Despite Being a Signatory to Kim Schaefer’s “Political Cover” Grant Application, State Realtor Lobby Refuses to Give Up a Single Record of Its Lobbyist’s Communications on Issue
When Bakersfield Association of Realtors (B.A.R.) Government Affairs Director Kim Schaefer sent her infamous grant application to the National Association of Realtors, she needed a signature from her state association.
She bragged in the application that she had secured the votes of local elected officials who “are willing to lead the charge on a moratorium of local [Property Assessed Clean Energy or] PACE financing and commit the necessary votes, but are asking for political cover” [emphasis added].
So, Geoff MacIntosh, who was president of the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) at the date of the document, signed Schaefer’s grant application.
We asked for communications of registered C.A.R. lobbyist Sanjay Wagle related to the decisions of City of Bakersfield and Kern County to kill homeowners’ access to PACE. Wagle is well-informed on PACE, having authored a key document. As part of the subpoena request, we asked for all communications between Wagle and/or other representatives of C.A.R. and any employees of B.A.R regarding the PACE program. Our goal was to help Californians know the extent of the influence exerted by the powerful state realtor lobby in blocking their access to popular PACE financing.
For us, it begs the question: What is the California Association of Realtors hiding?
Readers will remember that in August, 2017, Checks and Balances Project (C&BP) filed twin lawsuits against members of the Kern County Board of Supervisors and the Bakersfield City Council to determine how powerful lobbyists got local officials to kill authorization of residential PACE financing in both jurisdictions. The program, mushrooming in popularity elsewhere in California, offers affordable, up-front financing for energy efficiency, water conservation, renewable energy and seismic improvements that are paid back through homeowner property taxes.
We first received a reader tip that the state realtors’ association was working with associates in Bakersfield, among other localities, in an intense, coordinated campaign to damage PACE in May 2017.
One reason Bakersfield and Kern County were chosen as the anti-PACE force’s first target might be that Jeanne Radsick, who likes to describe herself in public settings, emails and documents as a “local realtor,” is a member of the board of directors of both the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. She is also rumored to have ambitions to run for C.A.R. president.
Another could be that Kim Schaefer, who spearheaded the campaign to kill residential PACE in her locality in association with Ms. Radsick, is remarkably well-connected in the city and county. Previously chief of staff to Kern County District 5 supervisor, Ms. Schaefer, along with her government affairs position at B.A.R., also has a political consulting business. And through that firm, she serves as the campaign manager to District 3 Supervisor Mike Maggard who, on June 13, 2017, seconded the motion to kill homeowner access to the PACE program.
Who from the California Association of Realtors was working with Ms. Radsick and Ms. Schaefer? Looks like the state realtors lobby wants to keep the public in the dark.
Scott Peterson is executive director of Checks and Balances Project, an investigative blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from sustainable economy philanthropies and donors.
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