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May 18, 2012

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Merced, CA

City Council has nothing better to do, than help big bank...

Merced City Council eyes repeal of foreclosure ordinance 2011 city law helps keep renters in their homes Roman Contreras has lived in his single-story house at Casual Court in North Merced for the past six years. He's paid his $1,000 rent on time each month to his landlord. Six months ago, his family began receiving foreclosure letters from various banks about the house. Thanks to the Merced City Council's passing of a 2011 ordinance that says foreclosure isn't a valid reason to evict a tenant, Contreras hasn't been forced to leave the home. Roman Contreras, with daughters Kyerra, 5, and Chloe, 10, stands in front of the North Merced home he rents. The house was foreclosed upon, and Contreras hopes his family will be able to stay. But now the council wants to take another crack at the law, which has been criticized by area real estate agents as an affront to private property rights. The council will review the ordinance during its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 678 W. 18th St. In February, Contreras' rental home was supposed to go to auction, but that was postponed. "I kind of found out it was going in foreclosure," he said, adding that his old landlord kept telling him not to worry. Last month, the house was bought by a Sacramento company, AMA Construct, at a second auction. He was offered $1,000 to turn over his keys to the house, but he declined the offer, Contreras recalled. "We'll wait and see and hopefully be able to stay here," the 34-year-old said. The new landlord gave him a notice to get out, saying he had 90 days from the day the house had been sold to vacate, which would be sometime in July.  (May 19, 2012 | post #2)

Merced, CA

City Council has nothing better to do, than help big bank...

http://www.merceds /19/2351891/merced -city-council-eyes -repeal.html  (May 19, 2012 | post #1)

Merced, CA

Merced Mayor Tries to Repeal Tenant Protection Law

Merced’s new mayor, Stan Thurston, is seeking to re-open the floodgates to mass evictions by banks and investors acquiring foreclosed properties in Merced. The Mayor is leading efforts to repeal Merced’s Just Cause for Eviction law that protects renters after foreclosure. The city council will vote whether to repeal the law on Monday, May 21, at Merced City Hall. Since December, arbitrary evictions of tenants after foreclosure have been outlawed under Merced’s just cause for eviction law. The law applies to foreclosed properties and prohibits evictions of renters unless there is specific cause (like nonpayment of rent, nuisance, owner move-in, etc) for the eviction. Foreclosure alone is not grounds for eviction of tenants under the ordinance. Similar laws to stop arbitrary evictions have been upheld by California courts. “While local officials across the state are looking for ways to protect their residents from national banks, Mayor Thurston stands out as a local official who is actively looking for ways to make it easier for banks to evict more tenants in his community,” commented Dean Preston, Executive Director of Tenants Together, California’s statewide organization for renters’ rights. “His predecessors passed a law that, without costing the city a dime, stops post-foreclosure evictions of innocent renters, and one of his first acts as mayor is to try to repeal that law. Is he serious?” The repeal effort has prompted widespread criticism. The law’s supporters include not just tenant rights groups, but labor and other allies. Most recently, the local chapter of UDW, the homecare workers union, issued a letter supporting the law. Other allies will testify alongside tenants at Monday’s repeal hearing. Mayor Pro Tem Noah Lor, Councilmember Mary-Michal Rawling, and Councilmember Bill Blake have been steadfast supporters of the law. In a recent Op-Ed in the local Merced Sun-Star, they explained their support for the law: “We will not continue to allow banks and other post-foreclosure owners to displace Merced's families for no good reason. The ‘Just Cause for Eviction’ law strikes the right balance: allowing eviction where a tenant does something wrong or where the landlord wants to move into the property, but prohibiting eviction where there is no good cause.” The Sun-Star issued an editorial endorsing the law and applauding the council for adopting it November 2011. Councilmember Pedrozo has confounded observers by changing his position repeatedly on the issue. In August 2011, he spoke and blogged in support of the law, calling it a “proactive approach” to foreclosure evictions and prolonged vacancies. He also praised the proposed law on his blog. Three months later, in early November, he voted against the law. On second reading in late November, he voted for it, although his final vote was believed to be a procedural tactic. According to Guillermo Elenes, organizer with Tenants Together, “We’re waiting to see which Pedrozo shows up on May 21 – the one who stands with Mercedians or the one who helps banks evict our neighbors.”  (May 18, 2012 | post #1)

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