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The power of individuals (lots of 'em). Heed this!

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Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Attached is a story from my local people. The story is about having a state lottery in North Carolina. However, the lotteery is not the point I wish to make.

Hundreds and maybe thousands of citizens and voters contacted their politicians contacted their elected officials and were able to get them to CHANGE THEIR MINDS!

This is what works folks, LOTS OF INDIVIDUAL ACTION. This means more than groups, unions, organizations and other contacts that CLAIM to represent the voters. The sheer NUMBER of e-mails is what did the trick in this case. Individuals cast votes, groups, unions and organizations may claim to influence votes, but when people cast their vote, only they know how they cast it.

The moral of the story is that until appraisers get off their individual butts and personally contact their politicians, we will see no improvement in the profession. Don't wait for some group, union or organization to do what YOU should do on your own.

Bob Ipock



N.C. lawmakers heed anti-lottery call

RALEIGH (AP) — People who complain lawmakers don’t listen to the folks back home should take heart after what’s happened with the lottery.

As a full-court lobbying effort by Gov. Mike Easley and House Democratic leaders gave an advisory referendum bill traction last week, lottery opponents took to their keypads.

Their stream of e-mail and telephone calls to wavering House members got at least two Republicans to reverse their position and announce they’ll vote no, prompting Democratic leaders to delay a floor vote at least until this coming week.

"The calls I’ve received from my constituents, from churches, not only from churches, and a lot of businesses," said Rep. Junior Teague, R-Alamance, who now will vote no. "They’re tickled to death that they’ve changed my mind."

Even though pro-lottery groups cite polls showing at least 60 percent of North Carolinians support a state-run numbers game for education, it was the people who made the loudest noise who won this round of the lottery battle.

"These phone calls that they are receiving have played a prominent role in their decision-making," said the Rev. Mark Creech, a lottery opponent and executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina.

Easley spent the July 4th weekend contacting legislators urging them to help him pass a referendum to let voters have their say on if they want an education lottery.

He wants the net proceeds — estimated up to more than $400 million — to go to pay for 4-year-olds to go to school and class-size reductions. Legislators would still have to approve a lottery even if state residents vote yes in a referendum.

Easley and House Speaker Jim Black were able to get the bill through the House Rules Committee. Rep. Gordon Allen, D-Person, hadn’t made up his mind until after talking with Easley and deciding to vote yes in the committee.

"I concluded it was only fair to let the voters provided a forum to express their views," Allen said.

Anti-lottery forces also had their network operating. The Christian Action League and other groups fired e-mails to their members, urging them to contact legislators. Churches also sent anti-lottery petitions to Raleigh.

"A lottery is not what we need or want," read one e-mail sent by Louis Stables of Charlotte to all House Democrats. "And a referendum is merely a tool for the honorable legislators to avoid having to take the stand they know is right, but possibly unpopular with their constituents."

Citizens United Against the Lottery also targeted four or five undecided legislators by making automated phone calls in their districts.

On the line was former Gov. Jim Martin, asking recipients to contact legislators. Another voice later offers to transfer the call to the House member’s office.

Teague and Rep. David Miner, R-Wake, said they were ready to vote for a referendum but changed their minds after the avalanche of negative correspondence in their offices.

CUAL executive director Chuck Neely also credits a steady education effort with lawmakers about the lottery’s with keeping a majority of House members opposed.

The constituent communications has its limits: many of the 120 House members made up their minds on a lottery a long time ago. The referendum is also being framed as a political issue that could help more Democrats get elected in November.

Rep. Howard Hunter, who lives near the Virginia border, told a minister who called him in opposition to a lottery that he wasn’t going to change his mind. He said his constituents travel to Virginia to gamble.

"It’s ridiculous to put more than $100 million in lottery sales in the state of Virginia," said Hunter, D-Northampton.

Rep. Bill Owens, the chief lottery advocate in the House, admits that a "vocal minority" of people opposed to the lottery are better organized and are getting out their message.

With Black and Easley’s office saying they’ll keep working to get enough votes to win a floor vote, pro-lottery members are increasing the pressure by filing their own e-mails.

Early last week, the office of Rep. Ronnie Smith, D-Carteret, received phone calls and e-mails mostly opposing a lottery. On Thursday, they had received correspondence in support of a lottery by a ratio of 3-to-1.

"I believe if you poll Carteret County you will find most citizens support the right to make the decision themselves," Joan Pulley of Beaufort wrote Smith, a referendum opponent. "A small fringe group has certainly been vocal, but don’t forget us everyday citizens out here."

Deborah Thibeault of Valdese said the North Carolina Lottery for Education Coalition asked her to e-mail Smith and seven other legislators. The Burke County school employee said the e-mail is her first foray into politics.

"The profits from the lottery are going to go to educational purposes, especially when we’re making these (budget) cuts," Thibeault said Friday.

The coalition has been urging pro-lottery supporters to contact lawmakers but haven’t organized expensive phone banks like the lottery opponents, a spokesman said.

Rep. Joni Bowie, R-Guilford, one of the few House members still undecided on a referendum, said she hasn’t been lobbied a great deal. She said she’s concerned when pro-lottery constituents call her office and have little knowledge of how a state-run numbers game would work. It’s that lack of understanding in part that has her leaning against a lottery.

"It’s what my constituents can’t tell me that’s going to make a difference," Bowie said.


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Don Clark

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
8)

Bob,

You are absolutely right. Great post. I refer once again to the article I wrote in the december 2000 issue of Communicator magazine, "How One Appraiser Changed the System". This was the culmunation of over 2 years of work to get the composition of our appraisal board changed in Virginia. When it was set up we had 4 appraisers, 1 citizen member, 1 member from a college or university, and 3 members of financial institutions. I attended a meeting of the board as well as a half day instructor training at the board. I saw the 4 appraisal members, 1 citizen member, and the education member. I asked where the 3 members of the financial institutions were. I was told they almost never come to a meeting. Now that is 4 appraisers, 1 very old man(citizen member), and 1 very young lady(education member), to conduct the affairs of about 2,500 appraisers in the state, hear all the charges, make all the decisions, etc. I then started a letter writing campaign to the Governor, and my local delegate. Not only did we boot 2 members of financial institutions off the board, we added 2 appraisers. we also got rid of the archaic need to place a seal on a report(mechanical seal). Not only can we change things, we must change things. get off your butts, do something.

Bob,

I am surprised that so many democrats would vote against anothet tax(lottery) :twisted:

We have had the lottery in Virginia for years and have seen no real good public use of the money. We still have a budget short fall.

Don Clark, IFA
 
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