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Thread: A Few Words for the APA

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    A Few Words for the APA

    I am really getting sick of APA tacking a fee to everything. I pay a large membership fee to begin with. Then I pay a fee for the Wisconsin Chapter, and a fee for each of the two divisions I joined. If I want the Journal, that is another fee. There are fees for any of the other publications. If you want to apply to be certified to take the AICP exam, then pay a $60 fee. If you are accepted you have the privelege of paying another $325 to take the exam, and if you pass, you now get to pay annual dues to maintain your AICP status.

    Listen up, APA, I do expect something for my dues. I belong to other national organizations which have a similar dues structure, but not all of the additional fees. Determining eligibility for an exam doesn't cost me anything. I still pay a fee to take the exam, but my certification does not require an annual extortion payment.

    By the time I pay dues and attend the state and national conferences, I have spent almost $2500 on APA. It can't go on this way. My department budget can't take it and I have other obligations competing for my own funds. APA needs to take a good hard look at what it offers to its members. If it can't offer some of these basic services without charging extra, then the organization needs to re-assess its priorities.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Thus why I am mot a member. I used to be, but just didnít see it as a very good return investment for my money. I work for a small private firm that will not pay our dues (but the owners are members).

    However, I do see the value of it, publishing books and journals, supplying links to jobs and schools, etc. I just have other places to put my money. If it was not so expensive I would rejoin.
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Amen. Look at the help wanted ads we're not exactly nuero-surgeons. The fees add up. I love explaining to my wife that I just spent over $100 on virtually nothing.

    I guess the APA needs lots of money to systematically destroy the American Dream.

  4. #4
    maudit anglais
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    You could always join the CIP (Canadian Institute of Planners). It's just as irrelevant as the APA, but I don't think they charge you quite as much. I could be wrong - I gave up my membership when I switched to an employer that doesn't pay professional dues.

  5. #5
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    C'mon people!

    They changed the cover of Planner magazine... what the hell do you want now?!
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian SlaveToTheGrind's avatar
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    As long as my employer pays, I will be in the APA and AICP. If that ever drops, I will not pay the dues. All is does is send me a magazine and I get to put AICP on my business card.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Amen to what all of you are saying. My department pays my memberships to APA, Western Planners and the Montana Association of Planners. I don't feel I get my money's worth from APA, though the other organizations are usually a good investment.

    For the fees APA charge members there should be a lot more resources available online. Look at the ridiculous charge for those teeny PAS report ($20-35 for a 15-50 page paperback pamphlet), yet a real planning book is $20-60, and those PAS reports I've read certainly aren't worth more than $5-10.

    I recall a Western Planners conference in Red Lodge Montana. The keynote speaker was the then-president of APA. He urged members to skip the next Western Planners conference and attend the APA convention instead. When he was finished and left the hall, the president of Western Planners asked who was going to attend APA rather than Western Planners. Dead silence. He asked who would attend Western Planners and received rousing applause. Besides, who would want to miss the Wyoming planners versus the world softball game. (Wyoming always win, no matter the score)

    I did attend the APA convention this year in Denver, and it was good. It was useful to see how things are done in other jurisdictions. For a Western planner, Western Planners is much more relevant and much more supportive.

  8. #8
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Originally posted by SlaveToTheGrind
    As long as my employer pays, I will be in the APA and AICP. If that ever drops, I will not pay the dues. All is does is send me a magazine and I get to put AICP on my business card.
    Ditto.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I agree with everyone, so why am I still a member? I once asked the APA if I could JUST pay AICP dues, they said no.

    Further--I think my views are so underepresented (this comment is not meant for discussion._)

    Question for senior level--department head types: Why do you pay for your employees dues? Its probably not that much cash depending on the size of your shop but you could use it elsewhere I am sure.

    What is the newsstand price for Planning Magazine?






    $7






    Unbelievable.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Im only in the APA becouse the boss thought it looked good. I refuse to sit for the AICP, sorry its a load of crap. Id much rather join ULI and deal with real world issues and focus on more urban issues.

    APA sucks
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    danie is right ULI is a much betetr organization, but not as easy to get into.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Originally posted by PlannerGirl
    ...I refuse to sit for the AICP, sorry its a load of crap.
    APA sucks...
    I agree completely but I'm going to try for AICP anyway just because I've seen too many job ads wanting it. The AICP fees are even more outlandish. You passed the test and proved that you have the knowledge but if you don't pay every year they essentially pronounce that you didn't.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Maybe its a westcoast thing. Here they would like you to have it but I have yet to see somewhere that required it.

    The last two places I worked you did not get a raise or anything when you passed-a 50 buck check and a pat on the back, thats it.

    Sorry its a load of bull.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  14. #14
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Aye, mateys ... another thread where ye APA walks ye plank! Arrrrrgh!

    re: Western Planner: where's the Web site for the Western Central Division? No such animal. Planners in the "empty quarter" deal with far different issues and attitudes than those in more settled areas. Western Planner magazine is a great resource, and there's no equivalent that I know of in the APA.

    I agree that I'm not getting my money's worth, either. I'm under the impression that the APA dues are just an admittance fee, while it costs extra to ride any of the rides. Sure, there's Planning magazine, but not much changed aside from the over; it's essentially the same magazine as when it was published by the long-gone ASPO.

    The APA has a habit of duplicating the efforts of other devoted planners. Take, for example, Wayne Senville; a couple of years after he started to publish the Planning Commissioner's Journal, the APA decides to start The Commissioner. Chris Steins published op-ed pieces from planners on PLANetize, but APA now has Viewpoints on their Web site. They're paying LexisNexis for a newsfeed like that offered by PLANetizen. Every couple of years, the APA proposes starting a Cyburbia-like bulletin board.

    APA employees get notoriously low salaries, especially considering that the organization is based in Chicago, a city with a very high cost of living. So ... where does the money go? Lobbyists in DC? AIA does a lot of public promotion; consider all their television and radio commercials. Why doesn't the APA take planning advocacy beyond box city games at elementary school? The voices of The Cato Institute and Wendell Cox are heard everywhere; why not the APA?

    Wait ... oh, El Guapo, have a look at this ....

    APA is coordinating training and a tour of nine U.S. cities for 30 mayors from Jiangsu Province, China, from November 5-25.
    How much is the APA shelling out for that? How about paying for training for mayors from East St. Louis, Gary and Camden?

    I value my APA membership, but somehow, I don't feel part of their Clube. I have no say, except voting for some insiders every year. Anyone else feel the same way?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by gkmo62u
    Question for senior level--department head types: Why do you pay for your employees dues? Its probably not that much cash depending on the size of your shop but you could use it elsewhere I am sure.
    Because at their lower salaries, the cost of due is equivalent to the higher non-member conference registration they would be required to pay.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian SlaveToTheGrind's avatar
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    Originally posted by PlannerGirl
    Im only in the APA becouse the boss thought it looked good. I refuse to sit for the AICP, sorry its a load of crap. Id much rather join ULI and deal with real world issues and focus on more urban issues.

    APA sucks
    Fortunately, I did get a pay raise for passing the exam. My thought on the exam is that I think is a worthless test and serves no purpose except for the APA to collect more $.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian tsc's avatar
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    you really need AICP around where I work... it is usually a requirement. The last place I worked for payed for my dues... now I have to pay the load. I agree about the fees.... seems like a lot of $$$
    "Yeehaw!" is not a foreign policy

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  18. #18
    My clock is ticking. Only one month and 10 days until I am no longer an APA/AICP member. My employer has cut all professional organization membership fees and unless my boss can figure out a way to slide it in under the radar I am done. I will not pay $283 for 12 issues of Planning and year-round junk mail. I will instead spend that money on a Creative mp3 Jukebox or an Iipod, which I will get much more use and enjoyment out of.

    As for the AICP, I took it and passed in 2002 and am still waiting for my employer to reimburse me as promised.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    I'm a student and after reading all of your messages I feel better about not joining the APA. When I looked at the fee schedule I almost choked.

    But, is it really true that you can sit for the AICP exam, pass it and then lose that certification if you don't pay an annual fee? I can see if you let it slip 5 years or so and never take a continuing ed seminar or something... but a big fee every year sounds outrageous.

    Does anyone know if you have to be an APA member to go to a conference?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Originally posted by Greenescapist
    Does anyone know if you have to be an APA member to go to a conference?
    You do not, but it costs more
    "Those who plan do better than those who do not plan, even though they rarely stick to their plan." - Winston Churchill

  21. #21

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Allright so here's my question.....??

    Do you need to take a reinstatement exam to have your AICP reinstated after failing to pay dues?

    Maybe someone can lead the movement of PAICPBIAPND ... Passed AICP But I Aint Payin No Dues .....

  23. #23
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Originally posted by SlaveToTheGrind
    As long as my employer pays, I will be in the APA and AICP. If that ever drops, I will not pay the dues. All is does is send me a magazine and I get to put AICP on my business card.
    Ditto! The same thing goes for you CIP! Good thing my employer pays both.

    Conference attendance is way cheaper if you are a member, especially if you don't live in the US. Internationals can pay for the APA dues and the conference dues for less than what the US members pay just for the conference dues. That's what kept me as an APA member this year (well, that and my AICP).

  24. #24
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I was an APA member when I was in College (we had to be for "educational value of the conferences" and it was cheep). BUT when I started out, I was not about to pay that amount, now that I have an employer that not only pays for it, but also encourages it, I am back into the APA. I will be here till I get my AICP, and if I move some other place, if they expect me to keep them letters, they pay the dues.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Ditto on everyone else. My employer is fairly schizophrenic on the subject of dues & certification. We get $100 per month "incentive pay" for being certified & the city pays AICP dues, but we have to pay APA dues. So it's a bit of a mixed bag.

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