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“Housing affordability has never been better, but the high unemployment rate, slow job growth and difficulty in obtaining credit, especially for high-cost homes, continue to be stumbling blocks to a complete housing recovery,” according to Jeff Bell, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®.

Uneven Recovery, but Sales Clearly “Off Bottom”
The National Association of REALTORS® reports today that sales of existing homes in October declined 2.2 percent to a 4.43 million annual rate from 4.53 million in September. The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $170,500, down 0.9 percent from October 2009.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said the recent sales pattern can be expected to continue, but he believes sales will steadily improve to healthier levels of above 5 million by spring of next year. “The housing market is experiencing an uneven recovery, and a temporary foreclosure stoppage in some states is likely to have held back a number of completed sales. Still, sales activity is clearly off the bottom and is attempting to settle into normal sustainable levels,” he said.

Overly tight credit is making it difficult for some creditworthy borrowers to qualify for a mortgage. “A return to common sense loan underwriting standards would go a long way toward achieving responsible, sustainable homeownership,” said NAR President Ron Phipps.

Home Builder Confidence Up, but Obtaining Credit Is a Problem
Home builders are also complaining that tight credit is getting in their way. Nationwide housing starts declined 11.7 percent to an annual rate of 519,000 units in October. Despite the decline, the National Association of Home Builders reports builder confidence is up slightly, as builders are starting to report some improvement in buyer demand and quality of buyer traffic.

“The great concern is that this positive momentum will be stifled due to builders’ inability to obtain financing for new construction at a time when inventories of completed new homes are very thin,” NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a press release.

In addition to tight credit, worry continues about the high unemployment rate, slow job growth and looming shadow inventory. Distressed homes accounted for 34 percent of sales in October, according to NAR. There’s also the threat of foreclosures mounting as a growing amount of homeowners remain out of work and those who have borrowed against their equity default on their mortgage.

GDP Growth Better Than Anticipated
On the upside, the Commerce Department reports the economy grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the third quarter, more than previously calculated, due to increased shipments abroad and business spending for equipment and software.

Santa Clara County October Median Up Slightly
Although October home sales fell, Santa Clara County saw a slight year-over-year gain in its October median home price. According to a California Association of REALTORS® report released today, the October median price for a single-family home in Santa Clara County was $637,750, was up 8 percent from the same time a year ago. October sales of single-family detached homes in the county were down 24 percent from October 2009, when the first-time home buyer credits was available.

C.A.R. reports DataQuick statistics, which are based on county records data rather than MLS information, ranked the Silicon Valley cities of Los Altos, Palo Alto, Cupertino and Los Gatos among the top 10 cities with the highest median home prices in California during October 2010. The October median home price in Los Altos was $1,700,000; Palo Alto, $1,050,000; Cupertino, $1,022,500; and Los Gatos, $1,000,000.

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To help consumers navigate the home buying process, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) unveiled three how-to videos to help prospective homeowners find a home they can afford, shop for a mortgage they can sustain, and learn what to expect when they go to closing.

HUD produced the three consumer education videos in coordination with NAR and released them at the REALTORS®’ annual convention in New Orleans. Each video focuses on a critical part of the home buying process, including Shopping for your Home, Shopping for your Loan, and Closing the Deal.

HUD’s videos are easily accessible from both HUD and NAR’s websites, as well as from HUD’s YouTube channel. They include:

Shopping for your Home – The home buying process obviously starts with finding a place you’ll want to call home. This short video will instruct viewers on assessing how much of a home you can afford, working with a real estate agent and what happens once you find the home you want to buy. Housing counselors can assist home buyers and home owners on issues such as home buying, fair housing, credit issues, and foreclosure prevention.

Shopping for your Loan – Once you’ve found the home of your dreams, the next step is to shop for a mortgage loan. This video will help consumers use the good faith estimate (GFE), which is a form that spells out the terms of a loan offer, to shop for the best loan for them. Consumers will learn how to use the GFE to determine how long an interest rate is available for a particular loan and how to identify key loan terms and costs of a particular loan offer. HUD suggests consumers shop and compare GFEs from multiple mortgage brokers and/or lenders in order to get the best loan for their situation.

Closing the Deal – Finally, this video walks consumers through the actual closing process, including how to make sure the loan they were offered closely matches what they encounter at the settlement table. In particular, HUD will walk the viewer through the HUD-1 Settlement Statement and demonstrate ways consumers can compare their actual costs with those reflected on their Good Faith Estimate.

To view HUD’s new home buyer education videos, visit HUD’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/HUDchannel.

In an effort to be in compliance with federal case law and to have an enforceable sign ordinance, the Los Altos City Council unanimously approved two new sign ordinances this week. The ordinances dealing with signs on private and public property will be enforced starting December 30. A final version of the ordinances will be released shortly, but here’s a view of the draft ordinances.

There are changes included in the new ordinances that impact REALTORS®. The biggest change is when it will be permissible to place an open house sign on public property. These amendments were necessary to ensure that the sign rules had reasonable time and place restrictions for open house signs to prevent a legal challenge similar to what occurred in Menlo Park and led to a citywide ban of all signs on public property.

Here is a brief overview of the new rules for real estate and open house signs for Los Altos:

Residential on-site signs:
• One non-illuminated for sale sign allowed per property.
• For sale sign can be no taller than six feet in height and the sign face no larger than four square feet.
• Up to 12 square feet of real estate signage is allowed per property, which allows for both an A-frame open house sign and a for sale sign to be placed on private property at the same time.
• There are no day or time restrictions for real estate signs on private property.

Residential off-site open house signs:
• Size: A-frame signs no larger than four square feet per face, plus two riders, can be no taller than 32 inches.
• Location: Only on sidewalks where it does not obstruct pedestrian or bicycle access, cannot be placed on any medians or on the expressway right-of-way.
• Number per intersection: A single open house can only have one sign per intersection.
• Time restrictions: Signs will only be permitted during the following days and times:
o Friday: 9 AM-1:30 PM
o Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 11:30 AM – 6 PM

A final version of the ordinance will be distributed to members once it is available.

After providing significant support behind an opposition campaign against Measure Q in Saratoga, SILVAR is pleased the measure proposing a two-story height limit for commercial and office property appears doomed.

The article, written by Joe Rodriguez of the Mercury News, concludes there are still ballots to be counted, but the measure is essentially headed for defeat. Rodriguez questions whether this would mean the Village “could grow taller than the town’s majestic redwood trees, and would development and increased traffic harm the surrounding neighborhoods,” as proponents of the measure fear.

Not so, says Councilman Chuck Page. Page, who won re-election and opposed the measure, says in the article that a previous 35-foot building height remains in effect and would prevent high-rise developments.

“The planning commission isn’t going to let anyone build to the max,” Page said in the article. “We have to do everything smartly and retain the character of the town, which is what everyone wants.”

Measure Q’s defeat is a huge victory for businesses and property owners in Saratoga!

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the Bay Area’s leading real estate services company, announced today that it has acquired Cashin Company Realtors, one of the Peninsula’s largest and most prestigious local brokerage companies.

According to a press statement released by Coldwell Banker earlier today, the move continues Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s strong trajectory of growth on the Peninsula and in the Bay Area. Founded in 1995 by Emmet J. “Skip” Cashin III, the Cashin Company Realtor’s team of 270 real estate professionals in seven offices throughout San Mateo County accounted for more than $1 billion in annual sales volume in the last 12 months.

The seven-office, 270-agent firm will now operate under the banner of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. With this announcement, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the San Francisco Bay Area now has more than 60 offices and 3,500 sales associates who accounted for more than $11 billion in sales volume last year.

“Cashin Company has been a highly successful real estate brokerage on the Peninsula for many years,” said Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the San Francisco Bay Area.  “They are a perfect fit with Coldwell Banker in terms of our respective cultures, our core values and our strength in the local marketplace, especially in the luxury market.

Cashin said his firm had many suitors in recent years, but decided that Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage was the right choice in terms of the scale and scope of the nation’s leading brokerage company, agent support, technological tools, networking opportunities, and cultural fit.

“Coldwell Banker shares our culture of service excellence that values customized service for each and every client,” he said. “Additionally, they are the premier real estate brand around the world and offer a robust marketing platform and referral network that will help our sales associates achieve even greater results for their clients.”

Turley and Cashin announced the acquisition this morning in an informal meeting with Cashin Company managers and agents. The press release goes on to state that Turley and other Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage executives will visit all of the former Cashin Company offices in the coming days to meet individually with agents and hear their ideas for ways the company can better support agent goals and help them grow their businesses.

Many of SILVAR’s REALTOR® members belong to both companies. An article on the acquisition is in the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal.

California Association of REALTORS® Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young agrees with National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research Dr. Lawrence Yun.

“Absolutely the worst is over, but we will have a slow recovery,” Appleton-Young told SILVAR members at this morning’s Los Gatos/Saratoga District tour meeting.

Here are some positive signs:

  • GDP (Gross Domestic Product), which showed a drop of 2.6 percent in 2009 – the largest drop since 1938 – is rising slowly. GDP was up 1.7 percent in 2010 Q2, and up 2 percent in 2010 Q3. There has been positive growth in the economy for the last five quarters. It shows the federal government’s economic stimulus has worked, Appleton-Young said.
  • The Consumer Confidence Index in October was at 50.2, up from 48.6 in September.
  • Consumer spending was at 1.9 percent in 2010 Q2.

Unfortunately, it’s still not enough to convince businesses that they should expand, she said.

Consumers are downsizing and maintaining the attitude that “less is more.” They are shopping at discount stores like Walmart, so luxury goods are struggling.

“We can’t look to consumers to drive this recovery,” Appleton-Young surmised. “There’s nothing positive on the horizon for consumers right now, and there won’t be until we start to see positive job numbers and this whole labor market starts to turn around.”

Appleton-Young said California is seeing more challenges than the rest of the nation because Sacramento and regional and local governments “are working to make things worse” with their cutbacks and layoffs. Big losers in California are construction, manufacturing, trade and transportation and financial activities. The winners continue to be education, health services, leisure and hospitality.

Appleton-Young said inflation is 18 months to two years away, but she believes a dose of inflation and increase in interest rates would actually be a positive sign that the economy is moving forward.

2011 will be “a lackluster year,” with no significant job growth till late in the year, said Appleton-Young. She doesn’t anticipate that there will be any meaningful reforms next year, as “the government has done all it can to make funds available.”

“As John Maynard Keynes put it, ‘You can’t push on a string,’ you make money available, but if the banks don’t want to spend …,” she commented.

For 2011, the C.A.R. chief economist anticipates a GDP growth of 2.4 percent. For California, a job growth of 1.6 percent; unemployment at 11.4 percent, home sales up by about 2 percent and a slight rise in the median price by about 2 percent.

“We’re still seeing limited inventory of good distressed properties and still very nostalgic upper-end sellers who are not appreciating the market we have today. They are going through a very painful situation,” she said.

According to Appleton-Young, the wild cards for 2011 are:

  • Another recession? Some people think there could be a double dip.
  • Federal economic policies – there is much uncertainty regarding future tax rates
  • Negative equity home owners – there are still many home owners who borrowed excessively against their home equity
  • Shadow inventory – distressed sales will continue to factor in the marketplace for four to five more years because there is still a large pool of home owners underwater.

Pictured left to right: SILVAR Executive Officer Paul Cardus, Board Director John Tripp, 2010 President-elect Gene Lentz, C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young, Los Gatos/Saratoga District Chair Bill Rehbock and 2011 President-elect Suzanne Yost.

At a broker panel held at the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® Palo Alto District tour meeting last Friday, Tim Foy, a broker with Midtown Realty, refuted the popular sellers’ notion that spring is the best time to put their house on the market.

“It’s a myth, and it’s especially not true in this market. We need to bust the myth about waiting till spring. Now is an outstanding time to put your house on the market,” claims Foy.

Foy notes MLSListings data shows since September 1, 69 percent of homes have sold in Palo Alto in 14 days or less. “It says we have a lack of supply, which means it’s a great time to be a seller!” according to Foy.

Foy questions why a seller would wait till spring when that’s when competition from other sellers comes into the market. While people say it’s a phenomenal time for buyers, it is also a phenomenal time for sellers. Foy explains right now, competition among sellers is significantly lower. There are buyers out there, but inventory is low. In fact, the brokers report multiple offers are being made on million dollar properties.

In this market, for sellers, as well as buyers, “there is risk in waiting” because you never know how long the record low interest rates will last, according to panelist Michael Dreyfus, a broker with Dreyfus Properties in Palo Alto.

“It’s an outstanding time to buy, but it’s also an outstanding time to sell. Don’t wait for your competition. Don’t wait for interest rates to rise. Get your property out there now,” Foy tells sellers.

The panel of local brokers included (left to right) Tim Foy of Midtown Realty, Bob Taylor of Taylor Properties, Robert Stelzer of Keller Williams Realty and Michael Dreyfus of Dreyfus Properties.

The panel discussed other important real estate-related issues too. Bob Taylor of Taylor Properties reminds REALTORS® that not all agents do business the same way. He says Silicon Valley agents need to continue to “be diligent in our business, and not casual as in other places.”

Bob Stelzer, a broker with Keller Williams Realty, focused on the importance of the MLS (multiple listing service) and stresses agents who are members of the MLS have a duty to their client to share their listings in the MLS.

Dreyfus says market expectations need to change. Market conditions are not normal today, but they weren’t “normal” a couple of years ago either. In the current market, homes are not going to experience quick, massive appreciation, and the challenge is “how to sell without saying the market is not going to go up by much.”

Dreyfus says the key is in reshaping market expectations away from appreciation and refocusing on the traditonal goals of home ownership – to buy a home because it is a great home, because Palo Alto is a great place to live, and not because you expect the home to appreciate quickly.

This week, voters across the nation went to the ballot box and the electorate’s vote resulted in a clear change in direction for Congress. While the results in California and locally broke the national trend, many of the results will impact our industry.

In Washington, D.C.: Voters ousted roughly 60 Democratic members of the Congress, giving the Republican Party a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Although Democrats lost the majority in the House, they were able to maintain control of the U.S. Senate by three votes. Republicans, however, have enough senators to bring any vote to a grinding halt through a filibuster on party-line issues. The National Association of REALTORS® feels confident it will be able to work with the new majority in the House. NAR is one of the most effective lobbying forces on Capitol Hill. Preserving the mortgage interest deduction and getting the housing market back on track will continue to be key priorities for NAR.
 
In Sacramento: Jerry Brown was soundly elected back as California’s governor and the Democrats still maintain a majority in the state legislature. The California Association of REALTORS® did not have a position on the gubernatorial race, but C.A.R. has a strong relationship with the governor-elect and is confident it will be able to continue that relationship over the next four years. Many key appointments will be made in the near future, including that of DRE commissioner. These appointments will have a direct impact on REALTORS®. C.A.R.-supported Rich Gordon, was also elected to replace termed-out Assembly member Ira Ruskin.
 
On the proposition front, C.A.R.-opposed Proposition 19 (legalization of marijuana) was defeated. It was the only proposition on which C.A.R. took a position. With its defeat, landlords will continue to have the right to prohibit tenants from smoking, growing and possessing marijuana on their property.

Two other successful propositions, Proposition 25 and Proposition 26, will have a lasting impact at the state and local level. Prop. 25 lowers the legislative voting threshold for approving a budget from two-thirds to a simple majority. This new lower threshold might have resulted in a proliferation of property transfer fees and new withholding requirements for REALTORS®, but Prop. 26 makes that possibility remote. Prop. 26 will prohibit the legislature and local governments from raising or creating fees without a two-thirds vote (for local governments it is a two-thirds vote of the people). Experts believe with the passage of the two propositions, it will be easier to make cuts to services, but harder to raise taxes and fees. Prop. 26 will have a significant impact on local governments, where fees for everything from business licenses to recreational classes will now require citywide votes.
 
In the Valley: SILVAR PAC saw mixed results in this election, but is confident its interests will still be protected at the local level. SILVAR PAC had endorsed Measure E, a parcel tax for the Foothill De Anza Community College District, and opposed Measure Q in Saratoga, a two-story height limit for commercial and office property. Measure E, which would have insulated the district from many of the budget cuts made by the state and preserve many key educational programs, was defeated.

After providing significant support behind an opposition campaign against Measure Q, the election is still too close to call. The opposition is currently ahead by 39 votes, with over 100,000 ballots still outstanding countywide. If Measure Q is defeated, it will be a huge victory for businesses and property owners in Saratoga.
 
The candidates endorsed by SILVAR PAC saw both strong victories and disappointing losses. Here is a quick breakdown of those races:

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, District 1: SILVAR PAC-endorsed Mike Wasserman was successful in his election bid, and will now replace termed-out Supervisor Don Gage on the board.

Santa Clara Valley Water District, Seat 7: SILVAR PAC-endorsed Lou Becker was defeated by environmental lobbyist Brian Schmit.

Atherton Town Council: SILVAR PAC-endorsed Bill Widmer received the most votes in the election, and will be a fresh new voice in a town council that has seen much contention in recent years.

East Palo Alto City Council: Both SILVAR PAC-endorsed candidates Ruben Abrica and David Woods were re-elected.

Los Altos Town Council: SILVAR PAC-endorsed incumbent Val Carpenter, was successful in her re-election bid and council newcomer Jarrett Fishpaw was successful waging an upset against former council member Curtis Cole. Fishpaw was financially supported by SILVAR PAC, and will bring fresh ideas and perspective to the council. 

Los Altos Hills Town Council: SILVAR PAC-endorsed John Radford and Gary Waldeck were both successful in their election bids to serve on the council for the first time.

Los Gatos Town Council: All three SILVAR PAC-endorsed candidates, including incumbents Diane McNutt and Joe Pirzynski and REALTOR® Steve Leonardis, were elected to the council.

Menlo Park City Council: SILVAR PAC-endorsed Rich Cline and newcomer Peter Ohtaki were both elected to the council, with non-endorsed incumbent Heyward Robinson failing to win re-election.

Monte Sereno City Council: In the most heartbreaking result in the election, SILVAR PAC-endorsed mayor and REALTOR® Don Perry was denied a second term on the council by voters. His advocacy for the rights of homeowners will be missed on the council. 

Mountain View City Council: Both SILVAR PAC-endorsed incumbents Margaret Abe-Koga and Jac Siegel were re-elected.

Saratoga City Council: In a very close election, the sole SILVAR PAC-endorsed candidate Chuck Page was re-elected to the council, earning more votes than any other candidate.
 
Most of the positions taken by SILVAR PAC were supported by member contributions to the REALTOR® Action Fund. Our success could not be possible without your generous support!

By Adam Montgomery, SILVAR Government Affairs Director

Since August, SILVAR has been working to support property owners, businesses and residents in Saratoga, to work against an ill-conceived two-story height limit measure in Saratoga (Measure Q).

Going into the last two days of the campaign, there are almost no new ways to convince voters on an issue, so I would usually save my breath, but an e-mail I received this weekend, while picking out pumpkins with my wife, inspired me to share some thoughts on the current state of affairs in Saratoga.

On Saturday, I was forwarded a chain e-mail that originated as a neighborhood alert, warning residents through an alarming recent account of a robbery at gunpoint that occurred at a Saratoga home. A comment made by a supporter of Measure Q in the chain left me speechless: “Vote YES on Q.  Do we really need to draw more attention to Saratoga?” The only way to interpret this comment is that either the campaign has directly contributed to the robbery, or a NO vote would mean more armed robberies.

This comment might make sense if this was a campaign to support public safety funding, but for a ballot box zoning measure to limit commercial, retail and office property to two stories for 30 years, is inflammatory. As I learned back in Constitutional Law 101, defamation is not a protected form of speech, but along with fear and intimidation, this has been a cornerstone for the YES campaign.

This is simply the nastiest campaign I have ever witnessed. Beyond the theft of over 150 legally placed signs in opposition to Q, threats of boycotts against businesses against Q, and unsolicited harassment of residents at street corners or at their home if they openly oppose Q, there have been many lies put out in support of Q.

Lie #1: SILVAR has no representation in Saratoga, with no board members residing there, and they should have no say over the residents of Saratoga. SILVAR does have a board member who lives in Saratoga – his name is Bryan Robertson. SILVAR also has over 300 members living there, representing over one percent of the population. Also, since when do REALTORS® have no say on real estate and land use issues? Last we checked, that is our bread and butter.

Lie #2: Measure Q will bring less attention, preventing armed robberies. The complete opposite may be true. Measure Q’s restrictions will turn businesses away from locating downtown, creating more blight and restricting the tax base used to fund public safety. Remember the broken glass theory – with blight and less foot traffic, come vagrants, loiterers and crime. 

Lie #3: Measure Q will prevent overcrowding of Saratoga schools. Saratoga’s enrollment numbers have been declining for years. Downtown is the only area that could allow more than two stories under current height limits, which is not zoned currently for residential development. Also, the Measure Q restrictions will negatively impact commercial property value and tax receipts, reducing school revenues.   

Lie #4: Without Measure Q, small businesses will be pushed out of Saratoga. There are no plans under the current rules changed by Measure Q to evict businesses. Business is going really bad in downtown, which has lost 30 businesses so far. Without some significant investment, Saratoga’s downtown will slowly dwindle into a ghost town. Measure Q will kill that investment and wipe out the businesses that have weathered this recent downturn.

Lie #5: Only out-of-towners oppose Q, most of the moneys spent against Q is from Los Angeles. Over 400 residents and businesses have shared their names in opposition to Q, including three council members and four planning commissioners. Our PAC is shared with the California Association of REALTORS®, which is located in Los Angeles, but our Saratoga members have given more money into the REALTOR® Action Fund in this election cycle than has been expended towards the campaign.

What is the moral of this story?
First, voters should not be making complicated land use decisions through the ballot. Voters chose their leaders to listen to their concerns, entrusting them to make the most educated and fair decisions to benefit of the entire community. Land use campaigns always fall victim to emotional and erroneous information. If poorly weighed, these campaigns can handcuff a city’s control over its own jurisdiction.

Second, our association has a duty to conduct our advocacy efforts at the same high ethical levels as our members in their business. We have resisted the temptation to run a tit for tat campaign by not resorting to cheap tricks and questionable behavior; instead, we have focused on educating voters on the facts of the measure. The good news is issue campaigns are usually won or lost on the merits of the arguments used. The more time spent slinging mud at your opposition, instead of the issue, does not typically bear good results.

Tomorrow, voters will go to the polls to decide on several elected offices and ballot measures across the state. To find if you are registered to vote or if your ballot has been received or your polling place location, please visit www.sccvote.org for Santa Clara County voters, or www.shapethefuture.org for San Mateo County voters.

Below you will find SILVAR PAC (Political Action Commitee) and California Association of REALTORS® endorsements, which are based on the best interests of homeowners, business and property rights. Most of the positions are supported by financial contributions and actively supported in part by members’ contributions to the REALTOR® Action Fund.

Measure Q, Saratoga, Two-story Limit for Commercial and Office Properties, Vote NO. If passed, Measure Q will prevent buildings in the commercial and office zoning district to exceed two stories for the next 30 years, and the only way buildings would be able to exceed two stories in the downtown core and other job centers in Saratoga is if this measure goes back to a citywide vote for approval. If approved in November, Measure Q will be devastating for Saratoga’s ability to revitalize the downtown (the Village) and bring new businesses into the city. It will also move future development away from the very place residents want it, which is downtown.

Measure E, Foothill De Anza Community College District, Vote YES. Measure E seeks a $69 per year parcel tax for six years. The revenue from this tax will supplement educational programs at both Foothill and De Anza community colleges, to counteract cuts made by the state. Both community colleges serve as vital assets to the economy, as backbones for the educational strength of northern Santa Clara County. Measure E will ensure Foothill and De Anza remain among the top community colleges in the nation.

Proposition 19, Vote NO. This is the only state proposition on which the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) has taken a position. If approved by voters, this proposition will legalize and tax marijuana. C.A.R. opposes Prop. 19 because it will give constitutional protections to individuals who smoke, possess and cultivate marijuana in their home, regardless of ownership, with vague and unenforceable exclusions. Specifically, if tenants wish to smoke marijuana in a rental unit, they are required to ask for permission, but there is no language in Prop. 19 to protect the landlord’s ability to refuse, nor does it say that the tenant must be granted permission. C.A.R. believes Prop. 19 is too vague regarding the tenant-landlord relationship, which will lead to many disputes and loss of control of the property owner over writing and enforcing the terms of a lease agreement.

Below is a list of candidates seeking local elected office, whom we feel believe strongly in the value of homeownership and will keep the interests of homeowners and private property rights in mind:
• Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, District 1: Mike Wasserman
• Santa Clara Valley Water District, Seat 7: Lou Becker
• Atherton Town Council: Bill Widmer and Cary Wiest
• East Palo Alto City Council: Ruben Abrica and David Woods
• Los Altos Town Council: Val Carpenter and Curtis Cole
• Los Altos Hills Town Council: John Radford, Joan Sherlock and Gary Waldeck
• Los Gatos Town Council: Steven Leonardis, Diane McNutt and Joe Pirzynski
• Menlo Park City Council: Chuck Bernstein, Rich Cline and Peter Ohtaki
• Monte Sereno City Council: Don Perry and Toni Yamamoto
• Mountain View City Council: Margaret Abe-Koga and Jac Siegel
• Saratoga City Council: Chuck Page

Remember, Election Day is tomorrow, November 2!

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