Andy Bowden, ASLA
As your chapter representative, I recently attended the Board of Trustees meeting in Washington DC on April 25-April 27. I am pleased to provide to you, for your information, the following Brief summarizing the 3 days of meetings.
Advocacy Day, April 25. Representing our chapter to our elected officials, this was the 6th Advocacy Day I have attended over these last years.
All of the California delegates, which were comprised of the presidents, president elects, and trustees of the four chapters in California (12 of us in total) met with staff members of our US Senators, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein. We advocated for Complete Street legislation, the Innovative Storm Water Solutions Act, and the Community Park Revitalization Act as well as thanking them for their support in the recently enacted Small Business Protection Act. I also personally met with my Congressman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher who represents my own home district and discussed these very important issues, stressing the importance of them to the landscape architectural community.
Board of Trustees Meeting, April 26 and April 27. ASLA National President, Tom Tavella, gave us an update on his many travels as our representative to many varied chapter and state functions across the country including a recent trip to India where he was invited to speak about ASLA , how we function as a professional organization, and how we as landscape architects have helped to shape some recent pieces of legislation with our elected officials.
Executive Vice President, Nancy Somerville, told us that the financial performance is on track and ASLA as a professional organization is in a healthy state, even in these uncertain economic times. The recent ‘up-tick’ in our investments have increased the bottom line and we were able to put money aside into the long term investment account. While some of our revenues are not what had been anticipated or hoped for, they have been offset by reductions in spending. She went on to tell us that this is normal for this time of the year and depending on the end of the year financials and the success of the upcoming Annual Meeting in Boston are expected to show a net profit.
We are still experiencing some loss in membership, but have seen increases in membership over the last several months. The largest loss has come from the student membership as well as affiliate memberships. A new membership campaign will be instituted in the near future. The trustees and the chapter presidents came together for a 2 hour membership boot camp discussion where we discussed strategies for not only recruitment of new members but also or retaining existing members. As we are a membership driven organization, the more members we have the larger our voice with our elected officials.
ASLA National is keeping a vigilant eye on several states where there are challenges to current regulations as it pertains to landscape architecture; Michigan in particular is of concern. There are also concerns regarding possible moves for deregulation in Missouri and Colorado. ASLA National continues to support chapters facing additional legislative or administrative threats and is actively assisting chapter in building their state and local advocacy capacity.
There was a discussion regarding the newest LARE exam and some concerns that have been expressed by the Illinois chapter that the new Grading and Drainage Section was not being seen as having been effective in testing for specific knowledge in that area using the new ‘drag and drop’ method which is now being utilized, (for reference, please note that this section, as is the entire test, is now fully computerized, with no hand drawing being used as a means of testing for proficiency in this subject area).
President of CLARB, Dennis Bryers, gave a presentation on the new LARE format and addressed this concern in stating that it has shown to be as effective, if not more so, in being able to test for specific knowledge. In the past, each test was hand graded which could have some less than subjective results from one reviewer to another. In this method of testing, the test results can be determined much sooner and more effectively. In the opinion of CLARB, the recent report that was completed (The Determinants of Success) showed that this method of testing would provide for a more effective way to testing for minimum competency in this area. He went on to state that CARB (Council of Architectural Review Boards) which is a similar organization to CLARB was so impressed with how effective this method of testing was done, that they are also considering going to an ‘all computer’ based test.
The Board of Trustees voted on proposed Bylaws Amendment that would have changed the current bylaws to expand the authority of the LAAB to include the certificate non-degree granting programs at UCLA and UC Berkeley. This was a highly discussed issue at the Annual Meeting in San Diego a couple of years ago and again last year at the Annual Meeting in Phoenix. While there were a lot of very good reasons as to why this should have been approved, the trustees voted it down, putting an end to almost 30 months of debate. The one good thing that did come out of this discussion was that there is a growing concern that with the low enrollment in landscape architectural programs across the country (48% of programs that responded to a survey indicated that they had low enrollment), that maybe there needs to be a new way of providing quality education other than the traditional model and thus allowing access into the profession.
All in all, to date it looks to be a good year for ASLA. There still are many challenges to overcome as well as many opportunities for us as landscape architects and as a professional organization can utilize to make our profession even more effective. The outlook for our organization looks to be as strong as ever as long as we have your continued support. Thank you for allowing me to be your voice to the Board of Trustees; it truly is an honor to represent you.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 May 2013 13:57