November 2018 Election Recap

Below is a summary of the candidates and initiatives that BRR endorsed in this week’s election. It’s important to know that our endorsements aren’t about placing bets whomever or whatever is most likely to succeed; but rather, we support people and ideas that best reflect our ideals and interests as REALTORS®, as well as our desire to make the community a better place for everyone. Oftentimes this is a very difficult decision, as there are many great and qualified candidates running for office — which was certainly the case this year.

That said, here is the breakdown of our recent endorsements:

  1. Ada County Commissioner District 1: Endorsed Jim Tibbs LOST to Diana Lachiando
  2. Ada County Clerk – Endorsed Phil McGrane WON
  3. Ada County Assessor – Endorsed Robert McQuade WON
  4. Ada County Treasurer – Endorsed Elizabeth Mahn WON
  5. ACHD D3 – Endorsed Paul Woods LOST to Mary May
  6. Ada County Vehicle Registration Ballot Measure – Endorsed a YES vote but measure FAILED (more on this below)
  7. College of Western Idaho Plant Facilities Reserve Fund Levy – Endorsed a YES vote measure need 55% approval blended result in Ada and Canyon. The vote hasn’t been certified yet, but it appears to have FAILED by less than 1/10th of a percentages point with a combined approval of 54.94%.
  8. Gem County Assessor – Endorsed Hollie Ann Strang WON
  9. Gem County Clerk – Endorsed Shelly Tilton WON
  10. Gem County Treasurer – Endorsed Megan Keene WON

As for the Ada County Vehicle Registration Ballot Measure, BRR endorsed this as part of a coalition of elected officials, builders, developers, and other business and community leaders, and we were able to utilize REALTOR® Political Action Committee (RPAC) funds and a grant from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to support it. Because it was unsuccessful, we wanted to share our analysis on it, both why we supported it and why it likely failed.

BRR endorsed this user-based fee because we felt it was the fairest way to address road congestion rather than the all too commonly used increase in property taxes — and to add more bike lanes and improve the safety of children’s routes to school.

Unfortunately, the majority of Ada County voters did not agree. There are many reasons this ballot measure failed. Here are a few:

  1. False information promoted by anti-growth groups and local media. An example of this, many voters believed ACHD chose to increase registration fees on regular motorists instead of commercial, simply because they didn’t want to ask heavy vehicles to pay their share of road usage. The truth is that ACHD does not have the legal authority to do this, only the state legislature can determine whether to increase fees on heavy vehicles (those weighing 8,000 lbs. or more.)
  2. Some voters voiced their desire for “someone else” to pay for more transportation funding, especially developers and new families moving to the area, by raising impact fees or property taxes; however, this would only put more pressure on housing and home prices, exacerbating the concerns over affordability.
  3. Other voters seemed to think these vehicle registration fees were already increasing each year, and that our fees were already too high. They have not gone up since 2008, and we would have continued to have some of the lowest registration fees in the western United States, even if the increase was approved.
  4. Many believed a vote against this ballot measure would improve the chances of getting public transit. This is simply not the case, and ignoring the immediate need for improved funding of our roads and infrastructure only distances community transit from becoming a reality.

Ultimately, supporting this campaign was the right thing to do. We tried to find a fair and balanced solution, through a simple user-based fee. The coalition we worked with on this initiative allowed us to make new friends and demonstrated that REALTORS® have powerful resources and are willing to invest into their community. Looking beyond this issue, we sincerely congratulate every candidate on hard-fought races and wins, whether or not they received our endorsement. We look forward to continuing to build upon existing relationships and forge new ones as we work together to address the opportunities and issues in our community.

Lastly, thank you to the members of BRR’s Public Policy Committee, Board of Directors, and everyone who invested in the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) for supporting these advocacy efforts. If you have further questions about the elections, our endorsements, or to learn more about RPAC please don’t hesitate to contact me at soren@boirealtors.com.

 

REALTORS® in Canyon and Ada County Endorse CWI Levy

On November 6th, the College of Western Idaho will be asking voters in Canyon and Ada counties to support a $39 million plant facilities levy to add a health and science building to the Nampa campus. All three REALTOR® associations in Ada and Canyon counties, including Boise Regional REALTORS®, Caldwell Board of REALTORS®, and Nampa Association of REALTORS®, are united in support of the levy.

“CWI adds incredible value to our community as an affordable option for higher education,” noted Gary Salisbury, 2018 President of Boise Regional REALTORS® and senior sales consultant with Equity Northwest Real Estate. “We fully support the efforts of the college to expand their healthcare education and training programs.”

Chris Mooney, Chief Executive Officer of the Nampa Association of REALTORS® and co-owner of EnVision Real Estate School and Consulting, Inc., added that “the Nampa campus has been a boon to our growing workforce. CWI has proven itself to be a wise and prudent investment for our community.”

“We’re thrilled to see the continued success and growth of CWI,” said Arvid Salisbury, President of the Caldwell Board of REALTORS® and Associate Broker at Keller Williams Realty. Salisbury went on to say, “This new health and science building will be a fantastic and much-needed addition to our local college.”

Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. For more information on voting, please visit idahovotes.gov. For information requests regarding these endorsements, please contact Soren Dorius, Boise Regional REALTORS® Director of Government Affairs, at soren@boirealtors.com; Chris Mooney, Chief Executive of the Nampa Association of REALTORS®, at cmooney@nampaboard.com; or Jill Stone, Chief Executive of the Caldwell Board of REALTORS®, at jillstone99@gmail.com.

BRR November 2018 Voter Guide

We’re only two weeks away from election day and want to share our voter guide of REALTOR® Champions and issues! REALTORS® are leaders in the community so it’s important that BRR members vote to make our voices heard. The Public Policy Committee at Boise Regional REALTORS® thoughtfully interviewed and vetted candidates and local ballot measures to receive our association’s endorsement. Learn about the candidates and issues and then vote in the general election on Tuesday, November 6.

BRR has endorsed the following Ada County candidates and ballot measures:

Ada County Commissioner, District 1 — Jim Tibbs

Ada County Clerk — Phil McGrane

Ada County Assessor — Robert McQuade

Ada County Treasurer — Elizabeth Mahn

ACHD District 3 – Paul Woods

Ada County Vehicle Registration Ballot Measure – YES

College of Western Idaho Plant Facilities Reserve Fund Levy – YES

Ada County Endorsements

 

BRR has endorsed the following Gem County candidates:

Gem County Assessor — Hollie Ann Strang

Gem County Clerk — Shelly Tilton

Gem County Treasurer — Megan Keene

Gem County Endorsements

 

Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Absentee ballots can be requested up until 10/26 and early voting is now open. For information on the candidates, registration, and where to vote, please visit idahovotes.govadacounty.id.gov/elections for Ada County, or gemcounty.org/elections for Gem County.

 

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BRR’s Public Policy Committee extends interview invitations to all candidates running for office in Ada and Gem County, and the municipalities and agencies within each county. Candidates interested in being interviewed share their views on housing, private property rights, education, transportation, and other issues affecting the community. From there, the Public Policy Committee, made up of volunteer REALTORS®, provides a list of recommended endorsements which are reviewed and approved by BRR’s Board of Directors. For information regarding these local endorsements, please contact Soren Dorius, BRR Director of Government Affairs, at 208-947-7237 or soren@boirealtors.com.

Information about statewide races is available on the Idaho REALTORS® website at idahorealtors.com/your-voice-counts-important-voting-resources, or through the Idaho REALTORS® Government Affairs Director, Max Pond. He can be reached at 208-342-3585 or mpond@idahorealtors.com.

Boise Regional REALTORS® Help Open New Foothills Trail

Trailhead-25Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is having another tremendous year of successfully being awarded REALTOR® Party grants, which help us advocate important issues and strengthen our community relationships. Most recently, we completed a partnership with The Land Trust of the Treasure Valley, in conjunction with Cartwright Ranch, the Hidden Springs Community, and several private landowners. With the use of various public trail agreements, Boise Regional REALTORS® were able to provide trail markers, a trailhead sign, and map, along with hardworking volunteers who helped create a safe path for our entire community to enjoy. On September 21, 2018, we were able to officially open the Cartwright Trailhead with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

As part of our REALTOR® Party advocacy and community engagement efforts, the trailhead sign and markers were paid for by a National Association of REALTORS® Placemaking Grant, secured by Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) as well as BRR presidential gift money. BRR’s direct contribution was dedicated to our Immediate Past President Katrina Wehr, an avid mountain biker and outdoor enthusiast.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Cartwright Trail, it offers beautiful views of the valley and surrounding mountains. It’s also significant because it is becoming a vital connection to various different open spaces in the western foothills. BRR encourages association members and the public to explore and enjoy this new trail in the foothills.

“Our members are real estate professionals in the community who understand the value and support the creation and maintenance of trails and open space,” said Gary Salisbury, 2018 Boise Regional REALTORS® President and senior sales consultant for Equity Northwest Real Estate. “Bringing to life a new segment of trail was a natural fit for us and we look forward to enjoying it for years to come.”

PHOTO GALLERY

Read the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley’s blog post here – lttv.org/news/2018/9/25/a-new-trail-takes-shape-in-the-western-foothills.

Recap of the Boise Mayor’s State of the City Address

On Wednesday, September 12, the City of Boise held its annual State of the City Address. The remarks were delivered by Mayor Dave Bieter and we wanted to share some highlights from the event that we’re excited about. The initiatives the mayor discussed aim to address the persistent problem all Boiseans are facing; lack of inventory and high prices in the housing market.

The city has developed a framework to address the lack of housing options and especially affordable housing. This is also a response to the City Workshops on Growth that were held this summer where the number one concern was housing affordability. The plan is called Grow Our Housing and it relies on three key factors; create housing that is balanced compact and possible. Boise needs a mix of housing that includes workforce, middle income, and options at other income levels. Future developments should be compact and not contribute to urban sprawl. Finally, new developments should be realistic and achievable. The city is aiming to set achievable goals for new housing models that will address the growing need for more supply at all income levels.

To achieve the goals of Grow Our Housing, the city has developed five sub-points that will feed into the overall goal. First, the mayor discussed a housing land trust on the local level. Currently, the state has a housing trust but doesn’t contribute any funds to that account. The mayor believes that public and philanthropic money can be used to come up with an amount of around $20 million to incentivize the building of affordable, mixed-use housing that will continue to address the affordability issue and stabilize home prices. Second, the city aims to add more incentives for builders to create more affordable housing. More details to come on this point. Third, the city will leverage public + private land to create more mixed-use income developments around the city. Fourth, the city will work to maximize rules for land use and zoning within the city limits and area of impact. Lastly, the city will increase its partnership with entities such as Capital City Development Corporation and Idaho Housing and Finance Association that have different tools to address these issues not available to the city. City officials believe this combination of actions (some of which they’re already utilizing) will create more housing options for all and address the estimated 50,000 new residents projected to move here over the next 20 years.

Another interesting point delivered in the remarks is the plan to halt rezones in the foothills and other public use areas that are unique to Boise. Mayor Bieter stated there are another 400 homes remaining on the original Boise Foothills Plan to be completed but once that is done, the city will work towards protecting other foothill and public use areas (such as close to the Boise River) from rezones that would include housing developments.

The full address can be viewed here.

We’re thrilled to see the City of Boise take a proactive approach to address housing affordability, and look forward to engaging in future community discussions on these initiatives. If you would like to be involved in the process of attending pertinent city council meetings on these issues, please let us know. We will also share new information with you as it becomes available.

Thank you for taking the time to read this important summary of the Boise, State of the City Address. This is just the beginning, but we’re optimistic that these new proposals will lead to a better city for all.

Boise Regional REALTORS® Endorse ACHD Candidate Paul Woods for District 3

After thorough consideration of candidate interviews and questionnaire responses, Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is pleased to announce the endorsement of ACHD Candidate Paul Woods for the District 3 Commissioner’s seat.

“The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) has a unique responsibility of keeping our transportation infrastructure safe and efficient. Commissioner Woods has done an exemplary job in his role over the last four years of his term. We give Commissioner Woods our full support and endorsement in his campaign to remain an effective leader in Ada County,” said Gary Salisbury, 2018 President of Boise Regional REALTORS® and senior sales consultant with Equity Northwest Real Estate.

Elections will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. For information on the candidates, registration, and where to vote, please visit idahovotes.gov or adacounty.id.gov/elections. For information requests regarding these endorsements, please contact Soren Dorius, BRR Director of Government Affairs, at 208-947-7237 or soren@boirealtors.com.

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Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is a 501(c)6 trade association, representing real estate professionals throughout the Boise region. Established in 1920, BRR is the largest local REALTOR® association in the state of Idaho, helping members achieve real estate success through ethics, professionalism, and connections. BRR has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Intermountain MLS (IMLS) and the REALTORS® Community Foundation.

This report was released to the press on 9/14/18.

REALTORS® Endorse ACHD Initiative to Better Fund Transportation

Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is pleased to announce the endorsement and support of Ada County Highway District’s (ACHD) upcoming ballot measure, which aims to improve funding for local transportation through increases in vehicle registration fees.

“Keeping up with growth in our region requires smart investments into our community’s infrastructure,” said Gary Salisbury, 2018 President of Boise Regional REALTORS® and senior sales consultant with Equity Northwest Real Estate. “Fees applied to road users are a fair approach to help meet our current transportation needs. As the fastest-growing area in the nation, we need to be proactive in our investment strategies. This increase in transportation funding is long overdue and a step in the right direction toward sustainability, congestion relief, and improved safety.”

This voting measure will appear on ballots on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. For information on the measure, please visit a community coalition website at citizens4bettertransportation.com. For information requests regarding this endorsement, please contact Soren Dorius, BRR Director of Government Affairs, at 208-947-7237 or soren@boirealtors.com.

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Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR) is a 501(c)6 trade association, representing real estate professionals throughout the Boise region. Established in 1920, BRR is the largest local REALTOR® association in the state of Idaho, helping members achieve real estate success through ethics, professionalism, and connections. BRR has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Intermountain MLS (IMLS) and the REALTORS® Community Foundation.

Eliminating Racist (and Other Discriminatory) CC&Rs Creates Inclusive Communities


Eliminating Racist (and Other Discriminatory) CC&Rs Creates Inclusive Communities

Ms. Zoe Ann Olson, Executive Director of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council

Ms. Zoe Ann Olson, Executive Director of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Inc.

Guest blog post by Zoe Ann Olson, Executive Director, Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Inc.

About a year ago, a homebuyer came into my office and showed me the Covenant, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs—which restrict what homeowners can and can’t do with their property) for a home that he wished to purchase that was part of a homeowner’s association. He was shocked to see that one provision said, “No persons other than persons of the White race may reside on the property except domestic servants of the owner or tenant,” and wondered if he could still purchase the home or have his friends visit. I told him that the CC&R term was illegal and discriminatory, we helped address the language, and he purchased the home.

Real estate agents have also brought these discriminatory CC&Rs to Intermountain Fair Housing Council (IFHC) concerned about the discriminatory language and the effect it may have on the purchase or sale of a home. In this post, I am going to talk about IFHC and share best practices for addressing discriminatory CC&Rs.

IFHC is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure open and inclusive housing for all people. The IFHC’s purpose is to advance equal access to housing for all persons without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, familial status, gender identity, sexual orientation, source of income, or disability. The IFHC attempts to eradicate discrimination through education of the fair housing laws, housing information and referrals, housing counseling, and enforcement including filing complaints under the federal Fair Housing Act. To this end, community members, including real estate agents, contact us for help.

Before we discuss best practices for addressing discriminatory CC&Rs, it is important to understand how we ended up with them. Until the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelley v. Kraemer in 1948, which made such discriminatory language illegal, many subdivisions included racist language that denied people of color access to housing. In the early 19th century and through the 1950s, these CC&Rs were required by lenders and insurers participating federal loan programs and sometimes by city, county, or state law. These racist CC&Rs were also reinforced by homeowner’s associations (HOAs), agents, and other private entities in the transaction process, in order to maintain “all white” neighborhoods.

If you own a home in a subdivision that was created before or during the 1950s, you might want to take a look at the CC&Rs for this boilerplate language, as it was used throughout the Treasure Valley, Idaho, and the United States. While the federal Fair Housing Act outlawed such policies and practices, the lack of its enforcement means that little has been done to reverse the deeply embedded residential patterns of segregation.

With 2018 marking the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, it’s a great time to remind people of this issue and provide information on how to correct it. In addition to contacting IHFC forFair Housing Act_bug help, homeowners, potential buyers and sellers, and real estate agents can work together to address and eliminate discriminatory CC&Rs through the following best practices (not an exclusive list):

  1. Review the CC&Rs. If a discriminatory CC&R is identified, address it with the HOA board of directors, the HOA attorney, and/or an attorney who specializes in fair housing law… and if you’re a homeowner planning to sell your home, your real estate agent;
  2. Make sure your HOA attorney and the HOA board do not reaffirm the language;
  3. Follow your HOA rules for amending the CC&Rs, keeping in mind it may require a majority vote of the subdivision’s homeowners;
  4. If you can’t amend, adopt a resolution that the discriminatory provision is unenforceable. Make sure that every homeowner and the HOA have a copy of the resolution, and if the home is ever sold, that this resolution is provided to the buyers and all real estate agents involved in the transaction;
  5. If the home is sold before an amendment is made or a resolution is adopted, talk to the title companies involved in the transaction, as they may be able to have the language stricken;
  6. Check with Ada County Clerk’s Office about making changes to recorded documents;
  7. If you’re interested in learning more about this issue, read the Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein.

Engaging in best fair housing practices creates equitable housing for all, prevents most misunderstandings, and helps avoid fair housing violations. Owning a home in your neighborhood of choice is part of the American dream. Together, we can help make that a reality.

 

About the Author

Ms. Zoe Ann Olson has been the Executive Director of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, Inc., for over five years. Ms. Olson has 14 years of experience as an attorney with Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc., where she served as the Housing Specialty Chair and Fair Housing/Fair Lending Project Director. Ms. Olson has provided fair housing training for over 10 years and has been trained extensively on the issue of fair housing via John Marshall University, Seattle University, HUD, Accessibility First, National Consumer Law Center, National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), and AARP. She served on the Board of Directors for the Idaho Law Foundation, is a member of the Diversity Law, Real Property Law, Animal Law Sections, and Government and Public Law Sections of the Idaho State Bar, and Idaho Woman Lawyers. She is also a member of the Urban Land Institute, the Boise City/Ada County Coalition for the Homeless, NAACP, NFHA, and Girl Scouts.

For more information, contact Intermountain Fair Housing Council Executive Director Zoe Ann Olson at 1-208-383-0695 (extension 306), email her at zolson@ifhcidaho.org, or visit IHFC’s website at ifhcidaho.org.

 

Want to learn more about Fair Housing?

BRR Reports on Boise’s Community Conversation Workshops

Growth imageLast month, the City of Boise held three Community Conversation Workshops to gather feedback from citizens to gain a deeper understanding of residents’ thoughts and priorities on growth; provide context to help update the city’s comprehensive plan, “Blueprint Boise”; and define a path forward that protects those things that make the city special.

You can read the city’s recap here, as the following is a summary of first-hand reports from BRR members and staff who attended.

“What a great event… and opportunity for us to gather the collective ideas of the awesomeness of Boise, and also the concerns about growth,” noted Gail Hartnett with Keller Williams Realty Boise.

Cameron Kinzer, BRR’s Government Affairs Specialist, said, “I’m glad the city officials who put these workshops together used a holistic approach that included discussion on the positive and negative aspects of growth. This exercise helped participants focus on what we value as a community, and what we want the Boise of the future to be like.”

The common themes reported by BRR staff and members were:

What is great about Boise? What are your concerns about growth?
Friendly People/Culture/
Boise is a “Welcoming City”
Transportation/Traffic/Lack of Infrastructure
Vicinity to Outdoor Activities/Greenbelt and Parks Affordability, including Housing
Strong Economy Urban Sprawl/Open Space/Farmland
Safety and Cleanliness Environmental Impact
Access to Elected Officials Need more Regional/Valley Agency Cooperation
Vibrant Downtown More to Boise than Downtown/North End

Dave Ferguson, with Ferguson Realty Group, reported that finding a balance between open space and private property rights was briefly mentioned, but that wages and access to rental housing seemed to be bigger concerns. “When the conversation turned to affordable housing, current wage rates were constantly brought up,” Ferguson reported, and said participants suggested the possibility of “creating private developer and city partnerships to address the rental housing shortage.”

Breanna Vanstrom, BRR’s Chief Executive Officer, said she was “surprised by the support for new housing, both infill and new development, as well as concerns about how divisive the anti-growth sentiment was becoming.” According to Vanstrom, one participant at her table said: “I get why people are frustrated with home prices and growth. I’ve been trying to buy a house for over a year and it’s been hard. But you can’t get mad about affordability, then on the other hand, yell online or at meetings against any new housing development. It’s not realistic.”

The inevitability of growth seemed to be an assumption shared by participants. As one newspaper reporter shared, in a follow-up interview to the workshops: “I think it has been pointed out, (if) you don’t grow, you die.”

The discussions at the workshops echoed this statement, but also expressed a desire for decisions about growth to be made in relation to a coordinated, forward-looking plan adopted by groups across the region. “Now is the time for the city councils, state legislature, and other agencies to come together to create common sense, proactive solutions,” added Kinzer.

More specifically, participants said that they didn’t want to “just build houses,” but rather, “create communities” to support the housing that is needed.

BRR whole-heartedly supports the idea of creating communities and will continue to form policy and promote initiatives rooted in smart, managed growth tactics. Therefore, we will be continuing this conversation with BRR members during the “Getting to Solutions on Community Growth” Listening Session at the Mid-Year Housing Summit on July 19th. If you’d like to be involved, secure your spot today. Seats are filling fast and there are only a few available spaces left.

2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings

Legislative Meetings Slider

BRR leadership and staff are in D.C. this week attending the 2018 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings where they will meet with Idaho’s Members of Congress and participate in association meetings. Follow along on this blog post, Facebook, and Twitter!

Here are four talking points from NAR that they will be sharing during their Hill visits. Click here to learn more about each topic.

  1. Supporting Strong Net Neutrality Protections
  2. National Flood Insurance Program
  3. Tax Policy
  4. Equal Access to Housing Opportunities

Check back for updates during the week!

PHOTO GALLERY


Monday


Tuesday


Wednesday Collage


Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research for NAR, presented at the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum Thursday morning. One of his slides named Boise as one of the strongest U.S. job markets in the last three years. You can find his presentation and others at nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-presentations.

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On Saturday, May 19, 2018, BRR National Directors Gail Hartnett, Carey Farmer, and Large Firm Director Krista Deacon attended the Board of Directors Meeting. Learn more about the decisions that were made at that meeting at nar.realtor/internal-news-service-special-report-legislative-2018.

NAR BOD Meeting

Gail Hartnett was also honored on stage with an “Own It” Coin for her role as the Vice Chair for the Fair Housing Workgroup.

Gail Hartnett honored for Fair Housing