Since You Asked: How do police pick DUI points?
Q: How does the Police Department choose the locations of DUI checkpoints? How many more checkpoints are scheduled this year?
A: Checkpoint locations are selected based on a combination of statistics including traffic volume, DUI arrests and vehicle collisions, according to Marysville police Sgt. Chris Sachs.
"We try to find a central location, staying within a certain proximity, about one or two miles, from locations involving those criteria," Sachs explained.
The criteria were established by the state Office of Traffic Safety, which also issues all of the grant funding for the checkpoints in Yuba and Sutter counties.
"The OTS criteria are used to figure where the best locations are to make the biggest impact," Sachs noted. "In Marysville, which is only a little more than three square miles, the proximity is just about anywhere in the downtown area."
Three more checkpoints are planned before the end of the year between Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties, including one later this month, on Aug. 31.
Home loan program
Q: I saw an advertisement in the Aug. 13 Appeal-Democrat that said Sutter County is passing out low-interest loans to homeowners. The ad said people would not be turned away due to poor credit and said payments are deferred for the life of the loan. To me, this seems suspiciously similar to the subprime mortgage issues that caused the recent financial crisis. How does the loan program work? Where does the money come from?
A: The Home Investment Partnership Program is funded through federal tax dollars, according to Beckie Flores, a program analyst for the Regional Housing Authority.
"The county obtains the money as a grant," Flores said.
Flores said the subprime mortgage crisis was caused by lenders who made loans to unqualified applicants.
"But this program uses secured loans to people with proven equity," Flores said. "We make sure they can sustain the loan and we're not going to allow them to go upside-down in their loan. We certainly want to make sure we're spending this money wisely."
Flores said the program has been around since 2000 and benefits people who want to fix up their homes, which, in turn, benefits the whole neighborhood.
Each loan averages about $40,000 with a 2- to 3-percent interest rate and is paid off in one lump sum at the end of the 30-year term.
"Usually, the loan is paid off when the owner sells the home, but they can also obtain private financing," Flores said.
The program operates on an $800,000 budget.
Flores said the program is an example of the government working to benefit homeowners.
Since You Asked is published on Mondays. Send questions to reporter Rob Parsons at the Appeal-Democrat, 1530 Ellis Lake Drive, Marysville, CA 95901, email him at email@example.com or call 749-4785.