“We’ve got the ear of Zack Scriver… He Called Me” — Tammy Engel
Zack Scrivner, chairman of the Kern County Board of Supervisors and 2nd District representative, called Tammy Engel, a local mortgage broker, soon before the board was scheduled to decide whether to kill homeowner access to the popular, Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE). He said he wanted information.
There had been public hearings on PACE, a program that offers affordable, up-front financing for energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy and seismic improvements that are paid back through property tax assessments. Many interested parties had emailed Scrivner and his staff to express their views. The Chairman even met with realtor lobbyists, at their request, the day before the vote.
No Other Record of Scrivner Reaching Out
C&BP asked for all records of Zack Scrivner’s communications regarding the vote to kill PACE. If the County has responded to our records request accurately, then the only record of Scrivner actively seeking information about PACE was from Tammy Engel.
Since May 2017, Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) has been investigating attempts by powerful mortgage and realtor lobbies to kill the PACE program in California and at the federal level. In August, we filed twin lawsuits against the Kern County Board of Supervisors and the Bakersfield City Council to get to the bottom of questions about how lobbyists got local officials to kill PACE in both jurisdictions.
Engel Emails Mortgage Professionals Lobbyist Velez
Mr. Scrivner’s request caused Engel to reach out to Michelle Velez, government affairs chair for NAMB – the National Association of Mortgage Professionals.
According to an email written by Ms. Engel at 10:12 a.m. on June 12th — the day before the final vote on PACE —she told Ms. Velez that “we’ve got the ear of Zack Scrivner” and that “Fred Kreger says you’ve got the best info – what should I share with Zack?”
Ms. Velez, in addition to her national role, is also a past president of the California Association of Mortgage Professionals. The Fred Kreger she referred to was the president of NAMB.
Mr. Scrivner soon received the mortgage industry’s talking points directly from Engel, delivered to his personal email address:
Then, at 10:14 a.m., Ms. Engel forwarded an anti-PACE article written by Velez to Chairman Scrivner’s personal email address. She signed off: “xo tammy e.”
Did Chairman Zack Scrivner proactively seek out the views of other constituents besides Ms. Engel? There is no record of it. If not, was that fair to the views and interests of Kern County homeowners and contractors who favored PACE?
The stakes are high, as Scrivner voted the day after to kill homeowner access to PACE.
Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from sustainable economy philanthropies and donors.
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