Although I am not qualified to provide legal advice I would like to reiterate to seniors and their loved ones to make informed decisions regarding your property and its maintenance.
Some people are fortunate to own one home during their lifetime. Do not give anyone a free house!
Before hiring a contractor check their ad in the Yellow Pages. Compare this information with their website, then review the Better Business Bureau Reliability Report [Business Contact and Profile]. You can contact the Better Business Bureau at (866) 411-2221 to hear a Reliability Report or visit www.oakland.bbb.org to view a report to view a report. Also, check the contractor’s license through the Contractors State Licensing Board at (800) 321-2750 or www.cslb.ca.gov.
Do not be rushed into signing a contract relying on the 72-hour period in which you can change your mind. Take time to read the contract and understand the terminology. Thoroughly understand Mechanics’ Lien Law.
Spend your money wisely. Get more than one estimate for the job. Ask for references.
Go with your gut feeling.
You will know if you should hire the contractor from the response you receive to your questions. If you do not receive a response to your query, or if their response is conditional [based of you performing as they request] it is not in your best interest to proceed.
With the current state of the economy, businesses are hungry for customers and will entice you to get your business—freebies unrelated to the project.
When I was a kid, I heard my mother say “there’s no fool like an old fool.”
With age should come wisdom. Request the time to make an informed decision. Do not permit your property subject to collateral for a contract unnecessarily.
Anise Matteson, a writer of reference books for seniors—Caring for an Aging Loved One: The Family Caregiver’s Guide Book—can be contacted at email@example.com.
Technically referred to as “soft/weak story and/or open-front wood-framed” buildings, soft-story wood-frame buildings typically have large openings on the ground floor, and many walls in the upper floors. Typically, these are apartments and condominiums that have parking under buildings, or open commercial space on the first floor, making this story “weak” or “soft” and likely to lean or even fall over in earthquakes. Per US Geological Survey Study in 1992, seven soft-story residential buildings were severly damaged and another 65 were moderately to severely damaged in the Marina District during the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989.
Mayor Newsom introduced legislation to assist homeowners strengthen these wood-framed buildings which became law on March 16th when the Board of Supervisors adopted it unanimously. Property owners must act quickly to voluntarily retrofit and strengthen wood-framed, soft story homes and multi-unit buildings, the law takes effect on April 19th and is intended to encourage retrofits to help protect them from collapse due to a major earthquake. With no retrofitting of this type of building, one in four is expected to be damaged (“red tagged”) to the point of being unoccupiable following a major earthquake.
The new legislation:
• Waives Building and Planning Department Plan Review fees – saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars per project.
• Expedites the processing, review and approval of permits for voluntary seismic retrofit upgrades of soft-story, wood-frame buildings – buildings identified as likely to collapse during the next major earthquake in a January 2009 study by the Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety (CAPSS); and
• Enables those who retrofit voluntarily now, and who meet the building performance standard established by the Building Department for these voluntary retrofits, to be exempt for 15 years from any requirements that may be adopted in the near future as mandatory retrofitting legislation is enacted.
A little retrofitting goes a long way, according to the CAPSS study, available on the Dept. of Building Inspection (DBI) web site, www.sfdbi.org. With minimal retrofitting, the rate of reoccupation repair/move back in becomes much higher – a substantial improvement in building and life-safety. DBI will issue an Administrative Bulletin on the definition of soft-story and the design criteria for seismic upgrades. A draft of the Bulletin is on file with the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors
For more information, visit www.sfdbi.org, click on “Most Requested,” and click again on “Earthquakes” for details about voluntary retrofits or call William Strawn: (415) 558-6250.
The Twin Peaks Curves at 608 Portola Drive has joined a national health initiative to show women how taking small steps can make a big difference in improving their health. Curves across the country will be partnering with local hospitals and OB-GYNs to offer free educational events open to the public. The events will feature a presentation created in conjunction with a panel of five prestigious OB-GYNs from across the country and Curves Registered Dietitian, Nadia Rodman.
San Francisco gynecologist Leslie Kardos, MD, will speak at the Twin Peaks Curves with the event beginning at 7 PM on Thursday, April 20th. Attendees will learn about the importance of regular gynecological checkups, exercise, and diet in reducing their risk for chronic disease. Many gynecological issues will be covered, including risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options. There will be time for questions and answers.
“This is a great community event where women can come together in an atmosphere of no judgment and learn that it doesn’t have to be difficult to begin to take charge of their health,” said Twin Peaks Owner Bonnie Farrell. “You don’t have to make big changes to see results. All discussions and questions are valid. We just want to help women figure out which small steps are right for them and help them get started.”
Women will come away from the event with many tools to help them on their journey to health, including a certificate for 30 days free at Curves if they are not already a member. “This is a fantastic opportunity to try Curves for a month for free,” said Farrell.
For more information about the Twin Peaks Curves and its participation in the national women’s health initiative, contact Bonnie Farrell at TwinPeaksCurves@gmail.com, or 415-759-9103. You can also find more information online at www.SmallSteps.About.com and www.TwinPeaksCurves.com.
Are you interested in gardens that are water-wise and low maintenance, attractive to humans as well as birds and butterflies? Visit them on the Bay Area’s 8th annual Going Native Garden Tour on Sunday, April 18, 2010, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a free, self-guided tour of home gardens landscaped with California native plants.
This year’s tour offers over 65 gardens for viewing — from townhome lots to 1-acre plots, from newly planted gardens to established ones. You won’t have to go far to see one: the gardens are located throughout the Santa Clara Valley and the Peninsula. Visit as many gardens as you like — for inspiration and ideas and for pictures (with owner’s permission). Native plants will be available for purchase at select gardens. Many gardens will feature talks on native plant gardening.
What’s special about California native plants? They are adapted to our soil and climate, and are easy to care for. Many of our native plants are naturally water-wise and drought tolerant. They support a wide variety of wildlife that has co-evolved with them, and their distinctive look and elegant beauty gives your garden a sense of place that is uniquely Californian.
The self-guided tour is open to all. Admission is free; registration is required at www.gngt.org before April 18, 12 noon, or until the tour reaches capacity. Space is limited; register early to ensure a place. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tour is organized entirely by volunteers. Volunteers receive a t-shirt with original art and invitations to visit native gardens throughout the year. To volunteer, visit www.gngt.org and click on “Volunteer Registration”. Knowledge of native plant gardening is a plus but not required to volunteer.
The Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society’s 6th annual Native Plant Garden Tour is Sunday April 25 from 11am to 3pm. A map, descriptions and list of addresses can be found at www.cnps-yerbabuena.org.