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David Malcolm, WCC Trustee Candidate

As with each WCC Trustee Candidate, I sent a questionnaire to David Malcolm. Unfortunately, he chose not to respond. I cannot provide any information about his platform, his understanding of the office, or his goals as a WCC Trustee. And unlike Angela Davis or Bill Milliken, David Malcolm does not have a voting record from which to draw.

This is what I can tell you about David Malcolm.

David is an active employee of Washtenaw Community College and works in the Facilities Management department. He is also a licensed real estate agent and works in the Washtenaw County area for Reinhart Realtors. On his real estate website, he describes himself as follows:

“David Malcolm is a 17-year residential real estate industry veteran, he has represented numerous sellers and buyers in the sale of single family homes, condominiums, vacant land and commercial properties.

David has a long record of delivering exceptional service to all of his clients by always keeping their interests first in every transaction from contract to close and beyond. David is “local and Global”. Through his affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the world, David’s network reaches buyers and sellers in 6 continents and over 60 countries around the world, making David your greatest resource for you next move.

The service you expect, the service you deserve!”

My research did not turn up any evidence to suggest that David Malcolm has previously held any political offices.

You can follow this link to view his current campaign filings.

Were Malcolm to win a seat on the Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees, he must resign his employment there immediately.

WCC Trustee v. Real Estate Agent

Malcolm’s candidacy raises the question about the practice of real estate agents seeking elective office, especially to boards with taxing authority. This is not coincidence. It’s not because real estate agents are hyper civic-minded individuals who want to serve their communities. It is a coherent strategy to seed as many local boards with real estate agents as possible. It is why WCC Trustee Bill Milliken received $5,500 in cash and in-kind support from two real estate lobbies to finance his first campaign. It’s about selling property, controlling decisions about property taxation, influencing zoning regulations, and raising property values. Those goals sometimes (often?) run counter to the best interests of taxpayers and result in personal financial gain for the agent. I cannot help but see it as self-serving and a conflict of interest.

Agent-politicians cannot serve both the best interests of the taxpayers who elected them and the real estate lobby that financed their campaigns. Those interests can never be adequately separated because they are often direct opposites of each other. In the end, whose interests will the agent-politician serve?

I’m not alone in that view. In 2021, New South Wales, Australia (which includes Sydney) barred real estate agents and property developers from holding elected office. One local council member characterized the election of real estate agents to public office as “putting a vampire in charge of the blood bank.”

That’s probably a little harsh, but it is fair to say that the requirements and responsibilities of public office are often not compatible with the aims of the real estate lobby.

I’m sorry that Washtenaw County voters are left to choose two of three non-responsive candidates for an office that will control the expenditure of $375M in local property taxes.

Good luck.

Photo Credit: Mark Moz , via Flickr