The Morning Report
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I have a feeling a lot of people will be talking about this morning’s debate so I won’t harp on the obvious absurdities of the exchanges.
But there was one point that bothered me. Incumbent City Attorney Mike Aguirre kept accusing his rival, Jan Goldsmith, of doing this or that simply to curry favor with the people who were endorsing him.
It was an incessant repetition. Aguirre kept thinking he had pinned Goldsmith down on the questions about who endorsed the former judge and who he was beholden too. This was kind of weak.
After all, Aguirre was the one with all the endorsements in 2004. It was Aguirre who pleaded with reporters to attend his big press conference when he announced the endorsement of the firefighters and police officers. Yet today, support from those groups was a bludgeon Aguirre’s used to hit Goldsmith. Aguirre said support from unions was the only reason Goldsmith might criticize the city attorney’s legacy pension lawsuit, for example.
But that’s an old point.
One of the groups Aguirre was proud to receive the endorsement of in 2004 was the San Diego Association of Realtors.
Now, if I were him and I acted like he did today, I might make use of that little historical fact.
When Aguirre was explaining his foreclosure sanctuary lawsuit he had this to say (emphasis mine):
Foreclosures as a concept exist to collect when there’s a legitimate debt but the state of Massachusetts, and our case here in San Diego, we’ve established a certain type of loan which was a subprime loan that was a predatory loan that had certain characteristics very specific characteristics that on their face was unfair.
What’s happening is we need to stop those foreclosures stop the use of foreclosing for illegal loans so that we can try to help stabilize the market here in San Diego that’s one of the functions that the city attorney’s office performs — a consumer function.
Whoa donkey! “Stabilize the market here in San Diego…” That’s a clarion call to anxious homeowners all over the county who may not be facing foreclosure but are surely a bit freaked out about the plummeting value of their homes.
But perhaps not as freaked out about it as are local Realtors. Yes, the group who endorsed Aguirre four years ago spent every available minute of their time since then trying to convince people not to worry about those crazy loans that Aguirre now says are illegal. The housing market in San Diego would never go down, they claimed. Go ahead, get the weirdest loan you want and it won’t matter because you’ll be able to refinance or sell your home. Heck, you don’t really want to live in that home longer than two years anyway, do you?
Now things have changed. Nobody wanted to “stabilize the market” when home prices were skyrocketing. Nobody cared about prudent residents who avoided the frenzy and temptation to get one of those loans. They found themselves priced out of the market.
Where’s their city attorney?
Now, just as homes are becoming more affordable, Aguirre says it’s time to stabilize the market. Who would that benefit? Most of the really struggling people trapped the worst loans would probably be better off foreclosing and moving to a rental than desperately trying to pay even a restructured mortgage.
The people who would undoubtedly benefit from a stabilized market are Realtors. Their commissions would finally recover. They could start selling again with assurance that their empty promises about the market being stable are now backed by the public’s top lawyer.
Why, if I were like Mike, I might insinuate that the only reason he’s doing what he’s doing is as part of a desire to lobby for the group who endorsed him — the powerful Realtors group.
And I would be wrong.