Director’s Notes

Director’s note — November 2018

October is National Community Planning Month

This month, we’re joining with our planning colleagues across the country to celebrate the lasting value thoughtful planning has on communities of all sizes. This year’s theme — Housing as Community Infrastructure — highlights the importance of housing as part of our community fabric, and underscores the critical role planning plays in delivering the dwellings and communities our nation needs. Use the resources in APA’s National Community Planning Month Resource Hub to share with your community, elected officials, and local media the positive impact planning has had on your community this month and throughout the year.

2018 California Chapter Conference, San Diego

What an amazing conference, and a perfect way to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the California Chapter and National Community Planning Month.

The opening reception on the historic USS Midway set the tone for the networking opportunities, informative sessions, and inspirational keynote speeches from Assembly Member Todd Gloria and Dr. Mary Walshok, Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Programs, Dean of Extended Studies and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California San Diego.

Before the conference, the Chapter Board held a daylong meeting. We discussed and revised our strategic plan to better serve our members with much needed resources. We explored potential opportunities with Christopher Steins, Founder and CEO at Urban Insight and editor and founder of Planetizen. We established a new position of Vice President for Diversity and Equity. And we’re working to update our Chapter website in 2019. You can be proud of the work your Chapter Board has accomplished this year. I’m excited for the future of our Chapter. In this photo of the California Chapter Board, you’ll see on my right (lower left) our national APA president and president-elect.

California Chapter Board

Congratulations to the City of Concord

Todos Santos Plaza was recognized at the conference as one of APA’s Great Places in California. The plaza was dedicated in 1869, and renovated for the seventh time in 1993–94. Concord city planners were on hand at the state conference to accept their award.

Accepting the award for the City of Concord are Andrea Ouse, AICP; Joan Ryan, AICP; Lorna Villa; Coleman Frick; and Jessica Gonzalez. Photo by Hing Wong, AICP
Members from APA Northern Section at the Cal Chapter Conference in San Diego included Terry Blount, AICP; Daniel Marks, AICP; Barry Miller, FAICP, Sharon Grewal, AICP; Jonathan Schuppert, AICP; Jeanette Dinwiddie-Moore, FAICP; Juan Borrelli, AICP; and Mark Rhoades.

Chapter election results

We are fortunate to have highly qualified planners, including several from Northern Section, who are ready to volunteer their time and offer their skills on the Chapter Board. The following start their terms on January 1:

  • Vice President for Policy and Legislation, Eric Phillips (Northern Section)
  • Vice President for Professional Development, Sharon Grewal, AICP (Northern Section)
  • Vice President for Conferences, Hanson Hom, AICP, ASLA (Northern Section)
  • Commissioner and Board Representative, Jay Higgins, AICP (Central Coast Section)

Mentorship program

We’re kicking off our Northern Section 2018–2019 Mentorship Program with 275 participants. This career development initiative matches experienced professionals with planners in various stages of their careers. Participants span the planning, transportation, design, environmental, and real estate disciplines. Special thanks to our Mentorship Director, Liz Probst, AICP, Mentorship Committee Chair Ellen Yau, and committee members Sarah Allen, AICP, Hing Wong, AICP, Michael P. Cass, and Evan Kenworth for their efforts in pulling all of this together. For more information, contact or visit our section website.

Holiday party

Please join us for our annual Northern Section Holiday Party at the Oakland Museum of California on Friday, November 16th. Enjoy the Friday Night live music outside or visit the Museum at no additional charge. As always, we will be raising funds for the California Planning Foundation (CPF) Scholarships. We will soon have ticket information on our website, For sponsorship opportunities or questions, please contact either of our Holiday Party coordinators, Sarah Allen,, and Lindy Chan

Get involved

If you would like information about serving on our committees or about vacant board positions, please contact me at

Director’s Notes – 2017

By Sharon Grewal, AICP, Northern Section Director

We are beginning the year with significant change in Washington, but I believe we at the local level have the greatest impact in shaping our communities. In these challenging times, we, the planning community, have the opportunity to be a force for good and a force for change. We must be that change, involved in and committed to improving our communities.

During the Northern Section Retreat January 21st, your Board reflected on new ways we can engage our planning community and build coalitions with local organizations. As Section Director, I also have the privilege of representing the Northern Section on the California Chapter Board and look forward to bringing you great ideas from the Chapter Retreats.

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