Origins of APAWatchDog.org

Editors of APA WatchDog and/or its print predecessors

Editor of this 2008 edition:
Daniel Lauber,
AICP

Editors of previous edition:
Norman Krumholz
, FAICP
Daniel Lauber
, AICP
Frank Popper

The following individuals were editors of previous print predecessors and are not currently involved in the print or online publication:
Mel Levin, AICP (Deceased — we dearly miss him, his wisdom, clear thinking, and insights)
Fred Bair, Jr.
(co–founder; deceased — a real loss of one of planning’s greatest pioneers)
Joseph Flynn, Jr., AICP (Deceased — see notice on our home page)
William Toner
(retired)
Susan Power (until 1992)
Linda Hollis
(until 2002)
Harvey Moskowitz, FAICP
(1987-88 only)

Due to perceived threats of persecution of editors of APAWatchDog and its predecessors, at least two former editors have requested that their names not be listed here. We are complying with their requests and not listing them.

This continues to be a revolving editorial board. Not all editors have participated in every issue. Being listed above does not necessarily mean that an individual is responsible for this particular edition.

How and why this all started

Way back in the mid–1970s when they first ran for the ASPO Board of Directors, Fred Bair, Jr. and Daniel Lauber started sending letters to ASPO members which they used proactively to solicit ideas from ordinary ol’ ASPO members. They wanted to find out what members wanted from the organization and then presented their ideas to the full ASPO Board. Their letters would often include surveys that posed questions to readers on issues that the ASPO Board would discuss at its next meeting. They sent the letters twice a year, about a month or two prior to ASPO Board meetings so they could get feedback before the Board met.

Readers were encouraged to circulate the newsletter to other members, so they could get responses from a more representative, broader base, not just from people they had met.

When ASPO and AIP merged to create APA, the membership package included a small tabloid called APA News. The Bair–Lauber newsletter soon adopted the moniker The Alternative APA News, largely because it offered the full story rather than the carefully–filtered, after–the–fact news the official APA publication presented. First issue: August 1982.

Editorial board grows

As the years passed, additional editors joined them in a revolving editorial board (see list above) which adopted the moniker Inside APA. The newsletter has always been financed by contributions from readers. It has no official connection of any sort to APA or AICP. As our lives have moved along and our interest in APA's bizarre internal politics has waned, we’ve reduced its frequency to once every two years, just before APA/AICP elections. With the advent of the Internet, we hope to maintain this website and keep it up–to–date with news about APA/AICP that the official APA/AICP house organs do not report to the membership. We hope to tell you what the different elements in APA’s leadership are up to and to solicit your ideas on an ongoing basis.

All members of our revolving editorial board have served on either the APA Board of Directors, AICP Commission, or ASPO Board of Directors. Many have also served as a chapter officer or division chairperson.

We still believe in the planning adage that the better informed decision makers are, the better decisions they will make. Similarly, the better informed APA members are, the better decisions they can make about APA and AICP.

We will continue to offer readers news that goes beyond the party–line of official APA and AICP publications to give you the full report on about what is going on in APA and AICP. We try to get beyond the candidates’ election rhetoric to give you a realistic idea of how they really will act if elected. We figure that looking at the voting records of candidates who have previously served on the APA Board or AICP Commission is a much better predictor of what he’ll do it elected this year.

Keeping APA/AICP open and inclusionary

The editors, as well as the candidates we recommend, do not agree on every detail. We do agree, however, that what differentiates APA/AICP from so many other professional organizations is that APA/AICP has — until recently — remained an open, inclusionary organization, in large part due to the people we have recommended for election. But APA/AICP has been moving closer and closer to the exclusionary, closed door, circle–the–wagon model of the typical professional organization governed by a narrow, good old boy and girl network or power elite. The AICP Commission actually adopted the recommendations of a report calling for movement in that direction (Management and Organizational Audit of the American Institute of Certified Planners, July 1999). Actions by recent APA Boards and AICP Commissions suggest they were well on their way to turning APA/AICP into that kind of a closed–door group — and that possibility still remains while APA reconsiders its governance and election rules. The current AICP Commission (2002–2004) continues to work to keep AICP elections open and expand the diversity of its membership.

We welcome your input. Send us articles we can post on our site. Send your contribution to help pay for printing and mailing APA WatchDog (our print edition was sent to our own grassroots mailing list plus a random sample of a few thousand APA members) to:
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