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County’s New General Plan Is A Hot Potato

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Aired 10/21/10

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors started hearings on Wednesday on an update of its General Plan. The plan features new growth curbs and policies for the unincorporated areas of the county, including zoning and density policies. The last time the General Plan was updated for rural areas was 30 years ago. The issues raised by the plan are so controversial that the vote was tabled until November.

So many people showed up to speak at the San Diego County Board of Supervisors hearing this week on the update of the County General Plan that the hearing had to be continued to November. The plan features new growth curbs and policies for the unincorporated areas of the county, including zoning and density policies. The last time the General Plan was updated for rural areas was 30 years ago.

GUEST: Alison St. John, reporter, KPBS News

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This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. The introduction of a new general plan for land use in San Diego County is the kind of wonky policy issue that doesn't usually elicit a passionate response but a proposed update to that 30-year-old plan is getting a lot of attention because is makes a dramatic shift in where development would occur, the new county was introduced in county Allison Saint John is here to tell us about it, good morning, Allison.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Good morning Maureen.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Give us an idea of what a January plan is. What does it do?

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: A general plan is just what if sounds like, it's how development and growth will happen in a general area. This particular plan does not apply to -- some areas that seem like they're not rural, big areas like Ramona and Fallbrook, some areas that are on the borderline, so this gentleman plan is something that has been worked on for more than ten years and a lot of people will be affected, half a million people live in that incorporated area. So if you imagine whatever city or area you live in, your government is coming up with a new plan.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I think a lot of people understand the fact that in city it is, where things are zoned for commercial purposes, things are zoned for residential purposes, is that what we're talking about?

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Half a million are living in the unincorporated areas and they're saying there's gonna be 1.2 million more in the next 40 years. When thinking about the fact that water is getting scarce, global warming is one of the things that is being talked about more and more. So the question is, how do you plan for that massive growth when you have shrinking resources? And the back kitchen is perhaps not as -- obviously not as developed as the cities of so that's a lot of different perspectives on how it should grow, should it accept more of the growth. Or should we preserve it?

THE COURT: What does in new general plan advise?

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: There's local planning -- and basically, the over all philosophy here is to move the growth. So the last plan was paragraphed in 1978, and the growth, now, is gonna be shifted, the proposed growth, the growth that will be allowed, away from the far east, back country more rural areas, and out to the edge of the incorporated cities. Alpine, Ramona, valley center, spring valley.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So instead of encouraging growth keeper into the back country, it's saying come closer to where there's already developed infra structure and so forth. Why? Did the planners tell us why?

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Yes, it's interesting, Maureen, because there have been a couple of propositions on the ballot, people may remember in which there were back votes, where to maintain open space in the back kitchen, but since then, this have been very wig changes issue one of them is the threat of fire. And we've heard eight with the county not having a coordinated plan for fire. So there's a motivation to not allow development way out into the back country. But to encourage them to come back to the places where there are roads and stations and water services. The second is water, this is huge, and where in the back country, they don't have services, they're on groundwater. And the third let me is this element of green house gas reduction. And the state has started topaz laws saying every local community has to reduce green house gasses. One of the obvious things is, well, let's not have them live way the heck out there where they have to drive miles and miles to get to work. So is that combined with the fact that it needs money to build roads are are it costs money to build fire stations, there's a lot of practical reasons that a taxpayer can relate to, not to allow growth to happen in such a scattered fashion. So this is interesting because in the past, open space, preserving the back country has been the main motive. But now there is some other very important and dramatic --

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Practical reasons. I'm wondering, this is a hard core policy issue that doesn't usually elicit a lot of passion, but that was not the case, at the meeting you were at yesterday.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: I can't remember, a meting, Maureen, I've seen so many people sign up to speak. Not could you wanting the interest groups, they cooperate get them all in in the one day. So there will be another hearing next month. And people are passionate about it. People who move to the back country because they don't want to see more growth. They are up in arms about changing zoning. And other people who have the land zoned for potential increases, because it increases the -- so the supervisors, are faced with a very complex issue. With people on both sides of the issue, not happy with the way this recommended map is coming down.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So if you owned a big chunk of property, in an area that is zoned downward, so it can't be developed, that means the value of your land requests down.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Yes. Although this is debatable. And the county has produced a report saying that actually people overestimated the value of their land. Because if in theory you could build one house per two or twenty or forty areas, maybe you were on a slope, maybe you were half a mile from any road. Somebody who's gonna buy your land is not gonna be able to develop that much. So they claim that a lot of that was theoretical. But there are others, farmers, for example, who are very angry about this and say the value of our property will know res, and that means we will be able do borrow less from the banks and it's gonna seriously affect our ability to borrow less from the banks. It's gonna seriously affect our ability to continue to do business.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Talk about the concerns of people closer to the cities. They're seeing if indeed this general plan went into effect that their populations would increase dramatically.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Yes, hundreds of meetings, hundreds of thousands of hours of meetings with the local community plans and the county a planning commission. And they've tried to hammer out compromises, so that communities hike valley center or fine veal. There's 27 of them, will not feel like they're just having this imposed on them, the extra growth. Most of the planning groups are in support of the recommended plan. There's four maps, and one of them is the recommended plan. But many of them have exception, you know, we accept it but we don't want like this particular road or zoning of the so the detail in this plan that needs to be hammered down before it can be passed is immense.

THE COURT: What kind of comment it is did you hear? You said this was a public hearing that drew more than you'd actually ever seen. What were some of the comments that stick in your mind?

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Some people in the harmony grove area up there by San Marcos, which is very close to the cities, you'd hard he believe it was incorporated, said there was some zoning this that was like a give away to the developers, and they felt hike their community would be completely transformed, if this plan went thru with the current zoning, if developers had managed and enacted extra potential for development, that was gonna ruin the quality of their lands, they went out there, bought land, wanted to bring up their children in a rural area. On the other hand there other people in the Wahito Ranch way out there in Escondido, beautiful area of the last remaining Mexican land ground, where the purpose represented the owners called this plan a land grab, and he basically threatened the supervisors with lawsuits, ballot measures, possible candidates to replace them on the ballot if they passed this plan, because he thought this was taking away -- to the effect of taking away property. And that, Maureen is a whole 'nother gray area. Because local government does have the right to rezone Rand but you can fight in court if the on other than feel feels like it's an unreasonable.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Did you get a feeling as to how the individual supervisors were taking it?

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: The ones who were most affected were bill born and Diane Jacob. And the supervisors asked very specific questions around specific communities that were in their districts. The other three, most of their districts are in incorporated district it is so it doesn't affect their constituents. Inserting a road, for example in an area where the local red debts felt like this rose is simply just a camel's nose under the tent to get a development later on. But bill horn did say, I'll get into these, and things we're upset about. So I think it's an unknown, which way, it will go, and 134 people suggest they may not decide whether to take this decision. And they make might throw it back to the voters again on the ballot. So we shall see.

THE COURT: That's fascinating. Earlier in our confusion, you did make the point that even though this general plan is for land use in the incorporated areas of San Diego County. That it is actually of grate importance to all of San Diego County. Tell us why again.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Well, air, water, fire, these are all things that affect us all, mus the fact that as taxpayers, roads are something that cost money. As taxpayers, look at the fact that the infrastructure -- and how unprotected people in the cities fell. So that's definitely something which everybody who lives in the county, whether they listen in the back county or not is gonna feel. Also, there's the whole issue where do you want to live in a county where you can't just drive out and see rural areas because growth has been scattered across the beautiful rural areas. And I think it's a wake up call -- seems pretty significant. An extra million people on top of the three million people we have now. Whatever community you riff in, you are gonna be looking at some of these similar issues of how to grow over the next 40y years. And dealing with how to reduce green house gases.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It might do us all good to just check it out and see what it says.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: The plan? It's on the count ke's website. We'll have links on our website too.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Thank you so much.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: My pleasure Maureen.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And you can did and comment at KPBS dot org slash These Days. Coming up, the latest on the forever closure fiasco. And how it's affecting San Diego.

[[[NEW SEGMENT]]].

I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, you're listening to These Days on KPBS. The real estate slump and the foreclosure crisis have been headliner news in San Diego for a good two years now, and just about every few months, we ask, has the market hit bottom? Are foreclosures slowing down? But recent national news about how banks have been handling foreclosures have some analysts warning issue we still have a long way to go to get to a healthy -- fessed up to flawed business practices when it comes to foreclosures and consumer advocates are calling for a nation wide and what's behind it are my guests, Dean Calbreth is business columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune. Good morning.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Good morning.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Christian Peter .

RICKY YOUNG: Good morning.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And we'd like to invite our audience to join the conversation, have you gone through a foreclosure on your property or are you facing foreclosure? Tell us your story are and if you think the lender was fair about the procedure, give us a call with your questions and your comments, the number is 1-888-895-5727. Deep, basic of America, instituted a brief nationwide moratorium on foreclosures last week, why did they do that.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Well, all of the major lenders have sort of gotten bidden by some pretty terrible sounding depositions that were happening in lawsuits back in the -- on the east coast in places where foreclosures actually have to go through a judicial process to be approved. And as it turned out, the people who were taking these foreclosure documents to the judges were swearing to the judges but as it turns out, they were just rubber stamping them. They're called robosigners now, they were just checking do see that a signature was in order and just stamping them, passing them on, not really looking to see what the borrowers were really, truly -- , or what the underlying circumstances of the foreclosure were.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Why? What do they say? Why do they do this? Don't they have enough people.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Apparently not. Apparently not to process them the way they should be processed Mr.. are the -- this is a flood, an unprecedented flood of foreclosures going through the market, you know, it's estimated that there are -- so far this year, nationwide, there have been about 860000 or so foreclosures, it's projected that there should be about a 1.2 million by the end of the year. And this is more than there were raft year, and last year was pretty unprecedented of so they're really on uncharted territory. But also, I think that part of it is just cutting costs, despite the fact that we've given the banks trillions of dollars of money. They are not hiring the people they need to be hiring to make sure these people should be foreclosed upon instead of having their loans modified. And number two, insuring that the foreclosures are fully legal and proper.

Q. It's my understanding that the bank of America moratorium ?

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: That is right. Yeah, 23, states in the country require that foreclosure is good for additional review. And in these 23 states, I think of B of A is saying basically, I think the basic message is they're gonna let it go to the judicial system, and let the can judges decide whether they're doing an okay job. In the men time, I think that they are concerned about the growing lawsuits that have been occurring over the foreclosure process in the states, outside of those 23 states. So I think that's why they're continuing to review in states like California.

THE COURT: So dean, if in some cases, at least, banks are not following the proper procedures, is it the case why some people are surprised to find out that their property has been foreclosed on.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: There are. There are a number of cases. . They're gonna be foreclosed upon no matter. Up, it's a matter of time. Some of these cases where owners don't want live there anymore, they never lived there, they were second homes issue but a lot of cases can . Thee thought they had worked out modification deals, they were making their payments, they called the bank one day, and the bank says, by the way, we just foreclosed on you. You gotta get out of your house.

THE COURT: Oh, approximate my. 1-888-895-5727. What's the recourse? Did they sue?

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: They can sue, but in California it's hard. We've got this reputation as being a litigious state. But when it comes to foreclosing, we have less protections than other states. And it is . litigatable action.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Christian Peter is CEO of San Diego REO specialists, and you specialize in selling REO properties. What ask that mean exactly?

RICKY YOUNG: Sure, the banks hire us as their real estate professional to real estate owned property, it's basically when a property has gone through the foreclosure process, and the bank obtains ownership can have the proprietary, they hire us to bake a broker price of the property, give us a value of -- and as repairs are needed, what the property would be worth repaired.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So do you ever own these properties or are you just working for the banks.

RICKY YOUNG: We basically work for the banks as their real estate agent or broker.

THE COURT: How has business been going lately?

RICKY YOUNG: . That put a halt on foreclosures. Basically for about 90 days. And in 2009, we expected the volume of foreclosures to go back to normal. It hasn't ever since. So it's been about a little bit over two years since the real volume that we saw in 28 just isn't there kidnap and by that, I mean the supply has gone down drastically, over the last two years, 20, 25 months now. So realistically, you'll hear a lot of people say there is a tsunami of foreclosures out there waiting to happen. all at the same time. But they have been just trickling them out over the last 2004 months whereas they used to come in a blood.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Tell us more, dean about that 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of isn't that the law that requires the banks to try to work out? Sort of loan modification .

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: And they do give, there is that 90-day cushion. But in terms of actually providing a loan modification to some people, there is kind of a loop hole in that law where if they can show that they have a modification program they don't necessarily have to show that that individual home owner was invited into the program or was actively invited in. All they have to show is that yes, we are regularly getting people into these modifications. But the modifications often, like I say, you know, they often end in foreclosure. Even when the borrower is knowing that they're meeting the terms of the modification.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And haven't we heard over and over again, keen, how very few loan modifications have actually occurred.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: It is a very, very small number proportionally to the amount of people being foreclosed 07.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We are taking your calls and we're talking about foreclosures and loan modifications and basically about the newest wrinkle in this particular story, and that is bank of America has instituted a moratorium on foreclosures and it's still in effect here in California we're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Let's hear from Ray calling from lake side. Good morning, ray, and welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: I just want to share my home nightmare, and maybe I can get some correct here. . The first bank gave me a loan modification, the second bank charged off the account. We cannot afford the mortgage plus all the HOA fees that were occurring, so beeper only able to pay the first modification on. The HOA board sent us to small claims court 678 when we showed up, there was 50 small claims casings, but of the 50, only two of us showed up. So the real estate broker is saying, well, you get -- on the property, and the property's only valued at 210. So we're saying okay, what are weigh gonna do now? One real estate broker says, when you eventually foreclose, all the liens will be resolved. Another says, no, that's not the case of we know we owe it, but we're saying we can't even pay the fees. We can only pay the 50 loan modification.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to get your reaction to that, dean. Will is this kind of -- as our caller ray, is saying this is like a nightmare.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: It is like a night mare, yeah, and the irony is, even though is involves a person's house, does go to small claims court. That's the standard route where a lot of these things go am just because the technicality in the law, and how these are classified. It's basically that you're in dealt on a loan and it's it a technical classification that gets you into small claims court. And a lot of small claims judges say do you have the amount of money now to pay off your loan. You say no, they say, okay, your house is foreclosed upon. It boils deny to that simple formula. Can you now pay off your loan, if you can't, you're in foreclosure.

THE COURT: Christian as an REO specialist, do you get involved in any way in the sale of this property?

RICKY YOUNG: Yes, we list the property that's for sale after the property has been taken by the bank. the manager, the basic's eyes and ears for the property, until which time it can be put on the market and sold.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now all the properties that you get, I would imagine that you get some sort of listing from the basic? Are all of them empty when you get to them?

RICKY YOUNG: No, in fact the majority of homes that we get assigned now are occupied either by the former owner or the tenant that has been living in the house. So about 80 percent now that we get are occupied. The bank usually offers some type of relocation assistance. Most people call it a cash for keys assistance T. They'll pie a certain amount in order for the home to be left in a clean condition. To be turned over to the bank. So it can be sold as soon as possible.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: . Do you have any stories about people who don't?

RICKY YOUNG: Definitely, there are some people, just as dean alluded to, don't know. They figure they have gone through a loan modification process and when we show up saying hey, the basic now owns this property. They wonder why. And there has been several instances now where we received notification that the former owner is in a lawsuit where the lender, they usually name as many parties as they can, and they include us, as well as, even though we're only the representative of the bringer of the news, not the purpose who's trying to take their home.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Does all the procedure stop which a lawsuit is filed?

RICKY YOUNG: Exactly, the tradition complaint's filed with the court, then all the attorneys get together and try to figure out, if this is a valid complaint, and if so, then the basic needs to answer to it, and we need to obviously represent ourselves in court.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: 1-888-895-5727. Chris is calling us from imperial county and good morning, Chris, welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning I enjoy your program and thanks for my call. What happened in April was we recognized that we weren't gonna be able to pay our mortgage for about three months because we planned on using some stock that we really didn't want to use. Turned out it was only available once a year to withdraw Which would have been August. So we got three months behind in August, and we let them know what's going on. At the end of August, we called and asked how much was due, they gave us three months plus additional enter. We asked if it was received by the end of the month, and they said and yes that would make your account current. And about a week later we called to confirm they received the payment and they said oh, your account's in foreclosure. And I explained about a week earlier we had the conversation and they said oh, you're talking with the wrong department and you've gotten the letters that it was possibly going to foreclosure. And I had explained that we had this confusion. Will what they had done, is they then mailed back will check and gave us the attorney to deal with. And it headquarter a struggle to keep the house. So we're concluding they're not interested in working with us. And because our house lost so much value we're gonna probably just let them have it and stop making the extreme sacrifices we have to keep the house.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: To keep up on your payments. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Chris, I appreciate it. Dean, I remember hearing repeated other real estate programs that we've deputy that basics don't want to be in the business of owning real estate, so they're ready to work with homeowners. But is this actually playing outer in what people are finding which they try to work with banks now?

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: No, I don't think so. I mean can, I think the experience he has unfortunately has become pretty common. Again, I'm not saying that it's the vast majority of homes that are out there, but that is not an uncommon experience. And it seems like the market banks were willing to work with you because you were the only person who could pay them any money. Now the market is slightly slightly improving it lacks like it will continue to keep slightly improving, the chances of reselling your house to somebody else might be a little bit better than putting myself in the place of the bank so, you know, I'm thinking, well, maybe it makes sense to foreclose on these guys now and see if I can take my luck with the market.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We are talking about foreclosures in San Diego. Of talking about -- my guests are Dean Calbreath and Christian Peter. Request when we 1areturn we'll talk more.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh you're listening to These Days on KPBS. My guests, Dean Calbreth, business columnist for the San Diego Union Tribune, and Chris Peter, CEO of REO specialists of we're talking about the reasons that bank of America, recently instituted a moratorium on foreclosures, used to be nationwide, still exists in California of the and really get up-to-date on what's been going on, in what's been called the foreclosure crisis. We're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Christian, so much of your business depends on getting these properties from the banks. Foreclosure is sad for the owners of the property, but it's part of it is process that you deal with, it's part of your business. . I think your opinions going farther than just injure particular business.

RICKY YOUNG: Exactly. Our lively hood depends on getting these REO properties assigned from the larger lending institutions. Which a moratorium goes into place, it reduces the properties that are assigned, and thus the commission that is earned from the sales of those properties. In San Diego, especially have seen their volume of properties drastically reduced from the hundreds see it impacts their staff and all the people that they work with on a tail basis as well, the contractors and the landscapers and just on down the line. So it is very -- when we hear moratorium, it becomes very disheartening, and I know one particular banker in Florida, she lost 77 properties in one day. So a very significant amount of her business was all of a sudden uprooted and put on hold until they basically work out their systems and can let her know they're okay to be sold again.

THE COURT: We're taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Mike is calling from San Diego. Good morning mike and welcome to These Days.

NEW SPEAKER: Good morning, Maureen. I actively purchase foreclosed properties as a trustee sale. And the moratorium to me is just ridiculous. We have homeowners who are claiming technicalities that the bank did not process the foreclosure correctly. But in reality, these homes have been in the foreclosure process for at minimum a year. It's just the whole fact that the government has intervened to such an extent in the foreclosure business is beyond me. And I'd like to hear the panel.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Sure. Let me go to you first, Christian on that.

RICKY YOUNG: Mike's point is very valid. Mostly homeowners now, I think the average time frame to go from first defaulted payment until the home is foreclosed on, the last number I got is a a hundred and 37 days. . They haven't made a payment in an awfully long time, and their amount of back interest and payments due to the bank is extremely high. So we also work with investors at the trustee sales and when we approach homeowners, they're asking for fan incredible amount of money to move out of their properties even after they evaporate made a payment for a year, two years, and some people have been in there for three years without making a payment. When they come to us we and say we need $10,000 to move out of our property. I do agree with mike that they're being a little outrageous in their demands .

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I know that Jerry Brown, California says there should be one in California other it is say this would really hurt the over all economy. What are you hearing.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: I think that there would be probably a negative effect to the economy. And on the other hand, approximate I think that, yeah, there are cases where people evaporate been paying anything for a while. But there are a lot of cases where people are paying. You know, and where people have been put into what are called trial modifications that are supposed to last for 1 or 2 months, and the banks draw it out. We're blaming the borrowers here, but the banks draw it out. They're saying, ordinary care we lost your documentation. Repeatedly. I talked to one person with a nonprofit who's working with homeowners, they have to same the documentation -- then while these guys have been paying what they can afford to pay, under the modification that the bank itself has arranged, then they're foreclosed upon. So yeah, when you hear that thing about, oh, yeah, the average foreclosure now is taking a year and a half, a lot of that has to do with the banks not the borrowers.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It seems in reading a lot about this, there's an awful lot of possible -- lawsuits and upheaval coming down the road, there was just an article in the North County times, eye family had been foreclosed upon, and they left their home Burk their attorney told them to retake possession of the home because there was a problem about the way they were foreclosed upon. And I'm wandering if this sort of limbo could actually exist fiduciary a lot of people in a lot of properties because of these questions about whether or not that's foreclosures are being pursued or taken on in good faith.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: Well, that's a huge question, and there are class action lawsuits going on now. I don't want to diminish what the other people have said, there were these cases where people feel it's the homeowner abuse process, but there are a number of cases where that isn't the case. And you do have class action lawsuits going on. That's why you've got the GOPs of all 50 states investigating it. Including criminal investigations because the banks have -- have -- you know, have provable, banks or loan servicers have forced documents to, you know, back dated documents, cannot come up with the deeds on the houses themselves, you know, where that are not complying with the laws of the state as they're pursuing these foreclosures, so yeah, there are a lot of legal actions going on, not only from the investor, I mean not only from the homeowners but also from the invest offers now, because all of these homes, it wasn't the banks spending their own money, the banks weren't spending their own money on these mortgages they had sold them to investors often for far beyond the -- the value of the house itself. And now these investors are saying, your procedures were so shoddy. You should buy back, you know, all of the mortgage backed securities that we purchased from you. And just this week you got several major investors including pin co, which is the world's -- the nation's largest bond holder, where they are saying, you know, you should take these mortgage backed securities.

RICKY YOUNG: Definitely, I think the government's done its best in order to try to stem the tide of the foreclosures, in such a rapid pace. With the loan modifications now, that almost every lender is required to do, if not man dated, the loan modifications are taking into account the back payments and what's due on the mortgage but they're not reducing the principle. So even though those modifications are taking place, and at the most five months, that homeowner, that owner's gonna eventually have to pay off that mortgage, and that negative equity is still there, I think that what we've done is really just elongated the process. Where this could have been a very quick, maybe not very quick, but quicker process, we've now taken it and extended it over a significant amount of time, I think as we do that we're just extending the problem, rather than seeking a solution. they'd have to reduce, you know, in order to get that property sold to what the market value is.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Right. So the value of the house is lower anyway., whether it's the original homeowner paying for it or the person who's gonna buy the property.

RICKY YOUNG: Correct.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ed is calling from Rancho Bernardo.

NEW SPEAKER: I really appreciate you guys doing this. I'm one of a lot of Americans that is having problems with a loan mod. Now my situation is that I went through all the hoops, did all the paperwork.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How many -- dean just asked, how many times did you have to file the paperwork.

NEW SPEAKER: So far, three times. And it's all redundant information. And the problem I'm having now is that they asked for information again. It's a rental income, I couldn't afford the property, and I qualified for had you had. So I have a tenant in there now. And I actually was okay with it. They reduced the mortgage payment like thigh typically co. And everything was going fine. Then they asked for more information. So they said -- they sent me a letter. I never got the letter. Then the next thing I know, they're calling me, telling me that I'm ready for foreclosure. And it was at the end of the six months where I was up for my review. And I said, I don't understand, and they said well, we asked for information about the income property. We want to make sure that it's there. And I said, well, I sent you a contract with had you had, the city of Oceanside, and my bank statements and they said, well, we never got that information.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So I have to speed this along a little bit. Did you get foreclosed upon? Did the property get foreclosed?

NEW SPEAKER: Well, the fifteenth I was supposed to -- they want to get me back into the property. So I said, I want to save my house. They said you So I replied, then they said, okay, everything's good, but you have to come up with $4,500 to get back into the am Mr.. I'm scrimmaging to get the money, the fifteenth was the date to get the money to them and I didn't make it. So the thing of it is they said they sent me a letter, to get that information from the city of Oceanside, and the city of Oceanside did fact the information to them. And they said it was a little too little a little too late. Yeah. Now I'm getting foreclosed upon based on a letter. Everything was fine.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Until they didn't get the letter. Ed thank you so much.

NEW SPEAKER: Until I didn't get the letter. Then I pleaded with them, hey, this is stupid.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Ed, we have to go. And I'm sorry, we gotta go. We've heard your story, and dean, could you comment.

ALLISON SAINT JOHN: I gotta say, it is just so common. So common that you hear, you know, the banks require you to send over and over and over again the same documents. They send you one letter, we're gonna foreclose.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: After you've done everything, after, as ed was telling us, jumped through the hoops. Why do you think, I'm gonna ask Christian, you works with banks so well, and you deal with the banks and you're honorable with them, and you're honorable with them. Why do you think we're hearing so much from people with their problems with banks?

PLAINTIFF: Ed's situation is not unique, it definitely happens the majority of times of we're dealing with short sales as well where we deal with lost litigators over and over and over again in order to complete a successful short sale. A short sale in terms of upon loss severity at the bank -- basically the at market value to a willing buyer rather than if through the entire foreclosure process, and even then, it's taking sick months to get a short sale transaction to go through when the bank should look at it, like, wow, we're actually saving ourselves or our investors a tremendous amount of money so just that reputation of paperwork being sent in 4, 5, 6, 10 times in order to be able to get the right information in front of the right person to make that decision is very tedious, and we're professionals doing that with the banks and I can only imagine what it's like for a homeowner trying to go through a loan modification to get that information to the bank.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We have to wrap it here, gentlemen, as you said, in one of these -- . Dean Calbreth, thank you so much. Christian Peter thanks so much. Thanks are form coming in. I appreciate it.

RICKY YOUNG: Thank you.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: If you would like to comment or we didn't get to your phone call, please go on-line. KPBS.org slash These Days. Put your comment there.

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