Real estate assessments – high and low – bring about emotional responses. Local government, and government in general, have an insatiable need for our money. Sometimes, as in this case, the responses are from the public officials charged with assessing property.
I would however request that you immediately remove all inappropriate and misleading information related to the Office of the County Assessor, real property taxes, and the assessment process in Loudoun County from your web site.
Properties are assessed on an annual basis. We get that. Local governments depend on property taxes for the bulk of their budgets. Next year we all – homeowners and governments likely will be dealing with less income.
Maybe this is more chilling because it comes from a public official. This post at real/diaBlog (unfortunately they have deleted part of the post), based in Loudoun County ruffled the feathers of a Loudoun County official who emailed the author demanding that he remove parts of the the post, “or else.”
Coincidentally, I wrote a very similar post earlier this month that generated an off-line conversation that led to the posted clarification. For that clarification, I am grateful, and the post was much better and more informative because of it.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to address disputes.
Making unfounded accusations and distorting others’ words qualifies as the “wrong way.” At no point in any of the emails from Todd Kaufman the Loudoun County Assessor, does he identify exactly what part of the post he found to be “erroneous and misleading.”
This situation goes beyond real estate and real estate assessments and into the realm of trying to squash free speech and open public discourse.
Might (real estate) bloggers be considered journalists?
(2) COVERED PERSON- The term `covered person’ means a person who is engaged in journalism and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such person.
(3) DOCUMENT- The term `document’ means writings, recordings, and photographs, as those terms are defined by rule 1001 of the Federal Rules of Evidence (28 U.S.C. App.).
(5) JOURNALISM- The term `journalism’ means the regular gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.
I wish this agent the best of luck and hope that it works out. Trying to keep the County Officials in check via a blog is like sticking your finger in a bee’s nest!
I’d argue that trying to keep public officials in check is our shared responsibility and obligation.
Realtors are held to a higher standard due to our shared Code of Ethics; public officials are supposed to be held to a higher standard as well.
This seems to me to be an egregious attempt to control a conversation. If a clarification or retraction is in order, so be it – ask for that, rather than attempt to intimidate the writer.
As I am nowhere near being an attorney, would the County Assessor’s emails be subject to a Freedom of Information Act request?
I think this story may lead to a much larger discussion about freedom of speech, the NAR Code of Ethics and how they relate to blogs, Broker oversight and just what a Realtor may be permitted to write. If real estate blogs transcend real estate, politics and self promotion – who regulates them if not the laws regarding journalism? Should (real estate) bloggers have to choose between being Realtors or journalists?