AIA|LA Government & Public Affairs Report
From the desk of Will Wright - February 6, 2018


Friday, February 23 (8am) - AMY N. ANDERSON - Executive Director, PATH Ventures
Thursday, March 29 (8am) - REGINA WAUGH - Executive Director, Los Angeles County Women and Girls Initiative
Friday, April 20 (8am) - MONICA RODRIGUEZ - Councilmember - City of Los Angeles, District 7


California State & Federal Incentives for Architecture & Engineering Firms
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 (6-8PM)
Presented by Steve Ho, Esq. - Managing Director, Welsh Advisors
CallisonRTKL Inc. - 333 South Hope Street, Suite C-200 Los Angeles, CA 90071

About the Event:
The managing director of Welsh Advisors, Steve Ho, shared with attendees more details about three important tax credits available to architecture & design firms.

What We Learned:
  • Training Grants:
    • The California Employment Training Panel (ETP) provides funding to employers to assist in upgrading the skills of their workers through. Up to $26 a hour can be reimbursed to the employer.
  • Research & Development Tax Credits:
    • Certain qualified wages, supplies and contracted services can amount up to a 13% tax credit.  There is a 4-part test to see what specific activity qualifies as research & development.
  • California Competes Tax Credit:
    • The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to businesses who want to come, stay, or grow in California.  Credits are allocated when business create additional positions or make an increase in capital investments from the year before.  There is also a carve-out for small business making less than $2.5million a year in gross receipts.
Strategic Plan:  Increasing the VALUE of AIA|LA membership with greater access to best-practices in business development & operations.

BEST-PRACTICES for MID-SIZE Firms:  a roundtable discussion 
Wednesday, January 24 (6:00pm - 8:00pm)
JOHN FRIEDMAN ALICE KIMM ARCHITECTS - 821 Traction Ave., #107, Los Angeles, CA  90013 

About the Event:
An open forum roundtable discussion to discuss the challenges and opportunities (mostly challenges, sad to say) that mid-sized firms face to get larger projects – and to advise smaller firms looking to do the same. 
  • Do you want to work on bigger projects than you currently do?
  • Do you have a business plan for how to go after bigger projects?
  • Have you tried to go after larger projects but feel that you have been shut out by a tendency for those projects to automatically go to larger firms?
  • Have you ever contacted a larger firm to discuss a possible joint venture where you would bring your design skills and they would bring their technical expertise?
  • What other things have you tried to get larger projects? 
  • How to be competitive with salaries—there was a huge jump in mean salary numbers in the LA region in last year’s AIA compensation report compared to the previous report (across the board but particularly for 5-15 years experience). Are these numbers reflective of middle sized firms in LA?
What We Learned:

  • We need a stronger presence at City Hall
  • We need to encourage prominent architects to write more editorials for publication on behalf of the value of the profession and about the importance of giving more design influence to smaller firms.
  • We need an designated liaison to influence the way RFQs & RFPs are written to facilitate greater access to contracts for smaller firms.
  • We need to create an advocacy platform to ensure more inclusive business opportunities for 2028 Olympics (diversify the suppliers).
  • We need to develop a Design Quotient Index to measure the performance of design values.
  • To create more opportunities for interaction between small and mid-size firms and potential clients - to facilitate greater exposure to ‘decision-makers’.
  • Best-Practices:  30% mandate/ set-aside for small firms.  (Howard A. Friedman, FAIA - Berkeley?)
  • To advocate to have more architects on RFQ/RFP selection panels.
  • To invite more facility managers to serve on AIA|LA design award juries.
  • To further explore the benefits of ‘blind competitions’ for a more inclusive selection process.
  • To foster more collaborative partnerships between the large firms and small/ mid-size firms (Craig W. Hartman, FAIA - SOM)
  • To produce an RFP Writing Seminar and offer insight into best-practices for the model RFQ/RFP.
  • To give ‘decision-makers’ greater exposure to architects.
  • To organize more speed-dating forums to foster greater mentorship between architects and contractors/ builders/ developers/ clients/ facility managers, etc.
  • To create customizable list of pre-qualifications in the Call-For-Entries (CAFE) RFP process

Strategic Plan:  Increasing the VALUE of AIA|LA membership with greater access to best-practices in business development & operations.

US Visa Options for Architects and Designers
Tuesday, January 30. 6:00-8:00PM.
Leo A Daly - 550 S. Hope St., 27th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90071

About the Event:
This presentation provides an understanding of the visa options to employ foreign architects and designers as well as knowledge on compliance documentation in support of those sponsorships.

John Mei, Esq. - Partner, danziger + mei
Lisa A. Russo - Registrar/International Advisor (PDSO/RO), Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)
Qichen Cao - Associate, XTEN Architecture

What We Learned:
1) The visa options available to architects and designers
2) An overall understanding of US immigration pertaining to firms and companies
3) How to build a sound case for work visas for foreign workers
4) How to be compliant in a period of immigration enforcement with respect to work visas

Strategic Plan:  Increasing the VALUE of AIA|LA membership with greater access to best-practices in business development & operations.

Notes to be completed on Monday, Feb 5th

BizFed Roundtable Discussion with State Senator Bob Hertzberg
Notes to be completed on Monday, Feb 5th


Thursday, February 8 (6pm - 8pm)
AIA|LA Design For Dignity Task Force Meeting #6
A Roundtable Discussion on Measure HHH
LA Community Action Network - 838 E. Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

“With the first Measure HHH funded project under construction, efforts by the City of Los Angeles to alleviate homelessness is gaining momentum. The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will co-host with Los Angeles Community Action Network a panel discussion with city officials and homeless housing providers to explore actionable steps to streamline future Measure HHH projects.”

Confirmed Speakers:

Moderated by:  Laura Lehman - Senior Designer, MVE + Partners


AIA|LA Political Outreach Committee 
Tuesday, February 20 (6pm - 8pm)
724 South Spring Street
Suite 1002
Los Angeles, California 90014


POC Leadership:
2018 Chair = Douglas Hanson, AIA, ASID - President, Hanson LA
Past-Chair = D. Rocky Rockefeller, AIA - Senior Partner, Rockefeller Partners Architects
Vice-Chair/ Chair-elect = to be determined (Open to 2018 AIA|LA Board Members….)

AIA|LA Presents…..
a roundtable discussion w/ The LA Dept. of City Planning

Do you have ideas for how to improve the City of LA’s zoning code?

Please join us at our upcoming roundtable discussion to further examine the proposed changes to the zoning code that will be implemented via the  Process and Procedures Amendment Ordinance.  This is your chance to review the proposed changes in advance and come prepared share your ideas with the Department of City Planning.

Presented by:  Tom Rothmann - Principal City Planner, Los Angeles Department of City Planning
Friday, February 23 (12:00pm - 1:30pm)
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring St., Room 501
Los Angeles, CA. 90012

BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH. You can order take-out from Home Boy Cafe on the 2nd Floor of City Hall.


Please review the draft ordinance in advance.  CLICK HERE to read the ordinance.

The objectives of this roundtable will be to allow AIA members to share critical and constructive feedback and ideas on how to improved the draft ordinance.  The proposed ordinance will cut in half the number of project review processes for gaining entitlements and permits for development projects across the city.  It will streamline and clarify the process and consolidate the decision-making pathway for how the City reviews development project proposals, etc.  The proposed changes will enable a more consistent standard of review and help save the City and the project applicant time and money.

Tom Rothmann - Principal City Planner, Los Angeles Department of City Planning
Tom has worked at the Los Angeles Department of City Planning since 1999 and is currently the Principal City Planner for the comprehensive Zoning Code rewrite project – re:code LA.  In addition to re:code LA, Tom supervises the Code Studies Section and has drafted citywide zoning ordinances on a variety of topics including mixed-use zoning, affordable housing, urban farming, development reform, murals, and parking. 

For more information, please contact:

Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Government & Public Affairs
American Institute of Architects/ Los Angeles Chapter
3780 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 701
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(o) (213) 639-0764
Last updated: 07-Feb-2018 09:34 AM
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