Monday, August 9, 2010

AIA|LA meets with Assembly Member Kevin DeLeon

On Friday, August 6, 2010 AIA members Michael Pinto and Travis Frankel joined me in a meeting with Assembly Member Kevin de León and his District Director Steve Veres.  

Essentially, we were there to introduce Kevin de León to the leadership resources of AIA|LA and to hear what's on his mind and discuss ideas for how we can help advance his key initiatives.  We were also there on behalf of the profession to advocate the need for the State to allow municipalities and other public agencies the same degree of flexibility as the private-sector in selecting capital improvement project delivery methods that best suit the needs for each particular project, as opposed to always relying on either Design-Bid-Build or Design-Build for all of them.

Additionally, with the expertise of Michael Pinto and Travis Frankel, we were able to expand the dialogue to include the need for more urban pocket parks and more opportunities for urban farming and local food production, especially in underserved areas of Los Angeles that don't often have access to fresh fruit and vegetables. We asked de León to explore further connecting health care reform funding opportunities directly to the built environment, since a healthy place is one of the best forms of preventative care.

As many of you may know, de León is one of the hipper, more down-to-earth and accessible assembly members (at Friday's meeting, he sported a week's worth of stubble and an oversized, super-stylish sports watch that gave me the impression that he's probably younger than I am!).

De Leon is most well known for advancing legislation centered around opportunities to improve access to parkland for underserved communities.  He authored AB 31 last year, which established a needs-based competitive grants program for the distribution of Prop 84 funds for local park development.  Hopefully, we'll start to see some of that park space emerge soon, predominantly in the guise of pocket parks that also help mitigate storm-water run-off and provide opportunities to improve air quality in Southern California (six freeways criss-cross de León's forty-fifth district).

Friday's meeting is just the latest in the series of one-on-one meetings we've been coordinating with our local legislators.  To date, we've also met with the office of Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, Assemblymembers Mike Feuer and Mike Davis and Senators Fran Pavely and Gil Cedillo.

As we move forward with planning additional meetings, please feel free to get in touch with me if you have interest in being a part of the greater conversation.  Your voice is the leadership of the profession.

-Will Wright
Director, Government & Public Affairs
AIA Los Angeles

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