Tag: 2022-02-nn-norcal

Who’s where

Who’s where

James A. Casta­ñeda, AICP, who joined the North­ern Sect­ion Board in 2011 and was Di­rec­tor of our North­ern Sect­ion in 2019 and 2020 before de­part­ing for Los Angeles, is now a senior assoc­iate at Place­Works’ Los Angeles office. Pre-pandemic, Castañeda was a planner for the County of San Mateo for 14 years as both a program coordinator for the SFO Community Roundtable and a project planner in the Current Planning Section. Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP hired him as senior land-use planner for their Los Angeles office early in 2020. Castañeda holds a BS in city and regional planning from New Mexico State University. He still plays SimCity 4, lives in West Hollywood, and is engaged to a city planner.



Isabel Cas­tel­lano, whose di­verse train­ing in­cludes arch­itect­ure, cons­erva­tion, and arch­aeo­logy, has joined M-­Group as Hist­oric Pres­erva­tion Spec­ial­ist. Prior to M-Group, she contributed to the technical development of a number of architectural and urban planning projects. Most recently, Castellano worked for PPM Consulting Engineers as a consultant to the City of Miami Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Division, overseeing various historic districts and designated structures. She holds a master of arts in conservation studies for historic buildings from the University of York (England) and a B.Arch. from Syracuse University. Her architectural passion is preserving local culture, craft, and design. Castellano enjoys traveling to diverse cities and recording, learning, and deciphering the local architecture, culture, and cuisine.


Mari Hsu has been ap­point­ed Assoc­iate Edit­or for North­ern News, in add­it­ion to their duties as the SJSU Stud­ent Rep­resent­ative to the North­ern Section Board. Hsu is entering their last semester of the master of urban and regional planning program and is writing about community outreach efforts around the San Francisco and Oakland bus rapid transit line implementations. Having grown up in a part of Appalachia that relies solely on personal cars, advocating for public and active transit is near and dear to Hsu’s heart. They are also an advocate on issues of social and racial justice and hope to work at this intersection in the near future. Hsu holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Bryn Mawr College.


Ashley James, AICP, has been elec­ted Treas­urer of the North­ern Section. Her term of of­fice will run through 2023. Among other duties, the Treas­urer pre­pares our an­nual budget, and receives and disperses funds as authorized. James is an associate planner with the City of Berkeley. Before that, she was an associate planner with the City of Vallejo and an associate at PlaceWorks (Berkeley). James holds a master of urban and regional planning (economic and workforce development) from the University of Minnesota and a BS in environmental economics from the University of New Hampshire.


Mary Mc­Gee is the new UC Berk­eley Stud­ent Rep­resent­ative to the North­ern Section Board. A first year grad­uate student at UC Berkeley pursuing concurrent master’s degrees in city planning and public health, she hails from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental economics and geography from Colgate University. McGee is passionate about creating healthy and equitable cities and communities for all. She is also interested in transportation, commuting behaviors, active transportation, and design/user experience. McGee loves being outdoors (skiing, hiking, biking, etc.) and exploring new places, especially through food and performance arts.


Guido Per­si­cone, AICP, who for the past six years has been plan­ning mana­ger for East Palo Alto and Los Altos, is now with the City of Marina as Com­mun­ity Dev­elop­ment Direc­tor. Persicone has 18-plus years of experience in complex urban infill development, zoning code updates, and affordable and Below Market Rate housing. He holds a master’s in urban and regional planning from SJSU and a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Riverside. He and his wife have two children and live in south San Jose. When he has spare time, Persicone runs or hikes the trails and hills around his neighborhood or walks his new puppy, Charlie.

Rachael A. Tanner, who was ap­pointed by the Board of Super­visors to the San Fran­cisco Plan­ning Com­mis­sion in 2020, has been elected by her col­leagues to serve as pres­i­dent of the com­mis­sion. Tanner is the As­sistant Director of Plan­ning and Develo­ment Ser­vices for the City of Palo Alto. Before that, she was a senior planner for the City and County of San Francisco and legislative aide to District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai. She holds a master of city planning from MIT and BA in political science from the University of Michigan.

Return to Northern News here.

Congratulations to our newest members of AICP

Congratulations to our newest members of AICP

APA California–Northern congratulates 12 APA members, from Santa Cruz to Fort Bragg, who passed the November 2021 AICP exam. The three AICP Candidates will become fully certified after they complete their professional experience requirements. They may use the AICP Candidate designation now.


Maya Amichai, AICP, Vacaville

Rebecca Dalske, AICP, Ukiah

Rucha Dande, AICP, Foster City

Heather Gurewitz, AICP, Fort Bragg

Bei Jia, AICP, San Jose

Drew Levitt, AICP, Oakland

Brian Manford, AICP, San Francisco

Celina Palmer, AICP, Pittsburg

Stephen Terrin, AICP, Sebastopol

AICP Candidate

Sam Hughes, AICP Candidate, Santa Cruz

June Lai, AICP Candidate, Hayward

Drew Taplin, AICP Candidate, Walnut Creek

See the nationwide list of successful candidates here.

Return to Northern News here.

APA members: Free access to select SPUR sessions

APA members: Free access to select SPUR sessions

By Afshan Hamid, AICP, January 21, 2022

APA California–Northern Section has partnered with SPUR to bring exciting and relevant events to Bay Area planners. Please register on the SPUR website at spur.org. Use APAWinter for free access during checkout. We hope to see you at these events.

Event attendees will receive a link to a Digital Discourse with their receipt of registration. If you experience any difficulties, or for questions or comments, please email publicprograms@spur.org, or call (415) 781-8726.

• Building the Foundation for Transit-Oriented Communities in the Bay Area

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. | Wednesday, January 26, 2022

This program is rescheduled from November 2021. If you signed up for the original event, your registration will be transferred to this new date.

In July 2021, SPUR hosted a conversation with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and local developers about the prime opportunities that exist for more successful and equitable transit-oriented development (TOD) throughout the Bay Area — locations that could house thousands of jobs and residents in communities around existing transit. Months later, the agency has developed new preliminary policy proposals for its updated TOD plan, drawing on rigorous analysis and years of research into best practices. Join us to learn what MTC is proposing, share your questions and concerns, and help push the region towards more achievable transit-oriented development.

+ Kara Vuicich / Metropolitan Transportation Commission
+ Mayor Jesse Arreguín / Mayor of Berkeley
Justine Marcus / Enterprise Community Partners
Councilmember Carlos Romero / East Palo Alto City Council
+ Jonathon Kass / SPUR

Free to the public. Co-presented by APA California–Northern, Enterprise Community Partners, and TransForm, and generously sponsored by Google.

Pre-register for a link to this Digital Discourse >>

• • A Coordinated Strategy for California

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. | Wednesday, February 2, 2022

California is faced with such a multitude of land use and planning challenges — including climate change, wildfires and drought, and a worsening housing crisis — that they span multiple state agencies. The California Strategic Growth Council was created to ensure that these myriad agencies align around a coordinated vision towards addressing these existential dilemmas. Join us for a conversation with the agency’s new executive director, Lynn Von Koch-Liebert, to hear the state’s plans for making California a more resilient and sustainable place for everyone.

+ Nick Josefowitz / SPUR
+ Lynn Von Koch-Liebert / California Strategic Growth Council

Co-presented by APA California–Northern.

Pre-register for a link to this Digital Discourse >>

• • • How Should California Prioritize Its Transportation Funding?

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. | Tuesday, February 8, 2022

The California Transportation Commission (CTC), the state agency formed in 1978 to replace four other independent bodies, is responsible for distributing a significant portion of the state’s discretionary transportation funding, including the allocation of funds for highway construction, passenger rail, and general transportations improvements throughout California. Where does the money go, and how does the commission determine what to fund? Take part in a conversation with the executive director of the commission, Mitch Weiss, and learn how the CTC operates and its critical role in achieving the state’s climate, public health, and equity goals.

+ Nick Josefwitz / SPUR
+ Mitch Weiss / California Transportation Commission

Co-presented by APA California–Northern.

Pre-register for a link to this Digital Discourse >>

• • • • Planning (Literally) the Future of California

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. | Tuesday, February 15, 2022

As California continues the fight against climate change amid the growing housing crisis, leaders across the state are looking at a number of ways to address both challenges. The California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) is a vital player in this undertaking, with a wide purview that includes land use, community development, climate resilience, and economic development, and is tasked with studying future research and planning needs across the state. In the fall of 2021, the agency brought on a new director, Samuel Assefa, to lead OPR’s efforts towards planning for an affordable, equitable, and sustainable California. Join him in conversation with SPUR’s Chief Policy Officer, Nick Josefowitz, to learn how California plans to address its monumental challenges in 2022 and beyond.

+ Nick Josefowitz / SPUR
+ Sam Assefa / California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

Co-presented by APA California–Northern.

Pre-register for a link to this Digital Discourse >>

Return to Northern News here.

Get ready to nominate a Northern Section Superstar

Get ready to nominate a Northern Section Superstar

February 9th is the day. That’s when Northern Section will open nominations for our 2022 Awards for persons and projects in a dozen or more categories. At that time, you’ll find all the details, rules, and application forms here. 

In previous years, several Northern Section winners went on to garner State Awards. We expect you to keep up the tradition as we recognize the best in planning.

Return to Northern News here.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the planner’s workplace, an on-demand series

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the planner’s workplace, an on-demand series

By Greg Konar, AICP, Distance Education Coordinator, APA California

Get a head start on the new 2022-23 CM reporting cycle by earning your mandatory 1.0 equity credit!

APA Members: $15 • Students: FREE

Previously Attended Webinar in DEI Series: FREE

APA California is now offering all three videos from the recent DEI in the Planner’s Workplace series:

  1. DEI Private Sector Firms: CM | 1.0 | EQUITY
  2. DEI Public Sector: CM | 1.0 | EQUITY
  3. DEI Non-Profit World: CM | 1.0 | EQUITY

Watch either of the first two videos to fulfill your equity requirement. Earn two additional CM credits by watching either or both of the other two.

Please note: The new CM rules require mandatory credits to be earned within the period they are reported. They may only be carried over to a new reporting period as general CM, not mandatory.

Register here.

If you attended any of the DEI webinars in 2021, select the “Previously Attended Webinar in DEI Series” registration category to access all videos in the series. To earn your equity credit, either review a video you watched or select a different video.

Questions? Contact Greg Konar, AICP, Distance Education Coordinator, APA California.

Return to Northern News here.

Director’s note: Here’s to 2022
TIME FOR WEBINAR word with Notepad and green plant on wooden background

Director’s note: Here’s to 2022

By Florentina Craciun, January 19, 2022

Hello colleagues,

My last Director’s note ended with an open invitation to what was going to be a launch party for Northern Section events for 2022. While we were ready to shed 2021, it turns out 2022 has other plans for us. With the rise in Covid cases, we decided to postpone our “New Year, New Northern” bash and instead concentrate on how to keep you engaged and safe at the same time. So although my hopes were crushed and I feel confused, here we are, carrying on.

In this short note, I reflect on two things: what your Northern Section Board accomplished in 2021, and what we hope to accomplish in 2022.

What we accomplished

The Board kicked off 2021 with our traditional Board Retreat, but in a non-traditional manner on Zoom. We met over two days to lay out and accomplish Board goals for 2021. We decided to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in all Section activities, while at the same time increasing our membership engagement, improving our communications with you, and expanding our partnerships with related organizations.

Toward meeting those goals, Board members participated in a DEI reflection where we discussed how each individual Board member understands DEI issues, as well as how DEI affects us personally. We learned that we all have unique stories with common threads, and that to grow inclusivity we need to address the root problems of:

  • Access to education,
  • Exposure to planning issues, and
  • Increased representation.

To further engage members, we held several webinars, including our annual Ethics session — approximately 150 planners from all over the state attended. We also engaged with ABAG, MTA, AEP, SPUR, and other regional organizations to expand our programming. Work started and continues on an updated website and branding to make sure you can easily get information as you need it, when you need it. You can expect to see those updates in your inbox soon.

We also made several organizational changes. You know that we have the largest membership of the eight sections in APA California, and we have a large Board structured to serve you. We created “pods” so that Board members can easily cooperate on responsibilities such as professional support and communications. We streamlined our onboarding process to make sure that new Board members feel supported in carrying out their responsibilities. And we drafted and will soon launch a Board Mentorship program.

What we are planning for 2022

We are starting the year with a bang. We have a Job Panel coming up on January 28th for first-time job seekers to help them better understand the planning field. Our annual Board Retreat is coming up on Friday, February 4th, and Saturday, February 5th. We will plan for the year, setting goals for Northern Section and for ourselves. And we will be launching a four-part series to address the AICP CM credits as they relate to the mandatory requirements of Ethics, Law, Equity, and Sustainability and Resilience.

We are also working on resuming our AICP test training. For more than 30 years, and until Covid-19 dropped anchor here, Dr. Don Bradley, AICP, conducted well-attended in-person workshops to help you prepare for the AICP exam. We’re now planning for a future where we live with the continuing presence of Covid. If you are interested in working on how we can best prepare our upcoming planners for AICP entry, please contact me.

Your Northern Section Board comprises dedicated planners who want to make a difference in our professional lives. If you are interested in joining us, we have some opportunities. Don’t be shy, and we promise to make it fun. Just check out the opportunities here.

I will have more to share with you after our Board Retreat, so stay tuned for updates.

Here’s to a 2022 where we will all feel fulfilled!

Return to Northern News here.

Webinar: From Complete Streets to Complete Networks

Webinar: From Complete Streets to Complete Networks

Participants of this free, live webinar are eligible for 1.5 AICP CM credits

Moving beyond complete streets to complete networks – entire networks of continuous and connected facilities for transit, bike, auto, freight, and pedestrians – involves conducting a larger review of networks for each travel mode.

Join the Maryland Department of Planning and Smart Growth Network as planners from the Michigan Department of Transportation and Southeast Michigan Council of Governments share a set of tools they have built to evolve the state of the practice for complete streets planning and design.

Attend this webinar Thursday, February 3, from 10:00-11:30 am PST and earn 1.5 CM credits.

Register for this free webinar, “From Complete Streets to Complete Networks: A Data-Driven, Performance-Based, Multimodal Planning Tool,” here.

The Smart Growth Information Clearinghouse, sponsor of the webinar, is a project of the Smart Growth Network and is partially funded by the U.S. EPA, Office of Community Revitalization, and managed by the Maryland Department of Planning.

Return to Northern News here.

Planning Commissioners Academy in March in San Ramon

Planning Commissioners Academy in March in San Ramon

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

The California League of Cities is hosting an in-person Planning Commissioners Academy, March 16-18, at the San Ramon Marriott.

Designed for new and seasoned planning commissioners alike, the conference provides city officials with information about the roles and responsibilities of a planning commissioner, offers a basic legal and practical framework, and helps foster relationships with fellow planning commissioners.

At the conference, you will network with other Planning Commissioners as you learn in one place about

  • Senate Bill 9
  • Relationship-building with councils and staff
  • CEQA
  • The streamlined housing laws
  • How to prepare findings and conditions of approval
  • Wildfire planning
  • New and pending legislation

Go here to register. The cutoff for hotel reservations is February 16. Registration for the academy closes March 4, 2022. Local mask mandates will apply.

For questions about registration, please contact Megan Dunn. For all other questions, please contact Christina George.

Return to Northern News here.