Time for a Recall?
by George R. Harvey, Jr.
May 13, 2009 | 982 views | 10 10 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GUEST COMMENTARY Of Course, I Could Be Wrong …

Klaus Obermeyer, founder of Obermeyer clothing line, has lived in Aspen for over 60 years. He was recently quoted in The Aspen Times as saying that he had never seen a recession of this magnitude in Aspen’s economic history. To me it seems the same here. Having the privilege of serving on the National Association of Realtors Resort and Second Home Committee now for eight years allows me to have tremendous resources studying the entire second home and resort markets in the U.S. The amount of second homes purchased in 2008 was 50 percent less than in 2006. This year looks to be a continuation of that trend. What most economists are saying about the resort and second-home markets, especially the high-end luxury niche which Telluride happens to be a part of, is that the affluent will be much more cautious about their discretionary purchases in the future.

With all the above said, it has been interesting reading the controversy about the new PUD Ordinance Telluride Town Council recently passed and the controversy surrounding it. The opponents say they are opposed because of the potential of having less affordable housing. What they should be concentrating on is how to “kick start” our economy and if they don’t we may end up with plenty of affordable housing. From my point of view, these objections have been nothing more than a distraction. If developers don’t have a desire and ability to build then this conversation about decreasing affordable housing in PUD’s is completely academic. We are in a significantly different lending market. Most economists, bankers, and mortgage brokers think that the ability to borrow money to build speculative commercial buildings, multi-family homes and second homes will be restricted for years to come. The opposition to this PUD, mainly by three Town Council members plus a few very vocal locals is just focusing on the wrong issues. The business owners on Main Street are scared. Lodging is down and as everyone knows real estate sales are at a historic low in number and dollar volume of transactions. It’s almost as if the opposition to this PUD is not addressing the “elephant in the room.” As Bill Clinton said when he got elected: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Reading the quotes from three Town Council members and a few members of the public who constantly attack the Realtors, the real-estate community and the developers is somehow as if we are for something, then they have to be against it. That’s like O.J. playing the race card. It’s been a great sound bite for them in the past, but I am hopeful that the local citizens of this community can see through that B.S. The lowest level of distraction was when one of the Town Council members suggested that Jill Masters has a conflict of interest because she happens to be a real-estate broker and a member of the Telluride Association of Realtors. To me that is a new level of unprofessionalism from any Town Council member. Jill Masters has been a loyal part of this community and past San Miguel County deputy sheriff and paramedic. When you see a Town Council member stoop to the low level, trying to be against the local economy, businesses and real estate, then you realize their priorities and needs of this community are not on the same page.

I hear there is going to be a Referendum. Frankly, I’m glad. I think there also needs to be a recall too. I’ll be the first to sign a petition to remove the three Town Council members who don’t seem to care about the local economy, the business community and yes, the real-estate industry, which is a huge part of our regional economic force. This immature attacking of the real-estate community and Realtors penalizes every business owner in this region. Let’s get some Town Council members who don’t have personal agendas, who have our economic future as their current highest priority and are positive about working together. These three don’t fit the bill. Of course I could be wrong, but this time I know I am not.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
May 19, 2009
"oh great....": I don't believe any of the comments thus far have crossed the line or are over the top. Apparently the folks at The Watch are in agreement, since it does not appear any comments have been deleted.

I believe every single post, except YOURS (and now consequently my post), has addressed Mr. Harvey's commentary to one degree or another. Some might be more heated or well put than others, but you can flush out SOMETHING of substance.

Moreover, the title of Mr. Harvey's commentary is inherently contentious ... it should be expected there will be strongly worded rebuttals.
oh great.....
May 19, 2009
....now we have the losers from the planet's website bringng the hate and personal attacks to the watch. same old three people using anonymous names to attack instead of debate. won't it be cool when these desperate newspapers go bankrupt and the forum for cowards is back on foxnews.com.

hopefully seth has bigger balls than capps and will delete these three cowards who think they are clever. NOT.
May 18, 2009
ok so where then is mr harvey going to get those buyers? hahahahahaha

do you have any of that protected t-ride commercial property listed? No!

what have you got?

overvalued nonsense.

thanks for the spin george.

May 18, 2009
dharmatrip, you should do some homework regarding rents charged at other ski resorts for commercial space. actually, Telluride rents are low! the problem is not the "sky high rents", its the lack of customers.
Economics 101
May 18, 2009
you are so right dharmatrip.

and take a look at how the rents got so high.

elaine fisher, terry tice et al were so into proteting main street businesses that they created a monopoly in commercial real estate in t-ride.

they did not want any commercial in the logical place for it: lawson hill, which would have given many businesses an alternative and acted as a downward force on t-ride rents.

ya see, it was never about saving main street business. it was always about commercial real estate OWNERS.
May 18, 2009
Regarding George Harvey's commentary: On every issue there will be supporters, dissenters and healthy debate on the pros and cons. That's democracy, George. I have heard each of "the three" say many times that what is needed is to reinvent ourselves and create a sustainable economy. How is that anti-business? And, they are hard working people who not only prepare for meetings, sit through them, but also volunteer for many community events. Your comments are divisive. No matter how much development is allowed, there will still be a spring and fall off season when business is scant. Isn't the real "elephant in the room" the sky high rents on Main Street that need to be paid regardless of the season and whether or not tourists and second homeowners are in town and shopping?
obsolete people
May 15, 2009
"kick start" ? ? ?

from my perspective there is nothing to kick start. this community must move on, and the sooner you realize that the past is not coming back the sooner you will be able to embrace a new direction when it is presented to you. if one is.

remember the cowboy? well, would you have had the country not develop the railroad so they could keep their livelihood? (well, i would, but thats just me. forget it for now).

how does lowering the gate create buyers? and, even if it does what have you created to deal with down the road.

you must just ask the usual seventh generation question. or is that somehow contrary to your vision of freedom and america?

sorry we don't need so many real estate brokers, appraisers, mortgage brokers etc etc. but that's just the way it is. time to get a new perspective and the business community appears to be wishing to recreate the past.

ok, george, i'll tell you what. you come up with the buyers and then we'll believe they are out there. and if perchance some should show up, there is plenty of inventory to show them.

move on cowboy, the railroad is here to stay. go see a silent film.

May 15, 2009
Seems to me, if there's a problem with the underlying aspects of the LUC, we ought to fix it directly at the root to provide a fair and equitable application vs. allowing an arbitrary consideration based upon the personel who happen to be in the deal making position of the day.

It's interesting that Mr. Harvey brings up the notion of a recall, as it's something which I'm sure many of those who have opposed the pro-development faction of council have thought about, but have not vocalized. I say bring it on, let the chips fall where they may regarding all members of council. I firmly believe the 20/20 vision of hindsight will vindicate Mr. Harvey's targetted 3 in so far as their voting record with respect to taking the most prudent path in hard economic times.
May 14, 2009
Of course the greedy want to relax affordable housing regs. And it's typical that they use any pretext to do so. But like the oil companies charging $4 a gallon thus kicking the economy over the cliff, the greedy do the same thing. Guess what George, people won't invest in real estate in a ghost town. Look at mountain village. People are attracted to a town with some soul. That means employees who actually live in the community. The four council members who voted to get rid of affordable housing requirements are the ones who should be recalled.
Not wrong?
May 14, 2009
Maybe, but his track record is less than stellar.

He wrote in March 2008 that there was a "media attack on the real estate industry." As if the media were causing dropping prices. He asked: What does the media know? and encouraged people to buy.

And, of course, someone who bought in March 2008 had a long way to go before prices hit bottom. Listening to Mr. Harvey would have cost you -- 20? 30 percent?

Mr. Harvey is a salesman of real estate, not an expert on anything. He wants people to buy things.

You can read all of Mr. Harvey's gaffes here:

http://telluridewatch.com/pages/full_story?page_label=results_content&id=55036-Who Are You Going to Believe- - Guest Commentary&article-Who Are You Going to Believe- - Guest Commentary =&widget=push&open=&