Reporting on the 2018 elections at the state and federal level was Gene Wunderlich, the Government Affairs Director for Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors. Gene said that the “Blue Wave” so many talked about didn’t actually happen to the extent that most were thinking—at the federal level. The Assembly changed hands by 40 seats and ended up with 235 Democrats and 200 Republicans.
Wunderlich cautioned that if the Democrats don’t focus on actually working on law but instead focus on impeachments, research, digging, and so on, it’s going to be a long couple of years with business interests taking a back seat.
California, on the other hand, did “turn blue,” with Democrats taking over Orange county and other locales. In fact, Democrats have a “Mega” majority, the largest control in the government since 1854. “This means,” said Wunderlich, “that they can do whatever they want. Even if the Governor vetoes one of their bills, they have the votes to override his veto.” Voters for this election turned out in record numbers. Sixty-five percent of people voted, the highest number yet recorded.
The newly elected governor, Gavin Newsom will likely focus on universal health care, education, and the housing predicament. He wants, for example, to build three million homes over the next five years. How that will be accomplished and who will pay for it is still unknown.
One item of interest that we haven’t really seen before is the outcome of the votes swinging. In other words, on election day the outcome seems to be one way, but over the next three weeks, the results swing around in the opposite direction. Wunderlich blames “vote harvesting” and provisional votes for this phenomenon.
“Either way you look at it,” he said, “there will be a tough business climate in Sacramento for the next couple of years. You can’t be partisan because that won’t get you anywhere. You have to get involved, because it’s likely that if you’re not at the table, you’ll probably be on the menu. We have to hope that Newsom is more business friendly that we’ve given him credit for.”
As far as housing goes, it’s true that the market has slowed a little and there are little cracks appearing in the economy, according to Wunderlich. He cautioned that we shouldn’t be too worried, unless you’ve been treating your house like an ATM and pulling out all the money it’s been making. Nationally, and normally, there usually is about a 4 percent foreclosure rate; right now in California, we’re experiencing a one percent foreclosure rate.
Doug McAllister addressed local election results. “Our job is as a regional taskforce, showing others why this is the best region in California to do business,” he said. He went on to note that the county board of supervisors is going to look very different this time around. His opinion is that they will lean conservative, but in reality, be a moving target. However that shakes out, McAllister feels that there will be little impact to businesses because the board retained Chuck Washington, who is very friendly to business. They will have to deal with other important details, however, like pensions and the Sheriff department.
McAllister said he thinks Lake Elsinore is one of the most stable councils around and feels very positive about the elections this year. He went on to say that Menifee developing its own police department portends well for the EDC because it shows that the Menifee council is thinking like a business—developing its own PD is a smart business decision.
Menifee voters defeated Measure I and Measure J. The results of which will keep the Mayor as an elected official (as opposed to a council rotation) and will continue to limit term limits for both council members and the Mayor.
The current mayor of Murrieta, Jonathan Ingram, was re-elected and councilmember Kim Summers is “just what the council needs,” said McAllister. About Temecula, McAllister gave his opinion as, “I see it remaining very cohesive.” He also called Wildomar, “ ‘The little city that can’ because it has done more with less than any other city around.”
It is his belief that the current level of certainty will be maintained. “The city managers are a very solid group,” he said, which will make the job of the EDC simpler. “We need to work with all the electives to continue attracting businesses to our region.”
Murrieta passed Measure T which will give consumers there a two percent sales tax increase; likewise, Wildomar passed its Measure AA which increases their local tax by one percent.