Dear Assemblymember Maienschein and Members of the Judiciary Committee,
2UrbanGirls strongly supports AB 542 because it would expand access to legally required public notices related to possessions held in self-storage facilities particularly as demand for storage units continues to increase.
Under existing law, the California Self-Service Storage Facility Act, provides for enforcement of a lien by the sale of the stored property when an occupant is delinquent. These procedures require an advertisement of the sale to be published once per week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the public notice district where the sale is to be held.
AB 542 substitutes the publication requirement for a single publication in a newspaper of general circulation in either the public notice district where the sale is to be held or in the county where the self-service is located. The bill would alternatively authorize an owner to satisfy these notice requirements by publishing an advertisement on any publicly accessible internet website that customarily conducts or advertises online auctions or sales.
To ensure access to residents on online sites that customarily conducts or advertises online auctions or sales now have the opportunity to partner with local website owners to advertise their websites through them.
Before the internet came into existence, newspapers were legally required to verify their ability to print and distribute x numbers of newspapers to obtain adjudication to publish legal notices and thus it creates a monopoly on who can publish legal notices.
As newspaper subscriptions and availability are dwindling, what we are seeing in Los Angeles County, particularly the city of Inglewood are newspapers maximizing profits by printing fewer newspapers which deprives the public of the ability to read legal notices that could have dire consequences on their belongings. Many of these newspapers don’t publish the notices on their respective websites either.
The daily cost of the Los Angeles Times has skyrocketed to $3.66 and the data shows that a large number of people with storage units are HOMELESS and don’t have the means to either 1) pay for a newspaper and/or 2) have the ability to search for a free newspaper that contains the notice that relates to their storage space.
With the availability of “Obama phones” and strong legislative support to expand internet access to residents, more residents are having access to internet services via devices they can rent for FREE through their public library or obtain through social service programs.
In short, the internet is the future and many of the newspapers balking at AB 542 rely on newspapers for advertising revenue where their websites are coming up woefully short.
In an age where more residents have access to the internet in the palms of their hands, AB 542 makes sense. There is no way to independently verify the newspapers are circulating in areas where people need to read them and as housing protections are dwindling now that the pandemic is “over” it is imperative that legal notices be more readily available on the internet.
2UrbanGirls records 1 million+ impressions per month on our website with 50% of all visitors clicking on a link to read the content. In short, website owners can PROVE their ability to make the notices available to a wider audience as opposed to those who would have to “search” for a newspaper to read said notices. We welcome the opportunity to partner with such online auction/sales houses to expand their reach into untapped markets.
Again, 2UrbanGirls stands in full support of AB 542 and urges other website owners to support this legislation as well.