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New Building Industry Association Chief: Cities 'Need To Step Up' On Housing

Lori Holt Pfeiler is seen in this undated photo.
Building Industry Association of San Diego County
Lori Holt Pfeiler is seen in this undated photo.
The Building Industry Association of San Diego County announced last week it was hiring Lori Holt-Pfeiler as its next chief executive, making her the first woman to lead the main lobbying organization for local developers.

The Building Industry Association of San Diego County announced last week it was hiring Lori Holt Pfeiler as its next chief executive, making her the first woman to lead the main lobbying group for local developers.

Holt Pfeiler has spent the last nine years as president and CEO of San Diego Habitat for Humanity, making her one of relatively few affordable housing developers to take a leadership role in an organization dominated by market rate developers. Prior to her current job, she served as mayor of Escondido.

Holt Pfeiler joined KPBS Midday Edition to talk about her new role. She said in order to make housing more affordable for working and middle class families, home building has to pick up.

"We need to increase the supply of housing," Holt Pfeiler said. "We're only building less than half of what we should be building every year, and so there's a cumulative deficit."

She added that local governments have to be more willing to approve more housing, and to do so more quickly, if they want to avoid losing more control over zoning to the state government.

"Cities can solve the housing problem themselves, but they need to step up and start doing it," Holt Pfeiler said. "If they solve the problem, then the state would not have to mess in local politics."

Holt Pfeiler will take over the position from retiring CEO Borre Winckel, who was often openly critical of organized labor and environmental groups. Holt Pfeiler said that was not her style.

"I'll have to lead and push, I'm persistent, I listen," she said. "It'll just be different."