Monday, 27 June 2022

Spencer: Ford attempting to rewrite history

I read with great interest Lake County News’ article on Friday about the race for assessor-recorder. I must respond to two points raised by the incumbent, Richard Ford.

He stated in the interview that he sent out a "white paper" to local real estate agents to dispel a notion that his office remained closed on Fridays, and that he opened up the Assessor-Recorder's Office for twice a day recordings "as soon as the COVID restrictions were lifted.” He did not.

I received a memo from Mr. Ford's office circulated by our local escrow companies containing a few sentences that he had restored the twice a day recordings [for escrow companies to close real estate transactions], but this was not a white paper. It was just a few sentences and was only sent to the title companies, not to all of the agents or even the brokerages.

Please note that he took this action on March 25, 2022, a full four months after the county had lifted the COVID restrictions. For him to imply that he took immediate action is simply not true.

There was no misunderstanding by the real estate community that his office remained closed on Fridays after that practice was halted. But there was vigorous objection by the real estate community that he refused to allow escrow companies to record real estate closings on Fridays when the county opted to shut down.

Environmental Health opened up for half days on Fridays; our assessor-recorder certainly could have done that but chose not to.

The Friday closures have affected hundreds of people in our community. I personally have had to help my clients find somewhere to stay until Monday for the closing/recording of their new home, all the while paying interest on a loan for a home they are not able to move into because the office was closed to the "public" for recordings.

I understand the need to be closed to the "public" in order to catch up, but when our courier at the title companies (there are only two title companies) arrives with that day's recordings it's simply one person and they wait for them to be recorded then they go back to each title company to confirm.

It was argued by many of us agents, brokers and the title companies that we wouldn't slow the staff down by allowing us to keep recording on Fridays and not to mention the revenue from supplemental taxes that would have added up over time.

Mr. Ford is attempting to rewrite history after the fact. His long record of poor public service is why I am voting for Hannah Lee on June 7 to be the next Lake County assessor-recorder.

Jessica F. Spencer lives in Kelseyville, California.

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