Homebuilders (Still) in Good Hands

Timothy L. Coyle
Consultant specializing in housing issues

The selection a few years back of former GOP leader David Cogdill to lead California homebuilders (CBIA) through difficult times was an excellent choice.  CBIA had come to symbolize an industry in transition – flummoxed by the duality of a deep recession and smaller, regional builders giving way to increasingly dominant national companies.  Both were putting the squeeze on membership and already skinny association finances.

Added to these internal pressures were those coming from government – particularly from the state Capitol where hostility to growth has been on the rise for decades and where increasingly legislators seek to dictate rigid new environmental standards for association members to follow.

Cogdill was a veteran Modesto lawmaker who well-understood the angry “land-use politics” of Sacramento while harboring critically important visionary instincts, particularly when it came to the capture, retention and fair allocation of water in California.  In choosing Cogdill, CBIA seemed to be positioning itself for enduring tough times ahead with a smile.  After having misfired for many years, CBIA leaders finally got it right.

Sadly, Cogdill recently succumbed to pancreatic cancer – an affliction he quietly battled for months.  But, his memory lives on.  And while Cogdill will be most remembered – particularly by wanton pundits in Sacramento – for voting with Senate Democrats on a fateful state budget, his vision for growth in California remains his true legacy.

Still facing challenges – and seeking to preserve one of the capital city’s finest lobbying corps – CBIA set about to find a successor to their fallen leader.  Lucky for them, Amy Glad was available.  Glad – with a strong background in homebuilding, not politics – might have seemed to many as an unlikely fit for the homebuilding industry at this time.  She was named “interim” CEO this month.

After briefly serving as the executive for the association of southern California homebuilders, Glad went to work for Pardee Homes, one of the West’s most successful homebuilding enterprises – serving as the company’s chief of governmental affairs.  She worked there for nearly 15 years and during that time honed very capable political skills – through a combination of the unending demands of state requirements and the tortured morass of local entitlements.

So, does that political schooling mean Glad will be a pushover at the state Capitol?  Hardly.  One thing the seeming immensity of land-use politics in California can’t undermine is the firm foundation of construction “principle” that comes from years of working in myriad housing markets in the state.  Moreover, much comes and is retained from continually putting investment capital at risk in those markets.  So, no matter how many “deals” she’s cut, Glad will do the right thing.  Count on it:  Glad has homebuilding blood running through her veins.

In the midst of a stubborn housing crisis, Glad is just what the homebuilding industry needs right now.  Under her, CBIA surely won’t just serve as the proverbial growth “whipping boy”.  Indeed, at a time when lawmakers need it most, Glad will make CBIA a resource – a place for many of their questions to be answered.  And, buoyed by the most knowledgeable staffs around, Glad too will deliver those answers with a smile.

As reported, Glad was named the “interim” CEO of CBIA.  Let’s hope that becomes “permanent” soon.

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(Editor’s Note: Between 1996 and 2010, Tim Coyle served as CBIA’s chief lobbyist.)

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