Mayor's Statement on CA Suit Against FHFA

(July 14, 2010)

Mayor Gavin Newsom today issued the following statement following Attorney General Jerry Brown's announcement that the State of California would file suit against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac over opposition to San Francisco and other California cities' Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs:

"I strongly support California's lawsuit against mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for blocking innovative California clean energy programs designed to create tens of thousands of jobs, promote energy independence and lower utility bills.

In April, San Francisco launched GreenFinanceSF, a $150 million Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program the largest program of its kind in the nation to provide up-front, low-cost financing for residential and commercial property owners to install energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements and water conservation measures. Participants repay the cost of the projects over up to 20 years through an annual special tax on their property tax bill, which is attached to the property, rather than the individual.

However, recent decisions taken by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to ignore California law and reject mortgages on homes whose owners participate in PACE programs and outrageously, to redline borrowers in communities with PACE programs have shut down GreenFinanceSF and other PACE programs around the country.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must immediately remove their stranglehold on GreenFinanceSF and similar programs and recognize them for what they are: a key tool for growing California's new green economy and helping Californians reduce monthly utility bills.

Attorney General Brown and the State of California have our full support in this lawsuit."