California’s Budget and the Architectural Community

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This week, Gov Brown revealed his proposed changes to the state budget. While at the time of this writing we are not aware of all of the specifics, it is clear that there are many areas that are near and dear to the architectural profession that may be affected. One of those is the relationship of the state to redevelopment agencies, and a second is the future of the Office of the State Architect. Over the next few weeks as these issues are discussed and debated, it is important that AIACC look forward and focus on the larger picture of what will benefit the citizens of California and will make our state more sustainable and healthier financially. It is also critical that we clearly articulate our positions and put forward our expertise in helping the new administration address the many issues confronting California.

With regards to the redevelopment agencies, we need to look closely at whether current policies work and if not, what could be done to improve them. In doing so, we must provide examples of successes and work with local government officials to enhance processes of development. We need to take stock of what redevelopment agencies have provided to our communities and the effects upon them if changes are to occur. What will happen to current efforts that are underway such as new stadium efforts in San Diego, Los Angeles and the Bay Area? What about plans to renovate the San Diego Convention Center and other large design and construction projects around the state that create jobs not only in the facilities’ creation, but also through increased and enhanced usage? What about the boost to property and sales taxes that occurs as communities invest in their infrastructure and in new buildings?

One of California’s many challenges is to provide an environment that creates jobs. While design and construction in California have been on the decline since 2006, in 2009 it still accounted for $41 Billion of California’s economy; this alone underscores the importance of this market sector, and its ability to create jobs and employ millions. Developing the environment that creates jobs must be a prime order of business. Architects should have a major role in seeing this happen.

The design and construction marketplace is changing and the question is: Where will AIACC be in leading the state to a preferred future that is current with technology and which participates in an integrated process that represents all stakeholders?[/ismember]

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Anne Laird-Blanton, AIA

AIACC President Principal of ALB Designs Anne Laird-Blanton, AIA, is Principal and Owner of ALB Designs, a small, personal Architecture and Interior Design firm located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1988, the firm specializes in providing high quality service to local nonprofit and residential clients. Anne believes that service is important not only in her relationships with her clients but also with her community and the AIA organization. She is currently the 2011 President of the American Institute of Architects, California Council. She has previously served as a member of the San Rafael Design Review Board, participated on the Wells Fargo Community Board and has served in numerous capacities on boards and committees of her homeowner's association and AIA locally and nationally.

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