Monday, November 16, 2009

TARP Watchdog: Officials Could Have Done More to Reduce Bailout Costs -

TARP Watchdog: Officials Could Have Done More to Reduce Bailout Costs -

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DIY Car Wash Saves Money

We are in a recession, wait I think they are saying we are out. Doesn't really matter on an individual basis because you can choose to participate in a recession or adapt and go about living your life. I choose to adapt. I don't have the luxury of going to a car wash and waiting for my car to be washed anymore. I have found an alternative that not only saves me money but time and I get a little bit of exercise.

I know DIY (Do It Yourself) isn't a new concept in real estate but it was a forgotten concept when it comes to our cars. I just want to share this option with our local community because I have found it very beneficial. Zeavy Car Wash is a do it yourself car wash located at 520 S. Victory Blvd in Burbank between Verdugo and Alameda. This is one of those car washes we used to refer to as a Coin-op but they now take visa/mastercard or debit cards w/ those symbols. If you do swipe a card it's a minimum charge of $5 for 10 minutes. This is plenty of time for my Honda Accord. You will need coins for use of the vacuums. They have a spot free rinse that I use and I have to admit it works. I don't hang out and dry my car, I just drive off and I don't have any water spots or streaks. If you have change and are really fast you can get it done for as little as $2.25 for 4 minutes. I've done that a few times too when I just needed a quick rinse.

If you feel the need of tipping someone one to wash your car feel free to have your children help you. One of my fond memories as a kid was when my dad allowed me to help him with the car. Funny how parents can make work seem like fun and a privilege.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Federal Loan Mod Effort Reaches 20 Percent

No matter how hard the administration tries to get involved it is too difficult for them to take over private industry. I hear the most successful loan mods are from the GSE's, Fannie and Freddie. Other than that there's too many other factors in play like mortgage insurance and investors. Throw in the loan servicing companies and you have such an inefficient process that the majority of homes just end up foreclosing. How do they expect homeowners to make payments when they are unsure of what the lender is going to do and so they just start saving their cash. I am not saying that's right but I am saying that unless these lenders become more proactive, you will just see more foreclosures.
REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Federal Loan Mod Effort Reaches 20 Percent

Friday, November 6, 2009

"All You Need Is Love"

This song made famous by the Beatles hit the nail on the head. I think all of us benefit from love of family members and friends. We would all benefit by reaching out to others that might not always feel the same love that we do.

As I watch the news it's hard to keep a positive attitude. All you see and hear is negative news. Ft. Hood has been described as a "kick in the gutt" for the U.S. Army. Another shooter goes crazy in Orlando and Unemployment is in double digits. Sounds like the Mayan calendar might be right and the world is coming to an end.

Lucky for me I had spent most of my morning at church and watching innocent children performing for police officers. These public servants were given the gratitude that is well deserved. I watch these kids and realize that they look to us for guidance in this very negative world. We have a responsibility to them to change this world. We can all do this by first taking care of our own backyards.

Let's do this in baby steps. Start at home by providing a positive environment. Once you've done that than reach out to a neighbor or an organization and see how you can help. The holidays are very difficult for many especially in these tough economic times. If you think that they might be too proud to ask for help then see if you can send them something anonymously.

We can do this one neighbor at a time. Teach these kids to love one another and you will see that this world will be a better place.

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Getting Ready for the Holidays? Call for Help.

The following was passed on to me by a parent/volunteer of the Burbank Vikings Football and Cheer program. Please keep those in need in your prayers this holiday season and below is a list of things that you can do to help out.

Burbank (November 3) - For the sixth consecutive year, The Burbank City Council declared November "Burbank Temporary Aid Center Month" in Burbank. Throughout November a variety of events will be held to assist BTAC in helping the working poor, needy seniors, and homeless of Burbank. Events include food drives, fundraising, and other related efforts. 'BTAC Month' encourages the community to work together in helping those who need it most.

Requests for assistance continue to soar during this unpredictable economic period, and BTAC is working hard to keep pantry shelves stocked for the upcoming holiday season.

"BTAC's food pantry has seen an 80-percent increase in grocery requests over the last twelve months," says Executive Director Barbara Howell.

"The holidays are always a busy time of year for BTAC. But this year the number of families that have requested help are unprecedented," Howell said.

BTAC clients include those who are newly unemployed, and those who are homeless. BTAC also sees clients who may have a job, but who are forced to choose between rent, health care or groceries.

"Our goal is that 'BTAC Month' will provide enough food to keep the pantry fully stocked throughout this holiday season," Howell said. "The fuller the pantry, the more people BTAC will be able to help."

For further information regarding 'BTAC Month,' please contact BTAC directly at (818) 848-2822, ext. 110. You can also head to to find a list of the food items most urgently needed.

Following is a list of several "BTAC Month" events and information about those events. Help our community by attending or donating to any of these events! Let's make this Holiday Season a success!

Nov 1 - Dec 24. Barnes & Noble begins its Holiday Book Drive. Purchase books for children or teens that B&N will deliver to BTAC's "Santa's Room." Help Santa's Room give the gift of reading this Holiday Season and visit B&N in the Burbank Center Mall, 731 N. San Fernando Blvd. This event continues through Christmas.

Nov 1 - Nov 20. Escrows Inc. welcomes the public to support its annual food drive. Items can be donated at the office at 3520 W. Magnolia Blvd. Donations will be accepted through November 20th.

Nov 1 - Nov 25. Burbank Unified School District will be holding food drives at each elementary school until Thanksgiving.

Nov 1 - Nov 30. Burbank City Federal Credit Union will hold a food drive for members and employees all month long. There will be a bin to donate food located in the lobby. BCFCU is located at 1800 W. Magnolia Blvd.

Nov 1 - Nov 25. Curves Burbank will waive its service fee ($200!) for the month of November for customers who purchase a Henry's Market turkey that is donated to BTAC. The fee can also be waived for those clients who donate two bags of groceries to either Curves location. Groceries will then be delivered to BTAC! This event continues through November 25th.

Nov 1 - Nov 30. Keller Williams will hold a drive at its Burbank office at 401 S. First Street to collect items other than food that BTAC needs. These items include: Mens wear, socks, baby diapers, etc. Of course, they will also accept canned food as well.

Nov 3. The Burbank City Council approved a proclamation declaring November "BTAC Month" in Burbank. See:…Player.php

Nov 7. Barnes & Noble will kick off the Holiday season with Story-Time at 11am located in the Burbank Town Center Mall. This is also an opportunity to buy books for children or teens that B&N will forward to BTAC's Santa's Room program.

Nov 7. The Morning and Noon Rotary Clubs in Burbank will have a food drive at the Ralphs at San Fernando Blvd. and Delaware Rd., 8am - 2pm.

Nov 7. The Zonta Club of Burbank Area is holding it annual "Woman of the Year" luncheon, this year honoring BTAC executive director Barbara Howell. It will be held at the Castaway Restaurant at 11:30am. Guests are encouraged to bring canned goods, and donations to BTAC will also be accepted. Tickets are $50.00. For information and reservations, please contact Grace Farenbaugh at (818) 398-7170.

Nov 7 - Dec 12. Bell Cottage, located at 3816 W. Magnolia Blvd, will give a 10% discount off your purchase with the donation of 5 or more items from the BTAC NEED LIST. This generous offer will continue through December 12th. You can find the BTAC NEED LIST at under the "Donate/Volunteer" tab.

Nov 8. National Charity League is holding a food drive from 9am to 3pm at Ralphs on Buena Vista St. and Victory Blvd.

Nov 11. Keller Williams employees will be bringing BTAC 150 sandwiches for sack lunches distributed to the homeless.

Nov 14. Leadership Burbank Alumni Association will conduct a food drive at Pavillions at 1110 W. Alameda Ave., and another at Ralphs at 25 E. Alameda Ave. Both run 8am - 2PM.

Nov 14. Scouting for Food Project begins. Area Boy Scouts will distribute bags for donations throughout Burbank neighborhoods starting November 14th. They will collect the bags filled with food donations to BTAC on November 21st.

Nov 18. Woodbury University students and faculty may donate canned food at the campus' annual Thanksgiving Dinner. Woodbury University is located at 7500 Glenoaks Blvd.

Nov 19. Warner Bros employees will contribute by preparing Thanksgiving food bags at BTAC from 1-3pm.

Nov 19. Remax-in-Action Realty will donate and deliver 100 turkeys to BTAC at 1:30pm.

Nov 19. Century 21, Paul and Associates will donate and deliver to BTAC potatoes for client Thanksgiving meals.

Nov 21. Burbank Jaycees Operation Gobbler food drive will be held at Pavillions at 1110 W. Alameda Ave. from 10am to 4pm.

Nov 21. Roaders Car Club will hold a food drive at its car show outside Ivy's Flower Station in Glendale's Kenneth Village in the 1400 block of Kenneth Road, from 5pm-8pm.

Nov 22. Burbank Ministerial Association will hold an Interfaith Service at Burbank Temple Emanu El at 7:30pm, and food and cash donations to BTAC will be welcomed. The service will be held at 1302 N. Glenoaks Blvd.

Nov 30 Walt Disney Studios is holding a special screening of its latest animated film The Princess and the Frog at 7:00pm on the Disney lot. Guests will also have access to an interactive display on one of the sound stages! Tickets are $50.00 and all proceeds will go directly to BTAC.

Employee Food Drives:

All month long the following businesses will hold food drives for their employees: City of Burbank, Aramark Uniform Services, and My Eye Media.

Yahoo will hold its annual Turkey Drive and The Writers and Producers Guild of America will conduct a food drive for employees throughout the week of November 16th.

Warner Bros. will conduct a lot-wide food drive for BTAC starting November 16th, and running through December 23rd.


ALL BURBANK FIRE STATIONS: Starting November 30th and continuing through Christmas all Fire Stations will be collecting toys and athletic equipment to be distributed to children and families in need.

THE METROLINK HOLIDAY TRAIN: On December 11th, at the Metrolink Station in Burbank, the fire department will host The Metrolink Holiday Train. The event will take place from 5:30pm to 7:30pm and will feature the train adorned in lights and holiday cheer! Activities will include carolers, snacks, hot cocoa and of course the main guest on the Holiday Train: SANTA CLAUS!

Attendees should bring a toy for the Spark of Love to make others' holiday joyful as well.


We have an especially urgent need for donations to support our food pantry!

At this time, BTAC is only permitted to accept contributions of commercially prepared, unopened food. We cannot accept homemade food items.

BTAC needs the following supplies year-round: Macaroni & cheese, peanut butter, cereals, canned fruits and vegetables, canned soups, canned meats (chicken, tuna, etc.), rice, pasta, instant potatoes, pancake mixes, syrup, personal hygiene supplies such as toothpaste, tooth brushes, and deodorant. Canned goods with easy-open pull-tabs are especially appreciated.

Please, no ramen noodles, or exotic, specialty-food items!

Source: Burbank Temporary Aid Center News Release and Burbank City Council Meeting, Nov. 3, 2009

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Super Dad? Just Call Me Mario

I'm often referred to as Super Dad by a few friends. It's flattering but I don't think of myself as anyone doing anything above and beyond what I am supposed to do. If anything I'm always looking for opportunities to volunteer more. At times I sacrifice the time that I should be using to focus on my business.

When I worked full-time and didn't have a flexible schedule I hated having to ask for the time off to attend the kids' functions. This is what drove me to become a Realtor. I actually work more hours but I'm able to create my schedule around the children. I know many fathers out there would love to be able to be at all of the kids functions and can't because of work. I know those fathers make up for it on the weekends. Lot of my friends are in that same boat and if you're envious of me, let me tell you that I'm envious of your steady paycheck.

I am able to do the things I do because of the support I receive from great family and friends. Nine years ago when I was entering single fatherhood I made a decision early on to welcome people into my life that shared a love for my children. I know at the time I had mixed feelings of how I was going to do this. I went through my divorce with a lot of pain and anger towards my ex. I learned quickly that this was a very unhealthy attitude for me and my children. As a man I had a lot of pride and I see single moms deal with the same kind of pride that blinds them from seeing what is best for their children. I quickly put my pride aside and accepted the help being offered. Yes this included my ex-wife's family.

My ex obviously has her own issues and demons to deal with and 9 years later I still offer words of encouragement in order for her to try to salvage any type of relationship she can with her children. My ex-in-laws and I are very close and keeping them involved in my kids' lives has been very beneficial to them and myself.

I am a father who is actively involved with his kids but they have sacrificed because of it. I can't always afford to get them what they want and as they become teenagers that becomes even tougher on them. There are times that I'm ashamed because I am not yet the multi-millionaire that I thought I was going to be when I was 18 but I appreciate the lessons that I am able to teach them about life, finances, and balance. I will always struggle to find balance but that is how I want it. I always want to be looking for ways of improving.

What I am trying to lead into is that as a single parent life can be tough. There has been women doing it for years by themselves and I've used them as inspiration. When I think life is tough I take a step back and realize that there is always someone else out there that has it tougher. This message is for single parents or married couples. When life is throwing an obstacle in your path, keep in mind that others have had it happen to them. Look for a support group or that special friend that will fill you with enough positive vibes to turn your life around. For those of you that everything going right help spread some love and extend a hand to someone in need. We have so many resources out there that nobody should ever feel alone.

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