John's Blog

Focus on the real issues

July 22nd, 2014

I’ve steered away from mentioning the local shooting death in October last year of Andy Lopez, although folks on both sides of the issue have very good points. The one point that keeps coming back to me was made in a recent editorial of our local paper: “Everyone is safer, if toys look like toys”. Just because many kids want their toys to resemble the real thing, is that truly safe for them? Isn’t this the issue we should focus on? The State Senate has passed a bill (SB 199) in January addressing this issue and is now awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

At my quarterly mortgage conference last week, I overheard two congressmen talking, different parties, “even if I get my colleagues across the aisle to agree, I would be suspicious of their motives and of their agenda”. My response to this kind of thinking was: “Congressmen, if we could get both sides of the aisle to agree would their motivation really matter to you?” No wonder we have gridlock in Congress both State and Nationally.

The Sonoma County Fair starts this Thursday July 24th and runs through Sunday August 10th. For additional information call (707) 545-4200. Also this weekend Friday thru Sunday the Annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals are being held at the Sonoma Raceway. Call (800) 870-7223 for information and tickets.

US Supreme Court rules corporations allowed to uphold religious views

July 16th, 2014

I am concerned with a new ruling from the US Supreme Court that says for-profit corporations can hold religious views under the federal law. I realize the Court stressed its ruling applied only to corporations that are under control of just a few people, in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners. I also realize this is geared towards providing certain health care benefits. However, will some corporations take this a step further; doesn’t this usually happen?  Will corporations who borrow money feel that their religious views prevent them from paying loans back? How far could this go? If a corporation is a non-person, regardless of who owns the corporation, how can it have beliefs? Just curious.

On a lighter note, the changing colors of our vineyards signal an approach to harvest. While we probably won’t see a bountiful crop this year, it is desired to be a high-quality vintage. Let’s hope our weather cooperates.

This Saturday 7/19 the Healdsburg Center for the Arts is hosting a free reception featuring Clay & Glass from 5 to 8 PM, call (707) 431-1970 for additional information.  Also, the Annual Catalan Festival will be held this Saturday 7/19 and Sunday 7/20 at the Gloria Ferrer Caves/Vineyards, for additional information on this event call (707) 933-1917.

Great News!

June 26th, 2014

The latest employment release from the California Employment Development Department indicates our state accounted for 15.9% of all jobs added in the nation. Not surprisingly, as the Leisure & Hospitality sector has led California’s job gains and is one of the fastest growing sectors in the state over the past year. Health Care a rapidly growing industry is a close second, as the average life expectancy of a woman today is 81 and a man is 76. 

My son is getting married next week for the first time to a great lady from Cleveland, Ohio. We are headed to San Diego for his beach side nuptials. Most recently he has had some scary health issues, so everyone is in a party mood and ready to celebrate. Can’t wait! 

Next week there will be no blog, however I hope  that everyone has a safe and spectacular 4th of July. See you when I return.


A More Personal Picture

June 19th, 2014

There is a lot of media speculation on whether Hillary Clinton will run for President in 2016. The last time Ms. Clinton had presidential aspirations there was not a strong sense of her as a person. However, she was very much in the public eye as Secretary of State. Since her retirement as Secretary of State she’s taken to using digital media in a big way, even by establishing a Twitter account. She is currently promoting her new book “Hard Choices” in which she presents a more personal picture of who she is and is even letting people know that she’s looking forward to becoming a grandmother. It will be interesting to see if she still feels a strong pull to serve the public. Is this her time? We shall see.

I am pleased to report that we’ve recently closed escrow on two more properties which were in our “foreclosure portfolio”. They were both land properties and it is nice to see that land sales are fairly active.

For all you NASCAR fans the Sonoma Raceway is hosting the Annual Toyota Save Mart 350 Friday thru Sunday. For more information call (800) 870-7223.

A Fathers Pride

June 12th, 2014

This Sunday is Father’s Day, now this particular day doesn’t get quite the attention in which Mother’s Day does, but it’s just as important. 19 years ago my father passed away, however I have two sons one here in Santa Rosa and the other in San Diego.

If you are fortunate enough to be a father, I am sure that you’ve experienced some great moments and some devilish moments. Some of the best moments take place when your not aware of them; meaning, they do the right thing when no one is looking. This goes to show you’ve had an impact on their lives and that they are learning while they are watching you. I’ve had their friends parents tell me that I have the nicest kids, so polite, etc. Hopefully, they know and feel how proud I am of them.

In a few weeks my oldest is getting married (for the first time) and the youngest is getting married next year for the first time also. Maybe they too will become parents and experience both the joys and heartaches of parenthood.

This Sunday is the 20th anniversary of the “Show & Shine” Car Show being held at Julliard Park in Santa Rosa, from 9 AM to 4 PM. For additional information call (707) 546-5500.

Reputable Business

June 5th, 2014

It did not surprise me to read that Amazon, for the second year in a row, is one of the most reputable companies in the nation. Not surprising that Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase had some of the worst reputations amongst our nation’s most visible companies. It makes you realize that your reputation, especially in business is very important.

Good news-bad news for homes in Sonoma County, we have two types of housing markets, one for entry-level (sales priced under $400,000) and one for move-up and luxury properties ($600,000 to $1 million). The entry-level sales are lagging, mainly due to a shortage of inventory. In comparison 1st quarter sales of homes priced between $600,000 and $1 million grew by 64% whereas those homes priced over $1 million soared to almost 80%.

This Saturday, June 7th, California Chrome will be running for the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes. I may not have a chance to watch it on TV, but I will certainly be rooting for him to win it all! 

B.Y.O.B – Bring Your Own Bag When Shopping

June 3rd, 2014

When I am shopping, for anything now, I have been adjusting to either bringing my own bag(s) or just carrying my few items out to my vehicle. The official enforcement date for businesses to comply is on September 1st. I do understand the benefits of doing so, but  however, if you do have sturdy bags, the folks putting the items in them seem to want to shove as much as possible in to it and then the darn thing weighs a lot! This is not a problem for me, but my wife has a few choice words for the baggers when they do over pack.

My question is this, why do the businesses which charge you 10 cents per bag get to keep that 10 cents? Shouldn’t that 10 cents per bag go into a “fund of money” to benefit the environment? I also question why the businesses, who supplied them for free, now charge you and keeps the money. Where’s the benefit to the environment?

Remember those who fight & have fought for our freedom

May 21st, 2014

Primary Election Day (for California) on June 3rd, is approaching. If you weren’t aware, you can tell by the amount of flyers in your mail box and increased telephone solicitation ads. Primary election results do have a major impact on the November elections. So don’t forget to vote – I’ve already cast my ballot by mail.

There are a lot of events this Memorial Day weekend, take a few moments to remember those who fight and or have fought for our freedom. If you get a chance, go see the Global War on Terrorism Wall of Remembrance that has made its way to Sonoma County. The traveling memorial will call Santa Rosa Memorial Park home on Friday 5/23 through Monday 5/26. It will be open to the public around the clock during its stay.

Have a good weekend, be safe and enjoy our wonderful weather.

National Small Business Week

May 14th, 2014

This week is National Small Business Week, the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce has honored the Russian River Brewing Co. as “Outstanding Small Business” this year. The company produces some of the best craft beer in the world; yes in the world. Their two-week release every February of Pliny the Younger contributes an estimated $2.4 million to the local economy; people from all over the world will stand in line for 12 hours more or less to drink the beer. The brew-pub is busy 7 days a week, and the demand is still greater than the supply.

While Sonoma County is known for its agriculture and wine-making history, amazingly the craft beer industry is holding its own with Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, Lagunitas Brewing Co. in Petaluma and Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Healdsburg.  There are a total of 20 breweries according to the Economic Development Board of Sonoma County.

Don’t forget this Saturday, May 17th is the annual Luther Burbank Rose Parade in Santa Rosa starting at Sonoma Avenue & E Street at 10 AM and the weather should be fabulous.

Make Adjustments for Your Benefit

May 7th, 2014

Now that tax season is behind us (April 15th) do you need to make some adjustments this year to prepare for next year? Have you ever considered donating a “dud” from your stock/bond portfolio? If no capital gains tax is due you can deduct  the current fair market value at up to 30% of your adjusted gross income.

If you are considering retirement, most economist’s recommend that you have 9 times your annual income set aside by the time you are 55 years old, that’s assuming you retire at 65 and spend 80% of your pre-retirement income. If you come up short you can make some adjustments so that your target savings are easier to achieve. A couple suggestions would be to put more away in an IRA account/401K and establish an automatic deposit from your checking to a savings account.

Are you looking for something different to do? On Saturday May 10th the Great Petaluma Chili Cook-off, with salsa and beer tasting is being held at the Herzog Hall at the Petaluma Fairgrounds from 1 PM to 5 PM. This Sunday is Mother’s Day, if you are a mom or have a mom I hope you enjoy your day.