Archive for June, 2014

San Diego Calendar of Events for July 2014

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Happy July everyone!


July 3, Dash & Dine Gaslamp 5K
This is a night 5K run through the Gaslamp Quarter with nightclub music and wafting smells of fine dining. After the run, participating bars and restaurants will offer the runners delicious local fare. Refer to website for registration and admission.
Time: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Gaslamp Quarter,
5th Avenue (between L St & K St), San Diego
For more information visit
July 4, Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10K, 
2-Mile Runs & Bike Rides
This event offers several running and cycling opportunities to choose from: a 10K road race, 2-mile fun run, 12-mile cycle, 28-mile cycle, or a 50-mile cycle. See website for entry fees.
Time: 6:00 am – 1:00 pm
Location: Scripps Ranch – Miramar Ranch School parking lot
For more information visit
July 12, Descanso Parade & Fair
This fair includes a parade, games and rides, food, vendor booths, arts, crafts, dancing and live entertainment. The parade route starts on Viejas Grade Road and ends at the elementary school. The fair helps raise funds for the preservation of the historic town hall.
Time: Parade: 10:00 am, Fair: 11:30 – 6:00 pm
Location: Descanso Town Hall,
24536 Viejas Grade Rd., Descanso
For more information visit
July 12, American Cancer Society’s Vista Relay for Life
At Relay for Life, cancer survivors are honored for their courage and strength. Caregivers are recognized for their encouragement and support. Teams of people camp out around a track and members of each team take turns walking around the track throughout the 24 hours. Because it’s a team event, individual participants are not required to be there the entire time. Food, games and activities provide entertainment and build camaraderie.
Time: 9:00 am
Location: Rancho Minerva Middle School, 2245 Foothill Dr., Vista
For more information visit
July 12 – 13, San Diego Night Market
Designed as a traditional Asian night market where vendors line the streets with their wares, there will be dozens of Asian food and merchandise booths, live musical entertainment, and a craft beer garden, as well as delicious food tastings and a special movie screening. This is a free event.
Time: 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Location: Raytheon Rd.
(between Convoy St & Ruffner St.,San Diego)
For more information visit
July 12 – 13 and 19 – 20, Annual World Championship
Over-The-Line Tournament
This event is a form of rugged sand softball play, with over 1,300 teams of three persons each, played on 50-mini courts over two consecutive weekends. Crowds of people gather to watch the games amid music and beer.
Time: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Location: Fiesta Island, San Diego
For more information visit
July 17, Del Mar Racing Season 
Opening day at the Del Mar Race Track. Put on your best hat and head down to the racetrack!
Time: Refer to website for specific times.
Location: Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
For more information visit
July 18, Wine & A Bite Art Walk
Enjoy several destination venues in Historic Downtown Fallbrook where you can stroll along and taste great food, wine, desserts and have an art experience. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Fallbrook Chamber office.
Time: 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Historic Downtown Fallbrook,
Village Square Main and Alvarado
For more information visit
July 18, Pride Block Party & Stonewall Rally
This is a prelude to the upcoming LGBT Pride Parade and Festival events. This is an evening block party rally that consists mostly of speeches, and then the event continues and becomes a street fair with live entertainment, food, cocktails, dancing, and merchandise. Refer to website for admission information.
Time: 5:00 pm – 11:30 pm
Location: University Ave., Hillcrest
For more information visit
July 19 – 20, San Diego Annual LGBT Pride Parade, Rally,
and Festival
Multiple events take place in Balboa Park and Hillcrest areas. There will be a music festival, block party, rally, parade and so much more! See website for all events, dates, times, and prices.
Time: Refer to website for specific times
Location: Balboa Park and Hillcrest
For more information visit
July 20, Kaiser Permanente Bolt to the Q 
5K & Kids 5K Fun Run
Join this 5K event that begins at Qualcomm Stadium, goes outside, and then back into the Stadium to the 50-yard line inside the bowl. The Chargers Kids Fun Run is also held at the stadium with the same finish line on the field. This event is presented by Kaiser Permanente. Refer to website for registration information.
Time: 7:30 am – 11:00 am
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Rd., San Diego
For more information visit
July 24 – 27, Comic Con International 2014
Comic Con International features special guests, exhibitors, panels, seminars, previews and more on the world of comics, movies, television, animation, and art. This is the largest comic book and pop culture event in the United States. Refer to website for admission information.
Time: Thurs to Sat: 9:30 am – 7:00 pm, Sun: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
Location: San Diego Convention Center,
111 W Harbor Dr., San Diego
For more information visit
July 25, Movie in the Park
Free Family Fun in La Mesa with this summer’s Movie in the Park “Mary Poppins.”
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: La Mesita Park, 8855 Dallas St., La Mesa
For more information visit
July 26, Joggin’ For Frogmen 5K
Joggin’ for Frogmen is a 5k chip timed run/walk to jog in honor of the Navy Seals (Frogmen) and all military Heroes who have sacrificed their lives while protecting our country. All proceeds benefit the Navy Seal Foundation, The 31Heroes Project, and Travis Manion Foundation through their One Team One Fight partnership. Following the 5k is a “Tadpole Trot” for the kids.
Time: 8:15 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Naval Training Center Park, 2455 Cushing Rd., San Diego
For more information visit
July 27, July Jubilee
This event will address the needs of homeless persons in downtown San Diego. Volunteers will provide basic hygienic services, food, clothing, housing and legal resources, prayer and fellowship. There will be musical entertainment. Service opportunities are listed in the sign up form.
Time: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: Downtown San Diego, 1625 Newton St.
For more information visit
July 31 – August 3, Annual Ramona Country Fair 
At Ramona’s Annual Country Fair there will crafts, carnival rides, vendors, live entertainment, a great amusement ride section, food contests, the annual Ramona Idol competition, great food, and lots of animals. Admission is free.
Time: Thurs to Fri: 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm,
Sat: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sun: 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Location: Ramona Outdoor Community Center,
421 Aqua Ln., Ramona
For more information visit
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The Problem with Stereotyping Professions

Friday, June 27th, 2014

I was engaged the other day on Twitter with someone who had made an interesting comment on a post I made. In response to my comment that I am an optimist, seek out positive aspects and make things happen, the person answered, “when did a lawyer become an optimist?”stereotype

I thought about that comment most of the day. A few things about it were disheartening. First of all, it confirms the notion that many people form opinions about entire groups of people or a profession in general. Usually this is born from a bad experience the person had with someone in that profession. When they share their bad experience it may be confirmed by another person who also had bad experiences with people in that profession. It is human nature but it is unfortunate.

When I first started working as a real estate agent many years ago, a close friend of mine laughed and said “now you represent 2 of the professions people hate the most – lawyers and Realtors. All you need to do next is sell cars!” I laughed at the time, but the comment is sad. I made a promise to myself that no one who ever worked with me would have a bad experience. That is a promise I have kept for 11 years in this business, because it is important to me and because it makes me feel good to know I made someone happy.

It doesn’t matter if you are badmouthing attorneys, car salespeople, wall street brokers, teachers, doctors or anyone else (personally I can name some bad people in each of those categories, and I am sure you can too).  Anyone who has a negative experience with a professional is obviously not working with the right person.

People will continue to stereotype professions until the end of time, but the fact is that there are good, ethical, professional and dedicated people in every industry. If you take the time to find one – and yes, that may involve paying more money so you have to decide which is more important – then you will have a great experience.

I continue to work in the real estate industry because I know I am in it for the right reasons – to give my clients a wonderful experience…because buying or selling a home, a legal transaction that involves one of the biggest decisions in life, should be a positive experience. Certainly there are things that are beyond my control, but I do my best to keep it positive. I hope that my professionalism and dedication will inspire others in the industry, and that one by one others who are like-minded will help turn the industry around into one with a great reputation.

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Real Estate Bubble News is Abuzz

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

The latest home price data was released this morning, and there were a plethora of articles today about the “housing bubble” and whether we have or are facing one. Personally I do not think we are in a “bubble,” nor do I see one coming any time soon, but there are some who share the opposite view. The news today sheds some light on what is going on in the market, and whether or not to take the perspective that we are heading toward a bubble. bubbles

One post I read stated that the way to mention whether a bubble market exists is to compare housing prices to rental prices. In doing so the study found that home prices are not a big bargain compared to prices in March of 2012 (when the home price to rent ratio was roughly 50%), but on the same token the ratio is not as high now as the roughly 87% peak in May of 2006.

With so many mixed housing numbers it is hard to take a perspective. Zillow, taking the view that housing is getting back to “normal,” stated that “The reality is that the market is moving from one defined by distortions including high negative equity and constricted inventory, to one defined by fundamentals like household formation rates, jobs and income growth.” This view is true in the raw sense, but it also holds some implications for future buyers. For example, home sales will surge in areas where there is job growth. But in many of those areas housing is very expensive (think technology in Northern California or biotech industries in Southern California), so buyers may have to purchase outside of these immediate markets and commute. 

The truth of the matter is that housing will grow or fail depending on several factors. Let’s start with economic and job factors. A big percentage of home sales in 2013 (about 1/3 according to data) and so far in 2014 have been cash sales, indicating that loans are still hard to come by and/or that those with money can and will purchase homes, and may not want to deal with the nuisance of obtaining a loan.

Obtaining a loan will also of course continue to play a role in home sales. Loan rates continue to remain low, and many lenders appear to be loosening the standards for lending, with some controversial products like adjustable rate mortgages (and I have heard rumors of stated income and personal loans) gaining in popularity once again.

Add to the future home sales growth predictions the fact that many young Americans are buried in student debt and will not likely have the ability to purchase a home for a long time. This affects household composition ratios as well, since many 20-somethings are now living or are moving back into homes with their parents in order to save money to pay off debt.

It will be interesting to see where housing goes from here. Here in North San Diego there are buyers waiting to purchase, but low inventory. It is a frustrating process, but it seems better than having homes sitting on the market with no buyers. So, like all housing periods I think we need to look on the positive side. Real estate has always been seen by many as a sound investment over time, and there will always be buyers and sellers. Right now is a great time to be a seller, and as long as there are willing and able buyers out there the market will continue to stay afloat.

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July 4 San Diego Fireworks Schedule 2014

Friday, June 20th, 2014

It is almost that time of year again, and there are wonderful venues in San Diego to see fireworks, so pick your favorite and enjoy! There are several venues throughout the county where you can park yourself and enjoy multiple firework displays! Find a high place that faces toward the coast in north county and you will be sure to see several different displays at once, from the Del Mar Fairgrounds to Legoland and Oceanside, even…any west facing hillside with a view will work! Here is the firework schedule:










fireworks3                                           fireworks4



















fireworks5    fireworks1























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Top Real Estate Attributes for Women and Men

Thursday, June 19th, 2014


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Lawsuits On the Rise Against Real Estate Agents

Friday, June 13th, 2014

When the real estate market heats up, so do the number of lawsuits against real estate agents and their brokers. Many buyers and sellers of real estate do not often pause to consider that they are involving themselves in a legal transaction, which can have severe consequences if not handled properly. Many agents, whether intentionally or by mistake,  unfortunately do not understand the ramifications of contract law.images

Here are the main areas for which agents and their brokers are sued in real estate sales-related cases:

1. Failure to advise on a contract. Real estate agents have a duty to make sure buyers and sellers understand the contacts they are signing. If there are any problematic issues or clauses in the contract the agent needs to make sure her clients understand them before signing. It is important to remember here that there is a fine line for agents – only attorneys can give legal advice (see below). An agent can explain a contract clause but should always defer to her broker and an attorney if further clarification or if advice is needed.

2. Giving legal advice. Only an attorney is licensed to give legal advice. Unfortunately there are many agents who provide legal advice, whether intentionally or not (most just have no clue they are doing so). I have seen it happen. The golden rule for agents is to not provide any advice on the contract that could be considered legal advice…when in doubt tell them you cannot give legal advice and refer the question to a broker (or if an agent is a broker he can refer directly to an attorney).

3. Misrepresentation of property features. This is a leading cause of real estate sales litigation. The key to avoid litigation is to be honest. Exaggerating features of a property or claiming it has features it does not can land agents in the hot seat.

images-34. Failure to disclose defects. Real estate agents have a duty to disclose any known defects of a property, or any that they see that are obvious (think big wet spot under a sink or in a ceiling, or an HVAC system that does not come on when started, for example). It is important to remember that a real estate agent is not held to the same standard as a home inspector, but here in California most agents complete an Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure, in which they document any known or observed faulty conditions.

When in doubt, always disclose (this is the same thing agents should tell their sellers when they fill out their disclosures – disclose everything). This is especially important if a listing agent has an escrow fall out and has been given a home inspection or other reports from a previous buyer – at that point the agent and homeowner are considered to have knowledge of the issues that were discovered and reported, and must disclose those items and provide the report to any new buyers.

There have been rumblings in past years about allowing only licensed attorneys to obtain broker licenses, but that has never been implemented. It may help reduce lawsuits, but the problem is that mistakes will still be made by agents, and brokers will often not catch them (especially brokers who oversee large numbers of agents).

The best security for buyers and sellers is to work with an agent who is also an attorney. In many states only attorneys can be the closing agents in real estate sales (here in California we have escrow officers instead, but attorneys can handle them as well, although this is rare). Working with an agent or broker who has a legal background offers peace of mind for both buyers and sellers of real estate.

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An Historic Day For California Public Education

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Today is the day that will finally change public education here in California for the better. A landmark case was decided that, if upheld, will send the tenure system as we know it to death row, and allow for firing of ineffective

A California judge ruled that tenure violates a student’s basic rights to public education, especially minority children. Personally, I have seen many ineffective teachers in our own local public school system, and I participated in a successful effort to remove an ineffective Principal a few years ago – not an easy battle (and I had to resort to writing a legal memorandum pointing out all the reasons the district could possibly be sued in the future for letting the Principal stay in the position in order to get noticed).

The great thing about this ruling is that it benefits everyone in the education system. It obviously benefits students by eliminating ineffective teachers from classrooms, making way for caring, positive and instrumental teachers who truly want to teach to have the opportunity to educate our children. Also, the firing process will no longer be so difficult (one statistic I heard on a news report was that to fire a teacher in California it takes up to 10 years and half a million dollars…and we wonder why we don’t have more money to spend in our schools!) Just think – schools can bring back programs like music and art, instead of wasting money trying to fire tenured teachers – double whammy!

Teachers will benefit immensely from this new ruling because those teachers who really want to teach, want to make a difference, and are excited to do so – those teachers will have a better chance of actually teaching. If seniority is not longer a priority then the newer, enthusiastic teachers can replace those who no longer enjoy it and are just hanging on to collect a paycheck (and believe me, there are MANY of them, at least here in our district!).

My niece is a teacher in a tough neighborhood school in Los Angeles. A magna cum laude Stanford credentialed graduate, she has been teaching for only  two years and her students love her – she has challenged them to want to work hard, and they do it…scores have risen and she is an enthusiastic and exciting, positive teacher. With her credentials she could have worked anywhere, but chose that school. She is making a difference. These are the types of teachers we need!

This ruling also benefits school administrators because it obviously makes their jobs easier if they have strong groups of teachers at their schools; which in turn makes communities happier and stronger. Maybe violence in schools would decrease if students had strong teachers and role models (I know – a stretch, yet if you think about it, it’s not so far-fetched).

Of course, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. The teachers union is of course very unhappy with the ruling. They say their job is to protect the teachers, but the problem is that the tenure system protects the teachers from being fired at the expense of students, schools and communities. Like many parents, I have lots of bad teacher stories from my childrens’ schools (in fact, I just met with the Principal this week to report more incidents, and suggested that an educational psychologist come in and train teachers how to speak to and respect students – you’d think most would know but not in our experience). It is time for the unions to realize that we are never going to better public education until they just give up archaic systems.

This ruling today is positive and true. I hope that it means we are finally on the right path to improving public education in this state, and even more so in this nation. Maybe in the near future America’s public students will finally be able to compete with those educated in other countries – I think now that such a goal is a light at the end of the tunnel, instead of just a dream.

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Home Inspection Saves the Day

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

In my years as a real estate agent I have learned to value home inspections a great deal. I always advise my buyers to have them, and most listen. Some do not, and that is their prerogative, but I feel very strongly about the benefits of having a good home inspection. However, I must say there are a few caveats. Here is what I think is important when looking for an inspector:home_repair

1.  Experience and background matter. Like real estate agents, there are many inspectors out there and they have varying levels of expertise and ways in which they actually inspect homes. My best advice is to trust your agent – I am very picky about inspectors and there are only less than a handful whom I recommend. These inspectors all go beyond the average home inspection, and most of them have credentials that blow the average guy away (like being a civil engineer and/or licensed contractor). Some inspectors use infared devices too, so that they can look for water intrusion or improper heat distribution issues behind the walls.

Always ask for credentials, years of experience, and testimonials. Ask how the inspector works, and what he does that makes his services stand out. If your agent is not familiar with the inspector I advise calling a few people who used his services and chatting with them. After all, you need to make sure you get what you pay for.

2.  Not all reports are equal. It is important to find out how an inspector will draft his report. In my opinion you should expect a very detailed report with lots of photos and commentary. I always advise against the “check the box” reports, because honestly I feel they do not have enough information. I also like a summary section that quickly reviews the hazardous issues or those things that are in violation of building standards. It is nice to have an inspector who inspects the roof – granted they are not roofers, but they can tell you if you should call one out for further inspection.

My “proof is in the pudding” story comes from personal experience. My buyers got into escrow on a home that looked very nice, and they offered to pay top dollar to beat out another offer. Low and behold the home inspection turned up major construction defects – so many that it made a purchase very risky for my buyers. Although neither them nor I expected to hear a report like we did, it was a good thing we had an experienced inspector to show us the issues.

Home inspections allow the buyers to see what items need to be repaired or replaced, which allows them to either attempt to negotiate repair requests, ask for credits or price reductions, or walk away where they feel it is necessary.

I believe that a good home inspection offers peace of mind to buyers – don’t hesitate about spending the money and make sure to find a great inspector to help guide you through.


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Ineffective and Bully Teachers Need to be Fired

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Those of you who know me or read my blog regularly know how strongly I feel about two issues that effect all of our lives and our communities: bullying and education. I have championed many causes over the years and fought battles in the name of making public education better and raising awareness about bullying in our schools. These battles have been difficult but I try to live up to the notion that change won’t happen unless you make it.

I wanted to write about ineffective teachers, here at the end of the school year, because they hurt us all – our children and families, other children, our schools as a whole, our communities, and the future as well. It is time to stop allowing ineffective teachers and administrators to continue working in the education system.

I will share with you a few personal incidents that really highlight what is going on in our schools…in great neighborhoods! One case: there is a teacher who singles out a student constantly, makes comments about the student under her breath, yells at the student for no reason and is generally mean to the student. The student makes good grades, follows directions and does not get into trouble. Yet this student, who suffers the injustices that the teacher throughout the year, is afraid to do anything because it will jeopardize her grade and make class time more difficult. Another student I know went through the same thing at another school and had to go to counseling because she would come home crying all the time.

There is another teacher who is just downright nasty to many students, making it very clear that she has favorites. If your student is one of the many she does not like, and your student gets put in her class (even if you had a run in with her in the past), you cannot move your student out of her class! This happened to my daughter, and the only way I was able to get her out was to downgrade her from an honors to a regular class. That is ridiculous.

There are teachers at the high school level who tell the students flat out that they don’t care, that they aren’t going to spend time teaching some lessons, and that they are protected from being fired because they have tenure! These teachers speak rudely often and the students can feel their lack of excitement for education on a daily basis…what do you think this says to our students? Yet we wonder why students in the USA are so far behind on many educational levels compared to other nations.

In defense of teachers, I must say that teaching is the most noble profession in my eyes, and always has been. Teachers should be paid more and should be placed on pedastals – other nations do this (like Japan). Teachers should be respected, BUT respect is not automatic, it is earned. The moment you lose the respect of the student body you have placed a noose around your neck.

Why do teachers stay with it if they do not care to influence students? Surely at some time they wanted to teach and be mentors, to help students get excited about teaching. I know there are unions and tenure to protect the rights of teachers, but I say let’s get rid of the ineffective teachers. Let the students and parents and communities decide who deserves to continue teaching. Let’s rate our teachers annually. Let’s let the student body know that it’s ok to file complaints, and that they don’t have to stay in classes if they are subject to verbal abuse or other unfair treatment.

I know this is a fine line, and I know there is room for abuse. But WE SIMPLY HAVE TO MAKE CHANGES TO OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM, and we need to get rid of teachers who bully or do not teach effectively.

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What Settings Do Luxury Buyers Desire?

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014


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