Gov. Jerry Brown urges Obama to appoint new housing regulator
Joining California's congressional Democrats, Gov. Jerry Brown is calling on President Obama to appoint a new federal housing regulator, saying the acting director is "hindering California's economic recovery and harming state efforts to promote clean energy."
In a letter to the White House last week, Brown echoed the concerns of more than two dozen House Democrats, arguing that the Federal Housing Finance Authority under Acting Director Edward DeMarco has "ignored" the Golden State's foreclosure crisis by "failing to exercise its full authority over residential mortgages underwritten by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," the housing finance agencies seized by the government in September 2008 as mortgage losses mounted.
According to Reuters, DeMarco, who has never been selected as the FHFA'S permanent director, has argued that the roughly $169 billion in taxpayer-funded support paid out to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was meant to get them back on their feet, not to provide relief to the housing market.
Brown also said DeMarco had "completely sabotaged" the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, which encouraged homeowners to use bond-backed property tax assessments to install solar panels and make insulation improvements. The program, suspended in 2010, "could be delivering tens of thousands of jobs in communities throughout America," Brown wrote.
As California's attorney general, Brown tried to restart the stalled program by suing the FHFA two years ago.
In his letter last week, the governor asked Obama to appoint a permanent director "who will truly represent your policies."
--Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: Then-California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown gives a speech at the Moving America Forward rally on the USC campus Oct. 21, 2010. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times