This material is for
discussion purposes only and has not been approved by the Legislative or
Executive Committees or the Board of Directors.
What action, if any, should
C.A.R. take in response to the Marin Association of REALTORS® request that
C.A.R. "oppose aerial spraying to eradicate the light brown apple
1. Not Real Estate
2. Oppose the state's
3. Do Nothing
4. Support the state's
The light brown apple moth is
an imported pest posing a substantial threat to California agriculture and
forests. A key part of the state's strategy to eradicate the moth
involves the aerial spraying of a pheromone to disrupt the moths'
reproduction, and this spraying has been very controversial. The
Marin Association has requested that C.A.R. join it in opposing the aerial
Is It Real Estate
Related? A preliminary decision
that must precede any policy position on an issue is whether the issue is
sufficiently real estate related as to merit a C.A.R. policy
position. The decision is necessarily subjective, but includes things
Does it affect property rights, especially the rights that are the subject
(ability to buy, rent, manage, develop)?
Will it change the practice of
Will it affect REALTORâ
liability, or otherwise affect the C.A.R. members' right to practice or
ability to profit from the practice of licensed activity?
Will it significantly affect
The question is also guided by
past policy positions. C.A.R. has not taken an active position on
similar programs in the recent past. However in 1982, C.A.R. was
aware of, but took no action on, a similar state aerial spraying program to
eradicate the so-called "Med Fly" or Mediterranean fruit fly. Not
long after, California engaged in a controversial ground based eradication
program for Japanese beetles. While there was no aerial spraying involved,
the house-to-house program was none the less invasive and
controversial. Once again, C.A.R. resisted becoming involved in the
issue. Similarly, in 2001-2002 the legislature introduced at least six
bills and the state imposed specialized eradication programs for the
"glassy-winged sharpshooter," an insect that threatened the California wine
industry. While not entirely on point (no broad aerial spray campaign),
C.A.R. also declined to involve itself in the debate.
The Marin AOR set out its
reasoning in its own motion regarding the eradication program as
"...since the spraying would
be harmful to the quality of life in Marin County. In lieu of aerial
spraying, MAR urges state authorities to conduct an aggressive proactive
ground-based eradication program to address the light brown apple moth
Quality of life is necessarily
subjective; what troubles the Marin County's quality of life may not
trouble others. Indeed, it appears that REALTORSâ in
other counties (even in Santa Cruz, where spraying has actually occurred)
have not been sufficiently mobilized to weigh in with a similar
motion. Of course, silence is not necessarily acceptance or
acquiescence; it is simply a lack of speaking up.
It is not clear that the
proposed aerial application of artificial pheromones (an attractant that
mimics the natural locator scent of the moths) to disrupt the reproductive
cycle of the moths will have any effect on property values throughout the
county. A court has issued a temporary halt to spraying until August
2008, pending an additional environmental review. It certainly seems
unlikely that any side by side disparities among properties will result, as
all similar properties are scheduled to be treated.
Individual property rights to
use, sell, rent or transfer Marin properties are not legally changed by the
proposed treatment. One could argue that the fact of having been treated
might potentially create a psychological stigma in the eyes of potential
transferees from outside the area, but it seems unlikely that there would
be any side-by-side differences.
The aerial treatment
(especially if validated by the new court-ordered environmental report) is
unlikely to create new liability for agents or change their legal ability
to engage in the profession. With the possible exception of an
area-specific disclosure, the treatment is unlikely to change the practice
of real estate.
Is the state's aerial
eradication program directed at light brown apple moths real estate
If it is concluded that the
aerial eradication program IS real estate related, is a position by C.A.R.
merited? As noted above, C.A.R. has not previously involved itself in
exotic pest eradication programs on either side. If the program
impairs the "Marin quality of life" as the Marin AOR motion suggests, is
that sufficient grounds for taking a position?
legislation. There are currently at
least six bills in the legislature that speak to this issue.
AB 2760 (Leno), AB 2763
(Laird), AB 2764 (Hancock), AB 2765 (Huffman), and ACR 117 (Laird) all seek
to increase in one way or another the advance study and public information
available prior to aerial spraying. AB 2892 (Swanson) goes
considerably further and requires approval by a two thirds vote of the
potentially affected voters. None of them are an outright prohibition
on spraying as sought by the Marin AOR, although AB 2892 might have that
What position should C.A.R.
take on the Marin AOR request to oppose the apple moth aerial eradication