Views expressed in the publication are not the views of the American Planning Association or the American Planning Association Louisiana Chapter
By Mark Kreitz
Mark is a second year graduate student in the MURP program, focusing on economic development. He is from Houston, TX and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.
The current U.S. debt is $14.29 trillion and is expected to surpass the existing debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion later this year. With such a large financial burden looming over the heads of American taxpayers, it is becoming increasingly obvious that severe budget cutbacks are unavoidable. And what may be more troubling is that such spending reductions could become par for the course.
With such budget troubles currently in the news and on the tongues of many planners at the conference I decided to attend a session titled “Federal Programs and the Economy”. This presentation, offered as part of the Municipal and Development Finance short course series, provided insight into the federal programs and legislation currently being debated in Congress. The presenters also discussed topical issues such as the restructuring of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the use of “place-conscious planning and place-based programming” by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
To give the audience a glimpse into the on-going budget battles in Washington D.C., Cara Camacho was on hand from the office of U.S. Congressman Stephen Lynch. Camacho provided many interesting, albeit disconcerting, facts about the ongoing budget negotiations and brought everyone up to speed on the current continuing resolutions. Among the more worrisome changes to the federal budget for fiscal year 2011 are $1.6 billion in cutbacks to public housing and $1.4 billion in cutbacks to Section 8 housing. Such spending reductions will certainly hurt many long-term HUD projects and will force policy makers and planners to more effectively use what little resources are available to them.
Cooper Martin from the American Institute of Architects also presented on AIA zones and the up-coming re-authorization of the federal transportation bill. This hugely important bill dictates domestic transportation policy for the next five to seven years and is to be legislated within the current House of Congress. The legislative process may prove difficult because the present U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is composed of a large number of newly elected Republicans who have only been in Congress for a little over a year. Many of these house members have never been involved in passing transportation legislation and almost none of the committee members were involved in the previous transportation legislation. Such a large scale political turnover is crucial to the dynamics of democracy but can also make comprehensive planning and the achievement of long-term goals very challenging.
The presentation concluded with Jonathan Stevens from the Office of Lincoln Chaffe, governor of Rhode Island, offering examples of how federal funds were used in his state as part of place-based policies. According to a 2009 White House memo, “Place-based policies leverage investments by focusing resources in targeted places and drawing on the compounding effect of well-coordinated action.” Stevens made it clear that with ever-shrinking funds, the federal government is likely to only fund those projects that follow the guidelines laid out under these place-based initiatives.
Throughout the presentation, there seemed to exist a common thread; a general refrain that popped up in each of the speaker’s slideshows. And that was this - “cities are on their own”, at least for the foreseeable future. While this may seem gloomy, it is the truth and I am glad there were sessions devoted to the practical matter of withstanding the current economic and political climate.
The 2011 APA conference was certainly interesting and was jam-packed with ambitious presentations and inventive workshops. Sessions like “Emerging Topics in Retrofitting Suburbia” and “Social Media in Planning” drew standing room crowds and offered a host of new and innovative ideas. But in attending these presentations, my enthusiasm for creative designs solutions and new media was tempered by the understanding that the current budget constraints may well limit the likelihood that we will see such ideas come to fruition, at least in the next few years. That being said, I am optimistic that the smart and efficient use of limited funds can be utilized to bring about significant change and I feel confident that the APA possesses a broad group of enthusiastic and creative thinkers, who will be able to advocate for the importance of planning and the economic gains to be made from implementing progressive planning ideas.
By: Monica Kelley, AICP, Director, APA Metro New Orleans Section
The APA Metro New Orleans Section visited Our School at Blair Grocery to learn about its program as well as its presence in the increasingly popular trend of urban agriculture in the New Orleans area.
Our School at Blair Grocery (OSBG) began with $12 and a dream of a young Minnesota native teaching public school in New York City. Nat Turner assisted in bringing approximately 1,500 youth to New Orleans to volunteer in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but felt compelled to do more. In 2008, he relocated to New Orleans and founded the OSBG whose mission is “to create a resource rich safe space for youth empowerment and sustainable community development.” Faced with despair, poverty, high crime and dropout rates, blight and food deserts, OSBG utilizes internationally recognized models of success from Brazil, Growing Power, and the Edible Schoolyard to “grow the growers” to take the front lines in the good food revolution.
OSBG occupies a typical corner lot at the intersection of Benton and North Roman Streets in the heart of the Lower Ninth Ward. The building once housed a grocery store owned and operated by the Blair family for many years prior to Hurricane Katrina. Through generous donations, Turner was able to convert the flood-damaged building into suitable space for a library, classroom, composting, and dormitory space for visiting volunteers. The farm, which also occupies a lot across the street, contains a variety of crops including lettuce, herbs, spinach, tomatoes, okra, green beans, and melons as well as a greenhouse and a huge composting pile. Most recently, OSBG added beekeeping to its repertoire.
The Good Food movement has its roots in sustainability as it encourages farm-to-table collaborations with local produce growers and restaurants. OSBG is a participant in this movement as the fresh produce grown and harvested there is served at several critically-acclaimed restaurants throughout New Orleans including Emeril’s, Luke, Restaurant August, Domenica, A’Mano, the Green Goddess , the American Sector and Lilette (to name a few). Ensuring that nothing goes to waste, Turner travels to various restaurants and stores such as Whole Foods Market to collect recyclable products for composting.
The Lower Ninth Ward is a virtual food desert as there are no full-scale grocery stores, thus severely limiting area residents’ choices for as well as access to fresh food. OSBG operates as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) market where local residents and visitors can purchase items produced there. Although it is not a full-scale grocery store, it does provide options where very few currently exist.
If farming is the heart of OSBG, then education is its soul. In addition to the urban farm and market, OSBG also operates as an independent alternative school for at-risk youth, as well as a sustainability education center for local and national students and young adults. Turner works closely with organizations such as New York 2 New Orleans Coalition which allows hundreds of students to travel between the two cities to participate in hands-on farming, community outreach, etc. OSBG also serves as the Gulf Coast Growing Power Regional Outreach Training Center, where the activities also include seminars, tours, hands-on farming, etc. It can be considered one of the largest employers in this area of the Lower Ninth Ward as close to a dozen neighborhood teenagers are paid workers at OSBG.
OSBG faces many challenges and opportunities as it continues to grow in size and scope. It is essentially land-locked by adjacent blighted property that has not been repaired since the levees broke. Acquisition of other adjacent properties for expansion has proven difficult as ownership is either bound by succession or non-responsive city agencies. Despite these challenges, Turner, armed with his employees, volunteers, and several grants, continues to provide opportunities for the local youth to have a symbiotic relationship with their environment as well as productive and physical investment in their community.
To learn more about OSBG, please visit their website: http://schoolatblairgrocery.blogspot.com/.
By Nicolette Jones
Nicolette Jones is a master's student at UNO focusing her studies on environmental and transportation planning. She is originally from Fort Wayne, Indiana and has been a resident of New Orleans for the past 10 years.
At one of the sessions at the APA conference entitled, Innovative Community Engagement, Christine Gaspar of Brooklyn, NY presented the concept of advocacy in planning at a whole new level, and left the planners in the audience thoroughly captivated. Gaspar explained her organization’s efforts to increase public participation in urban planning, in policy making, and in shaping the communities of New York.
Christine Gaspar is the executive director of a non-profit organization called The Center for Urban Pedagogy, better known as CUP. The Brooklyn-based organization's mission is to “use design and art to improve public participation in shaping the places where we all live.” They employ graphic designers, artists, social advocates, educators, and urban planners to come up with a visual means of communicating policies to the public. They've created and disseminated beautiful pamphlets and posters all over the New York community. They also create interactive teaching toolkits for local community groups. CUP's philosophy seems to follow the motto: knowledge is power. As people become more aware of how policies work and are shaped, they are more empowered to affect change and improvement in their own environment. When a community is informed, they are also better decision-makers. CUP tries to break down the technical language of policy, or “legalese,” into a clear, visual interpretation that anyone of any age or background can understand.
Gaspar highlighted several of CUP's initiatives in the NYC area. One is a partnership with local high schools and middle schools to work with youth in investigating how certain elements of a city work. Students have been able to learn outside of the classroom and go out in the field to conduct interviews, go on tours, and then finally create audio or visual presentations of their findings. Some explorations have included: Where does our water come from? Where does our garbage go? And how does the criminal justice system work? All are simple questions involving a complex investigation into the structure of these urban systems in New York City.
CUP also started a program called, Making Policy Public. The program works with advocates and artists to construct pamphlets that interpret laws and policies to the community members they affect. One such initiative was called Vendor Power. Gaspar noted that many street vendors in NYC are immigrants and do not have a real grasp on the regulations surrounding their livelihood. As a result of not fully understanding the law, many street vendors are confounded with enormous fines. The pamphlet was made to delineate the city ordinances with simple illustrations and graphics. CUP distributed hundreds of these pamphlets to vendors around the city.
Other pamphlets have included: I got arrested, now what? A Guide to the Juvenile Justice System, and Social Security Risk Machine, A User's Guide to Social Security. CUP is coming out with a new pamphlet this year about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
Another innovative CUP initiative is the design of teaching toolkits that community or advocacy groups can use with their constituents. One example is the Affordable Housing Toolkit. This kit includes charts and manipulatives used to discover the meaning behind affordable housing policy in New York. It breaks down the formulas, the jargon and terminology, so that the entire community can understand what “affordable” really means. Through informing, the tool kit helps a community get organized, and hopefully in the future they can have a real say in the outcome of proposed housing projects or developments. At this moment CUP is in the process of creating another toolkit all about zoning regulations.
Louisiana planners could take a lot from these interactive methods of explaining policy through art and graphic design. I admire The Center for Urban Pedagogy for aiming to break down the barriers of technical language to empower citizens through knowledge. The CUP website has large extent of resources for planners and community activists alike. I encourage you to check out the different toolkits that CUP has put together at www.envisioningdevelopment.org, and also take a look at the other types of educational programs they administer atwww.anothercupdevelopment.org. Many of their pamphlets can be ordered online or are available on the website in PDF format.
Stephen D. Villavaso, FAICP
As I transition from Chapter President to
Legislative Committee Chair, I want to thank all of you who have made this
chapter one of the most successful chapters in APA. Your support over the past
years has made my job of Chapter President both easy and most rewarding. As we
continue to work together on new challenges and under the most able direction
of our new Chapter President, Ed Elam, I know our chapter will continue to lead
the nation in innovative programs and will continue to serve the planners of
our state and promote the best practices of the profession of planning
throughout Louisiana. Note that the Louisiana Legislature convenes on April 25,
2011 for its regular session.
On another note, my new national duties take me to
the upper circles of APA. As Chair of the Chapter Presidents’ Council, my
duties include not only leading the 46 chapter presidents on their policy and
program issues, but the position also includes a seat on the Board of Directors
of APA. This role on the National Board has both advisory and specific duties.
These duties include voting responsibility on budget and program matters and an
advisory role on all other matters that come before the Board. I look forward
to keeping you up to date on important matters that come before the Board of
Directors over the next few years and I encourage you to contact me with your
concerns regarding planning both locally and nationally.
Finally a quick note on the recently concluded
National Conference in Boston: let me start by saying that it was a great
meeting! New “best practices’ in the area of sustainable planning and new,
exciting approaches to Ethics were just two highlights of the three days in
Boston. I encourage all Louisiana planners to embrace the new wave of tools and
approaches that our colleagues are using throughout the country in the area of
“sustainability planning.” And finally, let me urge you to visit the Harvard
University website regarding Professor Michael Sandel’s approach to ethics and
justice. The website is http://www.justiceharvard.org/.
Professor Sandel’s keynote Plenary Session on “What is Justice” in Boston
rocked the house and it will change the way that you look at your role in each
community that your work. Check it out. You will be fascinated, I promise!
Bridget is a second year Masters of Urban
& Regional Planning student & Graduate Assistant at the University of
New Orleans, specializing in Land Use and Environment. Her undergraduate degree
is in Archaeology, with a Bachelor in Anthropology from Louisiana State
session’s focus was on the growing trend (and literally growing numbers) of
national parks in urban areas. The session attempted to answer the question:
How do we make national parks more relevant to urban people? Michael Creasey,
the first of two speakers, whose presentation I will discuss in detail, spoke
about the Lowell National Historical Park in northern Massachusetts near New
Hampshire. The mantra for the park is: The City is the Park, The Park is the
town of Lowell was originally formed next to a drop in the Merrimack River,
which allowed for the development of mills employing waterpower. Mr. Creasey
celebrates Lowell as The First Truly Planned Industrial City in America and The
Venice of America (although other attendees disputed these titles). The town
was not only built to utilize the nearby waterway but with consideration for
of the people who originally lived in Lowell were immigrants from Poland and
Greece. Canals were built (abutting buildings!) as well as trolley for
transportation of workers living in and outside the city.
last textile industry left in 1958 leaving the city to decay. Creating the
national park has been an ongoing process involving multi-million dollar
renovations, formation of public/private partnerships, designation of 300 acres
as a historical park district, and 400 acres as a national park area. Twenty
acres is currently under national ownership.
of 2008 the park had 790, 182 visitors and 4, 006 programs, which support
economic development in the city. A free summer music series (folk), a Jack
Kerouac exhibit featuring the original scroll of On the Road, workshops at
Tsongas Industrial Historical Center (the largest educational center in the
nation), and a number of cultural festivals-were just a few of the 4,006
in Lowell have a form-based code for the Hamilton Canal District, the largest
derelict area in the town, as well as a city master plan. By law the National
Park Service is required to sit on the design review board for the historic
creation of the park has not been an easy task. The park is mandated to provide
economic stimulus to the town, which will remain a constant challenge. Lowell
lost the resident population in 1958 and new immigrants to Lowell often come in
conflict with one another. Lack of a long-term resident population also means a
lack of personal history. Finally, Mr.
Creasey charged that, “the National Park Service doesn’t think on a grand
enough scale”. Whatever, that may mean…
increase in downtown residency in the past 4 years
million in preservation economic development since 2003
million spent to clean up waterways followed old strategy “the solution to
pollution is dilution” wants to extend trolley system
closing, Mr. Creasey will be attending Jazz Fest, as everyone loves New
Sharon L. Caudle, PHD and Ernest Broussard, Jr., AICP, CEcD
In the early morning
hours of September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike made landfall over Galveston Island,
Texas. The National Hurricane Center described Hurricane Ike as a very large
and dangerous storm. Its winds extended outward from the storm’s center up to
115 miles, with tropical storm-force winds out to 275 miles. Storm surges
ranged from ten to twenty feet above normal tide levels. The hurricane-force
winds and storm surge devastated local rural coastal communities in Texas and
Louisiana, many still recovering from severe damage caused by past Gulf Coast
hurricanes, particularly Hurricane Rita in 2005.
Rural coastal community leaders, still in the midst of
repairing Hurricane Rita’s damage, confronted a Gordian knot of issues and
problems after Hurricane Ike. Conflicting community stakeholder perspectives
and desires, government land-use and rebuilding expectations, funding
limitations and delays, and uncertainty over the return of residents and
businesses displaced by the storm presented ongoing challenges. In practical
terms, immediate recovery following Hurricane Ike required swiftly restoring
basic critical infrastructure and resident services, as was the case after
Hurricane Rita. Sufficient basic services, such as water and sewage, and other
necessary infrastructure such retail establishments and close-by temporary
housing, were vital if displaced residents were to quickly find or keep jobs
Longer-term political, social, and economic recovery and
redevelopment efforts clearly would be complicated by another set of factors.
Competition with other devastated communities for scarce resources so soon
after other major storms, intricate insurance claim processing and ultimate
payment, and government disaster and high-risk policy changes and
interpretations at all levels could hold back community resurgence. At the
“point of the spear” for disaster recovery and redevelopment was what even in
the best of times was a “bare bones” rural-area government structure and
personnel capacity. Still, rural coastal communities have factors that can mediate
or mitigate the impact of a large storm or other disaster. Indeed, the
communities may aggressively take advantage of the disaster’s “window of
opportunity” to build a new community future through recovery and
redevelopment, not simply restore the past.
The rural coastal region of Cameron Parish, Louisiana, is a
good illustration of lessons other communities might consider. This article
draws on the experiences of Ernest Broussard, the executive director of the
Cameron Parish Planning & Development Office and responsible for parish
recovery and resilience consensus building, planning, and strategy
implementation. The article also reflects graduate student recovery research
projects headed by Sharon Caudle, a faculty member of The Bush School of
Government and Public Service, for Cameron Parish and Bolivar Peninsula, Texas.
The research projects were funded by the Bush-Clinton Coastal Recovery Fund.
Hurricanes Rita and Ike devastated the parish in two
ferocious blows a few years apart. The parish operated from a position of
strength in that it took advantage of Hurricane Rita experiences and planning.
After Hurricane Ike, the parish immediately moved from short-term, basic
service recovery activities to longer-term recovery and redevelopment
strategies. As Mr. Broussard said, the parish and individual communities agreed
that an overarching principle should be, “with a disaster, pain is inevitable,
but suffering is optional.” 1 The
parish certainly knew Hurricane Ike would cause extensive immediate pain to
residents and businesses, but there was no need to have prolonged suffering.
What emerged was an entirely new vision of Cameron Parish’s future and
opportunities for a better quality of life, starting with a significantly
changed economic development plan.
Recovery and redevelopment – resiliency –
following a major disaster has received extensive coverage in the literature
and in government policies and guidelines at all levels. Books such as those of
Brian Walker and David Salt, 2 and
Charlie Edwards, 3 join
journal articles and other government material, including the National
Infrastructure Advisory Council’s 2009 report on critical infrastructure
resilience and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s draft National
Disaster Recovery Framework. 4 These
sources and others touch on shock absorption and functionality as central to
resiliency or, for purposes of this article, recovery and redevelopment. Walker
and Salt, and Sonia McManus and others, 5 talk
of a system’s capacity to absorb sudden change or disturbances and still retain
its structure and functionality. Edwards defined resilience as “the capacity of
an individual, community or system to adapt in order to sustain an acceptable
level of function, structure, and identity.” 6 Fran
Norris and others describe resilience in terms of dynamic resources, including
robustness in withstanding stress without degradation, redundancy where
disruption or degradation is countered with substitutable elements, and
rapidity to achieve goals in a timely manner. 7 These
definitions implicitly recognize the need to identify and understand what
sudden changes, disturbances, or shocks might be encountered.
Timothy Beatley emphasizes the characteristics
of adaptation, arguing that creative adaptation, learning, stronger social and
community systems, and processes and mechanisms support effective response and
recovery. 8 Past
responses such as “armoring” a community must give way to resilience and
adaptability. Both he and Thomas Birkland highlight the learning opportunity of
focusing events like disaster and policy failures in responding to the
event. 9 Beatley
also emphasizes resilience as the principle guiding decisions of development,
growth, and infrastructure that do not return to a former condition, but
instead move to a new, hopefully improved, and decidedly different set of
To read this article in full, please
Mr. Broussard is a 34 year practicing
professional in both Planning & Economic Development, who has championed
numerous state and federally recognized plans, policies and programs and was
most recently awarded the Distinguished Planner of the Year Award from the
Louisiana American Planning Association Chapter. He is a 3-time winner of this
award along with 23 other national and state recognitions.
By Lynn Maloney-Mújica, AICP
The annual Louisiana chapter conference held at the Baton Rouge Marriott between January 19 and 22, 2011 was remarkable for the prominence of the guest speakers and the relevance of the panels. Paul Farmer, Executive Director of the American Planning Association and Louisiana Native Son, opened the conference with a welcome address.
Following Paul’s remarks, the newly elected Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Jay Dardenne, regaled us with biographical sketches of Louisiana personalities, accompanied by musical clips and a very competent impersonation of “Uncle Earl” K. Long. The presentation by Sherri McConnell of the Louisiana Department of Economic Development Film Commission made clear what a powerful economic engine is the film industry. These two speakers appropriately shared the dais; one speaking about the state’s colorful cultural past and the other pointing us towards a future of expanding creative enterprises.
The panel on Comprehensive Planning was highlighted by a passionate discussion of the Comprehensive Plan with the force of law by William Borah, a prominent land use attorney and planning advocate from New Orleans. This panel was an excellent introduction to the intersection of planning and politics. Perry Franklin highlighted the positive forces of communication, and Jeff Winston presented a cautionary tale, advising on the need to prepare for ambush by inflamed, if not well-informed, citizens. Franklin and Winston were joined by Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Alison Cascio, who has seen both scenarios played out during her career.
On Friday, Mitch Silver, President-Elect of the American Planning Association, opened our eyes to the ethical challenges posed by future demographic changes in American communities. His profiles of generations from ‘baby boomers’ to the Millenials resonated with an audience that was a microcosm of the world he described. For the rest of the day, meeting rooms were overflowing with panels on Brownfields, Complete Streets, Working with Water, and Affordable Housing. Two mobile workshops were offered to the West Bank. The bus was filled to capacity for the morning trip to the Port of Baton Rouge and it was standing room only for the panel on the History of the Planning School at UNO. James Segedy provided the Keynote Luncheon talk with a delightful review of the quirky and creative ways that small towns brand themselves.
Saturday closed the conference with panels for AICP candidates and members, and Planning Commissioners. Participants were able to meet their Act 859 training requirements and CM credits for law and ethics.
The Lighter Side
Although planning and planning conferences are serious business, the 2011 conference will also be remembered for some of its more low-brow moments. Ed Elam was inaugurated as Chapter President with an initiation ceremony known as “hide the cell phone” as he scrambled to find the source of an insistently ringing phone (ringtone oddly familiar to Lynn Maloney on the other side of the room).
A fun time was had by all who attended the opening reception at Sullivan’s Ringside. Lael Holton earned himself half an unopened beer (half empty or half full?) as keeper of the drink tickets, and Kathy Perry is still trying to figure out who drank the 14 Knockouts. There was plenty of fantastic food at the Leadership Dinner at Mansur’s and at the Awards Luncheon. But the Keynote Luncheon only proves that old adage, “Don’t count your diners before the bus arrives!”
Amends were made at the Happy Hour on Friday evening to an attendee from Shreveport, who threatened to ban the Baton Rouge host committee from the North Section conference in 2013, for sticking him in the corner table at Friday’s lunch where he could not see what everyone was laughing about and did not get fed until teatime. A note of thanks goes out to Naketah Bagby who graciously translated Segedy’s picture jokes for him and the other members of Table No. 9. A front row center table in Lake Charles will be reserved for the reunion of Table Niners, as they will heretofore be called.
Throughout an event, a conference organizer’s best friends are the catering staff. To Gerald, Stephanie, Antwon, and all the professionals behind the scenes at the Marriott—thanks for all your help (and for the key to the back “in case of emergency” exit). We couldn’t have done it without you. And of course a very special thank you goes to all of our sponsors who helped make the conference such a success.
Thanks to our student volunteers
Members of the Crescent City Shapers, the student organization at UNO for planners, came out in full force to support the APA LA 2011 Conference. They manned the registration desk, managed the audiovisual equipment, and supported the host committee in more ways than we can remember. Cheers to these future conference hosts:
And special thanks to Bridget Tydor, who organized the volunteers. She is also the APA LA Student Representative.
By Kathryn Perry, AICP
We received many compliments on this year’s conference. “One of the best”, “best conference we have had in years” and “dynamite conference with a great program!” to quote a few. Y’all are too kind!
Top-rated sessions based on member CM credit feedback:
Ethical Responsibility to Social Equity “Truly eye-popping regarding demographic changes and social equity concerns for planners.”
Fostering the Profession: A History of the APA LA Chapter, UNO and Their Work Together to Grow the Profession of Planning in Louisiana “Great review of the challenges, triumphs and people involved in growing the Louisiana Chapter.”
AICP Law Review: Update and Review of Planning Law “Loved it…Steve has a knack for making law fun!”
History of Louisiana/Louisiana Entertainment “Brilliant, entertaining and very informative.”
Completing the Street “Good implementation discussion on planning topic.”
Thanks again and see you in Lake Charles!
Happy Mardi Gras Everyone!
With the holidays long behind us and February about to come to a close, we wanted to start with a few of the changes within the Chapter. An updated website, new newsletter and several new faces within our Chapter leadership are just some of what has occurred since January 1st. We appreciate the trust and support we have all received since the fall election. It is especially humbling for me to be your Chapter President. Seems like not too long ago, I was the Chapter Student Representative, working hard on my masters at CUPA and planning to attend the upcoming APA Conference in Denver; how time flies! I appreciate your trust and look forward to working with you to continue moving the Chapter forward.
It is important to remember all that has occurred would not have been possible without the work and support of our Chapter members, leaders and our outgoing Chapter President Steve Villavaso. Words cannot describe the thanks we all have for Steve’s tireless work on behalf of the Chapter. His ongoing dedication and professionalism to furthering the planning profession through education, outreach and information have helped grow our Chapter into the organization we are today. We are thankful for his leadership and look forward to his ongoing contribution to the Chapter’s Legislative programs and priorities.
Over the coming months, we will be talking more with you about several initiatives the Executive Committee will work on to continue this momentum. Some items that we are particularly excited about include the upcoming presentation of our Chapter Strategic Plan, as well as the start of several mentoring initiatives aimed at our Student, Young Professional and Planning Commission members. In addition, the passing of winter means a return to Section programs. We welcome your participation at our Section programs. This is a very important means of staying connected with the Chapter and other APA members and planning professionals in your area.
The year 2011 began with our official kickoff to the “Planning New Year”, our APA LA conference. Thanks to the hard work of our Capital Section host committee, the conference did not disappoint! A great hotel, wonderful speakers and more good times were had by all! As an added bonus, our AICP members got a jump on their CM credits by coming to the conference. What a deal indeed!
Again, thanks to all for their trust and support and remember APA LA is your chapter and our leadership is here to serve you. Please make sure to let us know what we can do to bring more value to your membership!
Ed Elam III, AICP, Associate
BKI Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc.