Just a couple updates – We had a terrific time in Sacramento the first week of June. This year we again brought a few of our Realtor® Action Fund investors up for our Legislative Day. Though the Legislative Schedule was very hectic owing to the session cross-over date, we were able to visit briefly with Assemblymember Kevin Jeffries outside the chamber, and with both Jeffries and Senator Dennis Hollingsworth at our Realtor® Reception that evening.
We got a rousing talk from former (and future?) Governor Jerry Brown. Jerry is a somewhat mellowed version of his former self and an altogether likeable fellow. He talked about the benefits of experience over the glamour of youth, a position he did not espouse when he last talked to our group in 1977.
We also enjoyed a lunchtime presentation by CAR CEO Joel Singer on the state of housing and his official prognostications. Overall the same sort of positive signs we’ve seen locally with stabilizing prices, reduced inventory, some ‘green shoots’ of recovery in many areas of the state. Yet at the same time we are facing an unprecedented wave of foreclosures. Maybe? Soon. Next month. Last month? Are the banks savvy and organized enough to control the flow of houses to the market to control further price erosion and maximize their benefit from increased interest rates? And if so, is that some sort of conspiracy or collusion? A copy of Joel’s presentation is available at www.car.org.
But I wanted to talk briefly about what we accomplished because of who we are – Realtors®.
Last year outgoing House Speaker Fabian Nunez wanted to leave his legacy in a horrendous housing audit bill that mandated a variety of unnecessary and potentially costly point-of-sale costs for homeowners. Within days of our Legislator visits, Nunez agreed to modify the bills language to a degree acceptable to CAR. While we withdrew our active opposition, we did not support it either and the bill ultimately went down to defeat. It was a hard fought battle and a big win.
WE did that! You and I. Especially you who helped support our efforts by investing in the Realtor® Party.
Events moved even faster this year. You may have read on the GADblog about the ACWA bill that would have mandated property inspections for all residential and commercial sales checking for low flow toilets, shower heads, faucet restrictors, etc.
But the killer was the point-of-sale provision requiring every selling homeowner to perform these retrofits before the close of escrow – cost to be negotiated. Yeah, that’s a popular option – especially in this real estate market. We need more BS fees and inspections added to the process.
To their credit, some of our local water departments were not in agreement with the language either but were outvoted. The water companies and providers are striving to address a decree by Gov. Schwarzenegger to reduce state water consumption 20% by 2020. Given the duration of the drought and the mating habits of the Delta Smelt, we may be doing this sooner rather than later – and paying for it both ways.
But here’s the good news – on Tuesday we were discussing our Legislative talking points for the following day’s visits. Our legislative hot issues had dwindled from 6 to 4 to 3 as bills we supported or opposed were either passed, killed or modified. But the ACWA bill was still alive. At 11:30 Tuesday morning our chief lobbyist was summoned to the capitol to see if new language drafted for the ACWA bill would be acceptable to Realtors so we would drop our opposition. The authors felt that they had borderline enough votes for passage but anticipating our visits to legislators the following day, they knew how quickly their vote lead could evaporate.
They removed the offensive portions of the bill, we removed our opposition, and the bill will go forward and hopefully result in some real and tangible results for Californians without the burdens of additional costs and bureaucracy. Everybody wins.
For Chief Lobbyist Alex Creel, this represents over 20 point-of-sale bills defeated in his 20+ year tenure – nearly 100% success rate. The Department of Water mistakenly thought Realtors® were down and out this year and that they could finally beat us on one. To their chagrin they discovered that while we can get down, never count us out – especially when it comes to fighting for housing and property rights.
Last year we defeated a major bill within days of our lobbying effort. This year the threat alone was sufficient to chalk up a win for the Realtor® Party. Never underestimate our grassroots strength and the power you have as a Realtor®. If you need even more reasons to invest your $49 in our Realtor Action Fund, give me a call or find more examples of Realtor® success at http://gadblog.srcar.org