Tag: 2021-11-nn-norcal

Who’s where

Who’s where

Assembled by Hazel Choi, associate editor.

Tom Ford, AICP, was promoted to Principal at M-Group in June, where he had been director of urban design since December 2016. Before M-Group, he was an urban design consultant in Hong Kong and China (2010-2015) and a principal at Design, Community, and Environment (now Placeworks) from 1999 to 2009. Ford was a project manager and town planner at Calthorpe Associates from 1994 to 1999. He holds a master of architecture from UC Berkeley and an AB in dramatic art from UC Davis.


Sarah Bernstein Jones is now Assistant Director, Com­munity Develop­ment Agency, County of Marin. She had been plan­ning direc­tor with the San Fran­cisco Muni­cipal Trans­porta­tion Agen­cy, creat­ing plans and pro­grams to promote SFMTA’s vision, mis­sion, and Strategic Plan, 2016-2021. Before that, Jones worked for the San Fran­cisco Planning Depart­ment for 10 years, the last three as Direc­tor of Environ­mental Plan­ning/En­viron­mental Review Officer. She holds a master of city planning from UC Berkeley and a BA in urban studies from Stanford University. After developing a lifelong love of cities growing up in New York, Jones lives in San Francisco with her family.


Sofia Manga­lam has joined the Town of Los Altos Hills as Planning Director. She has more than 16 years’ ex­per­ience in Land Use Plan­ning in both pub­lic and pri­vate sectors, where she managed large-scale resi­dential and com­mercial projects. Manga­lam was most recently a planning manager for the City of Foster City, 2020-2021, and was with the City of Newark, 2016-2020. Mangalam also worked in New York City as a city planner in the Depart­ment of Trans­portation and for S9 Architecture and GreenbergFarrow. She holds a leadership certificate from the Leadership Academy of Alameda County, a master of urban design from Edinburgh College of Art, and a BA in architecture from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University.


Lakshmi Raja­gopalan, AICP, was recent­ly pro­moted to Plan­ner IV at the Plan­ning and Build­ing Depart­ment of the City of Oak­land. She was an analyst at LAFCO of Santa Clara County, 2017-2021, and an as­soc­iate plan­ner with the Stanis­laus Council of Govern­ments. Before that, she worked with the mayor’s sustainability office in Newton, MA, and conducted research abroad on sustainable transportation practices for the World Resources Institute. Rajagopalan was also a senior planner and urban designer for PMC (now Michael Baker International). She holds a master’s in sustainable international development from Brandeis University, a master’s in urban planning from San Jose State University, and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Thiagarajar College of Engineering (Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India).


Melissa Ruhl has been pro­moted to Sen­ior Policy and Market Strategist at Ford Motor Com­pany in San Fran­cisco where she col­laborates with cities and transit agencies to plan for the future. Before joining Ford in 2020, Ruhl was a senior planner for Arup in San Francisco where she managed projects on transportation innovation. She holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from San Jose State University and a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Oregon. Ruhl regularly speaks in California and nationally on autonomous vehicles and the future of cities. She was recognized on the “40 under 40” Mass Transit Magazine list in 2019. Ruhl served on the APA California Northern Section Board from 2014 through 2016. 


Return to Northern News here. 

An easier path to AICP Certification

An easier path to AICP Certification

By Afshan Hamid, AICP, Professional Development Director, Northern Section

Good news! The process to AICP certification is now simpler and faster.

The American Planning Association has launched a reorganized and updated “One Path to AICP,” showing the process, the costs, and the timetable. The new three-step process is intended to increase APA membership, keep AICP credibility high, and be inclusive for traditional planning degrees and allied degree professionals and students.

The following is bottom-line information. AICP has updated its website and posted a new guide.

  1. Register for the exam. Any current APA member or student may register — no professional experience required. You must commit to the AICP Code of Ethics.
  2. Take the exam. Once you pass the exam, you will be designated “AICP Candidate.”
  3. Certification and verification. Provide your credentials including education, employment, and a “planning experience assessment.” No essay is required. Once steps 1, 2, and 3 are complete, you will be AICP certified.

Note that a “planning experience assessment” will be provided to you in advance, along with a worksheet. A new interactive calculator will be available so you can track your progress to AICP Candidate or AICP.


AICP Certification brings value to your career, to the organization you work for, and to the communities you serve. Those four letters after your name demonstrate your expertise, show your commitment to professional ethics, distinguish you in the job market, and keep your planning skills in tip-top shape. Watch for APA’s announcement.

Return to Northern News here.

HCD awards $158M in infrastructure grants to support new affordable homes

HCD awards $158M in infrastructure grants to support new affordable homes

By Alex Traverso, HCD, December 2, 2021

The California Department of Housing and Community Development’s awards come from the “Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) program to communities throughout the state for infrastructure improvements that support the development of affordable and mixed-income housing.

“Funded by the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018 (Proposition 1), the primary objective of the IIG program is to promote infill housing development by providing financial assistance for Capital Improvement Projects that are an integral part of or necessary to facilitate the development of infill housing. Although the program does not fund the development of the housing itself, the infrastructure it provides is necessary for housing development.”

Receiving funds in northern California are:

Applicant Project Name City County Award Amount
City of Santa Rosa Santa Rosa QIA Santa Rosa Sonoma $9,540,147
350 China Basin Partners, LLC 400 China Basin Condominiums San Francisco San Francisco $4,243,993
City and County of San Francisco Balboa Reservoir QIA San Francisco San Francisco $26,000,000
City of Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Pacific Station Santa Cruz Santa Cruz $20,940,820
Linc Housing Corporation Eureka Scattered Site Project Eureka Humboldt $750,000

QIA = Qualified Infill Area, which requires the City as a joint applicant.

See the full list of awardees here (PDF).

Return to Northern News here.

Director’s note: There are some really big questions out there
TIME FOR WEBINAR word with Notepad and green plant on wooden background

Director’s note: There are some really big questions out there

By Florentina Craciun, December 8, 2021.

Hello colleagues,

Here we are, bruised —and maybe even a bit confused — but we made it to the end of 2021. Some of us may not have finished processing 2020, but here we are.

You may have been juggling the same or new commitments, but time tends to blur all. And time is what many of us have had a lot of these past two years: Time to consider our priorities, time to burn out, time to recover, time to value more hours spent at home and fewer hours on the highways. Have we also had time as professionals to ask big questions?

  1. What will happen to our regional commute patterns? And how will that impact where we live, the air we breathe, and how we utilize space?
  2. What will happen to public transit if riders do not return? Can our governing bodies keep transit afloat? Do we need to remold the commuter-serving model of transit so it serves smaller areas and neighborhoods — zip codes as opposed to regions?
  3. What are the needs of the emerging workforce and how can we best serve it? Can urban planning create the environments sought by the new workforce?
  4. What role do we have, professionally and personally, in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion conversation? Will we craft DEI policies and implement them?
  5. What should planning for uncertain times look like — or has the future always been this uncertain?
  6. As we journey into the new year as professionals, the models we relied on are changing. Can we as a profession adapt?

I hope you will join with Northern Section in the new year as we discuss these and other questions at the regional level. We are planning big things for APA in 2022, but to start things off on a lighter note, plan on joining us for our “New Year – New Northern” party on January 20, 2022, at Manny’s in San Francisco. Come and mingle with your colleagues, meet the APA Awards Winners, and hear about our programming for 2022 and how you can get involved. Details to come.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Return to Northern News here.

Year-end plea from CPF scholarship fund

Year-end plea from CPF scholarship fund

By Juan F. Borrelli, AICP, Past President, CPF

The California Planning Foundation (CPF) awarded $72,000 via 48 scholarships to 40 outstanding planning students at the 2021 APA California Virtual Conference. The scholarship recipients — from diverse backgrounds — were selected because they are talented, motivated, and demonstrated academic excellence at planning programs across California.

That said, it’s been a challenging year for fundraising. We set a goal to raise $60,000 by the end of this year to fund next year’s CPF Scholarships. So far, we’ve raised about $40,000.

In the spirit of the holiday season, will you consider donating to CPF this month? We are fundraising for a second CPF Diversity Scholarship, and as you know, every dollar counts! We hope you can give at the “Friend of CPF” level or higher, but no donation is too small: Anonymous matching donors will match all donations made in 2021, dollar-for-dollar, up to $7,000). CPF is a 501(c)(3) organization, so all contributions are tax-deductible.

Donate securely online here or mail a check made out to “California Planning Foundation,” to

Lisa Wise, CPF Treasurer
c/o Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc.
983 Osos Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

If you have questions about CPF, about donating, or about setting up a new CPF Scholarship endowment, please email CPF President Hing Wong, AICP.

Thanks in advance for considering the CPF Student Scholarship Program. You can make a difference in the lives of students in California planning programs across the entire state.

Return to Northern News here.

2022 Planning Leadership Academy; 12 CM credits

2022 Planning Leadership Academy; 12 CM credits

Co-hosted by the California Planning Roundtable and APA California

Registration is now open for the California Planning Roundtable’s 2022 Leadership Academy. The first two-hour session will be held Friday, morning, January 21, from 8:30 am to 10:30 am.

Discover what kind of leader you want to be.

Self-aware leaders can clearly communicate their vision to stakeholders, colleagues, and employees.

The program was developed to help planners make an impact by learning directly from California change-makers who are advancing best practices and important causes and are leading others through transformative changes.

  • January 21, Leadership Values
  • February 18, Mindset
  • March 18, Emotional Intelligence
  • April 15, Negotiation
  • May 20, Diversity & Inclusion
  • June 3, Leadership Reflections

All programs are scheduled on Fridays from 8:30 am to 10:30 am.


For more information and to register, please visit the Leadership Academy webpage.

Return to Northern News here.



The 2021 APA California-Northern Section Election ballot is now available. Three members of Northern Section are running to be our next Treasurer: Ashley James, AICP; Brendan Hurley; and Edgar Maravilla.

Among other duties, the Treasurer prepares our annual budget and receives and disperses funds as authorized.

Voting ends December 16 at 11:59 pm, so don’t delay, vote now. You’ll see the nominees’ statements when you open the ONLINE BALLOT HERE. You’ll need your APA ID number.

Return to Northern News here.