You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Elections’ category.

Dave Walsh, vice chair of MLSListings Inc. and vice president and managing broker of Alain Pinel Realtors’ Almaden office in San Jose, gave a group of 25 Canadian home builders an overview of the Santa Clara County  housing market during their visit to the San Jose area this month.

Dave Walsh, vice chair of MLSListings Inc. and vice president and managing broker of Alain Pinel Realtors’ Almaden office in San Jose, gave a group of 25 Canadian home builders an overview of the Santa Clara County housing market during their visit to the San Jose area this month.

Twenty-five members of the Canadian Homebuilders Association – Alberta were on a two-day housing tour of homes in Santa Clara County March 12 and 13, and learned about the Silicon Valley housing market and challenges to urban development from local speakers.

At a breakfast presentation arranged by the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, Dave Walsh, vice chair of MLSListings Inc., shared local housing data with the builders. Walsh described Santa Clara County, which is at the heart of Silicon Valley, as “the single, most crazy market.”

Walsh said the region once filled with orchards, has become the leading hub of high-tech innovation and development in country. Recent growth has led to record-setting home prices. Home prices today have now exceeded the 2007 high, but there are far fewer homes on the market. Santa Clara County’s February median home price of $950,000 is “the best February ever,” said Walsh. The median is 20 percent above the median peak of $790,000 in February 2007. The problem is the county just had 1.4 months of inventory, with only 1,761 single-family homes for sale in February.

Walsh showed how home prices increase the closer one gets to Palo Alto, the central economic focal point of Silicon Valley, home to Stanford University and other prominent tech firms, and close to Facebook in neighboring Menlo Park and Google in Mountain View. Homes in Palo Alto are selling 110 percent of asking price, at an average of $1,491 per square foot. In Gilroy, which is about 50 miles from Palo Alto, homes are selling 99 percent of asking price at an average price of $284 per square feet. In Saratoga, which is about 18 miles from Palo Alto and has an excellent school district, homes are selling 102 percent of list price at an average of $812 per square foot.

Read more here.

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!

June 2017
M T W T F S S
« May    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 44 other followers