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LA REALTOR Advocates are Changemakers on Local, State and National Policies for Parcel Taxes, Rent Control & Fair Housing Act Expansion
Thursday, Jun 13, 2019 @ 04:24 PM

June 13, 2019 (Los Angeles) By: Christopher Nikhil Bowen - LA REALTOR® advocates were working overtime at the local, state, and federal levels to protect property rights and defend the American Dream of homeownership (focusing on workforce housing opportunities). Their efforts have yielded incredible dividends over the past 60 days. 

Local Activism

Locally Measure EE was placed on the ballot at LAUSD and championed by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. The measure would have implemented a 16 cent per square foot tax on all properties within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Supporters of the measure claimed that the $500 million in revenue would go towards the hiring of more teachers, nurses, and staff (more on our opposition of that campaign HERE because of scare tactics utilized by the LA Mayor's Office). Opponents said there was no accountability found in the language of the measure confirming the money would be spent on those line items and feared the funds would go to the pension fund shortfall instead (which does not benefit children).

Even though the coalition to oppose the measure (Los Angeles County Business Federation, LA Chamber of Commerce, & the Valley Industry Commerce Association, among others) were outspent by a ratio of 5:1, opponents were still able to defeat the measure as voters rejected the it by over 50% (supporters needed 66.7% to pass the measure).

This was not only a victory for property owners, it was a victory for transparency and for coalition building to achieve desired goals. Maybe next time the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has a plan to fund schools, they will consult and subsequently heed the advice of LA REALTORS®.

State Activism

At the state level, REALTORS® headed to Sacramento in early May in order to advocate for significantly increasing the housing stock in California and providing reasonable caps on rent controlled units that will allow owners to maintain the dignity and safety of the building without losing money on the property doing so.

According to the most recent survey by the State Department of Housing and Community Development, California will need to build 180,000 homes per year through 2025. It has been building 80,000. The current deficit of needed housing in the state is about 3.5 million units, with little hope of closing the gap soon.

This is why their advocacy efforts are so important, and why their outreach is sorely needed in Sacramento. While REALTORS® flagship legislation (Senate Bill 50) was not successful in the legislature this year, REALTORS® were able to influence legislators to enact friendly amendments to AB1482, which provided renters with a rent cap that REALTORS® found reasonable.

Concerns were raised over development of neighborhoods that could lead to property value spikes and subsequent gentrification. REALTORS® know neighborhoods better than anyone else, and they are committed to maintaining neighborhood integrity while simultaneously diversifying communities. REALTORS® believe that diverse neighborhoods are what makes our LA communities so great, and development is crucial to provide all people (particularly the middle class) an opportunity at the American Dream of homeownership. REALTORS® aren’t satisfied with many cities’ lackluster approach to building more housing for over 30 years. They’ve had their chance, and they continue to fail. This is why SB 50 and bills like it have become such a high priority.

Federal Activism

Nationally LA REALTORS® headed to Washington D.C. in mid-May to fight to expand the Fair Housing Act (H.R.5 – The Equality Act), which would include LGBT people into the Act. During their visit, the bill passed through the House! Meanwhile, LA area Congressmembers assured REALTORS® that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would be renewed (and it did), and they hope to pass a more comprehensive and long-lasting bill on the issue in the near future.

Wrap Up

REALTORS® have been hard at work defending the American Dream of homeownership and property rights at every level of government. REALTORS® know your neighborhoods, communities, towns & cities. With so many buying options today it’s important to remember that while an app runs on code, a REALTOR® lives by one. 

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