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AIA San Diego: Reflecting on a Mayoral Candidates Forum
By Tatyana Brown, Manager, Public Policy
Last October, we featured the effects and reactions to the Mayoral Candidates Forum held by AIA San Diego on October 5, 2012. Now Matthew Geaman, AIA, AIASD Vice President and President Elect, reflects on the outcomes of the forum, which was conducted with support from an AIA National Component Assistance Leadership Grant:
How did AIA San Diego’s Mayoral Candidates Forum play a vital role in the election?
Our forum informed AIA members, other design professionals, and the general public by asking the candidates to take a position on issues that had not been addressed by the campaign. Among these key public policy issues were community planning, design excellence, green building, building codes, permitting, and historic preservation.
What were the forum’s immediate outcomes?
The AIA San Diego’s Leadership in Design Assistance Team (LiDAT) met with Mayor Bob Filner in January 2013, shortly following December’s election. The Team’s role is to inform local, state, and federal government officials on the potential effects of public policy decisions. However, Mayor Filner also embraced AIA San Diego’s call for broad collaboration. The AIASD Urban Design Committee is now working with the Mayor’s Office to organize a public forum on community planning issues.
How would you advise others on the best timing to engage local government leaders?
There are many organizations vying for the Mayor’s time and attention. If we had tried to start the conversation once the Mayor took office, we might have been too late. Neither candidate was an incumbent, so this was also a unique opportunity to engage the next Mayor before he took office.
Beyond paving for collaboration with the Mayor’s Office, how else did the forum impact AIASD?
The broader community took note of our leadership role. The local news media is now regularly contacting AIA San Diego to obtain its perspective on relevant topics. We feel that this is just the beginning of a strengthened effort to lead San Diego’s conversation on a variety of critical issues that affect our members, the built environment, and the community at large.
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