Realtor Association CEO: Opinion Survey on Ballot Measure Draws ‘Opinions From Both Sides’
By Joe Taglieri
The Arcadia Association of Realtors recently concluded a survey gauging members’ opinions on a proposed voter initiative that aims to more stringently limit the size of newly constructed or remodeled homes compared with current regulations.
“It was a temperature check on how our members feel about the proposed ballot initiative,” said Andrew Cooper, the association’s CEO.
Cooper wouldn’t reveal the survey content or quantify whether the results favored support or opposition for the measure, but he said “by design it was a very short survey” that “had opinions on both sides.”
He further described the online realtor poll as “a very, very general survey asking questions about ‘here’s the proposed ballot initiative, how do you feel?’ In other words ‘what side of the fence are you on?'”
The online survey contained a copy of the proposed ballot initiative obtained from the City Clerk’s office.
“We put that in there and we asked our folks to read it … and then we followed it up with four questions – ‘are you for or are you against,’ that type of thing,” Cooper said. “It was a very simple, basic survey because the more complicated you make it you get less response.”
Cooper estimated between 10 and 15 percent of the association’s 2,400 members completed the survey, a relatively low participation rate that was not unexpected, he said.
Aside from a handful of real estate professionals who have publicly aired their views opposing the effort to reduce home size, most local realtors have remained mum on the subject.
But despite the Arcadia real estate community’s relative silence in municipal or other public settings, the ballot initiative is apparently a hot topic of conversation in more private locales.
Therefore the association has “done a lot of vetting on this issue,” Cooper said. “We’ve met everyone you can meet with” including the proposed measure’s authors as well as detractors.
In order to best serve members whose businesses the measure will impact, Cooper also noted what he described as the association’s obligation “to make very darn sure that … we know the pros, the cons, the ins and the outs of this ballot initiative.”
Association member Eric Rosa, who recently spoke out against the initiative’s proposed revisions of residential design and construction guidelines at a City Council Meeting and in an interview with Arcadia Weekly, shared his thoughts on why colleagues are reluctant to take a more overt stand.
“When you’re in real estate sales, you’re subject to the market out there,” Rosa said. “When you take strong positions on things you can alienate those who you’d like to do business with. Or what you say might be misconstrued, and that would hurt you.”
Rosa also pointed out realtors’ desire to avoid controversy as another key factor contributing to the public hush among realtors on the proposed voter initiative.
“Some don’t want to get involved and have the controversy around them,” he said. “Life has a whole lot of other imperatives.”
Cooper said the association would not take a formal public position until the measure actually makes it onto the city’s upcoming election ballot.
Supporters are circulating a petition that must garner more than 3,000 signatures in order to qualify the initiative for voter consideration in April.