I am the immediate past president of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors, or SAMCAR. In addition, over the past 50-plus years, I’ve been a San Mateo County resident, homeowner, renter, taxpayer and parent of my three children. As a result, I am very familiar with San Mateo County and the surrounding communities.

Bill Curry

William Curry

SAMCAR represents more than 3,000 real estate professionals. In addition, our association manages the Coalition for Housing Equality, a group composed of another 3,000 members who actively protect private property rights. I am proud of the diversity of our 6,000 members, the vast majority of whom are taxpaying, hard-working and community-involved San Mateo County residents. We all love San Mateo County.

What we do not love are the race-baiting, name-calling tactics of those who disagree with us when we exercise our right to free speech and thought. Our members are outraged, although not surprised, that we were called racists by two women who wrote an opinion piece that was published by this newspaper. Also disappointing is that the San Mateo Daily Journal was complicit in spreading these attacks by publishing these unfounded and slanderous allegations. We pose the rhetorical question that if an opinion piece was offered to the editor of the paper who alleged that all nurses, or teachers, or firefighters were racist, would that opinion piece ever make it to the light of day?

Our members represent a wide variety of ethnicities, religions and political beliefs. More than half our membership are women and over one-third of our members are over the age of 50. The authors of the opinion piece that labeled real estate professionals as racist are clearly oblivious to our industry, the people who make up our association, or the services we provide.

Our members provide workforce housing. They provide housing for seniors and the mentally and physically disabled. Our members provide housing and shelter for victims of domestic violence. Our members are active in the community. Our members volunteer their time at worthy nonprofits.

I am proud of our members.

So, I find it quite offensive that someone would label such a diverse group as our members, as racist. The authors of the opinion piece that labeled real estate professional racist are desperate to enact restrictive housing policies throughout San Mateo County. Their restrictive policies have been soundly defeated at the ballot by a diverse and large segment of voters in Burlingame and San Mateo and have received pushback in Daly City and in Redwood City. There is an active campaign right now in Pacifica by local Pacifica residents once more fighting these restrictive policies that these two women helped create. They don’t like that we disagree — so they name-call and race-bait.

Rather than accepting that their proposed policies are simply bad policies and are not supported by the majority of voters, they have resorted to finger pointing and name calling. Rather than accept personal responsibility for their bad policies and working with those who disagree to find common ground, they have resorted to labeling an entire industry as racist.

Thankfully the people of San Mateo County are smarter than to accept the race-baiting of these two individuals. We just wish that the newspaper felt the same way.

William Curry is the immediate past president of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors, or SAMCAR.

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(11) comments

Seasoned Observer

Voices of reason always prevail, thank you Mr. Curry for this contribution. You hit the nail on the proverbial head! Race baiting has no place in the debate over the high cost of housing in this area.

J A

What a hypocrite. Even as he pretends he’s just standing up for SAMCAR’s free speech, he actually says that the Daily Journal shouldn’t have published the piece he is taking issue with. Given how much influence the real-estate industry has over the Daily Journal, his call for them to clamp down on the speech of those he disagrees with could have a chilling effect. This is very dangerous. Bu this is what happens when one side has too much power. They think they can say and do whatever they want, regardless of how false, ridiculous, or just plain ugly.

Cindy Cornell

Interesting that Mr. Curry is actually suing the organization he is defending in this letter. He currently has a lawsuit against SAMCAR for defamation in San Mateo County Superior Court. The writers of the op-ed he refers to were accusing SAMCAR and others of being major players in the re-segregation of California, much as they worked for segregation before civil rights took hold. Not much has changed in the modus operandi of these self-serving organizations. Just look at the article in today's paper about who is trying to buy a seat on San Mateo's City Council. Oh, and I seem to remember pledges by SAMCAR and CAA about how they would help to build affordable housing if only everyone would vote against Measures Q and R (measures that would have resulted in many minorities' ability to stay in their homes). To date, I haven't seen any word of SAMCAR or CAA ponying up money for housing for people being displaced.

Christopher Conway

Cindy- the issue you fought so hard for was rent control in Burlingame. It went to the voters and your side loss, for the second time. What is it about what voters are telling you that you just don't want to understand. No means No, you might accept that and move on without calling people and organizations names.

Mike

Identity Politics is what drives the Far Left Progressives. The statements made by Anne and Lorena are despicable. They are throwing their best divisive mud to undermine the free market system. I'm surprised they didn't/haven't mentioned Russia being behind their latest conspiracy theory.

jack bauer

Mike, I could not agree with you more. One of the fundamental moral precepts in our democracy is that everyone is treated equally under the law. But the very insidious nature of Identity Politics is to undermine that principle by applying our laws to our citizens based on their race, gender, etc. which does in effect treat people differently based upon which "group" they happen to belong. Identity Politics institutionalizes prejudice and really has no place in American life, but here we are.

Dodger Blue

Could anyone tell me the date of the article this opinion is responding to?

Cindy Cornell

Here is a link.
http://www.smdailyjournal.com/opinion/guest_perspectives/renters-rights-are-civil-rights/article_1ee2c38c-b20e-11e7-970a-23fca667d7b0.html

Christopher Conway

Thank you Mr. Curry for your thoughtful comments and I agree with you 100%. Race has not been an issue in our county and it never will be. What is happening now is that rent control and socialized housing advocates are down to their last bullet. They lost with city councils and they lost at the ballot box, they must now use their last silver bullet and that is to call their opponents racist and then file suit based upon that unsubstantiated allegation. Best thing we can do is watch for the lawsuit and force every city in the county to fight against this tactic and not fold like they usually do.

James John

[thumbup]

All true. The race card is usually pulled when they have nothing else. It's sad, really.

It's like the boy who cried wolf. Cry it enough times and pretty soon, nobody listens to you.

jack bauer

Thank you for your thoughtful letter, Mr.Curry. It is so lamentable that the despicable letter to which you refer made your submission necessary.
It's my guess the race-baiting letter you referenced is a precursor to some sort of legal or goverment action aimed at disrupting the rental housing market here since efforts to do just that were recently defeated in a fair and democratic election. So now it appears the "rent controllers" are looking for a government agency or activist judge to disrupt a major component of civil society here. I hope that I'm wrong and that their false assertions about racism are treated like the detritus they are.

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