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Helpful, cheerful, professional, efficient, friendly, courteous, respectful – these are just some of the many words senior homeowners used to describe this year’s RSVP (REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program) volunteers. They were also called “angels” and “little elves” by some of the scores of seniors who sent in their feedback and wrote lengthy comments expressing their deep appreciation for the helping hands they received during RSVP Week in May.

“I’m 85 with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) breathing problems, so I can do less at this time. It is so nice to have four happy people come and do chores that are hard for you. Thank you,” wrote a Mountain View senior homeowner.

One Saratoga senior wrote, “I am delighted! It was lots of fun to be visited by such an outstanding and friendly team and to have such expert help with chores that I have been unable to do. Many thanks! This is a wonderful gift for you to give. I appreciate you!”

Another senior wrote, “Your volunteers were truly dedicated to helping people. In my case, two cataract operations left me without glasses and I really needed their kind help. Thank you so much.”

“We were very pleased with the work. The woman and man who came were very nice and professional. Thank you all so much. We really appreciate your help!” wrote a Los Gatos couple.

A Palo Alto senior wrote, “It’s such a treat to have met these lovely people and to bask in the luxury of the great things they did for me. I am so impressed and pleased.”

Another Palo Alto resident wrote, “Year after year they have helped a ‘loner.’” “I have nothing but high praises for the three young people that filled our request to the fullest,” wrote a senior from Sunnyvale.

Still another homeowner wrote, “I like this program and talking with young people. It gives me the feeling of being cared for and about.”

“It’s wonderful to know that there are caring people out there. Thanks so much for your kindness,” a Los Altos senior conveyed his thanks.

A Menlo Park senior citzen’s thank you card read, “The yard looks so much better – hope my daughter will now be able to keep it under control. Many thanks!”

A big thank you to the 247 volunteers from SILVAR who helped 146 senior households this year, RSVP Chair David Barca, SILVAR RSVP Chair Eileen Giorgi, and RSVP District Chairs Chris Isaacson (Menlo Park/Atherton District), Jeff Beltramo (Palo Alto District), David Kim and Suzanne O’Brien (Los Altos/Mountain View District), Sue Bose (Cupertino/Sunnyvale District) and Rick White (Los Gatos/Saratoga District).

“It takes so little to make our seniors happy. They are so appreciative and grateful to our volunteers,” said Giorgi. “I want to personally thank all the volunteers who took the time to help them this year. Thanks, too, to our RSVP district chairs who worked long hours to make sure the program ran smoothly in their district.”

THANK YOU 2011 RSVP VOLUNTEERS!

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to continue to opt-in to Proposition 90. Thank you to all SILVAR members who answered SILVAR’s Call to Action and to the many SILVAR members who attended the lengthy board meeting on Tuesday afternoon and voiced their concerns directly to our supervisors.

Under Proposition 60 and 110, if a seller or spouse is over age 55 or if a seller of any age is disabled when their original residence is sold, the seller may transfer the base year value of their home to a replacement primary residence of equal or lesser value within the same county, provided certain conditions are fulfilled. Proposition 90 extended this benefit to seniors and the disabled who move to counties that adopted Proposition 90 rules.

County Assessor Larry Stone wanted the supervisors to eliminate Proposition 90 as a way to increase revenue, but SILVAR REALTORS® and members of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® persuaded the county supervisors to oppose this proposal. On Tuesday, SILVAR members reminded the supervisors of the benefits of Proposition 90; many recounted personal experiences with seniors and disabled clients who benefited from the measure, and who otherwise would not have been able to move to the county had the proposition not been in place. Our members told the supervisors their clients were able to move closer to family, medical services and jobs. Otherwise, they would have been locked-in to their previous residences due to the significant property tax increase incurred in moving.

REALTORS® noted Proposition 90 is a “two-way street” because it creates opportunities for the original properties to be reassessed at a higher rate, while providing a significant benefit in improving the quality of life for homeowners. They also said seniors and the disabled from other counties “have diversified our county and enriched our quality of life.”

Stone questioned the supervisors’ hesitance in what he saw as “an obvious source of revenue” for the county, but our REALTORS® indicated the increase his office projects would be an estimated $150,000 at best, which would not be realized until 2013. They said the slight increase could not justify the intangible benefits the proposition gives seniors and persons with disabilities who wish to move to the county.

Supervisor Liz Kniss said the county made the decision to opt in Proposition 90 20 years ago and it should stay as an opted-in county.

Supervisor Ken Yeager said after listening to the real life examples presented by the REALTORS®, he felt “there is value to it (Proposition 90) at the personal level. We supported it then, we should support it now.”

While noting the assessor made a credible argument that increasing revenue was important for the county, upon hearing the many stories of people who have benefited from the proposition, Supervisor Mike Wasserman said, “It doesn’t feel right to take this away from the people who could use it. In the big picture, it just doesn’t feel right.”

Supervisor Dave Cortese indicated Proposition 90 creates a flexibility for seniors and persons with disabilities. “We should leave the flexibility for folks for now,” said Cortese.

The supervisors voted 5-0 to keep Proposition 90 in Santa Clara County.

The Call to Action was a team effort by SILVAR members and a victory for seniors and persons with disabilities who have moved to or plan to move to Santa Clara County. SILVAR thanks everyone who took part in this effort and the board of supervisors, who took into consideration the impact rescinding Proposition 90 would have on a group of people who have very little clout in the political arena.

SILVAR’s Los Gatos/Saratoga District will have a Charity Golf Tournament on Monday, July 11 at the Cinnabar Hills Golf Club, 23600 McKean Road in San Jose. Registration is at 10:30 a.m., with a Shotgun Start scheduled for 12 p.m. (Scramble Format) and awards ceremony with appetizers and no host cocktails slated for 5 p.m.

Cost is $175 per person, which includes green fees, range balls, golf cart, lunch and prizes. The grand prize is a certificate for a foursome of golf with carts at Half Moon Bay Golf Links http://www.hmbgolflinks.com/

Thank you in advance to the following generous sponsors for their support:
Lunch Sponsor:
Thrasher Termite & Pest Control – Janet Thrasher

Appetizer Sponsor:
First American Home Buyers Protection Corporation

Beverage Cart Sponsors:
State Farm Insurance Agents Yvonne Kendall & Laura Peterson
Tour Factory – Darrell Monda

Hole Sponsors:
Alain Pinel Realtors- Los Gatos
Cort Furniture Rental
JCP-LGS Disclosures
Princeton Capital
Von Kaenel Real Estate

Tee Bag Sponsor:
Harrell Remodeling, Inc.

To register online for this special event, go to ims.silvar.org, or complete the form below and fax to (408) 200-0101. Mail your check to SILVAR at 19400 Stevens Creek Blvd., Cupertino, CA 95014. For questions or for sponsorship details, please contact Kelly Dadsetan at (408) 200-0100 or email kdadsetan@silvar.org.

REGISTRATION/SPONSORSHIPS

REALTORS® in Santa Clara County oppose a move to rescind a benefit which for more than two decades has allowed seniors and the disabled from other counties to take advantage of a tax incentive to relocate to the county. Rescinding this benefit provided by Proposition 90 could hurt seniors wishing to move and buy a home in the county.

Under Proposition 60 and 110, if a seller or spouse is over age 55 or if a seller of any age is disabled when their original residence is sold, the seller may transfer the base year value of their home to a replacement primary residence of equal or lesser value within the same county, provided certain conditions are fulfilled. Prop 90 extended this benefit to seniors and the disabled who move to counties that adopted Prop 90 rules.

The Santa Clara County Assessor’s Office wants the board of supervisors to eliminate this important senior tax benefit and rescind Prop 90 transfers as a way to increase revenue. Proponents admit any revenue increase would be “slight” at best. REALTORS® say a minimal increase in revenue does not outweigh the economic benefits these transactions bring to the county.

“Given the limited number of affected parcels, it is not a business or financial decision that motivates REALTORS® to speak out on this issue. We support preserving Prop 90 for the benefits it brings to the county and for qualified seniors and the disabled,” says Gene Lentz, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. “The law provides an incentive for seniors to move into smaller, less expensive homes without being penalized.”

Prop 90 eases the property tax burden that otherwise could prevent seniors from moving into smaller residences, so they can be closer to children and grandchildren who reside in Santa Clara County, says Lynn Grandi-Hill, whose parents moved from San Rafael to Willow Glen in 1989.

“It was wonderful having them close by. … My children got see them more often than they would have had they stayed in San Rafael,” says Grandi-Hill.  “As much as families can stay connected and together, Prop 90 is a positive thing for society in general”

Prop 90 counteracts the “lock-in effect” created by Prop 13, which slowed the housing turnover and supply across the state. “Prop 90 helps seniors wanting to live in the county. By living here they, in turn, help the county’s economy since they will buy their groceries here, shop here, buy their gas here. They are a positive economic influence,” says Mike Sibilia, president of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS®.

A Southern California senior who moved to Santa Clara County to be close to his children after his wife died, says Prop 90 was a major factor in his decision to buy a house here. “I considered a number of options and I can tell you Prop 90 was big factor in my decision,” he says. “People considering rescinding it are short-sighted. It was a big savings for me, but people like me who move here also spend money here, so the county benefits too. “

Rescinding Prop 90 would reduce the number of qualified buyers considering a home in the county. Seniors are more likely to move and buy a new home once they qualify for Prop 60 and 90 benefits. A California Association of REALTORS® survey indicates 52 percent of Prop 90 transactions would not have taken place if the measure was not in effect.

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, is presenting scholarship awards to 18 graduating seniors from public high schools in Silicon Valley at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Now in its 12th year, the REALTOR® scholarship program recognizes students who have exemplified outstanding achievements in academics, extracurricular/employment activities and community involvement. The selection committee included representatives from the local business community, area high schools, area colleges and the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

Students who received scholarships from the Foundation, the schools from which they graduated, and the colleges and universities they will be attending are:

Jaime Garvey, Cupertino High School (University of San Francisco); Angel Luis Roa, Fremont High School (University of Southern California); Madelaine Bustos, Gunn High School (Boston University); Evelyn May Siu, Homestead High School (Princeton University); Christopher Hyde, Leigh High School (UC San Diego); Ian Gregory Glasner, Los Altos High School (Carnegie Mellon University); Se Eun Park, Los Gatos High School (Duke University); Alex Zhu, Lynbrook High School (Boston University); Emily Johnson, Menlo-Atherton High School (Occidental College); Stella Ziegler, Monta Vista High School (Reed College); Gillie Agmon, Mountain View High School (UC San Diego); Julia Howard, Palo Alto High School (University of Puget Sound); Nicholas Cotter, Prospect High School (UC Berkeley); Cyrus Shannon Sinai, Santa Clara High School (UCLA); Shannon Galvin, Saratoga High School (Georgetown University); Karli Willenborg, Westmont High School (UC Santa Cruz); Sidney Nguyen, Wilcox High School (UC San Diego); and Keneisha Perry, Woodside High School (CSU Chico).

“As we mark the 12th year of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Scholarship Program, we are very happy we are able to continue assisting the deserving winners as they embark on their college careers,” said SILVAR Scholarship Chair Nina Yamaguchi. “The seniors selected for the SILVAR Scholarship Program are among the cream of the crop. We believe through our scholarship program we can help our local youth achieve their dreams.”

“We feel fortunate to be able to give back to the community and to our youth through our scholarship program,” said Eileen Giorgi, president of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “We also thank the teachers and staff in each high school for their help and participation in making this program the success that it is.”

SILVAR members attending the senior awards ceremonies at the selected high schools and presenting the scholarships to the recipients include Carole Feldstein (Coldwell Banker), Maryann Simas (Coldwell Banker), Robert Reid (Keller Williams Realty), Carolyn Miller (Re/Max Real Estate Services), Vivian Wang (Coldwell Banker), Dale Anne Collings (Coldwell Banker), Joanne Fraser (Coldwell Banker), Mark Burns (Coldwell Banker), Mary Tan (Coldwell Banker), Jimmy Kang (Bank of America), Shawn Carroll (Coldwell Banker), Sue Bose (Referral Realty), Bill Gorman (Coldwell Banker), Lydia Kou (Alain Pinel Realtors), Russell Morris (Coldwell Banker) and Theresa Loya (Coldwell Banker).

 The scholarship program is a partnership effort between the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation and educators in SILVAR’s service areas. Scholarship recipients are selected from the high schools in the communities served by the over 4,000 members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

June 2011
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