Now that your Association has hired one, many of you are probably wondering – what the heck is a GAD and why do we need one?
Well, the first part is easy. A GAD is your Government Affairs Director. Simply put, a GAD is like a local lobbyist for the Association who works with city, county and state legislators to make sure LOCAL Realtors interests are represented. A GAD tries to make sure local private property rights are not trampled through a citys use of eminent domain, for example, or that punitive business license fees are not placed on Realtors or that sign ordinances are fair and provide our clients with the opportunity to have their homes marketed effectively.
And if that’s all a GAD did it would still be important to have one. In my case, I will be going beyond the simple definition of a GAD, as many GAD’s throughout the state do, to provide outreach to our members as well as members of the community. I’ll be providing updates to our Board of Directors on a regular basis, updating members at our Tuesday morning marketing meeting, keeping our Brokers apprised of new issues that could impact them and attending office meetings to answer questions when invited. I’ll also be doing more community outreach by writing pieces for local newspapers about LOCAL market conditions, LOCAL opportunities, LOCAL news & views, not that canned national A/P crap that bums everybody out. If you’re interested in more detail I’ve got a nifty PowerPoint presentation I’ll be happy to forward to you summarizing an array of services that will be provided.
The next part of the question is – why do we need one or why do we need one now? With our housing market in the tank and many local businesses tightening their belts or going under, why has the Association chosen to expand their presence now? Precisely because now is the time we need it most. We’ve actually budgeted for this position in each of the past two years but never got around to hiring one. We decided the timing was critical this year.
The coverage region of our Association has grown to include 5 cities. Of those, two of our cities are approaching build-out. That means they will be doing final tweaks to zoning and land-use regulation that will have lasting impact on the remaining property. They will be deciding on in-fill projects, making ‘smart-growth’ decisions and other density and mixed-use rulings. Because our cities are also facing significant revenue impacts from the downturn in taxable revenue from housing, they will be looking at ways to improve their revenue flow. In spite of our current depressed status, the housing market and Realtors in particular remain an easy target for these schemes.
Our region is also home to the two newest cities in California. They will be looking at putting General Plans in place that address land use and zoning, they will be evaluating point-of-sale mandates, green building codes and transfer taxes. They will also be looking at ways to increase their coffers at a time when the existing residential and commercial markets are not providing the revenue the city may have planned for during their incorporation. New revenue sources will be identified and it’s important again that private property, housing and Realtor interests are represented in those discussions.
If those brief explanations answered your what and why questions, you may still be asking who? Why Gene Wunderlich? If you’ve been active in real estate in the Valley for any length of time you already know my passion for politics. You may have heard me speak during your Realtor orientation, as I have done for more than a decade. You may have read my rants in the Realtor Report Newspaper or one of the other local papers over the years. You may have caught my act before one or another of the local city councils or known that I have the majority of local legislators phone numbers in my speed dial. As a long-time state and national director of your Association, I have also been very involved in committees for Local Government Awareness, Legislation and Land Use, Property Rights and Environment. And I’m not just involved in those things – I’m passionate about them.
So when you hear me say, as I frequently do, that as a Realtor if you’re not involved in politics you may as well get out of the business – I mean it. When I claim that if we’re not at the table when these decisions are made, we’ll be on the menu – I believe that with all my heart. I will do my best to represent the interests of our Association and our Members throughout Southwest Riverside County and as you have questions or concerns, my mailbox is always open.
Just because you don’t take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. (Pericles 500 B.C.)