AB 943 WILL PROVIDE MORE HOUSING

Posted: June 23, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

We support AB 943 (Santiago; D-Los Angeles) a bill that will increase the vote threshold for approval of local initiatives intended to curb, delay, or deter growth and development throughout California, which may exacerbate the state’s affordable housing crisis.

AB 943 requires any ordinance proposed by the voters of a city, county, or city and county, submitted to the voters, that would reduce density or stop development or construction on any parcels located less than one mile from a major transit stop, only be enacted with 55% or more of the votes cast.

By enacting this policy, AB 943 will ensure that special interest groups do not unfairly hinder the development of new housing projects, while appropriately balancing and respecting local preferences.  Bottom line is that AB 943 will reduce unnecessary barriers to creating transit-friendly new housing and help address the state’s affordable housing crisis.

In order to address the housing crisis in California we must build more residences.  Collecting more tax money that just gets lost in the current thicket of anti-development policies is not a solution.  Helping projects overcome unnecessary burdens, like AB 943, will produce more – and less expensive – rooftops.  The bill is currently awaiting hearing in the Senate Governance and Finance committee.

AB 890 COULD REDUCE DEVELOPMENT

Posted: June 23, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

And in a related measure, we oppose AB 890 (Medina; D-Riverside) a measure that would force local governments to hold costly special elections for all local land use-related initiatives and prohibit local elected officials from adopting planning, zoning and other land use or development

proposals legislatively if they have qualified for the ballot. This prohibition will cost local governments millions of dollars.

AB 890 ignores other important environmental requirements for projects. A housing or commercial development project, for example, passed by initiative, would still be required to undergo extensive environmental permitting and to comply with the full suite of local, state and federal environmental laws including the Clean Air Acts, the Clean Water Acts, the Endangered Species Acts, Hazardous Waste laws, etc.

Government by initiative can be messy, and the system itself can always be improved. But AB 890 proposes a radical path: removing voters utterly from their historic role in proposing laws as a backstop to the local legislative process. Nothing could be further from California’s political culture.

The bill has not yet been assigned to committee in the Senate, but we will keep you posted on its progress.

SB 772 EXEMPTS CAL/OSHA FROM ECONOMIC IMPACT ANALYSES

Posted: June 23, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

As part of a CalChamber led business coalition, our industry is strongly opposing a SB 772 (Leyva; D-Chino) a bill that could increase Cal/OSHA costs for employers.  The bill reduces transparency, removes accountability, and runs contrary to California’s commitment to good governance by exempting Cal/OSHA from a rulemaking process applied to major regulations impacting the economy by more than $50 million to make sure that state agencies consider the economic impact their proposals will have on employers. SB 617 was enacted in 2011 and was sponsored by CBPA.

The standard rulemaking process requires conducting a Standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment (SRIA) for the most significant regulations (those having an economic impact greater than $50 million).

Because SB 772 allows Cal/OSHA to impose unnecessary burdens on California’s businesses, investors, and innovators without regard to the impact on the economy and without considering less costly alternatives, the CalChamber and a large coalition are opposing the legislation.

All California’s agencies conduct important work that protects and provides for the public, and all are held accountable to the people by conducting the SRIA. Cal/OSHA’s process is not different and does not warrant a special exemption. SB 772 excuses Cal/OSHA from this important analysis, allowing regulations having a significant impact on the economy to avoid the close scrutiny that would reveal their true costs and any unintended consequences.

The bill passed the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee yesterday on a party line 5-2 vote and next moves to the Assembly Appropriations committee, where we will continue to oppose the measure.

PROP 13 SPLIT-ROLL TAX – THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES

Posted: June 23, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Our superstar government affairs duo at BOMA San Francisco, Ken Cleaveland and John Bozeman, penned an op/ed for the Bay City Beacon to counter the call for a split-roll tax on commercial properties.

Many people wonder what they can do to help fight split roll.  This is a good example.  Take the information that we have provided and localize it and get a local paper and/or blog to run it.

A big “thank you” on behalf of the industry to Ken and John for taking the initiative and getting this great article out into the public domain!

 “Those who live and work in our state support California values. It’s a fact – and especially true of those who own residential or commercial properties. Buying property in California means that you are investing in the future of the state’s residents and businesses within it. Like most investments, people want to ensure that their properties are taxed reasonably and responsibly and that local and state government entities are using those property taxes efficiently towards our shared values, e.g., education and local public services.”

Click here to read the full op/ed.

“SURF-BY LAWSUITS” ARE REALLY A THING

Posted: June 23, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Our industry has fought for many years to reform California’s ADA lawsuit abuse, and have made some very good changes to policy that both expands access to our guests and tenants while protecting property owners and businesses from frivolous lawsuits.  However, it appears that a new trend of Title III lawsuits may be heading our way.  The “Surf-by” lawsuit.  Where some enterprising lawyer logs onto your website and searches for accessibility violations and files suit if any our found.  Yes, this is, unfortunately, a real thing.

From the lexology.com website: A federal court in Florida issued a potentially groundbreaking decision earlier this week that could open the floodgates when it comes to a new trend in litigation filed under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): the “surf-by” lawsuit. While businesses have been forced to deal with so-called drive-by lawsuits for some time now – those claims filed by plaintiffs who spot technical ADA violations such as inaccessible entrances by simply driving down the street – recent years have seen an explosion when it comes to the digital equivalent of such suits. Surf-by lawsuits, on the other hand, are initiated when someone simply logs onto your company’s website to search for possible accessibility violations, and if any are found, follows through by filing an ADA lawsuit against you, sometimes without prior warning.”

 Click here to read more about this issue and what you can do to protect yourself.

SENATE PASSES 2017-18 STATE BUDGET

Posted: June 16, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

A state budget that adds money to both social programs and attempts to rein-in the University of California, passed by both houses of the Legislature in time to meet the constitutional deadline of June 15.  This plan includes a $183.2 billion package, the largest state budget in history. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), said the plan “does things for people, not to people, while Senate Republican Leader Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) criticized the budget as being too large.

At the end of the fiscal year under this plan, the state would end up with 8.5 billion in the voter-approved rainy-day reserve and another $1.4 billion in the state’s regular reserve as well.

The budget will now be sent to Governor Brown’s desk for finalization pending his signature, however, many “trailer bills,” where the money is actually allocated, are still being debated in the Legislature and many big-ticket items, such as “Cap-and-Trade” are still being negotiated.  We will keep you posted.

CALIFORNIA COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE SUMMIT; SUCCESS!

Posted: June 16, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

This week the annual California Commercial Real Estate Summit (CCRES) was held in Sacramento and attended by over 80 real estate leaders who converged on California’s Capitol to advocate on behalf of the commercial, retail, and industrial real estate industry.  “Teams” of advocates, made up of leaders from all over the state, met with almost half of the State Legislature.

The focus of this year’s CCRES was support for a number of bills that reform our state’s parcel tax notification laws, support for solar energy and building level battery storage, as well as expressing opposition for the split roll property tax proposal announced by Senator Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Skinner (D-Berkeley) in April.

We were also pleased to present our 2017 Legislators of the Year Senate Minority Leader Senator Pat Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) and Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) who is a prominent member of the Legislative Moderate Caucus.

This years participants also met with Diane Harkey, Chair of the Board of Equalization as well as Alexis Podesta, Secretary Business, Consumer Services & Housing Agency.

Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) joined the group the Governor’s Office to discuss legislative issues under consideration in the State Senate and how tough it is to try to govern by representing one’s district, and not simply voting with partisan interests in mind.   Everyone walked away from that meeting with a baseball sized card with Mr. Glazer’s “Governing Principles”.  (See more below).

Finally, delegates met with nearly half of the State Legislature.

The goal of the California Commercial Real Estate Summit is to increase public policy and political awareness of state issues impacting commercial, industrial, and retail real estate, and to foster collaborative efforts among business leaders from all sectors of California and their representatives in the State Legislature.

We would like to thank all of our members who took the time to attend the CCRES!

SENATOR GLAZER’S GOVERNING PRINCIPLES

Posted: June 16, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) spoke with the CCRES Delegates in a frank manner about his experience in the Legislature and his struggle to assure that he represents his constituents and doesn’t fall into the partisan pitfalls of Sacramento.

He illustrated the notion that legislators must “fall in line” with partisan interests by sharing an anecdote that although he supported a certain public employee union over 85% of the time, that union gave him a score of “F” and spent a significant amount of money and ran a candidate against him.

According to his bio, “Senator Glazer has become a forceful advocate for smart, efficient and compassionate government. Considered one of the rare independent voices in the Legislature, Senator Glazer votes the issue, not the party. He has defied easy labels, working with a wide spectrum of groups with varying needs and issues. Senator Glazer supported common sense legislation that upholds his 10 Governing Principles, whether reaching across the aisle or voting with his own party.”  After working with the Senator, we agree with his own assessment.

His bio further states, “Senator Glazer has made accountability and transparency a hallmark of his stay in the Legislature. He returns home every day from Sacramento, taking per diems only on the rare days he stays overnight in Sacramento, and does not accept gifts.”

Senator Glazer’s Ten Governing Principles very much impressed the CCRES participants, so we want to share them with you:

  1. Represent the people of our Senate district, not political parties or special interests;
  2. Maintain a balanced budget to allow government to help people, and people to have confidence in government;
  3. Pursue bipartisan decisions. They are always better and longer lasting;
  4. Emphasize education as the gateway to opportunity and prosperity;
  5. Work hard to set priorities and hold the line on taxes;
  6. Incorporate environmental protection as part of every decision;
  7. Empower local decision-making rather than state mandates. It is more responsive and trustworthy;
  8. Advance accountability and efficiency with every government program;
  9. Promote civility and respect for all people and perspectives;
  10. Conduct myself always with honesty and integrity.

Bravo Senator, bravo.

SPLIT ROLL PROPERTY TAX CAMPAIGN BEGINS

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Another new “grassroots” group has popped up to lead the split roll property tax public effort.  Grassroots is in quotes, because even though they are branding themselves as “We Are California” it is still the same old advocates that have been agitating for years to raise your property taxes – a who’s who of public employee unions and far left advocacy groups.

The new tact is to tie the Proposition 13’s protections from your property taxes going through the roof as some sort of evil plot hatched by President Trump 40 years ago that is now just coming to fruition.  Here is the lead line in a recent email blast:

“Donald Trump is planning to give big tax cuts to wealthy corporations and his billionaire friends. What’s worse is that he plans to pay for them with massive budget cuts to essential services — taking away healthcare, education, environmental protections, job training and even Meals on Wheels from millions of Americans. In California, thanks to a 40 year old loophole, these same wealthy corporations pocket $9 billion a year in property tax breaks, cheating our communities out of billions in investments.” –Courage Campaign/Make It Fair/Close the Loophole/We Are California email, May 31, 2017.

Nevermind that property taxes don’t fund any of this stuff, this is no time for facts.

This is a very organized effort to hector the State Legislature into destroying your protections under Proposition 13.  As we have reported earlier, Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) and Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) announced last month that they would be introducing a split roll bill, but we have yet to see the measure.

In order to provide correct and factual information about Proposition 13 and how predictable taxes benefits small and minority owned businesses as well as California’s economy as a whole, we are members of Californians to Stop Higher Property Taxes. Click here to sign up for alerts and have access to factual information.

FIRST HOUSE DEADLINE

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Today is one of the biggest hurdles for bills making their way through the California State Legislature, House of Origin Deadline.  All bills must be out of the chamber in which they were introduced. So, both houses have had very long floor sessions to wade through thousands of measures legislators have introduced this year.  Below is a summary of some of the key measures.

LAST MINUTE AMENDS – PROP 54

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

In addition to just sheer volume of bills being considered, the craziness is compounded because there are negotiations and amendments flying on many bills, so its not just a simple “up or down” vote.

A key provision of the recently passed Proposition 54 was meant to specifically address this issue and make it easier to track changes, the so called “72 hour” rule, in which amendments are supposed to be in print 72 hours before a vote can be taken.  There has been some parsing of the meaning of the proposition and the two houses of the Legislature.

The California State Senate honored the rule, but the California State Assembly has interpreted the 72 Hour Rule to mean the final vote in the Legislature and not this interim step.  The interpretation has drawn criticism from the proposition’s backers and derision from the Peanut Gallery noting it’s this type of game playing that brings about propositions like this.

HIGH PRIORITY BILLS SUPPORTED BY INDUSTRY THAT PASSED THE FIRST HOUSE

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

 

The good news is that we are working with legislators on a number of bills that will address industry issues for the better, and several of the highest priority measures passed this first major test.

AB 448 (Daly D) Requires notification of property owners when parcel tax increases are proposed.

AB 565 (Bloom D) Building standards: alternative building regulations: artist housing.

AB 943 (Santiago D) Land use regulations and local initiatives: voter approval.

AB 1148 (Steinorth R) Commercial property disclosures: disability access.

AB 1515 (Daly D) Planning and zoning regulations.

SB 71 (Wiener D) Solar energy systems.

SB 356 (Skinner D) Energy data transparency and building benchmarking.

SB 564 (McGuire D) Water Bill Savings Act.

SB 711 (Hill D) Electrical and gas rates and charges.

SB 764 (Moorlach R) Real estate trust fund accounts: fidelity insurance.

HIGH PRIORITY BILLS OPPOSED BY INDUSTRY STOPPED IN THE FIRST HOUSE

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

 

Many bills our industry opposed and were deemed as high priorities, a majority of legislators agreed with us and they have been stopped for the year.  Note, because legislative sessions span for two years, these bills are technically known as “two year bills” as there is a chance they could move next year.  However, in the day-to-day parlance of the Capitol, these bills are known as being “dead.”

AB 5 (Gonzalez D) Mandates certain hiring requirements for businesses.

AB 199 (Chu D) Applied prevailing wage to private construction (not, this bill is not dead but has been amended in a manner that we no longer oppose).

AB 378 (Garcia, Cristina D) California Cap-and-Trade on Greenhouse Gases.

AB 909 (Steinorth R) Mandates that trauma kits be installed in private buildings.

AB 975 (Friedman D) Greatly expands wild and scenic rivers designations.

AB 1059 (Gonzalez Fletcher D) Attempts to Bans Dual agency commercial real estate firms/transactions.

AB 1506 (Bloom D) Residential rent control: Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

SB 2 (Atkins D) Applies a $75 tax to all recorded real estate documents.

SB 224 (Jackson D) Overturns recent CEQA court.

SB 640 (Hertzberg D) Sales tax on services.

SB 705 (Allen D) Solid waste: expanded mandate on certain packaging.

SB 775 (Wieckowski D) California Cap-and-Trade on Greenhouse Gases.

HIGH PRIORITY BILLS OPPOSED BY INDUSTRY THAT PASSED THE FIRST HOUSE

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

The bad news is that many bills our industry opposed and were deemed as high priorities have passed the first house and are continuing to move.

AB 73 (Chiu D) Planning and zoning: sustainability districts.

AB 354 (Calderon D) Institutional Property Investors.

AB 450 (Chiu D) Immigration worksite enforcement actions.

AB 890 (Medina D) Bans local land use initiatives and takes away local control.

AB 1127 (Calderon D) Mandates Baby diaper changing stations.

AB 1667 (Friedman D) Adds burdensome water management planning.

AB 1701 (Thurmond D) Original Contractor Labor-related liabilities.

SB 49 (De León D) Tries to pre-empt certain environmental activities by the federal government.

SB 63 (Jackson D) Expands parental leave mandates.

SB 100 (De León D) Requires 100% renewable energy in the State.

SB 150 (Allen D) Regional transportation plans.

SB 231 (Hertzberg D) Adds potentially burdensome fees and charges for property infrastructure.

SB 258 (Lara D) Cleaning Product Right to Know Act of 2017.

SB 562 (Lara D) Single Payer Healthcare for California.

ASSEMBLY REJECTS PLAN TO EXTEND CAP-AND-TRADE

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

In a stunning vote, especially since it was on the same day that President Trump announced that the U.S. would not participate in the Paris Climate Agreement a divided Democrat Caucus failed to move forward a key Climate Change bill related to re-authorizing California’s own rules:

Above and beyond just extending the state’s current cap-and-trade program focused on carbon emissions beyond 2020, AB 378 (Garcia D) also expanded the program to include new restriction on air pollutants and potential limits on industrial facilities. Business groups strongly opposed the expansion of the program, as did the Republican Caucus and the Moderate Democrat Caucus, who hung together to reject the bill.

In an unusual move, the vote tally was held open for almost 45 minutes as legislative leaders tried to pry the Mods apart and get them to support the measure.  Additional votes never materialized and the bill died on a final vote of 34 ayes and 39 noes.

The fight, however, is far from over.  The Governor and Legislative Leaders have placed a very high priority on re-authorizing cap-and-trade and its expected a late session push will happen in August and/or September.

We are asked a lot about why the commercial real estate industry cares so much about this issue as it is seen as something that primarily impacts industrial facilities and trucking.  Its about much more than that and ultimately impacts every one of your buildings through higher energy costs (electrical, natural gas, and gasoline) and is driving the extremely strict building codes that are driving up the costs of your new construction and tenant improvements.

This article by our friends John Gamboa and Jennifer Hernandez is one of the most enlightening articles you can read on this topic and we highly recommend it to you. Click here to read the full article.

TITLE 24 RE-WRITE BEGINS – INDUSTRY HELP NEEDED

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Some of you may remember that one of the biggest blow ups our industry has seen recently was the over-reach of the last set of lighting regulations.  Some buildings were seeing their tenant improvement costs more than triple because of the onerous rules that were put into place.  Although we were able to get the regulations corrected, the fact that they were adopted in the first place is due, partially, because our industry didn’t spend the time and effort to fully analyze the proposals before they were applied to your projects.

We hope to avoid that situation moving forward and in addition to some technical consulting help we have brought on for this cycle, we hope that you will also help by participating in the process and asking technical experts that you work with to review proposals and get us feedback on anything that appears to be onerous, unimplementable, or not cost effective.

With that below are two upcoming workshops that are important.

ENERGY REGS: NONRESIDENTIAL LIGHTING STANDARDS

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Nonresidential Lighting Measures for the 2019 Standards California Energy Commission staff will conduct a workshop to gather stakeholder input on the development of the 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Standards). The workshop will be held on: Thursday, June 22, 2017 9:00 a.m. at the California Energy Commission.

This is the fifth 2017 pre-rule making staff workshop for the 2019 Standards update and will focus specifically on nonresidential lighting measures. Multiple lighting measures will be presented and discussed, including measures for indoor lighting sources, indoor lighting controls, lighting alterations, advanced daylighting design, outdoor light sources, and outdoor lighting controls.  Click here for more information, including how to participate via the web.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY (HVAC) ENERGY EFFICIENCY WORKSHOP

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

California Energy Commission staff will conduct a workshop to gather stakeholder input on residential and nonresidential indoor air quality and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) measures for the 2019 Standards California Energy Commission.  If your building has air conditioning or heating, these regs have the potential of impacting your tenant improvement costs and input from industry experts is needed.

This staff workshop is for 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The workshop will be held on: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 9:00 a.m. at the energy commission and online participation is available (see link below). Staff will accept oral comments during the workshop – if we get feedback from members on these measures we will be there in person to provide comments.  Please let us know. Click here for all the information.

STATE ARCHITECT BEGINS WORK ON ADULT CHANGING FACILITIES

Posted: June 2, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

In response to legislation passed in 2015, the Division of the State Architect (DSA) has put together a working group to craft building standards for adult changing facilities in “commercial places of public entertainment”.  Specifically, AB 662 (Bonilla) requires a commercial place of public amusement with a daily occupancy greater than 2,500 people to have at least one adult changing table located in an enclosed bathroom.  The statute defines “commercial place of public amusement” as an auditorium, convention center, cultural complex, exhibition hall, permanent amusement park, sports arena, or theatre or movie house having a maximum occupancy greater than 2,500 people.   Earlier this week, DSA conducted the second of six planned working group meetings that will focus on various issues which must be addressed prior to DSA proceeding with the adoption of building standards that must take effect on January 1, 2020.  CBPA and BOMA have representatives on this working group.

“MAY REVISE” HOLDS THE LINE ON SPENDING

Posted: May 19, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

The Governor has release an updated version of his proposed budget originally submitted to the Legislature in December.  Known as the “May Revise,” the budget plan for 2017–18 exhibits restraint on new spending with a warning from the Governor that the economic recovery won’t last and uncertainty in Washington adds to unpredictability in California’s budget outlook.

According to the Governor’s news release, the state’s Rainy Day Fund will end the 2017–18 fiscal year with a balance of $8.5 billion, 66% of the constitutional target of 10% of tax revenues.

By the time the budget is enacted in June, the release points out, the California economy will have completed its eighth year of expansion, two years less than the longest recovery since World War II.

Here are some of the Budget Highlights:

• More Funding for Schools: Due to the slightly improved fiscal outlook, the May budget increases funding for K–12 schools by about $4,058 per student over 2011–12 levels.

 • Reducing Pension Liabilities: The Governor proposes a $6 billion supplemental payment to the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) with funds borrowed from the Surplus Money Investment Fund, part of the state’s short-term savings account. The payment is estimated to save the state $11 billion over the next two decades while continuing to reduce unfunded liabilities and stabilizing state contribution rates.

 • Transportation System Funding: The May revise reflects the first $2.8 billion in new funding from the $54 billion transportation package adopted earlier this spring, plus enhanced oversight of the California Department of Transportation.

 • Restored Child Care Funding: Instead of the one-year delay in providing rate increases to child care providers as proposed in January, the May revise proposes restoring the funding and maintaining the $500 million child care package from the 2016 budget.

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) reported its estimates of state General Fund revenues and transfers are just slightly above the administration’s – close to $900 million over three fiscal years.

The difference, the LAO said, is due to its higher estimates of personal income tax and sales-and-use tax revenues, offset by lower estimates of corporation tax revenue.

The LAO said the Governor’s proposal for the additional CalPERS payment is a “very new idea” that “has promise,” but suggested the Legislature wait to finalize the plan until later in the legislative session to allow time to make sure the plan works and fully maximizes its potential benefit for the state.

The changes are currently being reviewed by the Legislative Budget Committees.  Click here for full information on the Proposal.

INLAND EMPIRE BILL PROVIDES FAIRNESS AND RELIEF

Posted: May 19, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

The Governor has signed SB 130 (Committee on the Budget) which expands the existing Vehicle License Fee Adjustment to the cities of Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee and Wildomar, allowing them to receive millions of dollars in additional property tax revenue.  This is an idea that has been championed by Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside) for the last few years.

“With this bill, millions of tax dollars will flow to benefit the people of Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Menifee and Wildomar,” said Governor Brown. “Senator Roth and Assemblymember Cervantes pushed hard to ensure these communities weren’t left behind.”

Based on Department of Finance estimates, these cities are expected to collectively receive up to $19 million in additional funding annually. This revenue will help these cities fund critical needs.

This is an issue that many of our members in Riverside County have been working on and advocating on behalf of for several years.  On their behalf, we thank Senator Roth for his tenacity in pursuing this change and the Governor for signing the bill.

EIR RELEASED FOR CENTENNIAL AT TEJON RANCH

Posted: May 19, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

In a process that has taken well over a decade, Los Angeles County has released the Draft EIR for Tejon Ranch’s master-planned community, Centennial, on the south side of the Ranch.  Centennial is a master-planned community of 19,333 homes of all types, and 10.2 million square feet of retail/commercial/Industrial development, with 6,700 acres developed and 5,600 acres preserved as open space in the Antelope Valley.

The project complies with the Los Angeles County Antelope Valley Area Plan (AVAP), and furthers the implementation of the Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land Use Agreement of 2008, where the Ranch will set aside 240,000 acres in conservation easements, while developing roughly 10-percent of our total 270,000-acre landholding.

This is a great example of a modern and well thought out project that will provide housing and 30,000 permanent jobs and a $31 million surplus to LA County.  CONGRATULATIONS!

Click Here to read the full press release.

TAX ON FAMILY OWNED BUSINESS MOVES FORWARD

Posted: May 19, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

A bill with multiple tax hikes on businesses and identified as a “Job Killer” by the Cal Chamber, passed a major hurdle this week on a party line vote in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.

SB 567 (Lara; D-Bell Gardens) significantly increases taxes on California businesses, who already have one of the highest tax burdens in the country.  The bill targets family-owned businesses that transfer the business upon death to other family members. Under SB 567, the family members who inherit the business/property, would be forced to pay capital gains on the property that has appreciated in value, if the family member(s) have an adjusted gross income of $1 million or more.

This change would take California out of conformity with federal law, and place another layer of taxes on a small group of Californians paying the highest personal income tax, at 13.3% and will have an overall negative impact on the state’s economy, jobs, and set a terrible precedent.

We will continue to oppose the bill as it moves forward.

GHOST SHIP FIRE WORKSHOP

Posted: May 19, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Today representatives from commercial and residential real estate groups came together with experts from local government and arts groups to discuss how to create more and safer live-work artist spaces in California urban areas.  Unfortunately, this discussion has been spurred by the tragedy in Oakland known as the “Ghost Ship Fire,” but hopefully good policy will come out of the discussion.

Staff from the Senate’s Governance and Finance Committee are working with a broad range of stakeholders to identify ways the state can help local governments, building owners, and artists create safe and affordable spaces.  Ideas ranging from changes in CA complicated code structure to providing local governments with “model codes” have been discussed.  We will keep you posted and would welcome ideas.

PROGRESS ON SOLAR BILL

Posted: May 19, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

We are very pleased to report productive conversations with Senator Wiener (D-San Francisco) regarding his bill SB 71, a bill that is looking to better enable adoption of solar in residential and commercial settings.  Although this early version of the bill gives some of our members heartburn because it seems to unintentionally undermine the codes process in order to mandate solar in statute, through communications with Senator Wiener and his staff, we are hopeful our issues can be addressed.

Strict solar requirements are heading our way. This is California, afterall.  So addressing some policy issues ahead of time is a priority for our industry and we are pleased Senator Weiner is engaging in such a thoughtful manner.

CBIA RACKS UP SOME BIG SUCCESSES!

Posted: May 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Kudos to our allies at the California Building Industry Association (CBIA) – the past six months have seen two big victories in the housing column – first the passage of the school construction bonds by the voters of California in November and most recently stopping the legislative effort to make all new housing construction in California be built at prevailing wage costs. Both of these are positive steps to creating more affordable housing in our state.

OP/ED: MIDDLE CLASS MUST BE HIGHER PRIORITY FOR CA LEADERS

Posted: May 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

We don’t share a lot of op/eds by California politicians, but this one by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-San Fernando) just seems to make a lot of sense so thought we’d share:

For years, economists, business leaders and policymakers warned that the decline in blue-collar manufacturing jobs in California would leave us with a shrinking middle class, limited economic mobility and a plethora of social ills traditionally equated with systemic poverty.

A recent report by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation demonstrates that those warnings have become a reality.

Since 2007, the loss of our manufacturing base has cost Los Angeles nearly 89,000 good-paying middle-class jobs. Those jobs have been replaced with service-sector jobs that pay less than half of the jobs they replaced. At the same time, Los Angeles County has seen poverty rates climb, the middle class shrink, housing affordability grow beyond the grasp of working people, and homelessness hit crisis proportions. Our “middle class” is slipping away into a world of haves and have-nots.

Even more troubling is the clear racial and ethnic components of the growing class divide. As we become more racially diverse, we are also becoming more segregated by class. Latinos have emerged as the largest ethnic group in California at precisely

Click here to read the full op/ed.

THE GREEN GET GREENER, THE POOR GET…

Posted: May 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Well, you know how the saying goes.  SB 584 by California Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León implies that you can do a lot more to save and reduce Global Warming. A day after releasing a plan that would make California’s cap-and-trade program even less appealing to market-based solutions, Democrats in the Senate are introduced a proposal that calls for 100 percent of the retail electricity sold in the state to come from renewable energy sources by the end of 2045.

Requiring all of the State’s energy come from less efficient sources such as wind and solar means your bill will go up.

But wait, there’s more…

In addition to upping the total amount needed, the bill also shortens the timelines to hit interim targets along the way that became law under de Leon’s Senate Bill 350 in 2015. That bill dictated that 50 percent of California electricity must come from renewable sources by the end of 2030, which the proposal bumps up five years to the end of 2025.  That bill also dictates that existing buildings in California (as a whole) must become twice as energy efficient.

Many worry that all the “savings” you and/or your tenants purportedly get by investing in energy efficiency is simply getting re-directed to higher cost energy and that all of this is hitting small businesses that can least afford it the most.

DUAL AGENCY BILL SET ASIDE FOR THE YEAR

Posted: May 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

We are happy to report that the Dual Agency Ban Bill, AB 1059 (Gonzalez Fletcher), has been pulled from the Assembly Judiciary Committee docket and we have been told by the author’s staff that she will not pursue the measure further right now (but that it may be revisited over the Interim Recess or next year).  This is great news and we appreciate the fact that Ms. Gonzalez Fletcher has chosen not to move forward with this bill.

Right now is a good time to breathe a sigh of relief, and take stock of where we are on the issue – but we want to be clear that the war is not necessarily over.  However, we can assume the sponsors of this bill will likely continue to press this issue and we should work to communicate about the benefits of dual agency with policymakers, clients, and the public at large.

On this bill, we saw a mobilization of our industry unlike any we have seen in several years.  In a coordinated effort through the CBPA office in Sacramento, local chapters of NAIOP, BOMA, AIR and members of ICSC and individual members of CBPA across the state worked quickly to educate our own members and potential allies about the negative impacts of the bill and shared our concerns with Assemblymembers and their staff.

And to find a positive in the midst of a storm, this was actually a great opportunity for our industry to work with legislators and their staffs and discuss the differences between residential and commercial transactions and why the State treats them separately in statute and how Dual Agency was being mischaracterized by the sponsor of the bill.  This type of education is very important and helps lay positive groundwork and builds trust for success on other commercial real estate issues.

We will continue to watch for activity in the Legislature while working with local chapters, associations, and companies to provide a “roadmap” to continued education of policymakers and the public about our industry.  But this bill may come back early next year and we need to be ready.

Until then, thank you to the hundreds of companies and individuals that stepped up to meet this threat to our industry.

SUPPORT MANUFACTURING

Posted: May 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Our industry is part of a coalition that strongly supports AB 600 (Cooper; D-Elk Grove) and SB 600 (Galgiani; D-Stockton) two bills that encourage manufacturing investment in California by extending the existing partial Sales and Use Tax Exemption (STE) creating a more powerful incentive for manufacturing and R&D investments in California.

These bills build upon the 2013 Governor’s Economic Development Initiative (GEDI) to encourage manufacturing investment and job creation in California. Extending the STE provides greater certainty that California is committed to manufacturing industry growth and promotes higher levels of investment.

California manufacturing is critical to the overall economy because manufacturers create high-paying jobs that help mitigate the growing income inequality that exists in California and helps rebuild the middle-class. In 2016, the average manufacturing wage was $86,000 annually, well in excess of the state overall average wage of $62,000. As California attracts more manufacturing jobs to the state, the middle-class grows, communities are strengthened and state tax revenue grows from all sources.

Both bills face a big test in committee next week and we will be there to support them!

PROGRESS ON SOLAR BILL

Posted: May 5, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

We are very pleased to report productive conversations with Senator Wiener (D-San Francisco) regarding his SB 71, a bill that is looking to better enable adoption of solar in residential and commercial settings.  Although this early version of the bill gives some of our members heartburn because it seems to unintentionally undermine the codes process in order to mandate solar in statute, through communications with Senator Wiener and his staff, we are hopeful our issues can be addressed.

Strict solar requirements are heading our way. This is California, after all.  So addressing some policy issues ahead of time is a priority for our industry and we are pleased Senator Weiner is engaging in such a thoughtful manner.

DUAL AGENCY BILL SET ASIDE FOR THE YEAR

Posted: April 28, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

We are happy to report that the Dual Agency Ban Bill, AB 1059 (Gonzalez Fletcher), has been pulled from the Assembly Judiciary Committee docket and we have been told by the author’s staff that she will not pursue the measure further right now (but that it may be revisited over the Interim Recess or next year).  This is great news and we appreciate the fact that Ms. Gonzalez Fletcher has chosen not to move forward with this bill.

Right now is a good time to breathe a sigh of relief, and take stock of where we are on the issue – but we want to be clear that the war is not necessarily over.  However, we can assume the sponsors of this bill will likely continue to press this issue and we should work to communicate about the benefits of dual agency with policymakers, clients, and the public at large.

On this bill, we saw a mobilization of our industry unlike any we have seen in several years.  In a coordinated effort through the CBPA office in Sacramento, local chapters of NAIOP, BOMA, AIR and members of ICSC and individual members of CBPA across the state worked quickly to educate our own members and potential allies about the negative impacts of the bill and shared our concerns with Assemblymembers and their staff.

And to find a positive in the midst of a storm, this was actually a great opportunity for our industry to work with legislators and their staffs and discuss the differences between residential and commercial transactions and why the State treats them separately in statute and how Dual Agency was being mischaracterized by the sponsor of the bill.  This type of education is very important and helps lay positive groundwork and builds trust for success on other commercial real estate issues.

We will continue to watch for activity in the Legislature while working with local chapters, associations, and companies to provide a “roadmap” to continued education of policymakers and the public about our industry.  But this bill may come back early next year and we need to be ready.

Until then, thank you to the hundreds of companies and individuals that stepped up to meet this threat to our industry.

“MOD SQUAD” DEMOCRATS NAME NEW CONVENER

Posted: April 28, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) and Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) today announced that Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) has been named the convener of the informal caucus of moderate Democrat Assemblymembers known as the New Democrats, effective immediately, according to a press release from the group.

“I am honored to have been selected as convener by my colleagues and look forward to working to find common ground and real solutions to the problems facing our state,” said Assemblymember Gray. “The New Democrats are committed to a pragmatic approach that promotes the interests of hard-working Californians alienated by the extreme partisanship of both the left and the right.”

In addition, the New Democrats today announced the creation of an executive committee that will collaboratively set policy discussion.

The New Democrats, or “Moderate Caucus,” or “Mod Squad,” as they are alternatively known, has become a growing force in the State Capitol as its members have started sticking together more often to influence policy and stop or advance bills.  As a business group we find that our members and the Mod Squad tend to have more in common than not, so we do our best to keep them informed of our issues.

Congratulations to Assemblymember Gray!

PROGRESS ON SOLAR BILL

Posted: April 28, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

We are very pleased to report productive conversations with Senator Wiener (D-San Francisco) regarding his SB 71, a bill that is looking to better enable adoption of solar in residential and commercial settings.  Although this early version of the bill gives some of our members heartburn because it seems to unintentionally undermine the codes process in order to mandate solar in statute, through communications with Senator Wiener and his staff, we are hopeful our issues can be addressed.

Strict solar requirements are heading our way. This is California, after all.  So addressing some policy issues ahead of time is a priority for our industry and we are pleased Senator Weiner is engaging in such a thoughtful manner.

PREVAILING WAGE MANDATE BILL FIXED

Posted: April 28, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

We are happy to report and want to thank all of you that helped, AB 199 (Chu; D-San Jose), a legislative proposal which would have posed a huge threat to the entire construction industry by mandating the payment of Prevailing Wages for private residential projects in California, has been amended in such a manner to address our issues.

Due to the recent amendments to AB 199, our coalition, led by friends over at the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), have withdrawn its opposition to the measure.  The amendments return the bill to existing code (eliminating the problematic reference to “political subdivisions”) and add “a successor agency to a redevelopment agency when acting in that capacity,” after redevelopment agency.

These amendments reflect the author’s and sponsor’s stated intent of the bill – to ensure that projects that had been approved by an RDA continue to pay prevailing wage.  Doing so addressed the concern that the bill was far more expansive, requiring nearly all private residential development to pay prevailing wage.

There may still be some concern on the bill from our friends in local government regarding the RDA issue, but for now the major threat to all private construction has been lifted.

Thank you to CBIA for leading this effort and to all of you that picked up the phone and/or wrote a letter to let policymakers know how bad this issue was for our industry.

ADA CODE REGULATORY UPDATE PACKAGE RELEASED

Posted: April 28, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Division of the State Architect has release its Access Compliance package which starts the 45-Day language comment period for the disabled access update (7/1/18).  Your Sacramento staff is reviewing the package to see if there are any objectionable provisions remaining (we have been working on this for the past year).

We would like to make sure that members of the industry who work with the code also have the opportunity to review and provide comments on any potential issues.  Click here and go to the DSA-AC section to access the official documents.

PREVAILING WAGE MANDATE BILL FIXED

Posted: April 21, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

We are happy to report and want to thank all of you that helped, AB 199 (Chu; D-San Jose), a legislative proposal which would have posed a huge threat to the entire construction industry by mandating the payment of Prevailing Wages for private residential projects in California, has been amended in such a manner to address our issues.

Due to the recent amendments to AB 199, our coalition, led by friends over at the California Building Industry Association (CBIA), have withdrawn its opposition to the measure.  The amendments return the bill to existing code (eliminating the problematic reference to “political subdivisions”) and add “a successor agency to a redevelopment agency when acting in that capacity,” after redevelopment agency.

These amendments reflect the author’s and sponsor’s stated intent of the bill – to ensure that projects that had been approved by an RDA continue to pay prevailing wage.  Doing so addressed the concern that the bill was far more expansive, requiring nearly all private residential development to pay prevailing wage.

There may still be some concern on the bill from our friends in local government regarding the RDA issue, but for now the major threat to all private construction has been lifted.

Thank you to CBIA for leading this effort and to all of you that picked up the phone and/or wrote a letter to let policymakers know how bad this issue was for our industry.

DUAL “DUAL AGENCY” BILLS DUEL IN SACRAMENTO

Posted: April 21, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

As we have previously let you know, two bills have been gut-and-amended to deal with Dual Agency in the State of California and are currently in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.  One of the bills deals directly with residential disclosure issues related to the California Supreme Court case knows as Horiike.  The other bill is using the cover of that court case to ban the common practice altogether in the commercial setting at the behest of a tenant only brokerage firm.

Here are links to the two measures:

AB 1626 (Irwin)Dual Agency Disclosures is a measure sponsored by the Realtors.

AB 1059 (Gonzalez Fletcher) Bans Dual Agency is a measure sponsored by a tenant-rep brokerage firm.

The Realtors have an effort at reform with AB 1626 to deal with issues the court raised for residential transactions noted in the Horiike case.

We are very concerned with AB 1059 as it would have a negative impact on the commercial real estate industry and is not actually addressing issues related to Horiike as it is confined to commercial transactions.

AB 1059 appears to be using the court decision as a pretext to pursue a pre-existing agenda that would codify a particular business model and discomfit competitors (and upend an entire industry in the process).

OPPOSE AB 1059 DUAL AGENCY BAN

Posted: April 21, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Our members have let us know how bad AB 1059 is and there are active efforts all across California to communicate to legislators how this bill would upend our entire industry.  We have been asked to share information on how companies can go on record opposing this bill so we are providing the following address and fax number for you to send a short letter:

 

The Honorable Mark Stone

Chair, Assembly Judiciary Committee

State Capitol

Sacramento, CA 95691

RE: AB 1059 (Gonzalez Fletcher) DUAL AGENCY BAN ***OPPOSE***

Set for Hearing May 2, 2017

 

Dear Assemblymember Stone:

 

FAX LETTER TO:  916-319-2188

You do not need to write a long technical legal letter.  To oppose this bill simply write a short note explaining that despite proponents claims, AB 1059 will hurt small and large tenants alike, driving down competition, raising costs and making transactions more difficult.

Under this bill real estate transactions will be more complicated, costly, and adversarial than they are today by banning the ability for one firm – mutually agreeable to both parties — from coordinating purchase and/or lease transactions.  There are already rules in place to mandate disclosure of dual representation, so there is full transparency.

COSTAR STORY ON CA DUAL AGENCY BAN

Posted: April 21, 2017 | Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

Here is a recent story by Costar on two dual agency bills introduced in California.  See below for more detail about the two bills. Costar Story: CA to Consider New Legislation On Dual Agency

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