Sunday, April 13, 2008

Politicizing the Real Estate Industry

The following e-mail endorsement of a Republican candidate running against Cullie Tarleton for the NC House was circulated this afternoon to between 700 and 800 individuals on the local "realtor-only" internet listserve called Internet Crusade, supposedly NOT a venue for partisan politics. Despite whether it breaks the listserve rules, it contains a number of factual errors that are pointed out below.

This is the text of the e-mail:
Subject: MountainsTalk: Only read this if you care about your future and your pocketbook

My friend Dan Soucek is running as the Republican challenger for the NC House of Representatives for Ashe and Watauga district 93 against the incumbent, Cullie Tarleton. Dan recently met with the state level Republican Party and they told him that this particular race was one of the top five priorities in the upcoming elections.

The Republican party is not the only party that has prioritized the High Country from a state level. If you go to this link:, you will see that the NC Democratic Party and the NC Democratic House Committee donated a staggering $139,245 to their High Country 2006 candidate, Cullie Tarleton. This made up almost 2/3 of Cullie's $210,110 (more than double the average of the other House/Assembly winners whose meager averages were only $96,026) . Compare this with Cullie's opponent, Gene Wilson who could only muster up $58,481. I think that regardless of affiliation, we can all agree that no one wants local elections to be for sale to outsiders.

If you know Dan, then I know you already support him. If you do not know Dan, then visit his web site to learn more about him. His goal is to generate a buzz, both monetarily and by sheer volumes of local support. On his web site, you will learn what kind of man he is. You will also be instructed on how you can help participate in his campaign. He is asking his friends and supporters to go there and donate anything they can...even if it is as little as $5 either by check or through the site's Paypal link. Even if you cannot give any more than this, you can add your name to the list of people who want integrity and local control back in Watauga County. If you can give more, all the better. We just want you to make your voices heard. You are also encouraged you to act before April 19th, which is an important reporting date for the campaigns.

There are several issues on the horizon that will be greatly affecting our families, our lives and our livelihood, especially for Realtors. Raleigh is considering a statewide steep slope issue that would affect how the people of Watauga County would be able to use and develop their land. The vast majority Watauga residents made their voices known already and said "NO" to zoning in the county. That voice may be silenced on the state level if we do not start making some serious changes in our state government. Also the land transfer tax is looming as well. Raleigh is considering allowing yet another tax on the sale of property...further burdening and complicating our already pricey market. The current leadership, including our local representative has demanded more and more of our money while simultaneously infringing increasingly on our individual rights.

It is about time we start taking a proactive role in our own lives. It is time to put the power back into the hands of the honest people who live, work, raise families, attend church and pay taxes here.

Mike Shew
Coldwell Banker Blair & Associates
2408 Hwy 105 South
Boone, NC 28607

The House Caucus spent $150,000 and change in 'O6 on the Tarleton race, with Tarleton himself raising half of that amount.

The transfer tax is a LOCAL decision entirely, not a Raleigh decision, and Raleigh is NOT considering allowing another tax on the sale of property. We assume the writer is talking about the existing transfer tax local option, and again that decision is made by the voters and not in Raleigh.

A "safe slopes construction act" was introduced in the 2007 state legislature, but was referred to a study commission, where it is being rewritten. Although there is a need for regulating slope construction in the western mountains, most political sages we know say the act -- even considerably watered down -- has little chance of passing the NC House in 2008.

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