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!

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