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  • Archive for June, 2017

    Jun 30

    HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” — President Ronald Reagan

    What started out as a celebration to mark our young nation’s independence from England more than 200 years ago, has evolved into a national holiday that celebrates the American spirit and our nation’s independent and powerful leadership in the world. Our nation was founded by recognizing a person’s inherent rights and responsibilities. We were founded on the principles of equality, religious tolerance, and opportunity. These beliefs have been challenged many times over the years, but have always been defended by men and women willing to protect these principles, sometimes by risking the ultimate sacrifice.

    As you celebrate this year take a moment to reflect on the unique and great nature of this country and to thank those who have given their lives to defend our way of life, as well as the current men and women in uniform in harm’s way. Because we have the freedom to do so, we sometimes get lost in the details of whatever societal argument we are currently in and a day like the 4th of July provides a good opportunity to spend time with family and friends, enjoy our freedoms, and reflect on what a truly great nation we live in.

    Jun 30

    ASSEMBLYMEMBER COOPER STATEMENT ON SINGLE PAYER THREATS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    The following is a press release by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) on recent threats of violence aimed at legislators.  The irony of the Reagan quote above and the fact that our politics has taken such a violent turn recently is not lost on us.  We are running the statement in full as we believe its importance cannot be understated:

    Assemblymember Jim Cooper Issues Statement on Adverse Reactions on Single Payer Healthcare Legislation

    Sacramento – Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) released the following statement in response to recent provocations surrounding SB 562 and single payer healthcare:

    “I would like to express my deepest condemnation of the cowardly acts being provoked by the proponents of single payer healthcare. As a 33-year law enforcement officer, I have seen first-hand how threats impact victims and their families. It is never justifiable to incite violence and threaten the lives of an elected official, their family, or any person.

    No matter how just the cause, any person that condones violence, stands in complete disdain of our democracy and the principles that we as Americans and Californians will soon be celebrating on our nation’s day of Independence.

    I am extremely disappointed and saddened that those who support an admirable cause have resorted to reckless, irresponsible and completely inexcusable actions to voice their opposition to a decision made by a leader in our state. I stand in strong solidarity with my colleague, Speaker Rendon’s decision to hold the single payer healthcare bill pending further work and discussion. He did so to address many serious issues, such as financing, delivery of care, cost controls, and the realities that the bill was immensely incomplete.

    I call on the proponents of single payer healthcare to immediately denounce the violence and threats to members of the Legislature and their families.”

    Assemblymember Cooper represents the Cities of Sacramento, Elk Grove, Galt, and Lodi.

    Jun 30

    THE GRAVE ISSUE OF INCREASING PROPERTY TAX REVENUE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our good friend Joel Fox, Editor of Fox and Hounds Daily, has penned another great article about Proposition 13 and the political dynamics of property taxes.

     “My fellow Baby Boomers and I can help raise tax revenue for schools and local governments—all we have to do is die. That’s the message I got from this Bloomberg News headline: Boomers Nearing End of Life Seen Helping California Tax Revenue.

    The news story reports on a brief issued by the Legislative Analyst’s Office that examines how aging baby boomers die or move to smaller quarters freeing homes around the state for new buyers. Under the Proposition 13 tax system, the property tax cap comes off when a home is sold and taxes are set at one-percent of the new market value established by the purchase price. Given the increase in home values over the years, the LAO predicts such activity would provide a significant boost to property tax revenue.”

    Click here to read the rest of the op/ed.

    Jun 30

    VACANCIES AND RENTS UP AT MALLS

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    Our friends at ICSC report that “the national retail vacancy rate rose to 10 percent in the second quarter, from 9.9 percent in the first quarter, according to real estate research firm Reis. The mall vacancy rate grew slightly, by 0.2 percent, to 8.1 percent in the quarter from the previous quarter, Reis said in its quarterly report. Net absorption, which is measured in terms of available retail space sold in the market during a certain time period, fell to 421,000 square feet in the quarter, from 2 million square feet in the first quarter, the lowest level since 2011. A spate of store closings by chains such as Payless Shoe Source and Macy’s drove the trend. Meanwhile, national asking rents grew by 0.4 percent to $20.64 per square foot, and effective rents increased by 0.4 percent from the first quarter, according to the report.”

    Jun 30

    AB 1553 WILL PROVIDE HELP WITH ADA UPGRADES

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    We are in support of AB 1553 (Cervantes; D-Riverside) a bill that makes changes to the Capital Access Program for Small Business to enable more businesses can access funding to make their properties into compliance with ADA codes. This bill authorizes the use of moneys in the California Americans with Disabilities Act Small Business Capital Access Loan Program (ADA program) fund for payments to borrowers to provide incentives to participate in the ADA program, which will enable more properties to make upgrades.

    AB 1553 would also expand the definition of eligible applicants for this program to include those with less than $5 million in total gross annual income, assuring that more small businesses will benefit and even more properties will become compliant.

    This bill will be heard next week and we will keep you posted on its progress.

    Jun 30

    SB 700 ENERGY STORAGE INITIATIVE

    Posted by Crystal Whitfield | No Comments

    We are in support of SB 700 (Wiener; D-San Francisco) a bill that will establish a statewide system of rebate programs to subsidize the cost of installation of customer-sited energy storage.

    SB 700 would authorize the Investor Owned Utilities to collect revenue for the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) for the ten-year period (2018-2027) to incentivize the installation of small-scale energy storage which will complement the increasing amount of renewable energy coming on-line.

    The power output of standard rooftop solar energy systems is the greatest between the hours of 10am to 3pm.  However, as the state moves towards Time-of-Use utility rates, the renewable energy produced during the middle of the day will be at the cheapest rate when demand for power is low while power used during the late-afternoon and early-evening will be at the highest rate when demand for power surges.

    Complementing the installation of distributed renewable energy systems with on-site or near-site energy storage systems will provide significant cost savings to the utility customer while offering the added benefit of providing for improved grid harmonization.

    SB 700 will help provide incentive funding to encourage the installation of these much needed energy storage systems.

    This bill will be heard next week and we will keep you posted on its progress.

    Jun 23

    AB 943 WILL PROVIDE MORE HOUSING

    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.

    Jun 23

    AB 890 COULD REDUCE DEVELOPMENT

    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.

    Jun 23

    SB 772 EXEMPTS CAL/OSHA FROM ECONOMIC IMPACT ANALYSES

    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.

    Jun 23

    PROP 13 SPLIT-ROLL TAX – THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES

    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.

    Jun 23

    “SURF-BY LAWSUITS” ARE REALLY A THING

    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.

    Jun 16

    SENATE PASSES 2017-18 STATE BUDGET

    Posted by CBPA | 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.