This president's message is being sent to members of NCASLA as usual but also to Landscape Architects registered in NC and not members of NCASLA. The primary reason for this is related to several issues that will likely be considered in the upcoming legislative session. The bottom line is that we need to increase membership to protect the practice of landscape architecture as we know it and as it is afforded to us under GS 89A. We need your help and I urge all of you to become NCASLA members. This session could possibly be one of the most threatening to our profession. Member or not it is important that all Landscape Architects understand the issues at hand.
Legislative Agenda / Protecting the Profession
NCASLA spends a significant amount of its budget every year to engage a lobbyist and have a presence in the legislature. Of the fees associated with state chapter dues, $40.00 goes directly to help support our legislative efforts including the services of our lobbyist. This holds true at the national level as well where membership dues help to combat legislature that threatens the continuation of funding for recreational trails, safe routes to schools and other public realm projects that require the services of landscape architects.
Compared to the thousands of dollars we all spend on liability insurance every year to protect ourselves, the cost of the information, insight and influence provided through our lobbyist is a small price to pay to protect the profession. Money well spent.
To be perfectly blunt, dues received from NCASLA members have been used to protect the practice of those who are not members. Back in 2000 when we were fighting for our practice act NCLOLA ( NC League of Landscape Architects ) was formed for the express purpose of soliciting funds for legislative efforts. Rather than returning to that format I urge you to become members of NCASLA.
Prior to our Executive Committee meeting last Friday several members met with Angie Harris who has been our lobbyist for the last several years. As you might expect the picture painted of the legislature which will return in January was a very conservative one, focused on money and jobs and not much else.
It is likely that the legislature will consider tax reform measures including a professional services tax. What form that takes is unknown at this time. The intent will be to broaden the tax base and lower the tax rate. In addition, the legislature is likely to consider registration board consolidation and /or elimination. NCASLA has identified this issue as our number one concern. While NCBOLA does not receive any funding from the state or the citizens of North Carolina, the perception of consolidation or the decommissioning of our board might be spun and receive support as streamlining government and removing a restraint of trade. Both of which are simply false.
While other things that Landscape Architects care about such as environmental regulations will be subject matter for the legislature, the consolidation or elimination of our registration board poses a singular issue which ultimately threatens our ability to practice our profession under GS 89A. While the session doesn't begin until January, the agenda of the leadership will be set and the ball will already be rolling toward these and other issues when they convene. The leadership has promised a short session meaning that decisions will be made swiftly. Therefore it is imperative that we prepare and be as ready as we can be. We need to deliver our message and do what we can to lobby against consolidation. To that end our lobbyist has proved invaluable in keeping us current.
When you have the opportunity, remind your Representatives and Senators that NCBOLA is not reliant on public funds or taxes and that it is vital to protecting the public's health, safety, and welfare as well as our profession. Registration of Landscape Architects is not a restraint of trade. When the time comes to oppose legislation, NCBOLA cannot lobby the legislature and fight for the board's continuation. We have to do that but we need to get ready now.
I strongly urge you to maintain your membership or become a member of NCASLA to help protect our profession as well as the public.
The election for NCASLA Executive Committee positions is underway and the deadline for voting is September 1st. An email was sent to members for voting on August 2nd. Another email regarding elections will be sent this week. If you have not received an elections email please notify Debora at Blue Star Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can vote by going to the NCASLA website. Make sure you have your membership number to vote on line.
As part of the 2012 public awareness campaign, ASLA Chapters will conduct rededication ceremonies at sites across the nation during the month of September. These ceremonies will raise public awareness of the landscape architecture profession and the importance of designing and maintaining these sites for the benefit of their communities.
An event is being planned to rededicate the Raleigh Greenway system on September 27th. If you are interested in participating please notify Public Relations Committee Chair Howard Capps at email@example.com.
For those who did not get to join us in New Bern, we hope to see you at the fall conference at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro on October 25/26. The conference will offer educational opportunities and NCASLA professional awards will be presented at lunch. The Executive Committee will meet on the 25th. Executive Committee meetings are open to the membership so please attend if you are interested in learning more about NCASLA or to let us know more about your interests and ideas. The conference will include a keynote address from Mitchell Silver, AICP Director of Planning for the City of Raleigh, a presentation by Chuck Flink FASLA on statewide pedestrian and bicycle planning and Lauren Blackburn, AICP on complete streets. In addition sessions will be held for students and emerging professionals. These sessions will include opportunities for resume / portfolio / interview reviews by seasoned professionals as well as a presentation by James Penrod, FASLA with CLARB on the new LARE format.
I look forward to seeing you in October.
All the best.....
Brian H. Starkey, RLA / ASLA