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William Pattison 's Blog

San Mateo County Advances Anti-Business Plans
by William Pattison | 2014/11/12 |

   The Deputy County Recorder met today with the elected Recorder.  They met in the open public area of the Recorders Office and openly discussed plans to restructure their public access area in such a way as to prevent businesses from "copying their database." 

William Pattison 's Blog ::

   This was to be accomplished by changing the current public work stations, removing chairs and tables and replacing them with standing computer monitors.  The explicit intent was stated so as to remove any place where a laptop might be set-up and used to transcribe information from their systems.


  The past Recorder often blustered about not having people "do business in his office", but did not act so boldly and directly against those engaged in fair and reasonable commerce. 

  Indeed, he seemed to recognize that filing agencies and title firms and researchers serve the public by providing necessary professional services that would otherwise consume the resources and ability of a County office to handle.  

  The current Deputy Recorder has had several complaints lodged against her by both County staff and the public.  She has engaged in a crusade to make our firm's specialist unwelcome; staring across the room at our foreclosure expert while he explains how to find liens, or  calling our researchers outside for confabs about taking client calls while children run about the office screaming, or removing access to microfilm from the public area, or telling her staff not to say hello to us when we greet them at the door.  No joke.  This is the petty little tin-dictator stuff that she does.

  Following a recent complaint letter about her that was posted on the county website, she went into overdrive behind the scenes harassing her staff about stopping to chat for a moment with us and telling people that she was working to get rid of us from the County.  She even went as far as mentioning this to one of OUR clients, which got back to us directly.   This is incompetent and malicous at best and discriminatory and harassing even moreso.


460 words | 4858 views | 5 comments | log in or register to post a comment

Lake County, Ohio

This was the county recorder in Lake County, Ohio.  Click the link. He had a whole page on his election website bashing the title companies.



by William Hilf | 2014/11/17 | log in or register to post a reply

Nothing New, for sure...

If this is the same San Mateo County (in California) I began MY career in,back in the late 1970's, the only "things" that have changed in the Recorders office are 1.) the actual PEOPLE working on BOTH sides of the issue you mention,2.) the arrangement of the furniture, and 3.) the physical "method" of obtaining access to the actual records themselves. 

1.) In San Mateo County, and in many OTHER counties I worked in California AND in other States, the County Recorders Office moved all the furniture, including microfilm print machines, microfilm racks or Filing Cabinets, work stations, telephone hookups,literally everything EXCEPT where the front counter was located and where all those huge back year abstract/indicies "Books" were located every time a new County Recorder came to hold Office. 

2.) In terms of this action on the part of the County being somehow "detrimental" to those engaged in "fair and reasonable commerce", I would think that the Title Insurers, and Banks, and certain law firms and other private sector users who PAY for their access to such databases for their own purposes to facilitate their OWN businesses might have something to say about the alleged  "entrepreneurship" involved in this instance, more than likely in FAVOR of the County Recorders position.    After all, why should the Title Insurers (and others) have to PAY MONEY for access to this same info when some "person"operating his "business" gets it for free? I mean, it IS a "business", correct?

3.) The discussion between County Recorders and Title Employees relative to who is actually "doing business" in the Recorders Office is a bunch of BS, and always has been. The County Recorders Office is the COUNTY"S business arena, and people who go TO the County Recorders Office to do some form of their own  business that doesn't entail actually doing business WITH THAT COUNTY OFFICE are NOT conducting "business" there, but only doing research to facilitate a business function located off site, which is THEIR form of business. If you were doing your "business"on a cell phone or a lap top in the Lobby of the Courthouse whomever is  in charge of security inside the place can tell you to "move along" or even arrest you for trespassing if you refuse to leave. The very same situation can arise if you hunker down at some fast food Joint and overuse their wi-fi for the purposes of doing "your business" without buying something. 

As far as the charges of incompetency or maliciousness goes, seems to me that those issues should be addressed through the appropriate Human Resources departments(s), although my suspicion is that neither "party" (side)involved would end up "winning" in this case.

Laptops, Desks, chairs, telephones and cellphones and THEIR LOCATIONS are neither malicious nor incompetent, They are merely TOOLS that can be used to support the allegations that their USERS are using them maliciously or incompetently, which is an entirely different subject matter..





by Donald Petersen | 2014/11/18 | log in or register to post a reply

correct and wrong

Agreed: cjaors and workstations bear no malice.  Administrators using these tools to arbitrarily manipulate the public can be malicious. 


I began working San Mateo County 30 years ago and indeed it has changed.  Title firms, law firms, etc... once had a say regarding record access.  That is no longer the case.  Internet databases, off shoring, and economic turmoil have inexorably altered the landscape.  At one time, the Assessor unilaterally attempted to cut off all access to the deadfiled APN maps used commonly by title firms in the past.  Without title plants using them for a few years and only my staff accessing them, they felt it proper to restrict access one day without prior notice.  Naturally, a Public Record Act request and a few complaints later and I had it fully restored withij a few hours and apologies issued to me in person. 

Their staff has stated clearly the reason for these actions as being an intent to drive me and my staff out of "their" office.  Rather a myopic view given the number of clients I represent who are those very law firms, title companies, homeowners, investors, and taxpayers.

by William Pattison | 2014/12/07 | log in or register to post a reply

Reply to Correct and Wrong...

Hi Mr. Pattison..

Was not my intent to castigate any one personally previously., let alone you.. 

My point, I guess, is more along the lines of when you are dealing with bureaucrats, particularly with the front desk people, more often than not it's better to just not waste their time (and your own) arguing/discussing with them and kick the thing upstairs above their heads. I've had a lot of them apologize to me after the fact over something they took as quite serious contained in some mandate they'd received from some admin person above them which simply used words that apparently were outside their understanding as to meaning.

I once got thrown out of that SMC recorders Office for faxing a copy of a recorded document the Company I was working for had paid for because 1.) I was using that company's briefcase Fax connected to the same company's recorders desk phone which according to one Recorders Office person i was not entitled to do under the desk space lease, and 2.) also because I was violating some sort of provision of the public records act by doing so. No, I'm NOT kidding. So, I just walked downstairs and around the corner to a pay phone, and completed the task, then went back to my office where the County Manager had already received the County bureaucrats phone call about my supposed transgression.

But my manger later told me that the real bruhaha involved actually had to do with a complaint made by another Title Company over my using that equipment in that Office, presumably because I brought it with me and didn't pay the County to use it. Later, in the mid 90's,. I saw another gentlemen get into almost the same situation re; Too fancy equipment for the times in the Recorders Office in Monterey County over his making copies of the recorders indices relative to foreclosure filings and then using them for the sole purposes of publishing a Notice of Default Newsletter .He was turned in by some Title Company employee for not paying for space like the Title Company had to, and I know who did it and it wasn't me. I guess they thought he should have to stand there and write everything down longhand, abstract the entire run sheet from the computer screen by hand.

But I agree with you wholeheartedly that all that outside contracting re: all the stuff that used to be in house functions has thrown a wrench into actually doing the "foot work" necessary to get the job, i.e. completing the whole "package" actually done. But from my experience with this stuff, all the outsourcing, or at least the majority of it, is done at the hands of the Title Companies, not the County Recorders Office. All the records are in fact in fact posted in the County Recorders Office FIRST.. The Title Insurers promoted the use of the computerized records systems, and some of them even lease back limited access to those systems to County Recorders Offices in some places.

IN RWC, the original electronic Title plant, which contained only the property/ GI and extension indexes on Microfiche indexed nightly, were developed by Title Insurance and Trust Company., and the only way to access them was if you had an "interest" in it. At the time I worked it, the County did have an "interest" in it. but the County didn't "own" it.

by Donald Petersen | 2014/12/22 | log in or register to post a reply

Suponcic's Re-election Website

It certainly appears to be an attack on local title companies and examiners and outlines what he has done to make access "equal" for all taxpaying residents. What is blatantly missing in his analysis of his own record is what he has done to assist for-profit companies outside the county receive millions of documents virtually free.

I'm speaking of course of foreign and domestic companies who buy the county's entire database of digitized documents at prices so low most calculators cannot display the price per page. These companies are neither residents nor taxpayers. Yet they are given the most preferential of treatment and astounding access to the entire database resident taxpayers pay to maintain.

Apparently Suponcic lost his bid for re-election. He might still be in office if he had concentrated on protecting resident taxpayers against the excesses of companies outside Lake County. His story reminds me of the man who upon hearing there was bear threatening his family in the front yard, ran to the backyard and shot the family dog.

 Hopefully the new Lake County Recorder will do a better job at serving resident taxpayers.

by David Bloys | 2015/08/22 | log in or register to post a reply
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