Tag: 2021-04-nn-norcal

We want YOU — to join our Board

We want YOU — to join our Board

By Michael Cass, Director-elect, March 12, 2021

Do you want to be more involved with APA? Do you want to serve your fellow Northern Section members? If you are ready to build your professional skills, consider joining your Northern Section Board as we look to fill the following vacancies:

  • Marketing and Sponsorship Manager — appointed

  • San Francisco Regional Activity Coordinator — appointed

  • Treasurer — elected

For all positions — elected and appointed — you must be an APA member in good standing (fees paid), and reside or practice planning within the Northern Section (Alameda, Contra Costa, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, and Sonoma counties). To be considered, please submit your résumé and a letter of interest — noting why you’d like to be considered, any relevant experience, and what you’ll bring to the position — to Section Director-Elect Michael P. Cass at directorelect@norcalapa.org. All positions are open until filled.



The Treasurer should have a working knowledge of accounting procedures, including posting debits and credits into accounting software, balancing accounts and reconciling statements, and other financial practices as specified by the California Chapter’s financial policies. Here’s what the Treasurer does:

  1. Prepares an annual Section budget;
  2. Receives and is held accountable for all Section accounts and funds and makes proper authorized disbursement of said funds;
  3. Collects — or designates a person responsible to collect — money at events that require a fee;
  4. Works with any hired bookkeeper or finance professional to assist with financial duties, such as taxes and annual reporting requirements;
  5. Submits financial reports to the Section Board; and
  6. Submits quarterly financial reports, including an end-of-year financial report, to the Chapter.

The new Treasurer will complete the remainder of the existing term, which concludes on December 31, 2021.


Marketing and Sponsorship Manager

The duties of the Marketing and Sponsorship Manager are to:

  1. Work with the Communications Director and the Executive Board to develop a strategic marketing, fundraising, and sponsorship plan to raise funds and increase Section awareness, through, for example, sponsorships, fundraising, and advertisements;
  2. Lead the implementation and execution of the strategic marketing, fundraising, and sponsorship plan;
  3. Manage a list of existing and prospective sponsors and track their donation status;
  4. With input from other officers, develop, and maintain a sponsorship package, including advertising materials and the like to be used in soliciting sponsorships, raising funds, and advertising;
  5. Solicit paid advertisements and financial support from businesses and individuals who provide planning-related services, to fund Section programs and activities, events, and the news magazine;
  6. Serve as the contact on communications and support among the Section Board and sponsors; and
  7. Coordinate with the Treasurer on billing and collecting for sponsorships and advertisements.

San Francisco Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC)

The RACs represent the Section’s geographic areas on the Board. Northern Section’s seven geographic areas are East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa counties), Monterey Bay (Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz counties), North Bay (Marin, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties), Peninsula (San Mateo County), Redwood Coast (Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, and Mendocino counties), San Francisco, and South Bay (Santa Clara County). The RACs’ duties are to:

  1. Provide input to the Board on the special needs of members in the Section’s regions;
  2. Organize periodic meetings and workshops for members in their regions, contribute relevant articles to the news magazine, and assist the Professional Development Director in carrying out the Section’s professional development programs; and
  3. Organize occasional social functions to foster a sense of community within and among Section members in the region.

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Who’s where

Who’s where

Alicia Giudice, AICP, has been pro­moted to Com­munity Develop­ment Director, effective June 1, 2021, at the City of San Rafael, where she has held senior planning positions since 2018. Pre­viously, she was a senior plan­ner with Metropolitan Planning Group (M-Group) for six years. Giudice has worked in both the pri­vate sector and for local govern­ment for 25 years. Her experience includes leading teams and managing a broad range of complex development projects, as well as preparing policy documents on land use, housing, traffic, and utility/infrastructure uses in the public right-of-way. Giudice holds a BS in city and regional planning from Cal Poly–San Luis Obispo. 

Richard (Rick) Smeaton, AICPis now a Principal Plan­ner at Inter­west Consult­ing Group, and also has been appointed to the Northern Section Board as South Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC). He had been a depart­ment manager with Michael Baker Inter­national in Oakland for seven years. Before coming to the Bay Area in 2014, Smeaton worked with municipal govern­­ments in a variety of roles, either as a member of the staff or a consultant in the Chicago area. He holds an MPA in public administra­tion from Northern Illinois University and a BA in urban and regional plan­ning from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. 

Leslie Trejo has been appointed Social Media Coordinator for APA California – Northern Section. She is an environ­mental planner at Rincon Consultants. Trejo holds a master of urban planning from San Jose State and bachelor’s degrees in com­munica­tions and environmental sustain­ability studies from the University of Northern Colorado (Greeley). In her spare time, she enjoys reading and cycling.





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Research: regulatory reform and affordable housing

Research: regulatory reform and affordable housing

From Cityscape, HUD USER, Volume 23, Number 1, 2021

The newest issue of this Journal of Policy Development and Research features a symposium examining Regulatory Reform and Affordable Housing. In 1991, at the behest of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) then-Secretary Jack Kemp, the Advisory Commission on Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing issued a report highlighting how land-use restrictions have worsened housing affordability. Since then, HUD has published additional research and information on regulatory barriers, their consequences, and strategies for reducing them. This issue was guest-edited by Regina C. Gray and Mark A. Reardon.

Robert W. Wassmer and Joshua A. Williams analyze data from the Wharton Residential Land Use Regulatory Index to estimate the effects of a one-unit change in regulatory strictness on the price of land available for new residential construction in U.S. metropolitan areas. The authors determine that a one-unit decrease in regulatory stringency could reduce the price of new residential homes by about a fourth of the standard deviation observed in residential land prices across the U.S.

Mike Fratantoni, Edward Seiler, and Jamie Woodwell link land-use restrictions in the last decade and a half to the evolution in housing supply and affordability within a diverse set of metropolitan markets across the U.S. The authors posit that a within-metropolitan area analysis can control for important drivers of housing values to shed light on the impact of land-use regulations at a smaller scale.

Michael LaCour-Little and Weifeng Wu use the National Longitudinal Land Use Survey to evaluate how density control in the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas affects rent growth and home appreciation over time.

Alastair McFarlane, Janet Li, and Michael Hollar present an economic framework to evaluate the costs and benefits of building code regulations on housing markets, with particular attention to energy efficiency.

Linna Zhu, Evgeny Burinskiy, Jorge De la Roca, Richard K. Green, and Marlon G. Boarnet examine a 2016 local ballot measure in Los Angeles County, which created a new by-right inclusionary zoning program near transit. The authors determine that the program has led to almost as many building permits over its shorter life as the longstanding density bonus program.

Emily Hamilton estimates the effects of inclusionary zoning on market-rate house prices and building permits in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. region, finding some evidence that inclusionary zoning increases house prices, but does not reduce new housing supply.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners.

See the full list of research papers here.

Return to Northern News here.

Director’s note: Who matters?

Director’s note: Who matters?

By Florentina Craciun, March 17, 2021

I’ve recently been doing more than my fair share of driving to Los Angeles, and with the time spent in the car, I decided to give former President Barack Obama’s latest book a try. I bought “A Promised Land” (Crown, November 2020) in hard copy a few weeks back, but I always enjoy nonfiction books in an audible format. I used one of my 11 audible credits (unused thanks to the pandemic, as I mostly listen to audiobooks while I travel) and downloaded the book. To my delight, the president himself is the narrator; to my dismay, the book is 30 hours long. I am about six hours in as I write this note in mid-March, and I am looking forward to the next 24 hours with President Obama.

Besides recommending this as a good book, I am sharing my current audiobook adventures because Obama, at some point in Chapter 7, while talking about what patriotism means to him — and his own personal experience with walking the line of being a black man in a white world (my words not his) — he asks a fundamental question: WHO MATTERS?

I pose this question to you, as planners: Who matters while we make plans, and most importantly, who matters as we enforce them? How do we ensure that “who matters” doesn’t get watered down or lost through our routine application of standards, guidelines, and rules?

Who matters — the people who may be seriously affected by a noxious use, or the use allowed by zoning? Who matters — the people who live in a food desert, or the sanctity of the zoning that gave them a different development instead of the grocery store they needed?

I know these are simplistic examples, but I want to hear yours. What examples can you share, and what are your answers to “Who matters?” And I emphasize WHO matters, not WHAT matters. I believe this question matters even more in 2021, in a world challenged by the harsh realities of climate change and the inequities of environmental justice. How do we answer “who matters” when we must balance the losses experienced by a few (such as land lost through eminent domain for California’s High-Speed Rail) for the gain of many (air and car trips reduced and GHG emissions lowered)?

I’m trying to answer that question for myself, including “What is my role as an urban planner?” but I really would like to hear your examples and your answers.

Send me your thoughts: director@norcalapa.org. I’d like to read them, and maybe I can share them anonymously in a future Director’s note.

Return to Northern News here.

Clipper START unites innovation with equity
Ed benning02@sbcglobal.net Clipper Promotion: Vallejo Photos Copyright Noah Berger / 2014

Clipper START unites innovation with equity

By Carol Kuester, MTC, March 17, 2021

In the San Francisco Bay Area, transportation is the third-largest monthly expense for most households, trailing only the cost of housing and food. For those most impacted by the cost of transit, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) launched Clipper START SM in July 2020. This 12- to 18-month pilot program offers 20 to 50 percent discounts to eligible low-income adults on 21 of the region’s buses, trains, and ferries.

To be eligible, adults must live in the Bay Area and have annual earnings of not more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level — approximately $52,400 for a family of four. The discounted fares can help eligible riders, many of whom are essential medical and service workers, to reach their jobs at a lower cost, retaining urgently needed income. Those eligible, adults between the ages of 19 and 64, were targeted because they are not eligible for other low-income programs offered to youth, seniors, and the disabled.

The Clipper START program requires riders to use a Clipper card for fare payment. Riders can apply online at http://www.clipperstartcard.com or by submitting a paper application available at Clipper service centers and at transit agencies. Applicants need to provide proof of identity and income. Those approved receive a personalized Clipper card that can be used for single-ride discounts on participating transit agency lines.

Twenty-one agencies participating

When the pilot program began in July 2020, four of the region’s largest transit carriers signed on with discounts of 50 percent on San Francisco Muni, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry, and a 20 percent discount on BART. Seventeen additional transit agencies are now participating, for a total of 21 carriers (see table below). An ancillary benefit of Clipper START is a reduction in the use of motor vehicles, the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions. Post-pandemic, Clipper START should also help to revitalize public transit and bring additional riders into the system.

Creating the system and signing up eligible adults

Clipper START, built on the existing Clipper card program, launched in the Bay Area in 2010.

It began with Salesforce, under contract to MTC, developing an application portal to allow individuals to apply. Cubic Transportation Systems, also under contract to MTC, developed and provided an application programming interface so that the Salesforce portal could forward information on approved applicants to the Clipper system.

When eligibility is verified, a new Clipper card with the discount “coupon” is issued to the recipient. Each card has a distinct identification number and includes the recipient’s name. When a customer tags the card to the various readers used by transit operators, it accesses a separate fare table that calculates the fare discount automatically. The technology developed for the program is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.

For outreach, in addition to press releases, advertising, and social media, staff collaborated with a wide variety of social service agencies, community-based organizations, and transit agency networks to make riders aware of the discounts. Many organizations assisted residents with the application process.

Finding funding for Clipper START

Funding the program involved many challenges. MTC project managers worked closely with staff and transit operators to identify funds that could be used to offset fare-revenue reductions. MTC initially committed $11 million to implement the program, including $8 million in State Transit Assistance program funds generated by the state diesel fuel sales tax, plus $3 million from the statewide Low-Carbon Transit Operations Program. MTC later committed an additional $5 million from the federal CARES Act to expand the program to additional transit agencies.

To date, almost 4,400 applications have been received since July 2020, and 4,000 have been approved. Over 77,300 transit trips have been taken using Clipper START through mid-March 2021. This number is expected to rapidly increase as Covid-19 subsides, helping to revitalize transit in a post-pandemic world. The ongoing program evaluation will also provide a new source of data that MTC will continuously use to improve the program.

Going forward, the process used to develop Clipper START is now being leveraged in developing a similar program offering discounts to low-income drivers on the region’s Express Lanes, which will be known as FasTrak START.

Carol Kuester is the Director of Electronic Payments at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the transportation planning, financing, and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a BA in community and environmental studies from UC Davis and an MS in urban transportation planning from UCLA. You can reach her at ckuester@bayareametro.gov.

The San Francisco Bay Area includes the nine counties that surround the bay – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Twenty-six transit agencies operate in the region.

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By Libby Tyler, FAICP, Ethics Review Director, Northern Section


Do you still need to fulfill your mandatory AICP|CM credits for Ethics?

Then refresh your memory of the AICP Code of Ethics using a fun game-show platform!

Join veteran ethics trainer Darcy Kremin, AICP, of Rincon Consultants, along with a panel of experts. They will put your ethics knowledge to the test using a learning game platform and breakout discussions. Attendance at this lively and engaging refresher of the AICP Code of Ethics is limited to the first 150 registrants.

APA California Northern Section and APA California present:

  • AICP Ethics Training Webinar
  • Friday, April 16, 2021
  • 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm
  • CM Ethics | 1.50 (pending)

Registration is free but required. Just go here.

Questions? Contact Libby Tyler, Northern Section Ethics Director, at ethics@norcalapa.org or (217) 493-4372

Return to Northern News here.



I am sending kudos for the quality and content of CA APA Northern’s newsletter. It is informative and inspirational! The graphics are well done, and it covers a wide range of urban planning issues. Thank you for your leadership!

Kate Gillespie, AICP, Sacramento