Real Estate Talk: Heed ‘calls to action!’ — winning often hinges on one vote

Marty Kovacs is the 2017 Chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the Southland Regional Association of Realtors. Courtesy photo.

For lack of a single vote, homeowners may soon receive a higher property tax bill.

As a majority passage bill, that’s all Senate Bill 231 needed to make it off the floor of the California State Assembly — one deciding vote.

It now sits on the Governor’s desk waiting to be signed.

That’s why it’s imperative that Realtors and homeowners heed action alerts, the messages organizations distribute to mobilize people, texts or emails that urge them to take action, which often can influence public policy.

The Realtor community uses “Red Alerts” and “Calls to Action” to enable owners and real estate professionals — indeed, anyone who cares about private property rights — to zero in on the housing-related issues that need urgent, immediate attention.

And, with more than 130 measures in the Legislature addressing the statewide housing affordability crisis, all Californians — but particularly homeowners and Realtors — need to pay special attention, to make their voices heard. Or, accept and regret unexpected and potentially costly outcomes.

Alerts succeed when recipients act immediately.

Typically the organization issuing the alert provides details on the proposed bill, what their position is, and why they believe it is good or bad.

Responding is easy and can be done with a couple of clicks on a mouse or a single phone call.

A strong yet ultimately unheeded response to a statewide Red Alert was one reason behind passage of SB 231, which opens the door to higher property taxes without a public vote.

Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-38th District, which spans most of the Santa Clarita Valley and the northern San Fernando Valley, was the lone lawmaker from the local delegation to oppose SB 231. Had one other local lawmaker rejected the measure, it may well have been defeated.

Partly because of a nationwide outpouring, the National Association of Realtors’ most recent Call to Action achieved a small success.

President Donald Trump on Sept. 8 signed legislation which extends the National Flood Insurance Program for three months.

Another measure, H.R. 2874, looks to reauthorize the program for five years, stabilize its financial position, and make numerous and significant improvements to current law.

The passage of H.R. 2874 may need Realtor help and mobilization again if the reauthorization is not signed by Dec 8.

Will your voice be heard the next time you receive an alert from an organization?

Whether it’s a Red Alert or Call to Action, mobilization is vital.

When constituents speak, lawmakers listen, especially if there is a flood of opinion.

Never underestimate the power of one. Each voice, each vote matters!

Here are some examples from history when a single vote made the difference:

• John F. Kennedy’s margin of victory over Richard Nixon in 1960 was less than one vote per precinct.

• Women won the right to vote by passage in 1920 of the 19th amendment to the Constitution. Tennessee, the last state needed to pass the amendment, ratified the amendment by one vote.

• One vote gave statehood to Texas in 1845; California, 1850; Oregon, 1859; Washington, 1889; and Idaho in 1890.

• One vote in 1776 gave America the English language instead of German.

Marty Kovacs is the 2017 Chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Division of the 9,600-member Southland Regional Association of Realtors. David Walker, of Walker Associates, co-authors articles for SRAR. The column represents SRAR’s views and not necessarily those of The Signal. The column contains general information about the real estate market and is not intended to replace advice from your Realtor or other realty related professionals.

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