“Get involved in the local association.” I heard this advice numerous times over the years when I was starting my real estate career, and eventually I took it. I first joined the governmental affairs committee. And I’ll be honest, my tenure on that committee was a disaster. I felt intimidated, unwelcome, in-over-my-head, and couldn’t tell you which way was north after my first few meetings. So I stopped attending. Which eventually resulted in getting kicked off the committee for accumulating too many unexcused absences. Although I’m pretty sure the committee’s decisions wouldn’t have been any different if I attended. To be honest, it was a pretty emasculating experience. But don’t cry for me!
I’m either too tenacious or too stupid to quit. So after a few years rolled by, I signed up again and tried in an area where I felt like I had a little more background and knowledge – technology and the MLS. It’s a committee I’ve enjoyed serving, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my fellow Realtors in a context that doesn’t relate to a particular house, client or deal.
All of which makes this post a bit, well, weird. My fellow colleagues voted to bankroll a video I find questionable.
And a portion of my dues went to pay for the production of that video. [Update: political advocacy is paid for out of a voluntary contribution fund, SFAR member dues are not used for political advocacy. My apologies for the error.] So writing about a video that was green-lighted by volunteer members or paid staff that I don’t agree with and that was partially bankrolled by dues I pay to an organization I am required to be a member of in order to have MLS access in San Francisco is awkward. Not leering-in-the-dark-and-steamy-hot-tub awkward, but well, awkward. At this point, you might be wondering, what the hell am I rambling about?
The association is getting some flak for a recently produced video that was paid for by SFAR in support of District 1 Supervisor Candidate David Lee, and takes direct aim at his opponent, incumbent Eric Mar. The SF Bay Guardian, an organization that I almost never agree with, calls the video “creepy, strange and a bit homophobic.” The SF Appeal, an organization that I’m more likely to find common ground with, doesn’t blast it as homophobic, but makes note of the criticisms received on the YouTube page that have since been removed, and does a bit of digging into the origins of the video.
The video is embedded above, and the leering-dudes-in-a-darkish-hot tub segment starts at the 2:06 mark in the video. But if you’ve got a few minutes, watch the whole thing. It’s a trainwreck from start to finish, IMHO. I don’t know if I find the video to be homophobic. I find the entire video to be inflammatory, ridiculous, and a silly distraction. Childhood obesity is a real issue. Maybe you agree or disagree with Eric Mar’s approach, but at the very least the legislation around happy meals started a dialog and raised some awareness. Eric Mar is a big fan of the YMCA. He hangs out there and is willing to talk to his constituents there. Good for him. I really doubt that the hot tub at the YMCA if filled with leering guys in dim lighting. The hot tub at SF Fitness (formerly the Gold’s Castro) on the other hand… And what the hell is with kids running around banging on pans and pots? Kids can’t vote, no matter how loud they bang their pans, and using them for political props is just cheap and… inflammatory.
As long as we are on the topic of what I don’t get, why is my association – which is all about real estate – going after a guy for his record on happy meals and out-of-context hot tub remarks? It’s no secret SFAR and Eric Mar take very different views of how to create a community that balances the rights of property owners with the concerns of renters. If that is our concern with Eric Mar (which I presume it is, although I’m not privy to any conversations in which decisions were made to support candidate X but not candidate Z), why not just make a video about that?
But anyway, poor London Breed’s video. It’s only gotten 28 views, compared to the 12,000+ views for the Eric Mar/David Lee bizarre-fest. If you watch the London Breed video (embed below), you’ll see that just about everybody endorses London Breed. Except for the menacing-men-in-the-YMCA-hottub. Which is, apparently, the key demographic this election. *sigh*
Update 10/10/12: The typo on the YouTube page has been corrected. I’d also like to be clear that I have nothing but respect and appreciation for the staff at SFAR, so I apologize for my snark about a typo. We all make them!