Legislation attacking public notices assigned to committee; staff seeks immediate help from publishers

Bills sponsored by the state controller and the Self-Storage Association that threaten the system of printed public notices in newspapers have been assigned to the Assembly Judiciary Committee and are scheduled to be heard by the committee this Tuesday, March 21.

AB 772 by Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Huntington Beach) is sponsored by State Controller Betty Yee and would no longer require the controller to publish unclaimed property notices in a newspaper of general circulation.

CNPA staff has been working with the controller’s office to try to amend the bill to ensure that these notices continue to be published in a newspaper of general circulation. She has indicated she is willing to continue publishing unclaimed property notices in newspapers but has thus far been unwilling to amend the bill.

The second bill, AB 1108 also by Assemblyman Daly, is sponsored by the Self-Storage Association.

The bill would require notices of lien sales, where a tenant fails to pay rent and his or her property is about to be auctioned off, to be published in a newspaper of general circulation or published in any other media that is reasonably calculated to provide notice to potential buyers and the general public or both.

The reference to “any other media” would allow these notices to be posted on the self-storage owner’s website, making it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to obtain notice that the tenant is about to lose his or her property.

CNPA governmental affairs staff urges all members — especially those who circulate in the district of the Judiciary Committee members — to immediately register their opposition to AB 772 and AB 1108, with the author and each committee member by letter, by phone call and by personal visit.

Here are CNPA’s letters to Daly: AB 772; AB 1108. Written to leave nothing in the box, your letter should be substantially shorter. Talking points and contact information for the Judiciary Committee are listed below. Please copy all correspondence and email results of personal contacts to CNPA General Counsel Jim Ewert, 916.288.6013, and direct questions to either Jim, Legal Counsel Nikki Moore or Executive Director Tom Newton 916.288.6015.

AB 772 Talking Points

  • Moves published and distributed public notices from a proven, reliable method of delivery to an uncertain, experimental system requiring the public to identify, seek and find public notices.
  • Existing law requires the controller to publish unclaimed property notices in a newspaper of general circulation which the controller determines is most likely to give notice to the apparent owner of the property. This bill, however, would allow the controller to publish these notices in “a manner that the controller determines to be reasonable.”
  • Maintaining the requirement to publish these notices in a newspaper of general circulation protects these due process rights and includes in the process those in the community who could help identify and locate the property owner.
  • The notice published and distributed in newspapers people want and seek out deputizes the entire community — neighbors, friends, relatives, churches and community groups everyone — to ensure every reasonable effort is made to reunite the property and its owner before it is escheated to the state.
  • Community newspapers offer, on a daily or weekly basis, a relatively small, well-edited package of information that is relevant and interesting to those who actually seek and want the information.
  • These notices are pushed into the community and read by Californians who continue to pick up “their” printed and published newspaper from their porch, a news rack, or from a pile in the local coffee shop to read about sports, from the NFL to Little League, city council or school district meetings, national and international news, gardening, skiing, biking, fishing, weather, traffic, the police blotter, the economy, the environment, crosswords and comics, just about everything.
  • People continue to depend on newspapers to be informed about important community events, both news and the information that is typically communicated through public notice advertisements. It is newspapers that give public notices prominence.
  • CNPA does not oppose language that would allow notice in other media in addition to, rather than in lieu of, newspapers of general circulation.
  • CNPA strongly believes the legal standard for continuing to publish unclaimed property notices in newspapers of general circulation and other media should remain unchanged: in publications, including newspapers of general circulation, most likely to give notice to the apparent owner of the property.
  • We urge you to vote “No” when AB 772 comes before you.

AB 1108 Talking Points

  • The bill would effectively eliminate the requirement that a lien sale of an individual’s personal property for non-payment of rent at a storage facility be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation before the property is sold.
  • The elimination of this requirement denies due process to the property owner as well as the community where the property is located.
  • AB 1108 would allow the lien sale of the property to be published “in any other media that is reasonably calculated to provide notice to potential buyers and the general public or both.”
  • Allowing the owner of a self-storage facility to choose between placing the notice in a newspaper of general circulation and any other medium would result in these notices being placed in other media every time.
  • CNPA believes that published notices of lien sales in newspapers distributed in the public notice district in which the property is located provide the best way to inform the entire community that an important public event is to occur in the community — an event that severs an individual’s legal relationship to personal property.
  • These published public notices are not intended solely to reach buyers, or even “interested parties,” but to inform the public at large.
  • AB 1108 mistakenly supposes a lien sale advertisement is merely an attempt to attract speculators. Lien sale advertisements, published in newspapers, are designed to deputize the entire community on the issue.
  • Relatives, friends and loved ones may read an advertisement concerning an overseas or otherwise indisposed occupant and step into his shoes to bring the past-due-bill current and prevent the sale.
  • Likewise, personal property in a storage unit often belongs not to the occupant, but to a third person who has no idea their family heirloom is about to be sold because of a delinquency of which they were also unaware.
  • Newspaper publication is a tried and true method of alerting the entire community, including those individuals AB 1108 does not even contemplate targeting.
  • AB 1108 would allow an owner to post these important notices on the facility’s own internet website which would give notice to almost no one.
  • Community newspapers offer, on a daily or weekly basis, a relatively small, well-edited package of information that is relevant and interesting to those who actually seek and want the information.
  • These notices are pushed to Californians who continue to pick up “their” printed and published newspaper from their porch, a news rack, or from a pile in the local coffee shop to read about sports, from the NFL to Little League, city council or school district meetings, national and international news, gardening, skiing, biking, fishing, weather, traffic, the police blotter, the economy, the environment, crosswords and comics, just about everything.
  • People continue to depend on newspapers to be informed about important community events, both news and the information that is typically communicated through public notice advertisements. It is newspapers that give public notices prominence.
  • Posting public notices solely on a business’ website amid all the clutter and chatter of the vast internet is a sure-fire way to secrete this vital and local information from the public.
  • We urge you to vote “No” when AB 1108 comes before you.

If you develop good arguments not presented here, please forward to Jim, Nikki or Tom.

Legislators on the Assembly Judiciary Committee

Assembly Member Mark Stone, (Chair), (D) Assembly District 29
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 3146
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2029
assemblymember.stone@assembly.ca.gov
Counties: Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Clara
Cities: San Jose, Santa Cruz, Seaside, Monterey, Marina, Pacific Grove, Scotts Valley, Capitola, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Del Rey Oaks, Sand City, Watsonville

Assembly Member Jordan Cunningham (Vice Chair), (R) Assembly District 35
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 4102
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2035
assemblymember.cunningham@assembly.ca.gov
Counties: San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara
Cities: Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Lompoc, Paso Robles and Santa Maria

Assembly Member Ed Chau, (D) Assembly District 49
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 5016
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2049
assemblymember.chau@assembly.ca.gov
Counties: Los Angeles
Cities: Alhambra, El Monte, Monterey Park, Arcadia, Rosemead, San Gabriel, Temple City, San Marino, Montebello, South El Monte

Assembly Member David Chiu, (D) Assembly District 17
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 4112
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2017
assemblymember.chiu@assembly.ca.gov
County: San Francisco
City: San Francisco

Assembly Member Cristina Garcia, (D) Assembly District 58
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 5164
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2058
assemblymember.garcia@assembly.ca.gov
County: Los Angeles (4.8%)
Cities: Downey, Bellflower, Pico Rivera, Montebello (89.7%), Cerritos, Bell Gardens, Norwalk (37.8%) Artesia, Commerce

Assembly Member Chris Holden, (D) Assembly District 41
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 5136
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2041
assemblymember.holden@assembly.ca.gov
Counties: Los Angeles, San Bernardino
Cities: Claremont, La Verne, Monrovia, Pasadena, Rancho Cucamonga, San Dimas, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Upland

Assembly Member Ash Kalra, (D) Assembly District 27
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 5160
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2027
assemblymember.kalra@assembly.ca.gov
County: Santa Clara
City: San Jose

Assembly Member Kevin Kiley, (R) Assembly District 06
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 4153
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2006
assemblymember.kiley@assembly.ca.gov
Counties: El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento
Cities: Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Granite Bay, Lincoln, Loomis, Orangevale,Rocklin, Roseville

Assembly Member Brian Maienschein, (R) Assembly District 77
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 4139
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2077
assemblymember.maienschein@assembly.ca.gov
County: San Diego
Cities: San Diego, Poway

Assembly Member Eloise Gomez Reyes, (D) Assembly District 47
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 4015
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2047
assemblymember.reyes@assembly.ca.gov
Counties: San Bernardino
Cities: Bloomington, Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Muscoy, Rialto, San Bernardino

Assembly Member Philip Ting, (D) Assembly District 19
California State Assembly
State Capitol Room 6026
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-2019
assemblymember.ting@assembly.ca.gov
Counties: San Francisco, San Mateo
Cities: Colma, Daly City, San Francisco, South San Francisco