Utah County Association of Realtors Planning Anti-UTOPIA Meeting in Orem

See below for update.  It appears that astroturfing isn’t just for the Utah Taxpayers Association anymore. The Utah County Association of Realtors, a very powerful lobbying group, has been organizing a “public forum” entitled “What does UTOPIA mean for your home?” and has been using robocalls to promote attendance at it. The call says that UTOPIA will be in attendance, but they never extended an invitation to them, or to commercial real estate agents or brokers. They did, however, extend an invitation to the Utah Taxpayers Association and two anti-UTOPIA candidates for city council. Unsurprisingly, the low-scruples ousted Utah County GOP Chairman Taylor Oldroyd is the prime organizer.

I’d advise UTOPIA supporters in or around Orem to show up to the meeting at 1031 W. Center St. Orem on Tuesday October 25 at 2PM. There will no doubt be disinformation by the truckload that will have to be countered.

UPDATE: Per Chris Nichols, the president of the Utah County Association of Realtors, the Utah Taxpayers Association has been un-invited from the event. He stated that his goal is strictly to discuss the implications of transfer of title when a homebuyer has chosen to finance the installation including how it appears when doing a search on the property. He also made it clear that any attempts to derail the discussion beyond that would be thoroughly unwelcome.

Chris also stated that UTOPIA was invited, but the person whom he named as “someone who has done work for UTOPIA” was not a name I’m familiar with. Granted, I don’t know everyone on their payroll, but if the PR department doesn’t know anything about it, it kind of maybe didn’t exactly go to the right person. Sounds like they both had their wires crossed on that one.

For the record, he was pretty mad at me and spent over 10 minutes chewing me out on the phone. I tried to explain why I formed the opinion I did, but he had no interest in hearing it. The website for the event links straight to the light-on-facts UTA website and lists a smattering of candidates for city council in Orem, both of whom are anti-UTOPIA (though one of them is being a realist about the situation). These combined with questions that appear to imply that the UTOPIA contract causes significant real estate sale issues created a very bad public face. The website itself also has no contact information as to who the responsible party would be.

My take? He wasn’t holding a tight enough leash on his employee Oldroyd who then worked with the UTA to try and sneakily co-opt the event for his own political purposes. My publicizing of it was very embarassing (and understandably so) and he needed to take it out on someone right then and there. Hey Chris? No hard feelings this time, but maybe try to be a bit more understanding of where someone else is coming from next time around. A lot of bloggers wouldn’t be as gracious as I am to heavily update an article to show both sides.

UPDATE 2: For those who are interested, I have a copy of the robocall used to publicize the event. Link is below.

UCAR UTOPIA Robocall

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7 Responses to Utah County Association of Realtors Planning Anti-UTOPIA Meeting in Orem

  1. Taylor Oldroyd says:

    Wrong. This forum is ONLY to discuss what, if any, impacts a Utopia contract has when transferring (buying or selling) a home. Utopia has been invited; they have not confirmed. Representatives from Orem are coming. No candidates have been invited to speak. This will not be a discussion on should we have public telecom but instead how Utopia contracts are discoverable in a title search, etc.

    PS: I was not ousted as UCRP Chair; I served a full 2-yr term and didn’t run for re-election.

    • Jesse says:

      Taylor, not a single person who knows you is going to buy the “informational” angle. There’s an agenda and you just don’t want to talk about it.

    • UTOPIA says:

      Hi Taylor —

      We are more than happy to attend, but I can tell you on very informed terms that not a single soul from the actual UTOPIA organization has been invited to this event. I have investigated this situation thoroughly and have come to learn that all of us were completely in the dark regarding this event prior to the automated calls that occurred on Tuesday or Wednesday. As you can imagine, we were caught off guard to discover that we were expected to attend a forum in a very important community without our knowledge.
      This, unfortunately, is not a case of lack of response from UTOPIA, as we never received an actual invitation.
      I am very interested in speaking with you regarding any specifics that you would like us to bring to the table on Tuesday, so please be in touch at your earliest convenience.

      Thank you –
      Julie Paulson
      UTOPIA Communications Manager
      jpaulson@utopianet.org

  2. Davis Didjeridu says:

    Centerville’s city council candidates are all anti-UTOPIA this fall, including the incumbents. However, some are more logical than others.

    • Jesse says:

      Anti-UTOPIA doesn’t bother me so much as long as the candidate has the realistic approach of “we’re in it, so we need to make the best of it”. Far too many of them rant and rave about how it shouldn’t have been done in the first place, and they’ll all too happy to throw the city under a financial bus in order to prove their ideological point. Those types are unfit for any kind of public sector work.

  3. Paul Larsen says:

    Will the Association of Realtors also hold an “informational” forum on the implications of homeowners signing up for home equity loans which have similar consequences for transfer of title? I doubt it. This is just the latest attempt to use FUD to accomplish a political goal.

  4. Ronald D. Hunt says:

    Home equity loan in of itself does nothing for improving the value of the property either!

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