Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Last week I wrote a little blurb about ALEC member Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) because of a scathing report done by the National Labor College that was recently release.

While doing that research I ran into a snip that brought ABC and three other ALEC members into a “sponsorship” of "forums" for 2012 presidential issues:

NAHB’s efforts to put a spotlight on housing in the upcoming presidential election are moving forward with the initiation of a series of teleforum events that give our members a direct line to the major candidates.

NAHB this week kicked off a series of virtual town hall events with the presidential candidates, which we are cosponsoring along with the Associated Builders and Contractors, National Federation of Independent Business and National Restaurant Association.

Kinda wonder how the National Restaurant Association (good ol' Herman Cain scandal) is connected to putting a "spotlight on housing" - maybe for all those low income workers - more on that later.

Since two of the four are unrelated, other than being affiliated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)  – I thought I would do a little snoop on  NAHB – because they have an industry connection with ABC.

WHY? Cause based on the 2012 NAHB Issues Page – these folks do a lot of lobbying – real lobbying – not ALEC “fake” lobbying.

2012 NAHB Quick Issues Index-
NAHB’s intense lobbying on behalf of H.R. 1755 has already generated positive results. Throughout the year, cosponsors of our legislation have made access to construction credit the subject of their inquiries during hearings focused on small business and banking issues, putting further pressure on bank regulators.

And they do this “real” lobbying at the state and federal level -  real lobbying – not ALEC “fake” lobbying.

NAHB has been actively engaged with Congress to forward our ideas for reform of the housing finance system. In recent months, several bipartisan bills have been introduced that would maintain the strong federal backstop that NAHB supports for the U.S. housing finance system. Reps. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation (H.R. 2413) that would stabilize housing and ensure liquidity in the mortgage market by maintaining a federal role in the U.S. housing finance system. Similar legislation (H.R. 1859) introduced by Reps. John Campbell (R-Calif.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with five private companies that would issue mortgage-backed securities and have government backing.

Not too shabby.
Go to an ALEC meeting and write your own legislation and then send it to the state legislatures or the Hill and then go lobby to make it pass.
Helluva deal for NAHB.

Can I prove they are a member now - no - but then ALEC is all secret about who writes their legislation and there is a pretty impressive ALEC / NAHB past together.

NAHB has been really focused on profit for over 40 years.

Before your townhome in a housing development was even a twinkle in your eye – NAHB was trying to figure out a way to slap up more homes into a smaller space and increase profits from multiple perspectives - including the the housing development homeowners association.

Community Associations Institutes (CAI)
In 1973 the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) formed CAI to promote homeowner associations by providing builders, managers and homeowners with educational materials. Today CAI, a nonprofit organization, has 58 chapters in the U.S. and internationally. As of 1999 CAI represented approximately 16,500 CID stakeholders  …   

An excellent report puts the whole concept of  NAHB’s CAI into focus:
Founded in 1973 with a grant from the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), CAI was the result of brain-storming by industry leaders and bureaucrats from various established trade groups and government agencies; among them the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the NAHB.
Perhaps equally as concerned with warding off unwanted government intervention in their newborn experiment in land development, CAI was founded by former officials from FHA and NAHB with money initially provided by the NAHB in the form of a $30,000 grant.

Owners who purchase homes within CIDs ultimately find they are burdened with what amounts to an additional layer of bureaucracy in their lives in the form of a privately run HOA. They also find themselves burdened with the same ad valorem property tax rates as their counterparts who do not live in HOAs; in spite of the fact that their tax dollars are not being used to maintain the privately owned common areas within their neighborhoods, as they would be within those neighborhoods which are not developed under the CID scheme.

The added cost of being solely responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement costs of neighborhood infrastructure improvements is not something people were paying too much attention to at the outset of the CID development trend 50 years ago. Now that many of these developments are 30 or more years of age, the issue of common area repair and replacement expenses is a very real one; particularly in the case of CIDs with major infrastructure to maintain.
And as of 2007 - NAHB and CAI were still joined at the hip.

I’m sure many others will share in this sentiment with me:
 – NEVER buy into a Homeowners Association (HOA) – IT SUCKS!

But thank god for NAHB (and their ALEC buddies) for coming up with the idea to slam as many homes in as small of a space as they could - so they could make boatloads  of money and then make sure that there is less government responsible and the homeowners keep getting killed every year with more and more and more expenses.

Thank god NAHB made a fortune for their members pushing this – more homes on smaller pieces of land - but on, no they didn’t stop there and ALEC helped them along the way.  NAHB needed more and ALEC was there to help.

ALEC involvement – REALLY?

National Association of Home Builders
To ensure the voices of both organizations are not lost amid the clamor against sprawl, ICSC and NAHB are pooling their resources, publishing a joint paper on growth restrictions, among various initiatives. And, with the help of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization of 3,000 state legislators dedicated to free-market principles and limited government, they also are drafting legislative proposals that, for example, might require legislatures to hold economic impact studies before enacting growth restriction bills.
God forbid that state legislatures would try to control “urban sprawl” – as it would hurt ALEC members NAHB and ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers).

After they had taken care of that issue – they moved forward to cover their butts in regard to liability issues in regards to home building – as they slapped up new housing in all those “urban sprawl” areas they had access to – thanks to ALEC state legislators.

National Association of Home Builders
WASHINGTON -- National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) President Gary Garczynski is urging state legislators from around the country to focus their attention on the general liability insurance crisis and the effect that crisis is having on housing and its role in the national economy.
Speaking recently at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Garczynski said “It is in everyone's best interest to solve the general liability insurance problem so that the housing industry can continue to keep the national economy afloat.”

Evidently NAHB was successful because you have this snip published in 2006 in regard to a concept known as NOR or “"Notice and Opportunity to Repair"

Strategic Alliances
The NAHB, in collaboration with NAHB's High-Production Home Builders Council and state and local home builders associations, has created The Civil Justice Reform Initiative (the Initiative). The Initiative supports the lobbying activities and judicial educational programs that provide the impetus for the acceptance of NOR legislation.

Additionally, in 2002 the NAHB collaborated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to devise a model for NOR legislation. This model legislation has been successful in paving the way for adoption of NOR laws.

And ALEC state legislators helped them– passing legislation that made it easier for NAHB to get our of “construction defect disputes” – lucky ALEC member!

National Association of Home Builders
Resolving construction defect disputes could get easier for builders in states that adopt newly amended model "Notice and Opportunity to Repair" legislation endorsed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The new amendments, which were developed by NAHB and adopted by ALEC at its policy summit last week, ensure a more streamlined and transparent process for resolving disputes between builders and buyers, provide incentives for settling disputes out of court, and add fairness to the overall process. ALEC's model legislation, which is already the basis for laws in 14 states, is expected to engender new laws in a number of additional states in 2004.

But then the stupidest thing happen – the concept of “workforce housing”. 
And damn if ALEC didn’t jump right on board.

National Association of Home Builders
Reflecting NAHB President Bobby Rayburn’s view on housing America’s working families, the ALEC endorsement will give a significant boost to legislation and policies that promote the mission of providing moderate-income employees the opportunity to obtain affordably priced housing in, or near, the communities they serve.

Emphasizing the need to house people like teachers, firefighters and police officers, the resolution advocates these policies in support of workforce housing:
Action by the states to eliminate cumbersome housing and development regulations excessive fees and exactions

Enactment of state “notice and opportunity to repair” legislation that provides builders with the opportunity to resolve differences with home buyers before a lawsuit is filed

Good thing the NAHB is getting their liability capped– thanks to good ALEC legislators – on all these houses they can now slam together, as fast as they can.
Thank goodness, ALEC legislators are there to get rid of those "cumbersome housing and development regulations - to make life easier for NAHB - hurting the homebuyer and the community.
NAHB - Say after me:  Thank GOD FOR ALEC! Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

But who are these excellent pieces of property for?

A new term has been coined to address these emerging households: workforce housing. This group may include teachers, police officers and fire fighters as well as health care workers, retail clerks, administrative personnel and other moderate income workers,

All those work sectors that ALEC ALUM  governors are screwing – that’s who.  Their American Dream just got a hell of lot worse – with crappy houses and little or no recourse on the repairs - thanks to NAHB and ALEC legislators.  They are getting ready for us.

National Association of Home Builders
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — an influential, bipartisan coalition of state legislators from across the country — has formally adopted a model resolution supporting NAHB’s workforce housing initiative. The resolution was introduced by NAHB at ALEC’s annual meeting in Seattle in mid-summer and adopted as policy a month later.

And don’t be let down folks
– NAHB did have a verifiable documented member of their staff that was in ALEC.
National Association of Home Builders

  Carlos GutiĆ©rrez
  Director of Industry Relations
As the National Association of Home Builder’s Director of Industry Relations operating within NAHB’s Government Affairs Division, Carlos focuses on establishing and maintaining the organization’s external affairs/political outreach efforts by serving as the lead representative to groups like the National League of Cities, the National Association of Counties, the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Council of State Governments, the State Legislative Leaders Foundation,  and many others.  Prior to joining NAHB, Mr. Gutierrez was on the governmental affairs staff for both the Texas Association of Builders and the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin.  He also served as a neighborhood housing consultant for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs during the construction of the SBC Center in San Antonio.

Well what is NAHB up to now?

Well – they are jumping on the smaller government, privatization bandwagon that ALEC taught them so well.

Today NAHB Still Shares the ALEC ‘Privatization” Model

The NAHB Research Center’s Military Housing Division was established 15 years ago with the exclusive charge of responding to and fulfilling objectives related to the professional and successful management of military family housing programs. In addition, the NAHB Research Center has extensive direct experience working with government agencies, local industry groups, and other organizations to help them increase their awareness of and technical capacity in the military housing privatization arena.

And they want to privatize those pesky water supplies that cause home builders so many headaches and so much money.  Wodner which one of their ALEC profit sector member they would call to help with this?.
     Alternate Infrastructure Finance Case Studies - Waste and Wastewater       
     Alternate Resource Tools for Financing Water and Wastewater 

The resources below provide case studies illustrating use of alternative infrastructure financing tools and delivery mechanisms to development exactions by type of infrastructure. This section focuses on water and wastewater.

•Why Water Privatization Adds Up - There is a tendency to think there is a wide gulf between private and government water utilities, but that does not reflect people’s own experiences nor the wealth of institutional comparison research.

And if you can’t get things privatized the way that you want them – then NAHB will hand you talking points to deal with local government, write op eds or to talk with your ALEC legislator to get things changed.  Items like this little bit from a NAHB member only newsletter on “talking points” for opposing “impact fees”
*  Fortunately, there are innovative alternatives, ranging from alternative financing mechanisms to privatization of infrastructure development and operation.

*  New ways to get infrastructure built include design-build strategies, public-private partnerships and small-scale water and wastewater systems.  Innovations in long-term management of infrastructure include asset sales, privatization, and competitive contracting of operations.
From Wiki
An impact fee is a fee that is imposed by a local government within the United States on a new or proposed development project to pay for all or a portion of the costs of providing public services to the new development.[1]

Public-private partnerships
Asset Sales

Contracting of operations
Lots of help from your ALEC buddies

Oh – how ALECesque.

And finally, there is this – which will probably take me to another level of investigating right wing corruption.

And then there is this connection:
Tom Moskitis has spent over three decades as an ardent advocate for natural gas.  …  Tom is the current Private Sector Chair of the Energy Committee of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and is on the Board of Advisors for the Consumer Energy Alliance. Tom is a former member of the Executive Board of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National Council of the Housing Industry, the supplier division of the NAHB.

So Far – how many ALEC connections?
Associated Builders and Contractors  - ALEC

National Association of Realtors – ALEC
National Restaurant Association - ALEC
National Federation of Independent Business – ALEC
International Council of Shopping Centers - ALEC

Consumer Energy Alliance – ALEC
    (Whatley – Inside ALEC article and taskforce presentation of
     the importance of the XL pipeline)

Incestuous little bunch of buggers - these ALEC profit seekers, oops, profit sector members.

Always looking for ways to increase the old revenue column and screw consumers with the help of ALEC legislators and ALEC "model" legislation.

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