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News - September 27, 2013

Community Briefs

Online rental scams

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office is warning consumers about online postings for low-priced rental properties that are scams meant to make off with people's deposits.

The rental property scams online are a growing criminal trend, with perpetrators running them from within the county and overseas, according to district attorney's office spokesman Sean Webby.

Some of the posters, who use home and apartment rental websites such as, do not own or are not authorized to rent the places and are simply in business to steal deposit money, Webby said.

While most online postings for rentals are genuine, consumers should be wary of advertised rental amounts that are too low compared to similar housing in the area, Webby said.

Rental applicants should not pay anything unless they first go inside the property up for rent and to use a credit card for the deposits because card charges may be canceled for a limited time if a problem is detected, Webby said.

Prospective renters should also avoid wiring deposit money to anyone, Webby said.

The district attorney's office recommends checking the name of the owner of the rental and make sure it is the same person on the lease agreement, Webby said.

Consumers should also find out if the mortgage is in default and if the rental property is up for sale, Webby said.

Anyone who believes they may have been victimized by a rental scam may contact the district attorney's Real Estate Fraud Hotline at (408) 792-2879.

Minimum wage will rise

Gov. Jerry Brown came to Oakland on Wednesday, Sept. 25, to mark the signing of a bill to raise California's hourly minimum wage to $10 by 2016.

The wage increase will take effect over the next three years, rising to $9 per hour on July 1, 2014, and to $10 on Jan. 1, 2016, according to the governor's office.

Brown was in Los Angeles Wednesday morning to sign the bill. At noon, he was set to appear at Oakland's Cypress Mandela Training Center, which offers job training programs for Bay Area residents.

"The minimum wage has not kept pace with rising costs," Brown said in a statement. "This legislation is overdue and will help families that are struggling in this harsh economy."

The bill, authored by state Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Watsonville, was amended earlier this month to move up the schedule for the wage bump.

The state's last minimum wage increase was in 2008, when it rose by 50 cents to $8 per hour.

California is among many states with a minimum wage above the federally mandated minimum wage of $7.25, but has a lower minimum wage than some states including Oregon, Washington and Illinois, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New economic development manager

The city has hired a new economic development manager to replace Ellis Berns, who retired in December.

City Manager Dan Rich announced that Mountain View resident Alex Andrade was tapped for the job, having previously worked as a consultant for the city. He's been a resident here since 2003.

"Alex's experience has given him a unique range of skills that will greatly benefit Mountain View," said Rich in an announcement. "Economic development is important to the city's fiscal sustainability and I am confident that Alex will be able to build strong relationships with the business community."

Andrade has spent 13 years in economic development, the last, in part, as an analyst in economic development for Mountain View, where he worked on a parking study for downtown, the end of the downtown revitalization district and a study on the economic viability of a new downtown grocery store.

Andrade has previous worked in a similar capacity for the cities of San Jose, Menlo Park and Los Angeles. His salary will be $107,000 a year.

Trailblazer race on Sunday

This Sunday the Stevens Creek Trail will be the site of the Trailblazer 5K and 10K run and walk.

The event will benefit the trail itself. Sponsor Microsoft will be lending mobile devices to runners to try its new "Active Fitness" app, which allows runners to track their time, distance and training potential. Proceeds from the app will go the trail's preservation fund.

"It's a urban trail in the heart of Silicon Valley, it's a precious commodity," said Aaron Grossman of the Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail.

The event begins Sept 29 at 8:30 a.m. at 1065 La Avenida, just north of Highway 101 off Shoreline Boulevard.

For more information, including a video on the event, visit

—Daniel DeBolt


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