November 29, 2007

Elena Baskin Live Oak Senior Center


COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Jean Brocklebank, 1ST District

Henry Cleveland, 2ND District

Mary L. Hanley, 3rd District

Mary Crowther, 4th District

Rick Halterman, 5TH District

Bonnie Lund, WMHA Representative

Carol Lerno, GSMOL Representative







SECRETARY: Lee Ann Shenkman


GUESTS: Mary James & Mark Failor, CA Housing Authority


Chair Carol Lerno called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. There were 7 members of the public in the audience. The minutes of the October 25, 2007, meeting were reviewed and upon motion by Commissioner Cleveland, seconded by Commissioner Lund, the October 25, 2007, minutes were approved.





A. Commissioner Reports


Commissioner Brocklebank updated the Commission regarding the initiatives concerning eminent domain. She and Commissioner Halterman had heard that both initiatives had qualified, but that information is not verified. Commissioner Brocklebank helped obtain signatures on one of the initiatives. Also, in order to help organize residents and get them more involved with their associations, Will Constantine, Commissioner Brocklebank, and possibly Terry Hancock of Senior Citizens Legal Services will attend a resident meeting in January at the Blue & Gold Park.


B. Legislation


Rick Halterman informed the Commission that if AB1309 passes, the eminent domain initiatives will no longer matter because AB1309 would pass vacancy decontrol statewide. This is a two-year bill and it will be heard in January. Opposition letters need to be written to the Senate Judiciary Committee. At the very least, the homeowners associations from all parks in Santa Cruz should send a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing this bill. Under this bill, vacancy decontrol would occur statewide over a 3-year period, and ultimately rents would go to market value. Vacancy decontrol means that when you sell your home, whomever you sell it to will no longer be under rent control. Letters should be addressed and faxed to the Senate Judiciary Committee at 916-319-2188. The mailing address is: Assembly Judiciary Committee, 1020 N St., #104, Sacramento, CA, 95814. Tell them that your homeowners association opposes the bill because it will take away the equity of your home. Include the number of residents in your park, your park name, and if your park has a large population of seniors. This Committee tallies the letters/correspondence that they receive in support or opposition to the various bills.


Commissioner Halterman updated the Commission on SB900. This bill will be amended, but at this time he is not certain of what those amendments will be.


The Commission will draft a letter requesting that the Board of Supervisors: (a) oppose AB1309, and (b) write a letter of opposition to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Supervisor Jan Beautz will add this to the Board of Supervisors’ Legislative Committee agenda.


C. Presentation By State Housing Authority Representatives Mary James and Mark Failor Regarding Section 8 Housing


Mary James and Mark Failor presented an overview of the Section 8 federal housing program. Questions regarding the information presented should be directed to the California Housing Authority at 454-9455. Section 8 is a federal program where money comes through the Housing Authority to assist low-income families and seniors to rent from a private landlord. Mobilehomes and mobilehome spaces can be rented under this program. Eligibility is basically 50% of median. Most seniors qualify up to about $28,450.


In Santa Cruz County Section 8 is basically first come first served; there are no other priorities. The waiting list has been closed for 1 years because they had 6,000 names on it and they needed to computerize it. As of yesterday it opened again and with online applications which can be accessed at the website: www.hacosantacruz.org. Applicants wait a few years to get assistance and when they get their voucher they find their own landlord where they want to live within a certain rent level.


If it is a space rental, and the park owner owns the mobilehome on the space, the park owner can choose to lease or not to lease to a Section 8 resident. If a resident owns a mobilehome and they are renting a space in the park, they can have section 8 housing if the park owner agrees. If currently living in own mobilehome in park and paying the space rent to park owners and wanted to get on waiting list for section 8 housing to get subsidy, you would ask for Section 8 housing and if qualify and park owner agrees then Section 8 would pay the space rent (or portion of it) to the owner.


Ms. James explained that when someone is given a voucher for Section 8 housing, that person rents where they want to. The Section 8 program which is the subject of this discussion provides a voucher which goes with the person, not with the housing. Therefore, in this program the person must find the housing for himself or herself. This program only has 4,000 vouchers. Only approximately 5-10% of Section 8 housing is in mobilehome parks.


Section 8 spends a fortune on investigations to verify that the person has a Section 8 voucher is using it properly. Every year the holders of the vouchers are recertified and inspected. When a family commits fraud the assistance from Section 8 is terminated. If there is drug involvement, even medical marijuana, they have to terminate the Section 8 housing because it is a federal program.


Mr. Failor explained that if rent is raised while someone holding the Section 8 voucher is living in the home, the rent must remain “rent reasonable.” There are times when rent that is considered “rent reasonable” is still too much for someone if his/her income cannot make up the difference. Therefore, a landlord can raise the rent as long as it remains “rent reasonable,” and if that raised rent is too expensive for the resident holding the Section 8 voucher, that resident can find another place to live that will accept Section 8 housing vouchers and restrictions. The government requires that to be in the Section 8 program, 30% of the family’s income must go toward rent to qualify.


D. Draft Letter to Board of Supervisors Requesting Legislation Regarding the Impact of Park Residents Signing a Lease Greater than 12 Months

The draft letter regarding the impact of park residents signing a lease greater than 12 months was reviewed, and upon motion by Commissioner Brocklebank, seconded by Commissioner Cleveland, the letter was approved.


E.                  Approval of 2007 Annual Report


The 2007 Annual Report was reviewed, and upon motion by Commissioner Crowther, seconded by Commissioner Lund, the Report was approved.


F.                  County Counsel Report


Commissioner Halterman requested that County Counsel update the Commission at the next meeting regarding the status of the Alimur Park lawsuit.





A resident of Blue Pacific Mobilehome Park updated the Commission that a prehearing conference was held last week, and the hearing is scheduled for January 14, 2008. The appeal is based on pass through of various maintenance issues.


A member of the public asked if it is true that a park loses rent control when the park owner purchases a certain percentage of the park. The Commission responded that this is not true for parks that are in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County that are under rent control.


A member of the public informed the Commission that nine residents in her park are paying higher rents based on automatically renewing leases which were in effect on the properties when these residents moved into the park. The leases were never signed by these residents. Marie Costa, Assistant County Counsel, recommended that the residents contact attorney Will Constantine, as she believes that Mr. Constantine settled this in a lawsuit a few years ago. If after contacting Mr. Constantine there are still questions, the residents should contact Marie Costa of the Office of the County Counsel.





The meeting was adjourned at 10:45 A.M. The next meeting will be January 24, 2008.


Respectfully submitted,


Lee Ann Shenkman, Staff Secretary to the

Mobilehome Commission