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Do Your Elected Officials Support Commercial Real Estate?

When I started writing this blog and producing CRE Radio, I swore that I would stay away from political issues. Well I have already breached my promise when I wrote about taxation of Internet sales and now I am about to do it again. No, relax; I am not going to be giving my opinion on who to vote for or what issues I consider to be important.

What I do want to stress is how important it is to get involved in issues that are important to your commercial real property business. For the purpose of this blog post and in the interest of brevity, I would like to focus on your minimum involvement in economic and political issues that effect commercial real estate and your livelihood. I understand that there may be numerous other issues that are of interest to you, but that is grist for another mill.

To get to the heart of the matter, at the very least, you need to educate yourself on; (i) what the issues are; (ii) which legislators support or oppose the issues and why; and (iii) VOTE!

The first step is to be educated. I know, it is not that easy with all of the time that you have to spend just trying to earn a living and doing your job. But some of these issues may make your life much easier or harder. I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have the time to stay on top of all of the issues and things that my legislators are doing and I don’t feel comfortable relying solely on the press to give me the straight scoop. That’s why I highly recommend that you belong to an organization that does the research for you. Most commercial real estate organizations keep track of all of this information for you, including IREM, BOMA, ICSC, etc. You don’t have to agree with any of the organizations point of view or recommendations, but you should pay attention to what they are saying and what information they are delivering.

It was recently brought to my attention that the local Orange County, (California) chapter of Irem is having a, “Meet the Candidates” lunch on Friday, September 21, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine. If you are in the area, I highly recommend that you go to this luncheon. They are having 8-10 candidates and it is being moderated by Rex Hime, president of the California Business Properties Association. The way that Rex is planning on conducting this event, he will ask 2-3 questions on issues of extreme importance to professionals involved in commercial real estate, including Split Roll Property Taxation. To hear Rex explain this event, click here (MP3): Rex Hime – Meet the Candidates 2.

If I may, I would also like to take this opportunity to mention Rex and the California Business Properties Association as well as similar lobbying organizations throughout the United States. Remember, the first point was to be educated.

Until a few months ago, when I was fortunate enough to be invited to a 2-day conference in Sacramento hosted by the California Business Properties Association, I perceived a lobbyist as a hired gun to be your spokesperson representing your interests. During the conference, I realized that appearances can be very deceiving and a huge amount of the time spent by Rex and his staff was to pay attention to and sift through the thousands of bills proposed each year and bring to the attention of business property owners, those bills that explicitly or often, implicitly affect commercial real estate. Oh my gosh, what a huge job. Rex and his staff have to read each bill to make sure that there is nothing hidden in them. If it were not for Rex’s taste in Hawaiian shirts, he would have moved way up in my esteem.

The point of this post is not necessarily to promote this luncheon, although I do think that it is a good idea. There have got to be similar luncheons, breakfasts and dinners happening all over the United States, which you should and could attend. Know the issues, know your candidates. Don’t ignore these great opportunities to support yourself, become educated and vote for the candidate that best represents your interests.

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