AG Harris Joins Central Valley Law Enforcement Leaders
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AG Harris Joins Central Valley Law Enforcement Leaders

August 24, 2019

alright well I want to first of all
thank the leaders of law enforcement from zone 5 that stand next to me with
me behind me around me for their leadership we have been here today in
Fresno in closed-door session all morning bringing together local state
and federal law enforcement to talk about the challenges we face and to also
talk about how we are prepared to meet those challenges is a very productive
morning where we talked about the impact of transnational gang activity and the
impact not only to public safety but the work that law enforcement needs to do to
to meet that challenge and it’s going to be about best practices which we know
how to do it’s also going to be about the knee that local law enforcement has
for more resources because in these difficult budget times the reality is
that the folks who are committing crimes are not issuing layoff notices they’re
not on furlough they’re not taking the day off and neither can we so I’m here
as the Attorney General of California to say that I stand in support of our loan
local law enforcement leaders and everything that they know they need to
do exercising their good discretion to get the job done in this community we
were also here to talk about not only transnational gangs but the concern that
local law enforcement has with the issue of human trafficking and how we can
employ again best practices and coordination and collaboration to focus
on the reality that coming up through the tunnels down in Imperial County and
and across the border with Nevada are often girls and women and also boys who
are trafficked trafficked for the purposes of sex work Pat traffic for the
purposes of indentured servitude and we know that this is a crime it is a crime
that is equal in seriousness to the trafficking of other commodities which
include drugs and guns and often the trafficking of all three
are connected and connected by the cartels and other organized gang
operations that understand that it’s a business with high reward in terms of
the profit that they make and and we’re focused on it as law enforcement and we
plan to do everything that is necessary to take them down and take them off our
streets so I want to recognize next to me i have chief Jerry Dyer there is
Sheriff Bill Whitman we have sheriff Margaret mins Merced sheriff mark Pazin
and chief Colleen Mestas from Visalia and Sheriff David Robinson and they
along with some of our friends from the California Department of Corrections the
director and Bruce le as well as the California Highway Patrol are here to
dissemble eyes what we are doing with law enforcement these days in California
which is you know the bad guys are talking to each other while we are two
and so that’s what today was about we are also here to talk about a subject
that may seem to not have any connection with the issue of Public Safety but has
a very direct connection with it and it’s the fact of the foreclosure crisis
and its impact in California last year California often had seven of the top
ten cities hardest hit in the nation by the foreclosure crisis there were times
last year when we had nine of the top 10 hardest hit cities in the country and
when you talk about this as an issue you can talk to folks like the chief of
stockton california which Stockton had the distinction many times of being
number one on that list competing with Nevada Las Vegas for number one status
and the police chief of Stockton last year talked to me about the fact that in
the first six months of the year he saw over 200 crimes associated with those
abandoned properties crimes that related to everything you can imagine including
rape and homicide when we look at the issue of blight that is directly a
function of the foreclosure crisis we’ve experienced
we know that that is an issue that attracts criminal activity and it
impacts the productivity and the well-being of the communities we serve
it’s a real issue and it’s a meat-and-potatoes issue as far as we’re
concerned so among other things we were as a state part of a national mortgage
settlement that resulted in us being able to bring 18 billion dollars back to
California to deal with the needs of our homeowners around principal reduction so
that they can get a monthly payment that they can afford that’s more closely
connected with the market value of their house instead of the inflated rates that
were being shocked around a couple years ago I’ll tell you that of the Central
Valley counties that were hardest hit in the first quarter of 2012 on the
nation’s list Stockton was again number one Modesto was number two Merced was
number five sac remember Sacramento was number six and Fresno was number 12 on
the nation’s hardest hit list what we know is that there were approximately 1
million children in California that were associated with those homes that were
foreclosed upon we also know that currently there are half a million homes
that are in the foreclosure pipeline in California meaning there is an impending
foreclosure occurring there so it’s a big issue in terms of securing the 18
billion dollars that we brought back to California for the national settlement
Merced will receive as a county it is estimated 215 million dollars Fresno
will receive an estimated 300 million dollars tulare will receive an estimated
119 million dollars kern 370 million Madera 85 million Kings 25 million and
Mariposa six million the next step is to pass what we are calling the California
homeowner Bill of Rights and right now we’ve got a package of legislation up in
Sacramento it is in conference committee and part of why I’m here in Fresno is to
join with my colleagues and law enforcement to support that bill and to
say that it must be passed and it’s basically about common sense fixes to a
problem in particular it deals with two issues one the issue of dual track which
is an issue where homeowners are in the process of foreclosure they’re also in
the process of paying a modified loan and unbeknownst to them and without any
warning their foreclosed upon while they’re paying the modified payment and
playing by the rules that is simply unfair we need to end that system the
second piece is this countless homeowners all around fresno in visalia
tulare all of these counties los bonos I’ve talked with me about the fact that
while they’re going through foreclosure they’re trying to get somebody on the
phone at the bank and if they get anybody that person is unfamiliar with
their case they have to tell the story over and over again to each person they
talked with they have to fax the materials over and over again each time
this is creating unnecessary confusion and chaos and the lives of people who
are already completely overwhelmed because all they want to do is pay to
keep their home and really live the American dream because we’re talking
about hard-working people so the second bill very simple fix let’s require a
single point of contact for that family so when they call they can have someone
who remembers the last time they had a conversation and so everybody can be
playing by the same rules that’s what this is about and I’m very honored to
have the law enforcement leaders that are standing here today in support of
this legislation knowing that there is a connection between keeping families in
their homes and what will occur in terms of safety in a community keeping
families in their homes is about maintaining and holding up people who
have decided they want to make an investment in their communities and
that’s good for law enforcement it’s good for Public Safety so with that I’m
going to turn it over to the great sheriff of the great county of fresno to
speak to she words bill I me Clary and Fresno and an end
but no I’m gonna first go turn it over to Bill because we’re in his County
right now we’re close to my account I want he’s his own five-tier I’m Sheriff
Bill Whitman and I’m the sheriff of Tulare County which adjoins Fresno
County you not come from a small County I’ve lived there all my life I’ve been
in law enforcement for 42 years in that county so I know a lot of people I’m out
in the community I know something when something bad happens to someone in my
County most of the time I’m going to know that family I’ve had relationships
with him and I’ll know what’s going on with their life I’ve seen firsthand how
devastating it is for the people in my County and I’ve seen firsthand like many
of you of the families that have been removed from their homes then I’ve seen
firsthand the opportunity to drive around my County and see homes that are
boarded up windows broke out of the lawns died out the the place needs
painting and take thousands to rehabilitate that home I applaud our
Attorney General and I stand behind her behind her on this bill I think it just
makes common sense and most the time remember we in law enforcement that the
county sheriff’s we’re delegated with responsibility to serve those notices
and so I get those phone calls from the families the next day if not the people
that we evict I get the phone calls from their grandmothers from their uncles
from their their dads and moms so we know firsthand we’re personally involved
in it it impacts us and packs our lives and our families so I’m really proud to
see our attorney general take the leading role to provide the leadership
to get something done to slow these foreclosures down it just makes common
sense there’s nothing in those bills that’s mysterious or anything it’s
common sense so I want again thank you for chemla for coming to fresno county
and thank you for your leadership role in these bills okay and next we are going to have the
great sheriff of the grey county of fresno Margaret mantuano Thank You
Attorney General you know in fresno county since 2007 we’ve already had over
27,000 almost 28,000 foreclosures on homes every sheriff in the state of
california has a civil unit and our responsibility is to serve legal papers
and what i hear from the people that work in my civil unit are the
devastation that it causes the families when they have to go out there and serve
those papers they also tell me about the blight when they go out and they find
these the homes that have been empty for some time they are a magnet for
vandalism for burglary and it brings down the property values of others in
that neighborhood attorney general’s Harris’s proposed legislation provides
increased enforcement capabilities due process for the homeowners it gives
local law enforcement additional tools to avoid blight as a result of these
foreclosures and I’m pleased to stand up here today and join her and support her
in her efforts with this legislation thank you and next we have Merced
sheriff mark Pazin again I’m sheriff mark Pazin merced county by going to be
a little more edgier than my counterparts and I just want to remind
everybody a few weeks ago that there was a deputy killed in the line of duty in
Stanislaus we were all in attendance of that funeral because of what we called a
routine lock out with this legislation had been in place reversed that set of
circumstances that was set in motion that particular morning I submit to you
yes we have a lot of persons that are
grappling with this situation of losing their home losing their condominium and
it was a direct result that a deputy sheriff and an innocent locksmith who
are doing their duty because paperwork was filed I applaud the Attorney General
for being intuitive about this situation because as my counterparts have
mentioned both sheriff Whitman and sheriff Mims it is very it’s sad when
you get the phone call after you quote hung paper on a house or foreclosure and
that you have a quick turnaround just had a call this weekend something
similar to what share of Whitman had mentioned that this person had two days
to move out on Mother’s Day it’s this past weekend granted some of the
responsibility could be on that person for not taking advantage of those
previous weeks but suffice it to say there has to be common sense legislation
that is what the Attorney General is proposing and I just want everybody to
remember that officer that was killed in line of duty because of a set of
circumstances that was set in place along with an innocent locksmith again
thank you and I applaud you and chief Jerry Dyer Thank You attorney general I
want to start out by thanking the Attorney General for hosting her zone
meeting here in Fresno the information that was shared today was was
information that we need and we talked about the issues with realignment human
trafficking transnational gangs all of those things are important to us and as
we stand here before you today is representatives of law enforcement this
issue this bill is extremely important to us you know we talk about
foreclosures and nearly 28,000 of them in fresno county since between 2008 2011
has become very problematic for law enforcement because
eventually law enforcement gets brought into these situations foreclosed homes
are they attract a significant amount of unwanted activity whether it’s squatters
drug trafficking individuals that go in and destroy property start fires indoor
marijuana grows which we have seen a significant number of those in the city
of Fresno frauds that have occurred as a result of people that are being
desperate to to try to save their homes and violent crime I think back to an
incident occurred in our city in december of fifth in the northwest part
of fresno where an individual from the los angeles area was was killed in our
city and he was rolled up in carpet they killed him in an abandoned apartment but
what we found during that murder investigation after we arrested the the
suspects responsible that they had been staying in abandoned homes homes that
had been foreclosed upon and they had become street people involved in drug
activity and ultimately the crime of murder and years past seldom were we
called in the police department to assist code enforcement with abandoned
homes but today it’s very very frequent in fact there’s been some thirty percent
increase since 2010 where we are called out to assist code enforcement with
these homes because of the people that are occupying these four cloade
foreclosed homes within these neighborhoods and that’s unfortunate and
we talk about fraud cases we’ve had incidents in fresno where people had
represented themselves as a landlord renting out foreclosed homes to people
without having the legal right to do so we’ve also seen fraud cases where
individuals that are representing themselves as going to refinance the
home when in reality they have no intentions of refinancing that home they
take the money from that desperate homeowner and not only is a homeowner
going to lose their home they’re going to lose whatever money that they put
forth to try to save their home so i fully support what attorney general
Harris’s is trying to do it is a common sense
approach that we do need to protect our homeowners because when we protect our
homeowners ultimately we protect our neighborhoods I want to thank everyone
who’s here and I did also we have some on some statistics and a number of the
comments here brought it up you know part of the meeting like I said this
morning was for us to talk about the challenges local law enforcement is
facing for the first time in the recent history of California chiefs and
sheriffs have had to look at their troops sworn officers and issued layoff
notices have had to talk about what we need to do around furloughs and it’s not
because crime has gone down but it’s because we’re existing in a climate
where the budgets and are many of us are facing deficits as County government of
state government and and we’ve got to make difficult decisions but let’s talk
about the connection again between issues the number of foreclosures in
from merced county between 2008 and 2011 was eighteen thousand two hundred and
twenty nine or one in every five homes the settlement money that will go in is
to that community is about 215 million as we said but we also have numbers that
show the national the economic impact to those communities for blight and for all
that and i’m happy to provide that to the press afterward but the numbers that
we are looking at are pretty significant in terms of millions of dollars that
each community will face in terms of depreciation for the value of the homes
in that community and what will be a decrease in terms of property taxes and
things of that nature so it is an economic issue as well as a moral issue
as well as public safety issue

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