Don Rogers: Home Store’s actually a good idea
The Republican candidates for commissioner don’t much like the Home Store, though they should.
The Home Store will actually save local government money while finally providing one-stop shopping for deed-restricted housing.
A Realtor or two or three may still be wary, but the Board of Realtors has expressed favor for the operation. The store is not a rival to the brokerages, since it deals entirely with Miller Ranch-style housing that does not use Realtors. It may even help them.
That makes the Home Store at least a win-win with a chance of a third, for those into Stephen Covey homilies.
The store is funded through governments and private enterprises to help regular working people who see deed-restricted homes as a good fit for them, as some do in every resort community in the land.
Before now, this form of affordable housing has been a confusing hodge podge. You would have to check every separate entity offering deed-restricted housing. The biggest complaint about this basically was to ask why this had to be such a secret?
Now people in this market can check one place, work through one place and make our community just a little better.
The county’s part in the cost is the highest by far, at $420,00 in the first year and around $300,000 after that. But it’s important to understand that the county would be spending the same amount whether the Home Store existed or not. The county’s housing work will simply get done a little better, and with more bang for the buck.
The savings for the towns and other participating small governments is substantial.
Most could not afford to create or expand their housing departments, to deal with a challenge that consistently ranks atop community concerns these days.
And private enterprises also contribute to help better deal with this growing problem, which could well flare into crisis. Have you looked at how much the gap between salaries and housing prices has widened in the past handful of years? It’s not the same community as in the 1980s or even ’90s.
The stakes for Eagle County’s service-oriented labor pool are high, even in economic difficulties.
What’s not to like about the Home Store, then?
Well, I’ll tell you.
Politics is about many things, of which cool rational policy matters are just a part, and not always a particularly large one at that.
The Republican commissioner candidates Debbie Buckley and Dick Gustafson are not fond of the guy who came up with the idea for the Home Store and will run it, Don Cohen. To only a slightly lesser degree, I think the feeling is mutual.
That’s right, an integral and inconvenient part of politics is that it can get personal.
The candidates don’t like Cohen. Ergo, the Home Store must be a bad idea.
So what’s actually a very good idea on its own merits could be at risk, depending on the outcome of the election Nov. 4.
I’d like to ask Buckley and Gustafson to take a second look at the Home Store, to discuss its merits with Cohen, to at least better understand what they have criticized in the heat of their campaigns.
Now, they may still not like it. But I think they’d better understand the value of the effort.
There’s something else here, too. I believe true leaders are the best at getting past the personal issues and giving ideas a fair hearing on their own merits.
And especially in these times, we need to employ all the good ideas that we can.
Don Rogers is the editor and associate publisher of the Vail Daily, Vail Trail and Eagle Valley Enterprise. He can be reached at 748-2920 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He welcomes your comments.
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