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'Disaster in Success'

July 14, 1988

On behalf of the Building Industry Assn. of Southern California, I'd like to applaud your editorial "Disaster in Success" (June 26). The Times is right on !

For some time we have felt like a voice crying in the wilderness in describing the frustrations involved with development of infrastructure in our growing communities. Everyone wants roads, schools, parks, adequate waste water capacity, and so forth, but no one wants to pay for them.

More and more frequently, the "new" people who are paying for these services in added housing costs are our children. According to the Southern California Assn. of Governments, 53% of our region's projected population growth between now and 2010 will be our very own children.

Developers and builders are confronted with a whole new array of planning issues in today's society: air quality, gridlock, local city and county building requirements, school construction and more.

We need leadership from both parties in the state Legislature and locally. Hard-liners who revere Proposition 13 and the Gann spending limits as sacred cows may find that the price of their worship is a society which is unable to respond, let alone cope effectively, with a deteriorating infrastructure.

I would like to call attention to the fact that our organization did not support Proposition 13, and actively opposed the Gann limits. Why? Because we predicted the present chaos. A well-run society in a first-world country is not cost free. We all have to pay for it. The alternative is a second-rate society in a third-world environment.

A first-rate infrastructure is essential if our economic environment is to function well. We need more than freeways. We need good mass transit; cleaner-burning fuels for cars, trucks, buses; encouragement from city governments for obtainable housing instead of the discouragement we are used to, and most of all, a cooperative regional spirit that leads to good planning for the accommodation of our future population.

While I'd like to think that the building industry has all the answers, I'm realistic enough to know that we don't. But we do have the ability to be creative. What Southern California needs is a credible forum for consensus building and problem solving, which is a far more sensible approach than constant litigation, expensive political campaigns and regional economic stagnation.

KENNETH W. WILLIS

Executive Vice President

Building Industry Assn.

of Southern California Inc.

Los Angeles

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