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Governor Signs Swanson’s Disaster Preparedness Bill

(Sacramento, CA)–Governor Jerry Brown today signed a bill to help homeowners in California prepare for the next disastrous earthquake. Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson (D-Alameda) commended the Governor for signing AB 184 and explained its tremendous value to public safety.


“I thank the Governor for signing this very important bill today. Seismic safety is a serious ongoing concern in California. There is a 63 percent chance of a 6.7 or greater magnitude earthquake erupting in the Bay Area in the next 30 years. Much like the 6.9 Loma Prieta Quake of 1989 – which resulted in $6 billion in damages, 62 deaths, and thousands of homeless and injured – the next big quake will cause severe long-term damage to our state. AB 184 will save lives by helping homeowners finance seismic improvements to their homes before that quake occurs.”


“Governor Brown understands how vulnerable our state is to earthquakes. He also understands that the high cost of seismic safety retrofits is the only thing preventing most homeowners from making the improvements. AB 184 will make these retrofits more affordable by providing homeowners with a financing option that removes much of the upfront expense.”


“Specifically, this new law will give local governments the authority to loan money to homeowners for seismic safety improvements. This is smart for our state, smart for public safety, and smart for our future,” concluded Swanson.


A 2009 Earthquakes and Hazards Report by the Association for Bay Area Governments found that a magnitude 7 or higher earthquake would make 26,000 housing units in Oakland uninhabitable. This and similar reports, along with the recent string of natural disasters, motivated Assemblymember Swanson to introduce the bill to increase the structural safety of homes.


Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, whose office assisted with the legislation, commended the Governor for signing AB 184. “The Governor is aware that safe housing is a critical component to a quick recovery following a major disaster. Seismic retrofitting can save lives and livelihoods because it increases the ability of communities to withstand a major earthquake. Spending money now to retrofit is far less costly than having to clear away and dispose of rubble and build from scratch after a disaster,” Mayor Quan concluded.


The bill was a reintroduction of AB 1755 of last year, which was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger after passing the Legislature with strong bipartisan support. The law will be in effect on January 1, 2012.

Written by Globe Newspapers

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