California ~ Law Updates for 2008


During 2007, the California State Legislature approved several new laws.  The following are just a few of the laws which may affect you and your family members:


Starting July 1, 2008, minors (under age 18) are prohibited from operating a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone (cell phone), including a hands-free device, and/or any type of mobile service device (pager, texting devices, laptops, and factory-installed subscriber services such as On-Star).  The law provides an exemption for (9-1-1) emergency situations.


Starting July 1, 2008, drivers are prohibited from using a wireless (cell phone) telephone while driving, unless a hands-free listening and speaking device is being used.


Starting January 1, 2008, law enforcement officers can now impound a vehicle for up to 30 days when a person is arrested for street racing, exhibition of speed, or reckless driving.


Starting January 1, 2008, the law prohibits anyone from smoking a cigarette, pipe, or cigar in a vehicle while minors (under age 18) are present, regardless if the vehicle is in motion or at rest.


Starting January 1, 2008, the law now allows law enforcement officers to tow a vehicle that displays false registration, false license plates, or fraudulent registration.


Starting January 1, 2008, the law allows local jurisdictions to establish a speed limit of 15-mph within 500 feet of a school and when children are present or arriving at or leaving the school.


Starting January 1, 2008, a person operating a bicycle during darkness is required to utilize illumination devices and reflectors while riding upon a highway, a sidewalk, or a bikeway.

Orange County Info ~ South County



Deputy Cruz Alday, a 10-year Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. veteran, was recognized by the City Council as the city’s Deputy of the Year!


Save the date… 4/20/08 from 12:00 – 4:00 pm… Silverado Children’s Center is hosting its annual Chili Cook-off at Irvine Lake, 4621 Santiago Canyon Rd.  Admission is free.  For more information


The community Center is extending its hours from 7:30 am – 5:30 pm Monday-Thursday


Lighted crosswalk warning system to be installed this summer at Sienna Parkway and Flintridge Ave. which will benefit Chaparral Elementary School


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Save the date… 2/28/08 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm… Laguna Hills High School will host “Community College Night” for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District.  Senior students & parents are encouraged to attend.  For more information call 949-770-5447.


The city has seen a 33% reduction in Part I crimes in 2006-2007 which include criminal homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson – Nice to report


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To understand the needs of the boomer population, an interest survey will be conducted this month.  Boomers between the ages of 41 – 62 who want to participate can access the survey on or visit the library.


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City lifeguards are discontinuing a learn-to-surf class they’ve offered for more than 30 years.  Declining enrollment due to the explosion of private surf camps is the reason.


The Opus West Corp. has donated $25,000 towards the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Orange County’s school-based mentoring programs.  Awesome!




The city will have a building division information booth on Sat. 2/23 from 10:00 – 2:00 pm at the Crown Ace Hardware Store in Anaheim Hills at 5765 East Santa Ana Canyon Rd.  Staff will be available to answer questions regarding permits, inspections, etc.


Save the date… 3/1/08 beginning at 9:00 am… Brea Disposal will offer local gardeners FREE compost in the parking lot of the Community Center at 695 E. Madison Way.  Please bring buckets or other large sturdy containers (no bags) and take up to 60 lbs.


City to purchase new well pump after City Council members agreed to an emergency purchase for $37,349.  Use of the well allows city to avoid purchasing imported water.


In recognition of February as American Heart Month, a free forum for seniors will be offered on Feb. 26th from 10:30 – 11:30 am at the Cypress Senior Center, 9031 Grindlay St.  A speaker will teach participants how to recognize signs of a heart attack.  Reservations are recommended – 714-229-2005.


Congratulations to the winners of the Business Achievement Awards given by the Chamber of Commerce.  The small business winner is Avonmore which markets bridge products to card players worldwide; medium business winner is Café Hidalgo; and large business winner is Fullerton Community Bank.  Congratulations to all!


Save the date… 3/5 & 3/6… The Garden Grove Unified School District, the city, the senior center and other agencies will sponsor a juried fine arts & crafts show taking place at the Chapman Education Center, 11852 Knott St.  Deadline for entries is 3/3/08 between 9:00 and 3:00 pm.  For more information regarding entries call 714-530-1566.


Save the date… 3/14/08 at 6:00 pm… The Gary Center is hosting its seventh annual St. Patrick’s Day party at La Habra Community Center, 101 W. La Habra Blvd.  For more information 562-691-3263.


Save the date… 3/22/08… La Palma & Cypress teenagers get to experience their own version of an Easter egg hunt at the “Flashlight Egg Hunt” at Arnold/Cypress Park, 8611 Watson St.  Event is free, for more information call 714-690-3350.


City is seeking to fill a vacancy on its Historical Committee.  Application forms available at City Hall, City Clerk’s Office, 401 E. Chapman; and are due 2/21 by 5:00.  For more information call 714-993-8231.


Stanton Community Services Center will show the movie “Are We Done Yet?” on 2/21 at 3:30 pm.  The center is at 11822 Santa Paula St.  Snacks available.


Save the date… 3/6/08 from 2:00 to 8:00 pm… Reformation Lutheran Church will hold a blood drive at the church, 15750 Magnolia St.  For more information call 714-893-5183.


Save the date… 2/23/08 at 7:00 pm… Yorba Linda Friends Church will host a Charity Fashion Show at the church, 5211 Lakeview Ave.  For more information 714-488-4891.


Huntington Beach Pier 


Oscar de la Renta opens at South Coast Plaza


Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center expansion on schedule


City Council meets regarding whether to refinance about $66.25 million in bond debt


City meeting & open house on Thurs. 2/21 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm to present alternatives and ask for public input regarding public transportation for the Great Park & Irvine Spectrum Center


Save the date… March 12th at 6:00 pm – Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission board of commissions will hold town hall meeting to discuss Rossmoor incorporation


Retired city firefighter Michael J. Novak has produced pictorial history of the N.B. Fire Department.  The book is available by visiting


Save the date… April 20th – Silverado Children’s Center – non-profit center sponsored by Silverado Modjeska Recreation and Parks District will host its annual chili cook-off.  For more info


Visit the Santa Ana Zoo for free… The Second Tuesday of every month – City residents can visit the Santa Ana Zoo at Prentice Park for free – 1801 E. Chestnut Ave.


The City Council approved $80,000 for design development drawings for the replacement of Fire Station No. 48 on Beverly Manor Rd., and approved a construction contract for a Main Street parking lot rehabilitation project budgeted at $75,000


Wed. 2/20 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm – The District shopping center at Jamboree & Barranca will host a free showing of “Beetlejuice” on the giant video wall outside Borders Bookstore.  Seating provided for first 50 guests, weather permitting


Save the date… March 3rd at 7:00 pm – Neighborhood Watch meeting at Villa Park City Hall – 17855 Santiago Blvd.  For more info

Laguna Niguel “Ocean Ranch” home to set RECORD Selling Sales Price

FoyerDining RoomLiving Room    

Here is proof that people can appreciate quality and style in any market environment.  This Ocean Ranch “Executive Edition” plan 2 is set to close escrow in just a few days.  The 14 year old community has become a shining star for those seeking a Guard Gated environment just 1.5 miles from the Dana Point marina and harbor, notable golf courses, tennis clubs, fine private and pubic schools and nearby shopping and entertainment.  The closing price will be at $1,475,000 for 3,120 sqft highly upgraded and nestled on a flat lot with spa and outdoor cook center.  For information about the Ocean Ranch Community and Laguna Niguel, please email or visit You may also call our office at 949.495.8600

Sanity…While Renting Out Your 2nd Home!


Some people buy a vacation home after repeated visits to an area that they love.  They start working the equation of ownership vs. the money they are spending to enjoy time in their ‘special area’.

Eventually when all things are considered, the prospect of ownership usually wins out and a second home purchase is made…using a qualified professional Realtor to facilitate the search, negotiation and ultimate transaction.  After all, there is an opportunity for tax benefits and future appreciation to enhance the fact that they now own a little piece of that area they love visiting.

So, the decorating begins and items are tastefully selected to create that magic vacation sanctuary.  And great things are purchased (in some instances, better than are in the primary residence) never thinking for a moment that anyone else would ever share this haven.

But owning a second home can be daunting at times.  There is the mortgage payment, property taxes, up-keep and in some instances HOA fees.  And in uncertain economies, sometimes people consider renting their 2nd home.  But how could they do that and whom could they trust?  Well, the Realtor who helped you purchase that home could be a great source of information.  Many Realtors could or would be willing to lease that 2nd home to a qualified prospect for a short or long term.  After all, who knows the area better?  Realtors know the shopping, area entertainment, hospital and doctors, schools, golf courses, tennis clubs, marinas, harbors and other area components which are integral in attracting a quality tenant.  Fees for this service are usually very reasonable and the extra income from a short term or long term renter can help with property taxes and HOA fees (if any).

Those people looking for that 2nd home in Orange County California…may contact  or visit

Best regards, Michael Caruso

Seeking a Fresh Start? Consider Downsizing to a Smaller Orange County Home


Many times I’ve thought about… that little cottage by the sea when the kids are all grown and gone through college.

Here are some tips for others considering a similar move to a smaller home…

1) Don’t take everything with you…  This is a great time to sort through your things, donate some items and let go of things you were keeping unnecessarily.

2) Embrace a new decorating style…  I like Mediterranean designs and antiques, but in a downsize, maybe it’s a minimal look or contemporary.  Embrace change.

3) Don’t clutter your space…  Consider the scale of your rooms and scale furnishings and accessories accordingly.  Don’t clog up a room with numerous small accessories…it makes it look cluttered.

4) Configure space to do double duty…  If moving to a smaller home every inch is important. many rooms will have double duty like an office/guest room, an ottoman that is also a coffee table, or a den that can combo as a playroom when the grandkids come over.

Please email your thoughts on this topic.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards, Michael Caruso 

Caruso Appears on ABC TV Eyewitness News…


Thursday evening I had the opportunity to appear on ABC TV Eyewitness News 6:00PM edition.  I was asked for my comments in response to a news report relating to recently released statistics showing California Home Sales dropping to a 20 year low…

How could I resist this opportunity to defend Real Estate!

Facts are facts, sales are at a 20 year low.  But I wanted to make sure that the public understands that it is the number of sales at a 20 year low…not home values at a 20 year low!

What did I talk about on TV?  I said there is never a bad time to sell real estate or buy real estate, if you are doing it for the right reasons…and the right reasons are: the tax benefits, growing families needing a larger home, transitioning families (death or divorce) needing a smaller home and job relocation.  Those are the right reasons for buying and selling.  Appreciation is just a bonus.  So there really is no bad time to sell or buy.  I also touched on ways to make a home more attractive for sale.  And basically that dynamic is simple…it seems the least expensive things create the most positive impact when preparing a home for sale.  Those things are: fresh paint, gardening, professionally cleaning carpets and windows and removing clutter.

There is no magic formula to turn around the pace of sales…but sales will always be there in any market environment.

Best regards, Michael Caruso

Newport Jazz Festival…Still Time to Enjoy


The three day, four night renowned “Jazz Fest” at Newport Beach is underway at the Marriott Newport Beach (900 Newport Center Dr.) with weekend passes and individual seats for evening shows.  This Jazz Festival (now in it’s 8th year) has become mainstream… and it is the place to be for hip artists from across the country.  Performing Artists include those from England to Australia.  Expect a glamorous club setting with a jazz-cuise scene.  Weather is beautiful and there will be day time jazz sessions at the pool, as well.  Artist autograph signings are available.  Get more info at

Iwo Jima Flag Photo…Last Marine Dies.


California was home to the last known Marine from that famous photo of the American Flag being raised above Iwo Jima, Mr. Raymond Jacobs.  Our brave Sergeant Jacobs has passed away recently.  He was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1946 and was briefly called up again during the Korean conflict.

As a civilian, Mr. Jacobs worked for 34 years as a reporter, anchor and news director at a TV station in Oakland.  And he spent his later years working to prove that he was indeed the radio operator photographed looking up at our American Flag being raised by Marines on Mount Suribachi on February 23, 1945. 

That photo will never be forgotten as our servicemen and women will never be forgotten.  Those who served in the past and those who serve to protect us now…we honor you always.

Best regards, Michael Caruso