Jeff Collins, Orange County Register, October 21, 2022
The California Association of Realtors has apologized for the “leading role” it played in the state’s history of “segregation and exclusionary practices,” becoming the first state Realtor association to do so.
Specifically, the group’s leaders repudiated the role of a predecessor organization, the California Real Estate Association, played in the 1950s and 1960s in supporting two measures that impacted the ability of low-income and minority residents to access housing.
They include support for Article 34 in 1950, which required voter approval of public housing projects, making it difficult to build affordable housing in the state; and Proposition 14, a 1964 ballot measure that overturned the Rumford Act, California’s fair housing law.
Article 34 remains in effect despite numerous efforts to repeal it, most recently with CAR’s help. But the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Proposition 14 in 1967 in a case brought by Santa Ana renters Lincoln and Dottie Mulkey.
“Unfortunately, this organization has a regretful history of advancing discriminatory policies,” Otto Catrina, CAR’s 2022 president, said Friday, Oct. 21, in a news conference in Los Angeles. “I’m here to say the association was wrong. We not only apologize for these practices, we strongly condemn them.”
Several people attending Friday’s news conference cheered CAR’s decision to apologize.
“I want to thank God for this historical moment. It’s been a long time coming,” said Derrick Luckett, California president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, or NAREB, a 75-year-old organization of African American real estate professionals, formed when Blacks were denied membership to Realtor associations.
The California Realtor apology is part of a larger, nationwide reckoning Realtors are having with their industry’s role in promoting racial segregation since the early 1900s. The Chicago Association of Realtors apologized in 2018, the 50th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act. The National Association of Realtors issued a similar apology in November 2020, followed by recent apologies by Realtors in Atlanta, St. Louis and Minneapolis.
Catrina said California’s decision to issue a formal apology came in response to requests by Bay Area members of the association’s diversity committee.