Vallejo: Bay Area Community in Hard Times

The raw data shock any reasonable person looking. How could a bedroom community seemingly doing so well, slide so fast? First…the numbers:

Sixty percent of all borrowers in the Vallejo area owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth in the first quarter of 2010, according to CoreLogic, compared with 24% of borrowers nationwide and 34% in California.

Property and sales tax revenue are expected to drop 18% and 10%, respectively, in the current fiscal year. The city’s general fund has plummeted 20% in the last two years.

Since filing for Chapter 9 in 2008, Vallejo came to symbolize to the state, if not the country, the fiscal abuses of Governments and their spending:

Since filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection two years ago, this scrappy Bay Area bedroom community has come to symbolize the fiscal troubles — now faced by many cities — that helped push it to the brink: unrestrained spending, out-of-control pension costs and a burst housing bubble.

Has Vallejo now become The Example:

“I don’t think other cities look at us with a jaundiced eye because we’ve filed bankruptcy,” said Mayor Osby Davis. “Other cities … look at us and say, ‘Wow, we’re a step away from where you are. We just want to know, how are you getting through this?’ ”

The answer, so far, is not so well, although “the hardships visited on Vallejo residents are not because of the bankruptcy,” said Marc Levinson, the city’s lead bankruptcy attorney.

How are they getting through this:

…First came the break-in at the combination electronics repair shop and real estate agency. Then came the burglar bars on the store’s plate-glass window.

But Jimmy Mozaffar, owner of Data Days, sounds less angry with the criminals than he does with the crime-stoppers here in hard-knock Vallejo, the largest city in California history to file for bankruptcy.

The thieves made off with laptops, but it was the pared-down Police Department — which has lost a third of its officers — that stole Mozaffar’s peace of mind. When Mozaffar called the department to report the burglary last fall, a recording directed him to a website.

“Nobody came out,” he said. “They said they’d deal with it.”

For the entire article (and it is worth the read) go to:

Vallejo Hits Hard Times


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