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.