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Protection of Gnatcatcher

April 22, 1993

Regarding Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt's declaration of the gnatcatcher as a protected species (March 28), the home-building community is somewhat relieved.

However, it is disconcerting for those of us in the home-building community to read about economists like Peter Navarro saying that this decision will be minimal and affect "a narrow set of vested interests." Is this economist completely ignorant of the laws of supply and demand? Does he realize that this "narrow set of vested interests" is going to be permanently crippled in its ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs as well as building affordable housing?

It is very chic for people to dislike developers. They are blamed for all sorts of societal ills. But without balanced growth, homeownership will be nothing but a pipe dream for all but the extremely privileged. The lack of affordable housing has driven business from Southern California, while perpetuating poverty and anti-community behavior.

Due to overlapping and contradictory regulations as well as exorbitant fees, several hundred thousand people are excluded from the housing market.

The listing of the gnatcatcher as a threatened species is going to drive up the demand for developable land, which will make the dream of homeownership that much more unrealistic for the average Californian.

WILLIAM PEARDON

Legislative Analyst

Governmental Affairs Council

Los Angeles

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