Posts Tagged ‘San Clemente’

The Gibbs Law Firm

David Gibbs, Attorney at Law

The Financial Crisis and You

What to do in the
shadow of the perfect financial storm!

Written by David L. Gibbs

Perhaps, from where you stand, it is looming on the horizon. Perhaps, it’s already raining. Either way, this recession we are still experiencing has reached out and touched more of our population that you might otherwise think in “The OC.” While I am still hopeful for a recovery, the statistics we work with paint a slightly different picture. Bankruptcies shot up 33% in 2009 to more than 1.2 million. During the first three months of 2010, the number of new filings appears to have grown by another 20% to almost 400,000. An even greater surprise is the fact that Chapter 11 bankruptcies shot up 69%. A small percentage of those Chapter 11 bankruptcies were businesses — most are individuals, indicating that even the once financial elite are now finding their way into bankruptcy court. Add to this a looming shadow inventory of foreclosures and bank-owned properties yet to hit the market, all of the other poor economic news and there are likely few of us who will escape this storm unscathed.

What can you do to protect yourself? First, do not wait until you are at meltdown; a little planning can go a very long way…

Consult with an experienced, qualified attorney to address your concerns and situation. Believe it or not, information on the web, particularly when it comes to debt and bankruptcy, is very often not correct. By way of example, did you know that if you pay back money your brother/mother/daughter loaned you before bankruptcy, they can be sued for recovery? A $5,000 loan you repaid could cost your relative three times that amount in attorneys’ fees. You may also be able to avoid bankruptcy entirely through debt settlement. It’s important to know your options early. The simple point is that the sooner you get good advice, the better equipped you will be to ride out what is proving to be a persistent, very nasty storm.

The Gibbs Law Firm, APC was founded in 1974 by Gerald R Gibbs. From day one, The Gibbs Law Firm, APC has been dedicated to providing its clients with the highest level of professional service, to upholding the dignity of the legal profession and to serving the local communities through on-going participation in charitable organizations. With an emphasis on Bankruptcy, Manufactured Housing, Real Estate and Business Law, we strive to provide a full range of legal services to individuals and businesses. We endeavor to make your experience with our firm one of dignity, respect and successful resolution of your problem.

The Gibbs Law Firm, APC

110 E. Ave. Palizada #201, San Clemente
949.492.3350 | 

The Gibbs Law Firm, APC is a “Debt Relief Agency” pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 528(b). We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Making the Law Work for You

Robert Ives, Attorney at Law

Making the Law Work for You


The courts have long struggled to keep pace with ever-increasing caseloads. In the mid-1980s, if civil litigants wanted to have a judge or jury decide their case, it was not unusual to wait five years to see the light of a trial courtroom. Many courts in California were in crisis and simply could not handle the burden.

The solution came in the form of a paradigm shift in the way we resolve legal disputes. The courts and lawyers began turning to trial alternatives, such as arbitration, mediation, special referees and judicial references. As a collective, these procedures are referred to as “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR).

ADR’s sudden growth in popularity and acceptance, took tremendous pressure off the courts at a critical time. Now ADR is vigorously encouraged by the court system and is endorsed by both state and federal statutes. However, one should not believe that this endorsement means that ADR procedures are in all ways equal to a court trial. There are important differences that directly bear upon your constitutional rights, and the decision to proceed with ADR should not be taken lightly.

A full discussion of all ADR procedures is not possible here. Instead, this article focuses on what is perhaps the most common of these alternatives—arbitration. This is the procedure of presenting your legal dispute to an agreed-upon or appointed professional outside the courtroom. This arbitrator is typically not a sitting judge, but is a professional who possesses legal dispute resolution skills.

The arbitration can be either “binding” or “non-binding.” Binding arbitration means, most importantly, that the decision (in the form of an “arbitrator’s award”) is final in that there is no right to appeal. This is an important characteristic, since even an obvious mistake, misapplication of law or misinterpretation of fact by an arbitrator will not be overturned by court review, absent fraud or profound dysfunction in the arbitration process.

Arbitration is usually binding only if the parties have agreed in writing, in advance. Typically, such “arbitration clause” is included as but one provision in a larger contract for goods or services. However, it is very important to know that the contract arbitration clause does not have to specify that the arbitration is binding. Generally, if the parties agree to arbitrate, their arbitration will be deemed binding unless the contract language specifies that it is to be non-binding.

Another important thing to understand is that by agreeing to arbitrate, one gives up a fundamental and very valuable constitutional right—the right to a trial by jury. The jury is, in my personal opinion (and in the minds of our founding fathers and countless legal scholars), the single most powerful and effective engine of truth and justice that we as a society have ever devised. To give up the right to a jury should not be taken lightly.

The benefits of arbitration are also very weighty and profound. Arbitration is usually much faster and less expensive than the process of trial. The process does not typically require the parties to submit to the strict procedures of trial evidentiary presentation or admissibility. The arbitration process is not public. It is private and is structured and conducted as the parties agree.

Once completed, the arbitrator’s award is typically submitted to a judge in superior court to be affirmed and entered as an enforceable judgment under California state law. If it is non-binding, the arbitrator’s award may be accepted or rejected by either party by timely notice, with certain legal consequences not important for this brief discussion.

If faced with the decision of whether to proceed with or agree to accept ADR, one’s decision is always important. Unfortunately, the decision often must be made on the spot, forced upon us by a medical form or other small-print contract. The best one can do is to take the time to read the wording carefully. In some cases, these form contracts may specifically allow you to change your mind by giving notice within a specified time after signing. If you agree to arbitrate but have second thoughts when something goes wrong, such notice procedure may afford an opportunity to reconsider and rescind such agreement to arbitrate.

As with all legal matters, it is sometimes best to consult a legal professional when faced with the decision to elect or reject ADR. Likewise, whether to include or agree to an arbitration clause in your own business contracts is a complex decision with real fiscal and practical consequences. Look at the alternatives, consider the effects, and be mindful of your objectives. Seek professional advice to resolve doubt or uncertainty. If you do these things, you are “making the law work for you.” Best wishes.

Robert N. Ives, Esq., Ives & Associates
105 Avenida de la Estrella, Suite 2B, San Clemente, CA 92672

949.366-6677 | Email: Ives@IvesLegal.com

Beach Style Real Estate

Beach Style Real Estate


The stunning views at Beach Road are rivaled only by the neighborliness of its affluent residents and the tranquility of the private-beach vacation homes you can rent whenever you fancy.

Written by ANNA CURTIS

Maybe people have their own idea of paradise, but sometimes you come across places on this earth that everyone agrees are magical. Beach Road is one such destination, with its lucky residents and frolicking vacationers breathing in the fresh sea air, mesmerized by the way the crystal blue water shimmers off the sedate afternoon sun. Sure, it’s a private little piece of heaven. The best part is, you can have a slice of it, too.

Nestled between San Clemente and Dana Point, the length of sand curving ‘round the Capistrano Bay coastline was aptly dubbed Beach Road by its early-times inhabitants. Its origins stretch clear back to the early 1900s, and with such a rich community legacy, it’s no wonder books have been written about the seafaring property. Joe Dunn, author of Pocket of Paradise (a complete historical background of Beach Road), is a retired commercial broker-turned-author who worked in the area 45 years and now manages his own coastal properties. His book is filled with interesting facts, distinct heritage and an unabashed adoration for the beauty of the land.

Whether you rent/own a luxurious home or cottage on your own private beach, there’s no end to the serenity awaiting you. The three-mile stretch of beach offers something special for everyone: commuter trains stop a little over a mile south of Beach Road, a bevy of restaurants at the Dana Point harbor satiate any appetite, and quaint shops line the streets of downtown San Clemente.

Capistrano Realty is the official steward for renting or buying property on Beach Road. “Typically, when homeowners drive through the gates to sit on their deck, they feel like they have truly left it all behind,” says Ken Ross, who ran the company for six years prior to its current owner, Chris Jones. “All you can see or hear is the ocean.” There are just shy of 200 lots and about 180 owners enjoying their individually developed properties at beach Road. Capistrano Realty has specialized in this particular part of the globe for nearly 50 years, and has approximately 40 homes available for weekly rentals in the summer, and weekly/monthly rentals for the off-season months. It offers everything from beach cottages to luxury homes, all perfectly placed on the warm sand.

“My favorite part of Beach Road is the spectacular weather—day in, day out—with glistening ocean and whitewater views,” Jones says. “And the people here are down-to-earth, and always appreciative of a beautiful Southern California lifestyle, without pretense. It really is California’s best kept secret.” It’s obvious to us that Jones has enabled the decades-long synergy between residents and realtors to shine on.

“Where else can you sit on your deck and witness the most amazing sunsets?” Ross asks, “While a school of dolphins swims nearby, and you sip a glass of your favorite Chardonnay?”

We started packing our bags after we heard that. Maybe you should, too.

Nestled between San Clemente and Dana Point, the length of sand curving ‘round the Capistrano Bay coastline was aptly dubbed Beach Road by its early-times inhabitants. From quaint little beach cottages to beautiful ocean front homes, they’ll find the perfect home for your vacation.

For further information, please call: 949.496.5353
Toll Free 800.397.6931

My House is at Risk…

Kevin MacGillivray

My House is at Risk…


Kevin MacGillivray

In today’s economy, many homeowners are facing tough challenges, choices and decisions when it comes to their home. Whether it’s loss of income, loss of equity, a bad loan or any other reason, many people find themselves in the stressful position of having to do something about their current situation because their house is at risk. If you are one of these people, it’s time to take action. But what should you do? Let’s review some options and see what works for you.


Refinancing is the process of paying off an existing loan by taking out a new loan and using the same property as security. Homeowners may refinance to reduce their mortgage expense if interest rates have dropped, to switch from an adjustable rate to a fixed rate loan if rates are rising, or to secure long-term financing if your loan is a short-term loan. There are two main drawbacks with refinancing. First, there is no certainty that an application for refinancing will be approved—loans are much harder to qualify for now and the guidelines are much stricter. Secondly, refinancing generally resets the repayment period, that is, if one refinances a 10-year loan into a 30-year loan, one would pay the new loan for 30 years instead of the 20 years left on the old loan.

Loan Modification

A loan modification is a permanent change in one or more of the terms of a mortgagor’s loan. This allows the loan to be reinstated and results in a payment the mortgagor can afford. There are many loan modification programs out there, as well as a lot of confusion. To date, very few loan modifications have been done, with some estimates as low as only 3% completed nationwide. Many companies promised results and very few have delivered. In order to qualify for most loan modifications, your home must already be at risk, meaning that you must already be behind on your mortgage payments and subject to foreclosure. Many people have entered into programs hoping for a loan modification, only to be turned down months later, while they were far behind on their payments and left with very few options. If this has happened, then a short sale is probably the best option. With the extremely low number of finished loan modifications, the chances of getting one done on your house is very small.

Short Sale

Short-pay transactions, or “short sales,” are transactions where the seller owes more on his or her home than the home is worth. Short sales are a way for homeowners to avoid foreclosure on their homes and still be able to pay off their loans by settling with the lenders. A lender may accept a short sale when the borrower is in severe financial straits and market conditions make a short sale the best choice to mitigate the lender’s damages. This saves the lender the costs of foreclosure and the borrower avoids having a foreclosure on their credit report. By entering into the short sale programs you can stop harassing calls from the bank, and stay in your property until it sells and closes. Also, your credit takes a lesser hit than with a foreclosure and in some instances you can receive up to $1,500 to relocate. In a typical short sale, the lender will pay all closing costs and any commissions due; the seller pays nothing. Every bank handles short sales differently and contacting a realtor is a good way to get started. First, you’ll need to get a market analysis to see what your property is worth and what makes sense for you. If a short sale is the right option, then you or your realtor need to contact the bank, ask for the short sale department and begin the process. Once started, short sales take anywhere from three-to-eight months to close, so have patience and in the meantime, you live in your house.

There are many types of short sales, and some can come with liability from the bank or the IRS, so make sure to look into the tax consequences as well. Many lenders have the incentive to negotiate a short sale with a distressed borrower. When a lender takes back a property pursuant to a foreclosure sale, the lender will be responsible for a variety of costs, such as property maintenance, HOA fees, utilities and taxes, and might risk destruction of property by vandalism. A short sale is often the more desirous, cheaper option for the bank.


Foreclosure is the legal process where a lending agency assumes ownership of a property from a defaulted mortgage borrower. When a homeowner has late payments that violate the terms of their mortgage agreement, a mortgage company has the right to begin foreclosure proceedings. During the period of foreclosure, the lender is generally obligated to provide 90 days for the borrower to bring their mortgage out of default. After that time, if the mortgage remains in default, the lender will post a notice of foreclosure auction. The auction will be held no sooner than thirty (30) days after the notice is published. Both short sale and foreclosure will have a negative effect on your credit. Foreclosure, however, is far more damaging than a short sale. In a foreclosure, it is estimated a homeowner will lose as much as 300 points from their FICO score, with the entry of “foreclosure” to describe the status. Damage estimates vary on short sales, but generally range between an 80-120-point FICO reduction. The short sale will be entered into your credit report, but will be less damaging than the foreclosure entry. A homeowner can also do a deed in lieu of foreclosure as a last resort before foreclosure, but a short sale is usually a better option.

There are other options available, and I would encourage everyone to do as much research as possible and to contact a professional Realtor to help you decide which option is right for you. Today’s economy is very challenging and navigating it successfully is very difficult—people need help and they need answers.

I have been in the real estate profession for over 20 years and am Co-Owner of San Clemente Realty; we are short sale experts and will gladly help you with the process and answer any questions you may have. To get a free market analysis for your property and a free professional consultation about your options contact me, Kevin MacGillivray, at (949) 466-0072, or email me at calshortsales@hotmail.com. The property analysis and consultation are completely free and with no obligations on your part. You have nothing to lose but your property, so before you do, call me and let’s review your options!

Kevin MacGillivray

San Clemente Realty
949.466.0072 | Email: calshortsales@hotmail.com

This does not constitute legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice please consult with an attorney.

The Beach Road Story


A Pocket of Paradise

The Beach Road Story

Capistrano Beach, California

By Joe Dunn

A Little Town Called Serra

Capistrano Beach’s downtown was known as Serra when the California Central Railroad (which was affiliated with the Santa Fe) pushed down from Los Angeles in 1887 and built the area’s first and only train station, on Victoria Boulevard. Soon after, the railroad constructed a spur track on to the beach and created a lot subdivision named San Juan by the Sea. The next year, the line was connected to San Diego by slicing off the base of the palisades of the Boca de la Playa; this enabled prospective buyers to arrive from both the north and the south. Santa Fe’s Pacific Land and Improvement Company developed shops, a dance pavilion, and a bathhouse, which resulted in the construction of the Pioneer Hotel. Lots ranging from $250 to $1,800 went on the market and apparently sold quite well. However, by the mid-1890s, due in part to poor water supply, a lumber shortage, national economic conditions and the Santa Fe’s lack of promotion, the development was a bust. The community’s identity reverted to Serra and remained so until the early 1920s.

The Dohenys

Turn-of-the-century adverse economic conditions, followed by a world war, prohibited further development. But the boom of the Roaring Twenties reached down even to the sleepy farming community of Serra/Capistrano Beach, as well as to Dana Point. The earliest title policy written for lands that included Beach Road was in 1892, in the name of M. A. Forster, and then again in his estate on August 8, 1906. On November 7, 1924, John O. Forster and others deeded our beach property and substantial acreage on the palisades to the First National Bank of Santa Ana, who acted on behalf of famed oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny and his son Edward L. (Ned) Doheny, Jr. On May 9, 1925, a display ad appeared in the Los Angeles Evening Herald that offered three miles of bathing beach and 1,000 acres of home sites for sale. (In those days, developers could advertise and sell prior to recording a tract map.) Prices started at $400 per lot and included such improvements as oiled streets, water and electricity.

The Doheny story is in all the history books and now on the Internet, and it is indeed spectacular. In brief form, it goes something like this: A 36-year-old second-generation Irish prospector with some geology background in 1892 arrives in Los Angeles broke and, with a partner, digs a hole in a vacant lot in the Echo Park neighborhood. They struck oil at 460 feet and never looked back. Thereafter gushers were found in Fullerton and the Kern River valley, followed by control of one million acres fronting the Gulf of Mexico, thereby establishing the Mexican oil industry. By 1925 Edward Doheny’s net worth was estimated to be over $100 million (in 1925 dollars). The Dohenys had money to invest, and the Capistrano Beach development was just the vehicle in which to diversify their investments and give USC graduate and World War I naval officer son Ned something to do.

The Beach Road tract map was recorded in January 1928. There were 194 lots varying in width from 30 feet to 40 feet and in depth from 60-plus feet to more than 200 feet. Two additional lots were created in the 1970s from a small parcel at the south end of the road. At some point, perhaps from the beginning, the first 43 lots as you enter the community were zoned for two-family dwellings (R-2), and the remaining 151 lots for single-family dwellings. The deed restrictions (known as CC&Rs) placed on the development (including race restrictions that were outlawed in the 1950s) were minor compared to today’s subdivision standards, and they all have long expired.

A construction company headed by Luther Eldridge was formed and a lumber mill, yard and hardware store were constructed at the foot of the palisades on what is now Coast Highway. Eldridge and his crew built four houses on the Road, the Capistrano Beach Club, a lovely residence for the family at the top of the stone steps on the face of the palisades, and a few more on palisades lots, primarily to help the marketing campaign get into full swing. A featured attraction of the development was the Capistrano Beach Club—a sprawling Spanish-tiled structure featuring hand-painted beams and ceilings, swimming pool, marine dinning room, ballroom and the Swallows Nest bar. An equally important improvement was the 1,200-foot-long sportfishing Capistrano pier for charter boats as well as shore-based anglers.

The Birth of the Hobie Cat

Wayne Schafer and Phil Edwards both had backgrounds in blue-water sailing—they brought back yachts from the L.A.-to-Acapulco race. And when Phil designed and built two catamarans in Wayne’s yard, they got the attention of local surfboard kings Hobie Alter and Grubby Clark. They figured that with their existing surfing clientele and maybe even the rest of the beach-oriented populace, they had a built-in market for those wanting to be able to sail out and back in through the waves on those days when it was too windy to surf—which is most days, especially in the afternoon. So Grubby came up with the right foam core for the hulls and Hobie and his team built prototypes and tested them in the surf and wind of Poche until they had a lightweight cat that could be handled by one person and could go through the surf without breaking the rudders.

The first Hobie Cat regatta was held with four boats at Poche on the 4th of July 1968 and won by Hobie’s chief test pilot, Dana Point resident Sandy Banks. Wayne’s friend Dick Barrymore of ski-film fame, made a film of the first sleek fourteen-foot Hobie Cat riding the Poche waves. It was shown on a continuous-feed color TV at the Southern California Boat show with such success that it moved on from boat show to boat show across the country. The rest is history. One of the big appeals of the Hobie Cat class of boats was that they could easily be transported and launched anywhere. They were Everyman boats; marinas and yacht clubs were not required.

In the late 1960s, Wayne’s compound became so crowded on weekends, with Hobie’s camper, several of his employees/test sailors and assorted camp followers, that some directors of the CBD lodged complaints citing Wayne’s Tahitian beach structures as nonconforming buildings. A lifelong supporter of the Beach Road way of life, Wayne pointed out other apparent violations on the Road, and the matter was finally settled when Hobie removed his camper and the weekend crowds thinned out. Wayne went on to help promote Hobie Cat regattas nationally and internationally and in fact won several championships along with Hobie’s sons, Hobie, Jr., and Jeff, in both the fourteen- and sixteen-foot classes. These victories were fitting capstones to the creation of the most successful boat of its type in the world, whose birthplace was in Wayne’s yard on the sands of Poche. Today there are 150 Hobie Cat fleets in 30 countries around the world.

Hobie Alter, a longtime Beach Road resident who now resides in the San Juan Islands, Washington, and Palm Desert, California, tells the story of the time he had an après-sail Q&A session with regatta contestants, asking them, “Where are you from and why did you buy a Hobie Cat?” A sailor stood up and said, “I was at home in Chicago in February and couldn’t get my car out of the garage to go to work because there was so much snow. So I sat down, opened the paper and saw a picture of Wayne Schafer sailing his boat out through the surf in the middle of a Southern California winter and immediately decided to change my lifestyle!”

The Poche Surf Club

There are weird things done in the SoCal sun By the men who toil for surf. And the Beach Road trails have their secret tales, That would drive most men to curse. The O.C. lights have seen strange sights, But the strangest they ever did see, Was that night on the sand at Schafer land, The Poche Surf Club came to be.

The above was written by former Beach Road resident, weekly Poche denizen, restaurateur and surfer John Creed, adapted from Robert W. Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” It was used in a short story John wrote about the Poche Surf Club, the perfect organization for a bunch of beach bums who have turned a sport into a way of life. It wasn’t founded; it just is. There is no charter, no dues, no officers, no agenda and no official membership—it’s a No Club. Nonetheless, it exists, if only in the minds and memories of the countless personalities who have spent time at the Schafer compound or paddled out to the surf break.

The main, outside surf break is over a series of reefs known as “The Garden,” 100 to 200 yards out from shore depending on the size of the swell, with the takeoff spot on a south swell just about straight out from the Disney house at 35827. Generally the left is a better wave, but on a west swell, the right can be very good. The break is very tide-sensitive and can shut down quickly if the swell is not too big. Also, on a big high-tide south swell, the inside break can be very good, especially for the younger shortboard set. Today the stand-up paddle surfers have made Poche one of their favorite haunts.

As surfers are wont to do, they often name beaches after local landmarks, in this case a long-removed sign on the railroad tracks that simply read “POCHE.” Old-timers remember a train-track siding in the general vicinity that it may have identified. There are lots of theories on the genesis and meaning of the sign, but none have been able to be verified. The word poche in French means pocket. It is identified on the Internet as the proper name of a French/ Belgium family of soldiers who immigrated to Louisiana to fight in the War of 1812. One theory is that a descendant of this Poche family was an officer in the Civil War and had been recruited after the war to lead a detachment protecting the Santa Fe railroad and its employees as they pushed the tracks west through hostile Indian territory. Hence the sign was recognition of services past. And when the owner of the long-closed San Gabriel restaurant El Poche Cafe was asked about the origin of his establishment’s name, he said it referred to a Mexican commoner. Whatever!

The Garden is a haven for lobsters, so when the season starts in October, local fishermen set their traps throughout the surf break. An occasional long-lasting major fall swell can deposit lobster-laden traps up on the beach. In years gone by the Garden was loaded with abalone, and the Poche crew made it their pocket of paradise by picking the bounty at will. For a variety of reasons, natural and manmade, the abalone population has all but expired in the area, and if they’re out there now, they’re a protected species.