August 23, 2004

SAHBA has taken a decidedly anti-consumer attitude and is pushing hard for legislation that reforms a homeowner's ability to fight a bad builder in court and through the Registrar of Contractors. Posted below is a copy of SAHBA Vice President Ed Taczanowsky's column in the August SAHBA newsletter highlighting the reforms that on SAHBA”s legislative wishlist. Also posted are pictures of the Governor's recent visit with SAHBA members and a copy of the column that SAHBA president John Shorbe wrote about changing your ability to file a complaint with Registrar of Contractors. SAHBA is not on the side of the consumer and neither is Janet Napolitano.

In the pictures below Napolitano is having a great time with SAHBA. We of course couldn't get the Governor's attention or time with five letters. Not a single word directly from her! Perhaps the *SUPER-PAC* status of SAHBA's political arm gives them more power than the voice of a constituent. A regular PAC (Political Action Committee) doesn't carry enough influence for SAHBA? NO They have to be one of only 4 Association SUPER-PACS in the State! A super-pac means a lot of dollars to donate to politicians. A way to impact the legislators and push through builder friendly – anti-consumer laws. Fellow citizens it's time to start our own Consumer Pac. Who stands up for the rights of Arizona Homeowners? Who protects us? We need to help each other.

Let us know what you think. Email Us

Arizona Top Government Official Visits SAHBA

by Edward Taczanowsky, Executive Vice President

In a historic meeting, we recently hosted Gov. Janet Napolitano at SAHBA to discuss Arizona's growth issues.  The event, attended by our governing board and leadership, resulted in a one-hour question and answer session on issues ranging from liability insurance availability, school construction, workforce development, material shortages, and state trust land reform.

Gov. Napolitano spoke knowledgeably on all questions posed to her.  Here are some highlights:

  • Liability insurance: Tort reform would require a change in Arizona's Constitution, a massive undertaking.  However, legislation qualifying construction defect cases, similar to the recent malpractice legislation, would be considered.  She has asked the ROC and insurance commissioner to explore the problem.

  • State Trust Land Reform:  Due to the issue's complexity, more time is needed to understand the proposed legislation.  However, she favors the current proposal.

  • Material Shortages:  Her understanding is that shortages are being caused by demand for raw materials elsewhere in the world, i.e., Greece (Olympics), China and the Middle East.  She asked ROC to look into the situation.  Where she has control, she will help.
  • Work Force Development:  There is a vast, untapped resource in the State's penal system.  We need rehabilitation with life skills and construction may be a match.
  • School Construction:  After hearing concerns from the education community through our government liaison staff that construction costs rise after contracts are signed; she asked for more information and will look into the problem.

SAHBA, through contacts with the ROC, Real Estate, Insurance, and State Land Trust offices, continues to raise the level of our industry's representation .  With the partnership of our volunteer leadership, staff and governmental officials, Arizona will continue to be a place we can all live and do business.

In a related area, SAHBA participated in Cong. Raul Grijalva's Business Roundtable.  Myself , Roger Yohem, and Executive Committee members Steve Craddock (US Home), Bob Storie (Miramonte Homes) and John Bremond (KB Home) attended. 

Cong. Grijalva displayed a wide range of knowledge on the affordable housing issue in his district.  He also is concerned and pursuing answers to material shortages.  He expressed dismay at the annexation/water issue between Pima County and the City of Tucson, and agreed to talk to some of his old colleagues on the issues.

All in all, SAHBA continues our policy of “after the elections, let's just do business.”  It is to the benefit of all that communications and minds remain open about the possibilities of cooperation.

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Governor Napolitano Meets with SAHBA Leadership

Gov. Janet Napolitano recently visited SAHBA to discuss a wide range of builder-related issues including construction defect litigation, vocational education and how impact fees affect affordable housing.

Thirty-five people attended.

Shown are SAHBA Directors (l-r): Chuck Myers, Carole Pawlak, Gov. Napolitano, Greg Miedema and John Shorbe.

Executive VP Ed Taczanowsky thanked the Governor for accepting his invitation.

Although the issues were serious, the group enjoyed several light moments with the Governor.

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Trying to beat frivolous complaints with a stick

Your SAHBA Staff is working hard on more issues than you can shake a stick at!  You are well aware of most of these issues, such as Impact Fees in the City of Tucson; Sales Tax Fees in Oro Valley; and bonds, infrastructure and environmental issues in the County.   

Yet, this is only a small, small amount of what your Association is doing for you. 

One of the things I do for the Association is represent us at the Arizona Registrar of Contractors (AROC) Industry Advisory Council.  AROC Director Israel Torres will soon put on the agenda an item that is near and dear to each homebuilder's heart:  frivolous Registrar complaints against builders. 

Through the Advisory Council, he has heard loud and clear that builders are oftentimes harassed by homeowners who repeatedly put in complaints against them--  knowing they are frivolous and will be overturned. 

The Advisory Council will address this issue and see what can be done legislatively to prevent this from happening to homebuilders.  As the law stands now, a homeowner has to do nothing more than continually barrage a builder with complaints. 

Wouldn't it be nice if they had to put up some cash in order to do that?  Or, wouldn't it be nice if legislation was such that the builder could sue for damages and costs incurred by frivolous complaints?

I don't know if we will be able to accomplish this, but it is well worth shaking a stick at! 

This is your Association working for you.

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