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Tipping point for Cali MLS consolidation?

by Greg Robertson on September 13th, 2016

Gregg Larson, of Clareity Consulting, thinks so….
MLS Consolidation in Southern California – Finally?

“I recently had the privilege of being on the “MLS Symposium” program to talk about MLS trends and the future of MLS held in northern San Diego and I saw first-hand how ready the brokers there are for their MLS to merge with CRMLS. Normally I don’t discuss these types of meetings on the blog, but between the news stories about the legal conflict in San Diego and the video of the event that has been released, it seems like the right thing to do.”

The video put together by Jim Klinge (local San Diego REALTOR) is a must watch.


  1. Saul Klein permalink

    Gregg’s blog piece is very misleading. It is a promotion piece for sure, but it does not reflect in context, the situation in San Diego County. To say it is misleading is being kind to my friend Gregg Larson.

  2. Hey @Saul can you point out the specific statements or things Gregg is reporting that are “very misleading”?

  3. Matt Cohen permalink

    Saul, this is a report of what happened in San Diego. Gregg is presenting facts about the meeting – the overwhelming support for consolidation (as pictured) and the misalignment between brokers and one of the shareholder associations. Gregg’s only opinion in the piece, something that is at least discuss-able if not seriously disputable, is that we are reaching a tipping point with regard to broker concern over MLS consolidation, and that the consolidation trend will accelerate. Have you not seen the increase in broker involvement in MLS affairs and the push for more consolidation? I have. The other major consultants that work in many markets have too – we talk, you know.

  4. Saul Klein permalink

    Matt…I apologize in advance for being violently in disagreement of what Gregg is reflecting. It is out of context, and agenda driven. It displays naivete and lack of a grasp of the reality in San Diego. It is very misleading…Respectfully, it is BS Matt and does much harm to the process in which we are now involved, working toward an accord. It is also, imo inappropriate for a vendor.

    For anyone who is interested, I have a front row seat as a current director of Sandicor, and a REALTOR of 38 years in San Diego, including at the formation of Sandicor.

    To all (it was was available to Gregg), I will share with you all that I can in private and will be at CMLS next week.

  5. Why so angry, Saul?

    My blog was factual – 200+ brokers of all sizes plus some heavy-hitter Realtors were there and they ALL wanted to join CRMLS. I have 200 witnesses, and that was what I reported. The only opinions expressed were that I’m seeing more broker-driven interest in MLS consolidation nation-wide, and that Clareity sees this trend accelerating. This is also factual. The MRIS and TREND merger on the east coast is a good example.

    There’s something wrong in San Diego. I hope the Associations there can end this lawsuit and stop wasting millions of dollars of their member’s money fighting each other, and get back to focusing on serving them like Associations are supposed to do, and not try to be “technology companies”.

    Saul, that was an unprofessional move, calling me dishonest and saying I had an agenda and implying I had some financial gain in all this. You also claimed what I said was inaccurate without any knowledge of what happened in Del Mar. You weren’t there, amigo! I wish the whole SDAR board was there to see that you organization has gone off the rails with its members. You were all invited. I heard every agent and broker in SDAR was invited, and some were there. They also voted to merge with CRMLS.

    I admit you know more about SDAR’s history than I do, Saul, but I have learned plenty about the Association dysfunction in San Diego. I talk to brokers down there all the time and I was in DelMar to listen to what the members had to say. Many think that there’s more that will come out and heads will roll, but we’ll see how this ends up.

    I was invited to speak as Clareity Consulting, doing the kind of Tech Update presentations I’ve done for 20 years, and not as a “vendor” selling anything. For the record and full disclosure, both Sandicor and CRMLS have both been consulting clients on and off for about 15 years. Clareity Security has also provided online security to protect their MLS revenue (by stopping account sharing (or theft of service and MLS data) for BOTH MLS organizations for 8 or 9 years. Clareity does not have a dog in this fight, nor any “agenda” or financial gain from a merger. We serve and respect both MLS organizations equally. Clareity will NOT benefit from a merger, but tens of thousands of agents and brokers sure will!

    Clareity would just like to see this matter settled. It’s tragic to watch millions of members’ dollars disappearing!

  6. Saul Klein permalink


    I said your depiction is dishonest, you can take that any way you like. You are indicating a much greater acceptance of the concept of consolidation than is reality here in San Diego…why didn’t you call or write to get a little more information…you have before?

    You didn’t ask someone you admit in the above comment knows what is going on here, me. So having full knowledge is not of any concern to you…so it must be your agenda. And you are a vendor and your conduct is in bad form for a vendor. You are interfering with ongoing negotiation.

    But here is a very important fact…Sandicor had a Special Meeting of the BOD last Wednesday. I sit on that Board. Your blog post has now made our efforts even more difficult. I have been working hard with Sandicor and our attorneys for over a year. As a Director, I even have my own attorney. This is not a comfortable position to be in, especially as a volunteer, and your misrepresentation of the situation here is counterproductive.

    My agenda here is simple…do what is in the best interest of Sandicor and its Participants and Subscribers by serving on this BOD as a volunteer. I am not sure what yours is.

    Once again, if you were really interested in the truth, or at least more information, you would have called…you did not, and you really misrepresented the situation in San Diego, I believe, to the detriment of the process.

    And, as a volunteer working to get things going, I am angry that you were so arrogant as to write and release a story without checking it out first with your friend in the market.

  7. Rick Snyder permalink

    I’m just wondering Saul, as long as you are interested in getting the truth out, do you have any personal financial interests in these issues?
    It is my understanding that you have been a paid consultant for SDAR and some of their related entities. Any truth in that?

  8. Saul Klein permalink


    Interesting to here from you. Can I ask who gave you that understanding, and in what context was it offered? No, I am not, and have not been a paid SDAR consultant, nor do I have any financial interest in any of its entities. I have known you for many years.

  9. Saul Klein permalink

    Like you, I have spent countless hours as a volunteer. In the last two years, subsequent to the purchase of Point2 by Yardi, and Yardi’s sale of the syndication business to MOVE, I have been offering my hours as a volunteer again as my workload is not what it has been in recent years, not having to fly back and forth to Saskatoon…and I have the opportunity to give time back to the real estate community of San Diego. This is a community in which I have lived and worked for over 50 years…and in which I will continue to work.

  10. Saul Klein permalink

    Volunteer Organized Real Estate Activities

    San Diego Association of REALTORS® Activities:

    • Professional Advancement Committee – 1979
    • Professional Standards Committee – 1988/89
    • Director – 1989/90
    • By-Laws Committee Chair – 1990 (Vice Chair 2004)
    • Strategic Planning Committee Vice Chair – 1990
    • Vice President – 1991
    • Executive Committee – 1991
    • President—Elect – 1992
    • Executive Committee – 1992
    • IMPAC President – 1992
    • BORPAC President – 1992
    • President – 1993
    • President San Diego County Commercial AR – 1993
    • Escondido Merger Task Force – 1993
    • SANDICOR Shareholder Representative (MLS) – 1993
    • Membership Committee Vice Chair – 1994/95
    • MLS Task Force – 1994 •Executive Committee – 1994
    • Nominating Committee Chair – 1994
    • Salary Review Committee Chair – 1994
    • Strategic Planning Committee – 1994/2003/2004
    • Executive Officer Review Committee Chair – 1994
    • Employee’s Retirement Plan Review Task Force Chair – 1994
    • Orientation Speaker – 1992/93/94/95
    • Real Estate Trustees – 1995/96/97
    • Professional Standards Committee – 1995
    • Financial Planning Trustees – 2000 – 2001
    • CAR/NAR Directors Committee – 2005
    • MLS Committee Chair – 2015/16
    • Sandicor (Regional MLS) Director – 2015/2016

    Sandicor Regional MLS

    • Member, Board of Directors – 2015-2016

    California Association of REALTORS® Activities:

    • Director – 1991/92/93/94/95/96/97/2003/2004/2005/2006/2007/2008/2009
    • MLS Committee – 2003/2004/2005/2006/2007/2008/2009
    • VOW Working Group
    • Regional Chair, Region 24 -1995
    • Nominating Committee – 1994
    • Taxation Committee – 1991/92/96/97/2004/2008/2009
    • Consumer Protection Forum – 2003/2004/2005
    • Commercial Investment Forum – 1991
    • Board President, Leadership Forum – 1993
    • Assistant Regional Chair – 1994
    • Real Estate Finance Committee – 2005/2006/2007

    National Association of REALTORS® Activities:

    • Communications Committee – 1998/2005/2008
    • Taxation Committee – 2006
    • Vice Chair – Business Information and Technology Forum 2006
    • Chair – Business Information and Technology Forum 2007
    • Legislative Forum – 1994
    • Real Estate Finance Committee – 1994
    • Risk Management Forum – 1995
    • Membership Development and Promotion Forum – 1995
    • Fair Housing Forum – 1995
    • Public Policy Forum – 1996

  11. Benjamin Ramierz permalink

    I’m glad to see this issue has us all very concerned.

    Let’s be clear about this – I went there to learn. To learn about the future of my business – something I have taken pride in and hope to continue for almost 25 years. Unfortunately all I learned, as well as the others I know who attend, was that the underhanded politics that has been going on for years still is, but this time disguised in an issue of importance and has expanded to include consultants and others.

    Where to begin…

    I happen to have firsthand knowledge on the above events. Neither event had more than 40 people. Each room was arranged for 75-100, but as anyone who was there can tell you there weren’t more than 40 people at each – and I’m not even counting the huge percentage that attended both.

    Both events were mostly PSAR and NSDCAR board members and the expected familiar loyalists- who took turns giving agreeing with each other and atta boys.

    As for many of the others, I learned many arms were twisted by a broker to attend or were told to come for other reasons. Basically they felt either pressured, coerced, or tricked. Unfortunately wasting agents time serving clients.

    Based on the attendees, and I’ve been around awhile and can recognize a face or two. Neither of these events represented a well-balanced discussion – but rather staged one sided discussion to serve the political agendas of a few.

    Any consultant giving advice to make business decisions based upon these two events via the “informal” polling (later described as reliable by a Matt in this blog) should be questioned as to their real agenda. After all, who wouldn’t raise their hands when a questioned is posed as if asking them to go to lunch? And who wouldn’t raise their hands with the peer pressure of the room doing the same. I know many who did just to do so, but DO NOT agree with the manner in which political agendas, trickery, and scare tactics are being deployed.

    Frankly, as a member of NSDCAR I would like to know who is paying for all of this? Who is paying for this “consultant” who has come twice now and participated in the political gamesmanship? It is time NSDCAR and PSAR stop the political debauchery.

    This was a staged event – that I paid for – I came here to learn about something that I thought was important. But it reality it was just to advance the political agenda of a small few. Somethings never change.

  12. Raylene Brundage permalink

    Benjamin Ramirez….or whoever you are. You say you are an NSDCAR member, yet we do not find you in our records as our member, a REALTOR® in the San Diego County or the state of California for that matter. We also do not show you registered for any of the NSDCAR & PSAR events you claim to have “firsthand knowledge”.

    Yes…let us be clear and factual about this – We had 260 plus registered resulting in a room filled with interested participants. The video and photographs that were posted tell the truth. So who are you really and what is your interest in misleading others about a MLS consolidation and the benefits our members at NSDCAR and other association members have expressed they want? Many (36) attending our symposium were SDAR members. One SDAR member sent a note up to me during the event, stating “Thank you for this Symposium. As a listing agent this is exactly what I needed”.

    You state “both events were mostly PSAR and NSDCAR Board members”. I can’t speak to SDAR’s forum, but I count 9 Directors from NSDCAR, out of our filled Symposium, which includes me. Fortunately for our members, NSDCAR and PSAR board members take their duty seriously to serve the best interest of the members by being informed. Please note I also personally invited the SDAR board members (via a leadership member) to attend our event. We want open and honest dialog. We have sought good arguments against a state-wide MLS, and not one has offered a viable reason that benefits the members. We are an organization that was created to serve our members and their business success, not the success of the association.

    Regarding your comment that the events are not a well-balanced discussion, I personally invited brokers to the panel who came without an opinion. Larger and smaller brokers were invited and one medium sized broker was not even an NSDCAR member, however, respected in the industry. Chris Heller, of Keller Williams was invited because we are sincerely seeking the opinions of our members and we know he is a leader in our industry. If he had stated that he believed keeping our MLS local was in our members and overall industry’s best interest, we would have listened. He did NOT. Berkshire Hathaway and Coldwell Banker were also part of the discussion and they agree. A statewide MLS is best for the REALTORS® business.

    We have now heard from the 3 largest and numerous small and medium sized brokers in San Diego that have publicly expressed their desire for a statewide MLS. There was no peer pressure, political agenda, trickery or scare tactics. Be specific in your allegations and, more importantly, tell us who you really are and what YOUR motivations are? If I were able to identify who you are, I would have reached out to you personally, as I have with many other members and non-members. My desire is for complete transparency and open dialog.

    If you can provide your complete identity, I am happy to speak with you to answer your question about costs to the members. NSDCAR is committed to educating our members about issues that affect their business and future. We have confidence in the San Diego agents’ ability to discern facts from self-interests and what will benefit them in their business. Any funds that are spent to educate our members and ensure their future success…are well spent! In my opinion, the real tragedy about members’ funds being spent for “political gamesmanship”, which you failed to mention, is the law suit filed by SDAR against the two other associations and our local MLS. That is SDAR’s doing and in my opinion, a waste of the members’ dues! I would describe that as political debauchery.

  13. “Benjamin Ramierz”? If you are going to use a fake name you pussy, then at least spell “Ramirez” right. What a joke. #weaksauce #lame #plant #shill

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