Do you blame government for all your frustrations? If you are in government, do you blame the business owners for always pushing your regulations?  Having lived on both sides of this divide, allow me to say both sides are right and both sides are wrong.  Here is why.

MUNCIPAL HOOPS. Real estate owners tend to feel the hand of government most directly at the local level.  Both sides of the equation tend to hold the other to a standard neither can reach in their own lives and organizations. Government workers know no more about the world outside of what they are doing day to day that do 90% of the workers in any business. Neither group is encouraged or rewarded for understanding the bigger picture. In reality, stretching your neck beyond your assigned task is often one  way to provide your neck for being chopped off.  The good news is that most of the people involved with real estate, whether in a business or in a government, will open up and discuss what they believe they are trying to accomplish and will listen to the proposal from the other side. The trick is figuring out the when and where and in such a way that your openness is then not later used against you.  I’ve been then and done it, and I assure you this process will make all the difference in your world.

STATE OVERSIGHT.  As a state legislator, I pulled the voting switch about 1000 each year. I really knew what I was doing about 10% of the time.  The bills before us had a brief (4 – 5 sentences) summary of what a newly graduated attorney working for the clerk of the house guessed was the impact of the bill. They often missed the mark. We relied on lobbyists, ideally someone from both sides of the issue, plus work from our party leadership.  Voters very seldom took the time to communicate in anything but copied protest messages they failed to read and understand. Once a bill was enacted, the regulators were faced with interpreting what we in the legislature often did not understand in the first place. They of course added their bias to the required regulations and inconsistent enforcement (since they were often underfunded and had limited oversight of their work).   While you can win at the level, your chances go up significantly when you can be assisted by others sharing your concerns and the expense of the process. While a lobbyist is useful, organized consistent competent communication with legislators and regulators is what will in the end gain the results you seek.

WASHINGTON WONDERLAND. Working in local and state government, we hated Washington arrogance in Congress and with the regulators. As a broker dealer owner, I found that most of my counterparts distrusted FINRA, even though we collectively paid for and owned the self-regulatory organization.  I spend time as an expert consultant and witness in state and federal court and in FINRA arbitrations. What ever became of due process, innocent until proven guilty, and rules of evidence? The further the elected and appointed officials get from those who are ultimately impacted by their actions, the less accountable they become to those who put them in power. The other side though, is that the further away they are, the less they understand what is really happening at the state and local level for business and other governmental entities. While the same general rules apply as discussed below, the pace of change is exponentially slower in Washington.  Do everything you can to avoid the situation where the success of your operation is dependent on prompt action by anyone in Washington.  Even when they agree with your position, the best of people in the highest of positions are not always able to cause anything positive to occur.

If you have a government related issue, whether in business or in government, please contact us ( and we will find a time for a free 20 minute consultation.  You may also want to consider  the item noted below.

2013 Predictions