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Removing racism from real estate records runs into opposition

June 26, 2008 |  2:28 pm

DeedIf it was up to his home's original builder, Hector de la Torre could never have lived in the nearly 60-year-old house in South Gate. Neither could any other Mexican American. It says so in the deed:

"No lot in said tract shall at any time be lived upon by a person whose blood is not entirely that of the Caucasian race, and for the purpose of this paragraph, no Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, Hindu, or any person of the Ethiopian, Indian, or Mongolian races shall be deemed to be Caucasian."

Such racist restrictive covenants are now illegal and unenforceable. But De la Torre, a state assemblyman representing the 50th District,  wants to go a step farther. He has sponsored legislation (AB 2204)  that would require county recorders to delete such covenants from the deeds any time a property is sold.

But, as KPCC reports, this well-intentioned bill has met with opposition from the state's real estate and insurance industry. They fear the proposal will delay and increase the cost of completing deals. Some county officials are also concerned that the bill would require them to search all related property records when a sale comes up to find and delete discriminatory language.

Existing law already allows individual property owners to strike restrictive covenants from their deeds. But few ever bother to do so. 

-- Jesus Sanchez

Photo: Los Angeles Times

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