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Lobby for Whom?

April 22, 1990

The idea that the National Assn. of Home Builders (NAHB) can represent homeowners' interests is absurd "Builders Forming Homeowners Lobbying Group" by Catherine Collins (April 8). Talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop.

Sure, protecting the mortgage interest deduction and improving housing affordability are common causes for both parties. But builders would certainly be fools if they didn't champion them--homes are their bread and butter. Homeowners, therefore, needn't worry that the building industry will suddenly stop lobbying for these items.

NAHB spokesman Bannister says, "We both want the best-quality housing at the lowest price possible . . ." as if that exhausts the issues. But what about zoning, construction limitations, congestion, crime, environmental impact, neighborhood service, etc., issues on which builders and homeowners may see things quite differently?

Whose side will the organization take when community agencies restrict development because of impending gridlock? Or when there's a conflict between a developer's rights and the well-being of the community?

Our real concern should be what the NAHB will do with the power granted it by a membership of a quarter million. That kind of weight is important in Washington and, true needs of the membership aside, could buy NAHB lots of political clout potentially at conflict with the needs of the home-owning community at large. No wonder "Builder Jack Shine" (pictured with the article) is smiling.

ALLAN RABINOWITZ

Los Angeles

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