When President Barack Obama failed to respond to the nation's mortgage crisis with effective programs early in his first term, the results were devastating for thousands of San Joaquin Valley homeowners.
Perhaps you recall the sharp words that Dennis Cardoza, a Democrat who represented the 18th Congressional District at the time, had for Obama and U.S. Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan in 2010.
"To assert (as Donovan did) that the foreclosure assistance programs offered under the Obama administration to this point have been successful and to insinuate that the assistance provided has been anywhere near adequate is an insult to the thousands of families that have lost their homes to foreclosure in our community," Cardoza stated back in 2010.
Donovan is still ignoring the needs of valley homeowners. This week he closed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's field office in Fresno. Donovan's decision to shutter the office, as well as those in San Diego and Sacramento, leaves three offices in California. They are in Los Angeles, Santa Ana and San Francisco meaning valley residents seeking in-person HUD assistance must travel 100 miles or more.
"While I understand the extraordinary funding situation your Department faces as a result of the sequester's misguided across-the-board cuts, your decision to shut down the Fresno office is a sucker punch to the San Joaquin Valley as we struggle to recover from the housing crisis," Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, said in letter sent to Donovan on Wednesday.
Costa, who now represents Merced County in Congress, continued: "Years after the housing crisis began, the foreclosure rate in California's 16th Congressional District is more than 40 percent higher than the state foreclosure rate. ... From housing counseling to foreclosure prevention and assistance, the Fresno field office has been a lifeline for my constituents."
Costa got it right: This is a sucker punch. Not that we shouldn't have seen it coming. More than five years into the Obama presidency, we in the valley are accustomed to being overlooked by his administration on mortgage relief, on irrigation deliveries and on economic development.