POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY
Political, legislative and regulatory advocacy are traditional roles for trade associations such as the Marin Association of REALTORS®. In broad terms, our advocacy efforts are focused on the following key areas:
- The preservation of property rights
- Fighting for the best interests of home buyers and home sellers
- Working with others to protect Marin's quality of life
- Ensuring that the escrow process is protected from those who seek to link government mandates with real estate transactions
- Promoting effective and equitable solutions to the problems facing the environment which are not tied to the uncertainties of the real estate market
- Full disclosure in government as well as real estate
MAR's lobbying efforts are spearheaded and orchestrated by MAR CEO Edward Segal, who is a former Washington lobbyist, legislative assistant to members of Congress and an aide to political candidates across the country.
Some of the major issues we've addressed recently or continue to follow include:
In 2010, MAR called on local waste water agencies to prepare proactive ten-year action plans that will take care of Marin's sewer lateral problems once and for all.
It is fundamentally unfair to the environment to link sewer lateral solutions only to property owners who are selling their homes. Marin's real estate inventory takes several decades or longer to turnover, even in the best of times. Why would anyone seek a 45-year or more solution to a problem that should be handled by the end of the next decade?
Local sewer and sanitation officials should really try to harness and direct their efforts and expertise to help achieve a clean environment.
In government, as in real estate, full disclosure should be second nature. Marin REALTORS®, for example, routinely have home sellers sign forms that tell buyers what they should know about a property. Governments, too, should tell people what they need or should know.
In 2010, MAR said that local elected officials and their staffs must remember their responsibilities to provide full and complete disclosure to taxpayers. That's why we worked with the California Association of REALTORS®, who sponsored legislation this year requiring local government agencies to post meeting agendas on their Web sites 72 hours before those meetings are held.
Laws and Fees Harmful to
Local Housing Market
Citing the impact of the current economic crisis on the local housing market, the Marin Association of REALTORS® has called on local governments throughout the county to impose a moratorium on proposed or existing laws that make it harder or more costly to buy or sell residential property.
MAR has a long history of supporting affordable housing. In 2005, we were instrumental in securing a $150,000 grant for the Marin Workforce Housing Trust from the California Association of REALTORS®'s Housing Affordability Fund (HAF). Between 2006 and 2008, we contributed $30,000 to that fund. MAR now encourages our members to contribute to the Marin Workforce Housing Trust. The Board decides each year which local or state housing efforts to support.
Installation of PG&E's Smart Meters
In July 2010, MAR called on the Public Utilities Commission to implement an immediate moratorium on the installation of Smart Meters by Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The association was the first REALTOR® organization in the state to ask for a temporary halt to the placement and activation of the controversial devices.
Citing concerns about the impact that continued installation of Smart Meters may have on the quality of life in Marin, the MAR Board of Directors said "it is wise and prudent to suspend additional installations until public concerns are fully addressed and issues surrounding the installations are completely resolved."
Business License Tax
MAR took the lead in helping to repeal provisions of Fairfax's business license tax. Thanks to our efforts, real estate sales people are no longer required to pay this onerous tax.
Each year presents different advocacy challenges which MAR is well-equipped to deal with, thanks to our professional staff and guidance provided by our Board and Governmental Affairs Committee.