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Affiliate Spotlight: Jim Clarke, Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles (AAGLA)

Jim Clarke

Jim Clarke has been with AAGLA for more than 10 years, starting as the Manager of Government Relations for four years before taking the helm as AAGLA’s Executive Vice President. NAA caught up with Jim to discuss the state and local legislative issues AAGLA is working on, his bucket list and his favorite beverage.

NAA: What were your association’s state legislative priorities in 2015?

JC: The crazy thing about California is that our members and the industry are constantly on the defensive. For example, this year we fought bills in the state legislature that would mandate owners to allow outdoor clotheslines under the guise of “energy efficiency” and one that would make any type of mold existing in an apartment a punishable offense – for the owner.  However, one bill that we were instrumental in developing and are enthusiastically supporting will create a 30 percent tax credit for the costs of retrofitting vulnerable buildings in the state for major seismic activity.  This bill is currently sitting on the governor’s desk waiting to be signed.

NAA: What are AAGLA’s local legislative/regulatory priorities?

JC: We are very close to passing an ordinance that will create an amnesty program for owners who have non-permitted or so-called bootleg units in their buildings. Many of these units have been shut down and the tenant relocated at the cost of the owner. This amnesty program will allow the units to be brought back onto the market to the benefit of the owner and, of course, those seeking affordable housing.

We are also zeroed in on the water crisis here in California and are pushing for building sub-meters and/or the use of a ratio utility billing system whereby tenants would be better incentivized to conserve as they would now be paying for their own water.

NAA: What were your state legislative successes in 2015?

JC: In a nutshell, we managed to defeat more than 30 bills that were proposing harmful changes to the apartment housing industry.

NAA: How did you get involved in politics?

JC: I was born.

NAA: What is the most challenging aspect of your job and what is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

JC: Covering three counties and more than 100 municipalities can be a grind.  One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is hearing and seeing the appreciation from our elected officials, members and directors after a successful fundraiser or legislative event. 

NAA: What do you think are the biggest threats to the industry?

JC: Overregulation.

NAA: What is your current “hot” project?

JC: AAGLA is working hard to find outside funding for soon-to-be-mandated earthquake retrofit projects on vulnerable buildings in the city of Los Angeles. While we may be able to pass some of the cost down to the resident, we are scrambling to find other financial resources to bring the costs down. More than 12,000 buildings in the city will have to undergo these retrofits.

NAA: What is your favorite political movie?

JC: The American President.

NAA: What do you do during your down time?

JC: What down time?

NAA: Where did you go to school?

JC: University of Southern California.

NAA: What was your first job?

JC: Retail sales at Karl’s Hobby Store.

NAA: Who is your favorite sports team?

JC: Pro – Anaheim Angels. College – USC Trojans.

NAA: What is on your bucket list?

JC: To tour Normandy Beach, play golf at Pebble Beach, and skydiving – although I may not be able to muster the guts to do it.

NAA: What is the best advice you've ever received?

JC: Slow down.

NAA: Is there anything else about your job, association or personal bit of information that you would like your colleagues across the country to know?

JC: I like Coors Light.