Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31

Thread: is everyone who works at APA incompetent to answer a simple question?

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered
    Aug 2005
    Location
    S x county
    Posts
    13

    is everyone who works at APA incompetent to answer a simple question?

    I have tried on numerous occasions to get information from this organization, starting two years ago. At first, they were simple questions, like how do I go about registering for the AICP exam (ultimately answered on their confusing and inane website) and then "are there prep courses offered through APA"? They could answer neither of these two questions on the phone (amazingly).

    Now, I am trying to get an answer about registering for the AICP exam this May(never did take it last year although I got prequalified) and they are telling me I am not a member of APA. So, I write to the info email address asking why I am not listed on their website, since I have been a paying member for nearly two years now. Their response is that I need to become an APA member to take the AICP. wtf? can they not read and comprehend a simple question? Now, I am running out of time to register since I will have to get this sorted out by Wednesday. Wish me luck.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian PlannerByDay's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    In the bike lane
    Posts
    1,827
    YES and it doesn't get any better when you are AICP.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Samsara
    Posts
    5,075
    If you want to make a real friend at APA ask them why won't they help revive the Kansas Chapter of the APA. I had a high level staffer at national actually say to me, "well, no one else is complaining."

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920
    Why is it I cannot even get them to reply to an e-mail? It isn't just one person in the organization, but everyone who I contact. I never can seem to get even that little courtesy. Maybe I need to attach my credit card number to my inquiry.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 1998
    Location
    On the Mother River
    Posts
    4,537
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Maybe I need to attach my credit card number to my inquiry.
    Or write it in Chinese
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,144
    I once asked them to give me a reason why I shoud continue paying an extra $25 for the Transportation Planning division membership. I was left without an answer, so I dropped it.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  7. #7
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,532
    Blog entries
    3
    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    I had a high level staffer at national actually say to me, "well, no one else is complaining."
    Imagine if a zoning administrator or code enforcement officer took that attitude.

    The APA response you quote disgusts me. They don't care that the chapter is dead, and that people are paying MANDATORY fees to a defunct chapter, because "nobody else is complaining." Considering the emphasis on ethics in the organization, can anyone see how ironic the Kansas chapter situation seems? Even if nobody was complaining, it doesn't necessarily mean it's right; that it's a situation they should be content with.

    Ohio is active, but I can't get them to link to Cyburbia from their Web site, despite the fact that it's MAINTAINED BY A PLANNER IN OHIO, and that they've got Planetizen links and feeds everywhere. I even approached the Board of Directors at the state conference, asking about a link. They'll only link to Cyburbia if I do work on their Web site! I don't think Urban Insight is doing pro-bono work for the Ohio chapter to get all their Planetizen links.

    No offense to the people at Urban Insight. I just think fair's fair. There's other sites that will link to Planetizen but refuse to link to Cyburbia, like some of the New Urbanist blogs, but for the Ohio chapter to do so is inexcusable.

  8. #8
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,250
    Working on the National Conference has given me some special insight into APA . I'll just leave it at that rather than fully out myself. I'll have some good stories to share once it's all done .

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    Or write it in Chinese
    You beat me to it. The APA's priorities are WAY out of whack.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Samsara
    Posts
    5,075
    Well, if the APA is so screwed up, and some of us here agree that it is, what can we do?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    Well, if the APA is so screwed up, and some of us here agree that it is, what can we do?
    Why don't you just leave it?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Samsara
    Posts
    5,075
    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    Why don't you just leave it?
    Because they have a monopoly on professional accreditation in the field. And as long as planning is such a volatile career field (we work for politicians) one needs their accreditation to make a living. Unfair but true.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    Because they have a monopoly on professional accreditation in the field. And as long as planning is such a volatile career field (we work for politicians) one needs their accreditation to make a living. Unfair but true.
    So a government monopoly, following the pattern of every government monopoly ever, operates with total contempt for efficiency, productivity and client satisfaction. This is an institution you think you can change?

    Your best bet is to get as many APA-licensed professionals together and start a competing professional association. Obviously the APA is not competent enough to run its phones, thus it can't be competent enough to license professionals. If all the founding members of the new association are former APA-licensed professionals it will have at the minimum the credibility of the APA. Then you can present a unified lobby to get the APA's monopoly abolished.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Samsara
    Posts
    5,075
    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    So a government monopoly, following the pattern of every government monopoly ever, operates with total contempt for efficiency, productivity and client satisfaction. This is an institution you think you can change?

    Your best bet is to get as many APA-licensed professionals together and start a competing professional association. Obviously the APA is not competent enough to run its phones, thus it can't be competent enough to license professionals. If all the founding members of the new association are former APA-licensed professionals it will have at the minimum the credibility of the APA. Then you can present a unified lobby to get the APA's monopoly abolished.
    You don’t really have a clue about the difference between a private professional organization and the government you so despise, no? Are you a member of APA?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    You don’t really have a clue about the difference between a private professional organization and the government you so despise, no? Are you a member of APA?
    I am not an American nor in America, thus I am certainly not a member of the APA. From what I've read in this thread and others on this website, the APA behaves exactly as any monopoly organization is expected to. It is therefore hopeless to try to change the APA without changing the foundations of its existence. It is also pointless to react with anger at its behaviour. It behaves how its nature leads it to behave. One does not become angry at a tree for falling over and crushing a house. The tree is simply following its nature.

    Unfair but true, as you said.
    Last edited by jaws; 26 Feb 2006 at 8:46 PM.

  16. #16
          jhboyle's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Irwin, Pa
    Posts
    168
    As i near the time requirements to join the APA, i find myself once again questioning its merits. What would it take to start a new organization, seriously, if the members of cyburbia banded together to find a way to start it, would it work?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Santiago, Chile
    Posts
    4,767
    The APA never ceases to amaze me... and although I know many of those here that bash APA may be giving me a biased opinion, it truly must be a bad organization, sadly things could be worse, like here where things trivial like public hearings for comp plans are totally unheard of...

    While jaws may rant about the monopoly of APA, I don't think things like certification could be less than monopolic, but they can sure be less corrupt, which may be the actual problem.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally posted by SkeLeton
    While jaws may rant about the monopoly of APA, I don't think things like certification could be less than monopolic, but they can sure be less corrupt, which may be the actual problem.
    You have an incorrect definition of monopoly. In most fields there is no need for more than one certification to exist, but when the government grants one specific firm the exclusive monopoly right (defined as the prohibition of competition) to certify professionals, then it is no longer necessary for that firm to maintain and improve the quality of its operations, since there is no threat that a potential competitor will appear and drive it out of business. The firm's privileged leadership can simply follow whatever purposes it wishes to follow regardless of client demands. If everyone who complains about the poor quality of the APA were to simply walk away from the organization, that would put the survival of the APA at risk and they would have no choice but to refocus the service on the clients.

    To ask a monopoly to become less corrupt is a contradiction in terms. Monopoly breeds corruption because it is a grant of an exceptional privilege of coercive protection.

    You can apply this reasoning to any monopoly license operations, like labor unions, the bar association, the medical associations. It's all the same basic problem.

  19. #19
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    at the neighboring pub
    Posts
    5,250
    Quote Originally posted by SkeLeton
    The APA never ceases to amaze me... and although I know many of those here that bash APA may be giving me a biased opinion, it truly must be a bad organization.
    Oh just wait, I've got enough stories from the last few months that it will erase any belief you might have that we are biased. El Guapo already got a sample.

    As for getting back to the original poster's question, you might try contacting your local APA chapter (unless you're in Kansas ).

    Even I'm a little surprised at their lack of responsiveness about the AICP since that gets them more money each year in dues. Weird.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2005
    Location
    In a 480 square foot ex baseball nacho stand
    Posts
    6,985
    I've been trying for two years to get a replacement cerificate for my AICP certification, but that's another story.

    As for AICP registration and review workshops, try www.nc-apa.org and follow those links.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920
    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    You have an incorrect definition of monopoly. In most fields there is no need for more than one certification to exist, but when the government grants one specific firm the exclusive monopoly right (defined as the prohibition of competition) to certify professionals, then it is no longer necessary for that firm to maintain and improve the quality of its operations, since there is no threat that a potential competitor will appear and drive it out of business. The firm's privileged leadership can simply follow whatever purposes it wishes to follow regardless of client demands. If everyone who complains about the poor quality of the APA were to simply walk away from the organization, that would put the survival of the APA at risk and they would have no choice but to refocus the service on the clients.

    To ask a monopoly to become less corrupt is a contradiction in terms. Monopoly breeds corruption because it is a grant of an exceptional privilege of coercive protection.

    You can apply this reasoning to any monopoly license operations, like labor unions, the bar association, the medical associations. It's all the same basic problem.
    Several years ago there were two economic development professional organizations, the American Economic Development Council and the Council for Urban Economic Development. Both had their own certification program. They eventually decided to unite into the International Economic Development Council. By your reasoning, this should have allowed them to be sloppy, deliver poor service, and fail to respond to inquiries. None of that happened. In fact, the two combined organizations are in many ways better as one. Why? The staff is professional and dedicated to their work, management places a priority on responsiveness, and most importantly, the member-elected board expects this.

    The problem of APA is that the board does not seem to hold the staff responsible for their failure to deliver a quality service. We have talked of this. We have voted for APA board members. Our candidates have not (generally) won. Does that mean we should just give up and accept that it is a monopoly and we deserved nothing more than poor service? No. We need to keep complaining. If an APA staffer does not respond to an e-mail, contact his/her supervisor. When somebody is rude, contact the board. Let them know there is a problem. Post it here and tell everybody. Eventually the board is going to have to admit there is a problem and deal with it.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  22. #22
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,532
    Blog entries
    3
    Several years ago, when someone used to visit Cyburbia from the APA, the site logs would include entries for planning.org. I don't think that's the case anymore, so I can't tell whether anyone from the APA visits Cyburbia, or if they read Forums posts that are critical of the APA.

    As far as I can remember, nobody from APA National has ever posted on Cyburbia. There is a lot of APA bashing here, and one would think that they would want to respond with their side of the story. Representatives are more than welcome to post here; I'd love to hear what they have to say. (Personally, I don't have any problem with APA customer service; my experiences have been generally good. My beef is that they've ignored Cyburbia and its community of planners for so many years.)

    During the APA elections two years ago, Cardinal asked the candidates for president to post a statement on the site. Only one did; Fred Lapp. Mr. Lapp got a very positive response from Cyburbians, and I suspect the majority of APA members here voted for him. Unfortunately, he lost. I mention that because there seems to be a common theme - the silence of the other candidates, and the lack of meaningful response from APA national about problems Cyburbians, and probably many others, are reporting.

    There's a little-known Web site called apawatchdog.org. Maybe someone should write to the APA WatchDog email address, and see if anyone there has the "inside scoop," whatever it might be.

  23. #23
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 1996
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    7,568
    Quote Originally posted by Dan
    As far as I can remember, nobody from APA National has ever posted on Cyburbia.
    Former AICP Prez Daniel Lauber appeared for 2 posts:

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?p=177997
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  24. #24
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    City of Low Low Wages!
    Posts
    3,236
    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    You beat me to it. The APA's priorities are WAY out of whack.
    I've been saving this one for a while.

    Reality does not conform to your ideology.
    http://neighborhoods.chicago.il.us Photographs of Life in the Neighborhoods of Chicago
    http://hafd.org/~jordanb/ Pretentious Weblog.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Several years ago there were two economic development professional organizations, the American Economic Development Council and the Council for Urban Economic Development. Both had their own certification program. They eventually decided to unite into the International Economic Development Council. By your reasoning, this should have allowed them to be sloppy, deliver poor service, and fail to respond to inquiries. None of that happened. In fact, the two combined organizations are in many ways better as one. Why? The staff is professional and dedicated to their work, management places a priority on responsiveness, and most importantly, the member-elected board expects this.
    No actually this confirms what I've been telling you. You had two competing organizations that merged into one competing organization. Because that organization wishes to preserve its role as the sole economic development organization it must act efficiently, as it does not enjoy a monopoly (an exclusive grant of protection from competition).

    The APA however is protected from competition, which is why it is not possible for people here to start up a competing association that would be orders of magnitude more competent. Because there is no threat that an upstart association will drain away the membership the APA is free to continue operating however the lucky few in charge see fit, spending the mandatory dues however they please regardless of the satisfaction of the members.

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 2
    Last post: 22 Jun 2012, 10:37 AM
  2. Ask a Question - Get an Answer
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 74
    Last post: 13 Feb 2006, 1:54 PM