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Entries Tagged as 'Measure A'

Down to the wire on Measure A

November 6th, 2006 · No Comments

Election day is tomorrow, and who won’t be glad to be done with all those negative campaign ads…at least for the next 6 months!

My previous posts on Measure A, a Santa Clara county land use ballot initiative, attracted quite a bit of attention from:

  • Ray Schuster, a fellow Alain Pinel agent
  • Another Alain Pinel agent
  • A friend and former mayor of Menlo Park

A further flurry of Measure-A-related activity happened today, with “Nancy, a concerned and affected property owner,” saying (via email):

…The county guidelines enacted under the recent Viewshed ordinance which took several years of planning and review and working together with open space advocates, property owners and other interested parties will be wiped out. I know, I was one of the property owners on the Hillsides Association working with the county to make sure our rights were protected. The argument that “existing parcels” will not be affected by Measure A is just not true. The restrictions will be onerous. All of our property rights are being systematically whittled away. This measure effects Santa Clara county only, currently.
Please vote NO on Measure A. Thank you.

Another email, this one in favor of Measure A:

From: Yes on Measure A

Date: November 2, 2006 8:11:50 AM PST

Subject: Mercury News Poll

Dear Friends,

The Mercury News just did a poll (see article below) and found that 38% of likely voters support Measure A, 25% oppose it, and 37% are undecided.

This is great news that we’re ahead, but we still have a lot of work to do to convince the large number of undecided voters. At this point, person-to-person contact is extremely important. You’re friends trust you, so please reach out to them and encourage a “Yes” vote on Measure A.

Here are a few ways you can help out down the home stretch:

1) Help deliver Yes on A literature to voters. For details, please contact Brooke Anderson or (408) 947-7526. On Sunday we will be distributing information at farmer’s markets in San Jose. To help out, please meet at the office — 48 South 7th St. (near Santa Clara St.) in San Jose– at 9:30am.

2) Make a financial contribution to Yes on Measure A at http://www.openspace2006.org/donate.htm or by mailing a check to “PLAN,” 48 South 7th St., San Jose, CA 95112. We still need to raise $50,000.

3) Send an email to your friends encouraging them to vote Yes on Measure A. Following is a sample message:

Dear Friends,

Please join me in voting Yes on Measure A.

Measure A — the Santa Clara County Land Conservation Initiative — will help protect our hillsides, watersheds, wildlife habitats and working farms from being lost forever to large-scale development. It will preserve a healthy balance between urban areas and the quiet beauty of our rural environments. Under Measure A, only voters could eliminate or reduce basic safeguards against too much growth.

Measure A is endorsed by every major environmental organization, as well as the San Jose Mercury News, the League of Women Voters, the Council of Churches, the County Medical Association, the Democratic Party, Republicans for Environmental Protection, the South Bay Labor Council, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (representing more than 200 businesses) and the list goes on. Measure A also enjoys the support of more than 100 elected officials.

Please visit www.YesOnMeasureA.net to learn more about this important initiative, and please forward this message to everyone you know.


(your name)

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Tags: Ballot Initiatives · For buyers · For sellers · Measure A · Real estate

Part 2: When Realtors lobby, who wins?

October 27th, 2006 · 2 Comments

My previous article on Realtor lobbying efforts on Santa Clara county’s Measure A sparked some email comments which, by permission, I thought I’d post here.

First, from a friend who used to be the mayor of Menlo Park:

You could think of it differently too - it *IS* in your CUSTOMERS’ best interests to enjoy remaining open space and a better quality environment.  PLus many would say that it IS the level of open space and trails etc that MAKE our properties have higher values. SO yes, there is a little less land to develop, but in terms of how much the existing housing stock wil sell for, I would actually argue this IS in residential realtors’ overall best interests (not to mention climate change… etc…)
Then, from another Alain Pinel agent, disagreeing with Ray Schuster (quoted in previous article):
 As a fellow member of SILVAR, Farm and Ranchers Association of Brokers and former board member of Santa Clara County Association of Realtors. I can not disagree with you more. The effect that Measure A would have on land in Santa Clara County is devastating. The process required for even the slightest of permits would make it financially paralyzing to improve any rural property.  I would strongly suggest you personally read the measure and then decide if the far reaching effects of the provisions that would supersede the existing policies would merit such legislation.
I have spent the better part of two decades selling, improving and developing land in Santa Clara County. If Measure A had passed thirty five years ago there would be no Silicon Valley. And I would be sending this email from an open field.
This is just another broker’s viewpoint on Measure A.
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Tags: Measure A · Real estate

When Realtors lobby, who wins?

October 26th, 2006 · 7 Comments

The National Association of Realtors and its state and local affiliates are masters of the rile-up-the-troops-and-get-out-the-vote routine.  Two years ago I trekked up to Sacramento for the California Association of Realtor’s annual Legislative Day and had my eyes opened to the world of lobbying, politics, and how legislative decisions are made.  2000 Realtors from around the state descended on the capital and met with their local state representatives, “educating” them about upcoming real-estate related legislative issues and “how they should vote.”  Our local NAR affiliate, the Silicon Valley Assocation of Realtors, is equally effective on local issues — with a day’s notice, it can mobilize several dozen, perhaps even a few hundred, local Realtors to show up at a city council meeting to voice their opposition to some new measure.
Don’t get me wrong — every trade association in the country lobbies, and the Realtor lobby just happens to be better funded, organized, and influential than most.  NAR’s express purpose is, and should be, to protect the interests of its members as it perceives them.

I’m often troubled, however, by issues on which the interests of “citizen Kevin Boer” and “Realtor Kevin Boer” might conflict.  If there’s a ballot initiative in which I as a Realtor benefit, but I as a citizen don’t, which way do I vote?  Personally, the answer is clear:  when it comes to elections, I’m a citizen first, and a Realtor second.

Measure A is an upcoming county-level Land Use ballot initiative (see Smartvoter for more information).  SILVAR wants us to vote “No” on this issue (see here and here).  I don’t know enough about this particular measure yet to figure out which way I’m going to vote, but I’m willing to bet that most Realtors who do go to the polls on November 7 will toe the party line.

Not all of them, though.  Ray Schuster, a fellow Alain Pinel-er, sent out a refreshing, independent-minded email this morning.  Ray takes issue with SILVAR’s recommendation on Measure A, and does so in a very level-headed way.  Hats to Ray for taking a stand and letting us know that not all Realtors necessarily vote per the dictates from above!


As a member of SILVAR, I rely on the association for information and recommendations related to political and legislative issues. So it is appropriate that SILVAR provide voting advice on Santa Clara County Measure A.

However, It is not appropriate that this advice be based on incomplete and misleading information. I disagree with SILVAR’s “no on A” recommendation. I will vote “Yes,” and urge other SILVAR Realtors to consider doing the same—or at least looking beyond the SILVAR arguments to make an informed decision.

SILVAR recommends a visit to the No on Measure A website. Fair enough. For balance, you should also check out www.openspace2006.org., the pro-Measure A website. Here are just a few facts that you’ll find there:

Measure A was not written “behind closed doors,” without public input, as the SILVAR email alleges. Measure A was written carefully with input from community leaders and organizations throughout Santa Clara County, including farmers and ranchers. Endorsers include 41 organizations, 44 community leaders, and 106 state, federal and local elected or formerly elected officials. See for yourself at http://www.openspace2006.org/endorsements.htm.

The Santa Clara County Land Conservation Initiative (Measure A) will preserve our region as a desirable place to live and work. It amends the County General Plan to help protect hillsides, ranchlands, watersheds and agricultural lands by reducing the number of developable parcels permitted in rural areas. Nothing more.

The Measure will not harm family farms. All existing legal parcels and uses remain valid. The Initiative WOULD reduce the number of new developable parcels by limiting them to 160-acre minimums, actually encouraging farming development. Importantly, the Initiative leaves many thousands of acres under County authority available for housing in and nearer to existing built-up areas and public services.

In summary, and without making a book out of this, Measure A will protect Santa Clara County’s remaining valuable natural resources from being paved over and lost forever.

I think these goals coincide with the goals of Realtors in Santa Clara County.

Ray Schuster

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Tags: Ballot Initiatives · California Association of Realtors · Measure A · National Association of Realtors · Real estate · Silicon Valley Association of Realtors