submitted by Nick Docous, AIA
Did you know that the following issues – important to all of us in the Design and Construction Industry – continue to be considered by the California Legislature, including:
- A sales tax on professional services;
- CEQA Reform;
- Project delivery methods on public projects, in particular Design-Build;
- Competition requirements for public projects;
- Affordable housing;
- Healthcare facilities standards.
Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable if an Architect were a Member of the Legislature when these issues are discussed and voted on?
Well, the Design and Construction Industry has a tremendous opportunity to help an AIA Member become the first licensed Architect elected to the California State Legislature. Newell Arnerich, a candidate for the California State Assembly – running for the 16th Assembly District (Alameda and Contra Costa counties), is that Architect. He is a practitioner and a firm owner since 1978 with offices in Oakland and Los Angeles.
Newell’s candidacy is an opportunity for the profession and our colleagues – engineers, builders, designers – to help elect the first licensed Architect to the California Legislature!
In my opinion Newell embodies the definition of a Citizen Architect: He has been a member of Danville Town Council for the past 18 years and currently serves as Mayor. Under his leadership, Danville has become a fiscally responsible city (a credit rating of Aa1 by Moody’s, the second highest rating possible), and has wisely used its redevelopment authority to improve the livability and attractiveness of Danville.
Additionally, Newell understands the business of architecture and he knows the issues our industry faces – many of them the rooted in legislation passed by Assembly and Senate members who do not understand the Design and Construction Industry.
Newell is extremely well versed in public policy and is very intelligent and well spoken. For example, on the issue of the uninsurable indemnification/duty-to-defend obligation clause found in many contracts with public entities, which is an issue that the Legislature refuses to address, Newell provided lead testimony on this issue for the AIACC in 2005. His testimony, as an Architect and a Mayor, successfully convinced the Legislature to support legislation that placed restrictions on indemnification provisions. We have all been beneficiaries of this effort.
As far as we know, there has never been a licensed architect elected to the California Legislature. There have been engineers, car dealers, teachers, doctors, union officials, and many, many attorneys. There was even an undertaker elected to the Assembly, but never an Architect. I trust you agree that the opportunities Newell’s election could provide regarding the profession’s advocacy efforts are tremendous.
In order for his candidacy to be viable his campaign needs financial support. It is strategically vital that Newell’s campaign raise a substantive amount by the end of June, which is the end of the first reporting period. Other groups who are interested in the outcome of this race will use this report to determine if Newell is a credible candidate and worthy of support. Let me put it this way – the more money Newell’s campaign raises by this deadline, the more seriously he’ll be taken as a candidate. We must support him in this effort.
Please go to http://arnerichforassembly.org/ to make a donation online – even if it’s only $25; every donation helps and counts!
In times when resources are scarce we need to look at – and carefully consider – where investing them will result in the highest return. I ask that you each consider helping Newell’s campaign and give the architectural profession a strong, qualified, and eloquent voice in the California Legislature.
Thanks for your consideration. If you need more information and want to “get to know” Newell, here is a link to a video he made at the AIA Convention in Denver just last week: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10101036216825127