OCTOBER 2004: THE ELECTION ISSUE
THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TALK REAL ESTATE

President George W. Bush and his Democratic challenger, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry differ on many things, including housing.

Bush and Kerry support private property rights, and allowing state and local governments authority over land use issues. From there, opinions diverge. Bush wants to put money into roads and highways so commutes are less painful. Kerry wants federal funds to go toward better coordination between transportation and housing. Bush wants his single family housing development tax credit to pass so that we construct more starter homes. Kerry is looking to expand FHA financing, and provide incentives to keep rentals affordable.
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THEY WERE ASKING $16 MILLION
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THE ESTATE TOOK A YEAR TO SELL
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SCHWARZENEGGER AND SHRIVER SELL OUT OF THE PALISADES

Two years ago Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver moved from their estate in Pacific Palisades to a mansion in Brentwood. It cost them approximately $11.9 million to buy their new ocean view home, which sits on six acres. This is where the couple now spends time when they are in Southern California.
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REHABBING A CRAFTSMAN BUNGALOW
- Ocean Park, July 2004


THE GOALS OF THE SANTA MONICA CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES

The Santa Monica City Council dates back to March 28,1906, when an election was held to approve the Santa Monica City Charter. Under the new charter, the City Council was comprised of one mayor with veto power, and one council member from each of its seven wards. The charter required weekly meetings. Council members received $5 per meeting, which were not to exceed one per week.

In 1944, the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce began a study of the problems confronting the city. It had become clear that Santa Monica was not flourishing under its system of divided authority in its city government, and by other repercussions from a charter adopted when Santa Monica had less than a 12,000 population. An elected board spent two years designing the current council-city manager form of government. Nearly half of the cities in the U.S. with populations of 2,500 or more operate under the council-city manager form of government with an elected governing body and a manager hired by that body to carry out the policies it establishes.

This year Santa Monica boasts an entertaining roster of candidates for this year’s City Council election — healers, educators, politicians, service providers and the Governator’s brother-in-law. We asked all candidates to answer the same question:

"If you were elected to the Santa Monica City Council, will you explain how you will make a difference in 25 words or less."

Following, in alphabetical order are the responses we received. Election Day is
Tuesday, Nov. 2. Support Santa Monica.

Support Democracy. Vote….

“The front-burner issues of growth, traffic and open space, require my qualified
commitment as a public servant. I look forward to the challenge.”
Leticia Anderson
Nurse
andersontish@yahoo.com

No comment
Linda Armstrong

“Santa Monica will be more ‘user friendly.’ I’ll direct city resources to our citizens and implement common sense solutions to problems, especially vagrancy and traffic.”
Bill Bauer
Advertising copy writer
bauer4council@aol.com

“I will continue being a voice for residents who want a livable Santa Monica:
beautiful parks, safe streets, great schools and terrific neighborhoods.”
Richard Bloom
Mayor

richard@bloomlaw.net

“If elected I will represent the renters and homeowners. I am not part of the
good ‘ol boy network that has run Santa Monica for decades.”
David Cole
Health care administrator

Cole4Council@aol.com

“As a physician, I listen, evaluate data and make difficult decisions. I will prioritize city spending to give our citizens a better quality of life.”
Matt Dinolfo
Physician/university teacher

dinolfom@aol.com

“As an independent and thoughtful problem solver, I listen to all voices in
Santa Monica so that we can achieve the community we all desire.”
Michael Feinstein
City Council member/author
mfeinstein@feinstein.org

“I will continue to emphasize the protection and improvement of residential
neighborhoods, funding for education, resources to maintain public safety, and
clean (and more) parks.”
Ken Genser
City Council member

2004@genser.org

“I will protect our quality of life: Our first rates schools, neighborhood serving
businesses, public safety, the arts, parks and beaches, clean air and water.”
Patricia Hoffman
Community volunteer

phoffmansm@earthlink.net

“I will continue to serve as the voice of reason on the council to improve the quality of life for all residents of Santa Monica.”
Herb Katz
City council member/architect
rtkarch@aol.com

“I will work to improve customer service in City Hall by advocating for a more
responsive and accountable city process for property owners.”
Maria Loya
Public Policy Director

Loyamaria@hotmail.com

“All candidates say they will be different. Most forget their promises when elected. I pledge to set up citizen oversight for accountability, to solicit and moderate input from residents, and provide feedback from polling the electronic plebiscite.”
Jonathan Mann
Flight attendant

jonmann@adelphia.net

No comment.
Leah Mendelsohn
Community Volunteer

leahmendelsohn@aol.com

"Our current leaders have lost touch. As a working mom in the Pico Neighborhood, I will find common sense solutions to homelessness/vagrancy, traffic and parking."
Kathryn Morea
Database Analyst

kathrynmorea2004@yahoo.com

“All my life, I’ve organized and managed projects that have made people’s lives better: I will apply the same dedication and resources to Santa Monica’s problems: Homelessness, traffic, and lack of parkland.”
Bobby Shriver
Chair, Park Commission

bobbyshriver@yahoo.com

No Comment.
Tom Viscount
tom@swicherz.com

PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR THE RAINY SEASON

It's autumn; we recently had our first good rain. Did you notice how your home reacted? Are there leaves and twigs are clogging the gutters? The rainy season will soon be here. Have you thought about preparing your home for the winter months?

For the better part of the year, the blistering Southern California sun has been beating down on our roofs, causing most roofing materials degrade.... Didja know, a poorly vented attic can easily reach 150 degrees? Not only is it uncomfortable, it takes its toll on exterior surfaces - drying out caulking and cracking paint. Do some rainy season preventative maintenance, and you may lessen the risk of leaks, dry rot, mold and other roof issues. Minimizing repair bills, extending the life expectancy of many components and perhaps reducing energy consumption are other up sides to preventative home maintenance.

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3 STRUCTURES IN CULVER CITY - 9,792 sq. ft. - Zoned M1

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EASEMENTS MADE EASY

We recently bought a home on the West Side, and as we were going over the paperwork, we learned that the city has taken five feet for a utility easement.
Is this standard?
- CN
Los Angeles

As you probably know, the official definition of an easement is the legal right of another to use part of your property. Utility easements – either above or below ground – are used for power lines, phone lines, water pipes, sewer pipes, gas lines, and TV cable lines. Many properties around town have this sort of easement, known as an easement in gross. It’s standard operating procedure; as without these free easements, most utilities companies would not agree to serve individual parcels.

Most easements in gross benefit public utilities or government agencies. They are usually recorded in the public records when a lot is subdivided. Your title policy should list all property easement, both aboveground and underground.

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I have an apartment building in West Los Angeles that I’ve owned for 25 years. Part of the driveway on this property includes an easement on my neighbor’s property. A new owner purchased the property next door and is saying that he is going to redo his property so my tenants can no longer use the part of the driveway that’s on his land. Am I going to be forced to move the driveway on this property?
- MS
Santa Monica

It sounds like you have a prescriptive easement issue. According to noted real estate columnist Bob Bruss, “If you use part of your neighbor's property without permission, or someone uses part of your property even after you tell them to stop, a prescriptive easement for permanent use might arise.”

To legally acquire a prescriptive easement over the property of another owner, you or your tenants must use the easement in an open, obvious and clearly visible manner. In California, you must be using this easement for five years without interruption for it to become a valid easement.

If the new owner of the adjoining lot attempts to terminate your tenant’s driveway use, the legal action to perfect a prescriptive easement is called a “quiet title action.”

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We went to put in a pool on our property, and when the pool company came to discuss the project, they noted that there was a city sewer easement in the backyard which affects the placement of the pool. Do we have any recourse on relocating the sewer line?
SR
Pacific Palisades

Talk to the city, they will tell your scenario and ask them about your options on relocating the sewer line. Also, check your title policy. If the policy failed to disclose a properly recorded underground easement, the title insurer can be required to pay either the cost of moving the underground easement or to compensate you for the diminished value of the property.

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Back in the day when Topanga Canyon was a hippie hangout, there was a driveway easement across our property for the rear neighbors to reach their house. As Topanga developed, new roads were put in, so our neighbor gained their own driveway access. The easement over our land hasn't been used since then. We’d like to build a guest house where part of the recorded easement is located. The neighbor has given us their okay. So, what do we do to get rid of the easement?
MT
Topanga

You’ll need to have a real estate attorney prepare a quitclaim deed for the neighbor to sign. Then the document must be recorded. This will eliminate his right to the easement over your lot.

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The city of L.A. has a locked alley which abuts my home, as well as all my neighbors. One owner has fenced part of the alley as his back yard. Another of my neighbors told me I can have the alley appended to my lot. Do I have any legal rights to claim this section of the unused alley?
PW
Venice

It’s government property, so you and your neighbors cannot claim title to the unused alley by adverse possession or prescriptive easement. Your best bet is to get all the affected neighbors to sign a petition requesting that the city abandon its alley and transfer title to the adjoining homeowners.

For your real estate needs, e-mail Jodi Summers at jodis@verizon.net, or call 310-260-8269.