Player in Campaign to Kill the Popular Energy Efficiency Finance Program in Kern County and Bakersfield Branches Out
Jeanne Radsick of Bakersfield-based Scott Tobias Real Estate is a director of both the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and its California affiliate. On Sept. 9, 2017, she appeared before the Taft (CA) City Council as part of a push by the realtor lobby to kill homeowner access to the popular financing program known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
During her statements to the City Council, where she failed to mention her national and statewide roles, Ms. Radsick made a series of questionable statements. In total, we counted nine misstatements, ranging from inaccurate information about average interest rates for this type of financing to misrepresentations about the new consumer protections bills regulating the state’s PACE sector. Ms. Radsick also misrepresented Governor Brown’s position on PACE legislation passed by the California legislature which he subsequently signed into law.
Taft is in Kern County, where, on June 13, 2017, the Board of Supervisors voted to end PACE in unincorporated areas of the county. Readers will remember that in August Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) filed twin lawsuits against the Kern County Board of Supervisors and the Bakersfield City Council.
The suits are part of our effort to get to the bottom of questions about how powerful lobbyists got local officials to kill PACE in both jurisdictions. This popular program for homeowners offers up-front financing for energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy and seismic improvements that are paid back through property tax assessments.
Jeanne Radsick was a part of the lobbying team that reached out to Kern County Board of Supervisors Chairman Zack Scrivner to request a meeting to discuss PACE. In this email, obtained by C&BP through a public records request, Ms. Radsick is referred to as a “local realtor.” Once again, her role as a director of the national association and the California Association of Realtors (CAR) is not mentioned.
As we reported on July 11, 2017, C&BP received a reader tip in May alleging the California association has subjected Bakersfield and Kern County, California, among other localities, to an intense anti-PACE campaign. It appears that Jeanne Radsick is a leader in that campaign.
On October 26, 2017, we sent a letter to Ms. Radsick — said to be considering a run for president of CAR — to ask if she would explain some of the curious statements in her presentation to the Taft City Council. Our questions are:
- You said, “The bill that was just passed through the legislature has not only not been signed by the governor, it is still very fluid because the he has serious concerns about it.” How do you justify that statement when two weeks later Gov. Brown signed AB 1284 and SB 242, giving the California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) broad new authority to enforce consumer protections and regulate the growing PACE marketplace throughout California?
- You declared that PACE financing for homeowners is “20, 30, 50, $60,000.” Yet Visalia realtor Steve Blain states that the average PACE residential financing is around $20,000, an amount repeated elsewhere. Why did you overstate the financing amount so dramatically?
- You said, “One of the other comments that was made is that these are low-cost loans. I’m thinking that 11% to 14% is not considered low-cost in my brain…That’s what these people are paying. It’s huge!” But according to reporting on PACE by the LA Times, average financing rates are between 6.5% to 8.49%. How do you reconcile this difference?
- Were you under oath when you gave this testimony?
- What is your relationship with the California and National mortgage bankers associations?
You can read the entire letter here.
So far, we have not heard from Jeanne Radsick. We will update this post when we do.
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.
You Might Want to Read: