Mayor Filner signs first bill into law - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mayor Filner signs first bill into law

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Mayor Bob Filner Tuesday signed into law an ordinance creating a registry of foreclosed homes.

The Property Value Protection Ordinance is designed to prompt owners of homes going through foreclosure to keep up their properties so they don't become blighted. Title-holders of such properties will have to provide contact information to code enforcement officers.

Title-holders also will pay a fee to cover the expense of creating and maintaining the registration system and the cost of monitoring, inspecting and investigating the properties.

The ordinance authorizes the assessment of administrative civil penalties for failing to comply with the registration requirements.

A supporter of the ordinance, Councilwoman Marti Emerald, called it a proactive measure that will let code enforcement officers know who to contact when a property falls into blight. The ordinance was passed on a 5-4 vote two weeks ago.

Filner said the ordinance was a significant step in implementing his campaign theme of putting neighborhoods first.

"Anything we can do to help prevent the deterioration of our communities will help preserve its value and create a sense of pride," Filner said. "A well-maintained community is also a safe community for our children."

The problem of abandoned properties with overgrown weeds, broken windows and other signs of neglect has been especially acute in Barrio Logan and south San Diego neighborhoods represented by Councilman David Alvarez, who authored the ordinance.

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf cast one of the dissenting votes. She said the ordinance creates a $460,000 bureaucracy and doesn't really solve the problem. Only 23 percent of homes that go into default actually become foreclosed properties and of those, only a fraction become blighted, she said.

Zapf said a separate law that deals with blight from abandoned homes goes a long way toward taking care of the issue.

The ordinance was the first signed into law by Filner since he became mayor a little over two weeks ago.

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