taxpayer for a bailout, no matter what city you may live in.....They're attempting to make a better life for themselves and their families too. This is a sad situtation....


PaymentsDue
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 9:32 pm
PaymentsDue, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 9:32 pm

The Stockton home owner that should receive ‘help’ is the owner paying their bills on a mortgagee they understood, now left with over 50% of their neighborhood dieing due to poor fiscal citizens. One can only hope the court system works and owners walking away with a profit receive the proper fines and jail terms.


LoCarbon
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2008 at 10:57 am
LoCarbon, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

WOW!!! What a giant carbon footprint these mayors leave!!!

Perhaps this all could be done with a conference call!!!


James
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm
James, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 2, 2008 at 3:59 pm

You have to remember that politicians love to give your money away. I have seen then take your money and then give it back to you and take credit of the great job they did so they can be re-elected!

It seems that many people who are buying these houses, and probably most people who buy now, they see the houses as investments and not as homes. They borrowed 100%+ of the value of the house and expect that the price will keep going up. Some purchase for themselves but others purchase for rental properties or to just flip them to make money (the flippers are the ones who cause the prices to go up). Why should we as taxpayers be bailing out investors that made a bad decision or investors who did not make money?

Bailing these people out would be the same if the government bailed out all the investors who lost money in the dot com bust in 2001. The stock market then is no different than real estate now. Prior to 2001, people were buying stocks at such high multiples of earnings and said this was fine because the prices keep going up. Prior to 2007, people were buying real estate at such high prices, and with bad credit, and said this was fine because the prices keep going up. What is the difference?

While I do feel sorry for some of the people who lost money on their home purchases, I also felt sorry for friends of mine who lost a large amount of their retirement in 2001.

If we start to go down the road where we bail out people who loose money in bad investments, we are rewarding bad behavior. As somebody who was paying around 6% on my home with a fixed mortgage, I knew the 1% loans, although tempting, were not a good investment. I kept with my 6% loan. Now the government is thinking of spending my tax money to bail out those who took the 1% loans, borrowing 110% of the purchase price. I guess I am the fool for staying with my 6% loan. I should have taken the risky 1% loan and if things did not work out, the taxpayers would save me. This is the message these mayors are sending.

And to you LoCarbon, in addition to the carbon footprint these mayors leave, don't forget to include the large amounts of methane gas that was produced.


Jason
Danbury Park
on Feb 3, 2008 at 10:12 am
Jason, Danbury Park
on Feb 3, 2008 at 10:12 am

People who are responsible with their money should not have to contiue to bail people out who make poor choices.


Darwinian Economist
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm
Darwinian Economist, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm

People who make poor economic decisions should not be bailed out by governmental intervention. These people who make these poor decisions will continue to make bad economic decisions and will continue to reproduce, creating new generations of poor economic decision makers, placing economic drains on present and future generations.

The government that allow this to happen are enabling these people to destroy our democracy!!!


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