San Diego City Council Passes Two Measures to Hold Banks Accountable for Abandoned Homes

by on September 20, 2012 · 3 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, San Diego

Certain circles of San Diegans are celebrating. The article in the UT San Diego yesterday [Wed. Sept. 19] said it all:

The San Diego City Council Tuesday unanimously approved two out of three ordinances designed to keep banks accountable for distressed homes.”

The two ordinances passed will arm San Diego with more methods and ways to monitor and hold property owners responsible for abandoned properties, and they also will require banks that conduct business with the city of San Diego to provide information on lending, foreclosures and service to minority communities.  The third ordinance will not be discussed until October.

Progressives who worked on these issues are giving thanks to the leadership of Councilmembers Todd Gloria and Tony Young. A broad coalition had come together to apply pressure and the San Diego City Council passed the Abandoned Properties Ordinance and the Responsible Banking Ordinance the same evening.

The Abandoned Property Ordinance,sponsored by Gloria, will strengthen existing code around securing abandoned properties and holding owners accountable for keeping our neighborhoods clean.  Gloria said that new rules give the city a chance to keep neighborhoods safer and cleaner, and stated :

“This is important to everyone who has had to deal with a blighted property in their neighborhood.”

The Responsible Banking Ordinance, sponsored by Young, who is also Council President, will require banks doing business with the city to disclose local plans and progress reports in areas such as lending, foreclosures and services to minority communities, which will be reviewed by a community-based committee. This will provide needed leverage to push banks to better serve our communities.

Young commented that he sponsored the rule change after he had attended a March conference in Washington, D.C., where he heard other cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, were enacting similar measures.

Young stated:

“It makes a lot of sense if you’re going to compete for city business and taxpayer dollars that we want to see how you act with the public. We want to see you do it in a smart and respectful way.”

Council President Young controls the docket, and he said that he would have rather partnered the third ordiance with the other two but  City Attorney Jan Goldsmith is still studying the proposal.

The third piece of this critical package of bills is the Property Value Protection Ordinance (PVPO), sponsored by Councilmember David Alvarez, which would require banks to register with the city when they take action to foreclose a home, and then levy a fine of $1000 a day if the responsible bank doesn’t keep the property up to code. This is expected to be brought to the City Council in October.

Source: U-T San Diego, ACCE.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Prattle On, Boyo September 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

These two laws are a step in the right direction, but they are largely toothless. If the city of San Diego really wanted to play hardball with “too big to jail” banks, then they would have taken a page from the San Berdo playbook and used eminent domain against the banks.


Marisa September 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

Hear Hear! Now that sounds toothy! :)


pjt September 22, 2012 at 10:13 am

Hold the banks “responsible” for something, what on Earth is the Council thinking.


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