Southern California Planning Congress

An association of cities, counties, public utilities, private consultants, and professionals interested in resolving interjurisdictional and regional planning issues

We the People: How to Make More Voices Heard – on 2/6

The Southern California Planning Congress
invites you to the following on-line event.

We the People:
How to Make More Voices Heard

A Community Discussion on Increasing Public Participation
in Planning in 2021 and Beyond

Saturday, February 6, 2021
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon via Zoom

Democracy is an ideology that drives a form of government whose power is vested in the people. Its strength rests on valuing basic human rights and equal opportunity, respecting the rule of law, electing representatives who can be held accountable, and supporting a well-informed citizenry committed to civic engagement. But as US cities have grown and developed, the public’s participation in community planning has waned. What are the barriers, especially at the local level, and why? What can we do to include more voices? As we begin a new year, come join panelists with multiple views of planning in an open community discussion to explore ways to strengthen further our democracy and make better, more inclusive decisions about our future.


Brian Biery

Brian Biery – Panel Moderator

Brian Biery is an Adjunct Professor at Pacific Oaks College where he teaches courses on Advocacy/Social Justice and Human Development. In addition, he is a Partner of the DBK Group which provides technical assistance to government agencies on matters of law enforcement, criminal justice, public service, and police/community relations.

Brian also serves as an Associate with The Aspire Group which is a firm that specializes in innovative organizational effectiveness with an emphasis for working in and with diverse communities ( He is also the Principal of Brian Biery Consulting which is dedicated to assisting nonprofits to reach their organizational, programmatic and leadership goals.

Brian writes regularly for the L.A. Progressive and Culture Honey, and has had his photographs published in numerous newspapers and magazines across the country.

The Honorable Felicia Williams

Felicia Williams was born and raised in Pasadena and elected to the City Council in 2020. She represents District 2 which is the central part of the City encompassing large areas of multi- and single-family housing, five Landmark Districts, businesses in the Washington Bl., Allen Ave., and Colorado Bl. commercial corridors, and Marshall Fundamental Secondary and Longfellow Elementary Schools. Prior to joining the Council, Felicia served on several City Commissions since 2006, including Chair of the Planning Commission Chair, Treasurer of the Pasadena Center Operating Company (Convention Center), Environmental Commission Chair, Transportation Advisory Commission member. Her community involvement also includes serving on the Boards of Planned Parenthood Pasadena & San Gabriel Valley, Pasadena Educational Foundation, and Pasadena Police Foundation and Citizens Police Academy graduate, as well as being the Captain of her Neighborhood Watch.

Felicia has a 20+ year career in public policy and finance. She began her career at Kosmont & Associates in Los Angeles structuring financial redevelopment transactions for cities and processing land use approvals for large development projects. After receiving her MBA, Felicia worked as an investment banker structuring corporate bonds/syndicated bank loans at Goldman Sachs, and municipal bonds at First Albany Capital, RBC Capital Markets, and PFM Financial Advisors. Felicia’s municipal finance work focused on property tax/assessment districts and environmental projects (water, sewer, solid waste, clean energy). Currently, Felicia owns a consulting firm working with municipal clients on financing infrastructure projects and economic development.

Felicia attended Polytechnic School in Pasadena and received her B.A. from Stanford University in Public Policy, M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA, and M.B.A. from The University of Michigan Ross School of Business.

Nina R. Chomsky

Nina Chomsky is a community and neighborhood advocate who currently is President of the Linda Vista-Annandale Association, one of Pasadena’s oldest neighborhood associations. She has lived in Pasadena since 1972, and in Linda Vista for many years.

She is a now retired lawyer who practiced in Pasadena and Los Angeles for many years. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, and her law degree is from USC. For many years, she served on numerous City of Pasadena Committees and Commissions, including the 1993 General Plan Coordinating Committee representing neighborhood interests, and the Design and Northwest Commissions, and, ten years on the Community Development Committee (which succeeded the prior Pasadena Redevelopment Commission) managing Pasadena’s Redevelopment policies, programs and projects including commercial development and housing, and making recommendations to the City Council.

Rick Cole

Rick Cole

Rick Cole’s public service has spanned four decades as an activist, commissioner, Mayor, city manager and change agent. Long known for championing civic engagement, he’s been recognized as one of Governing Magazine’s Public Officials of the Year and won awards for municipal management and urban planning from the American Society for Public Administration, the Municipal Management Association of Southern California, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the American Planning Association and Emerging Local Government Leaders. He currently teaches Urban Policy and Politics at Occidental College and is the Housing and Homelessness Advisor for the San Gabriel Valley Association of Governments.

Michael Dieden

Michael Dieden founded Creative Housing Associates (CHA) to offer an alternative to the real estate and financing industries status quo of producing endless miles of freeways, suburban sprawl, banal architecture and environmental degradation. CHA’s work is not development but town building where cities and towns who have had their souls hollowed out by senseless development and where CHA tries to heal the scars and refuge left behind and allow these places to rediscover their soul and bring back the character and sense of place. Most of CHA’s work is located adjacent to public transit stations offering residents an opportunity to give up an automobile and be able to walk & bike to shop and play and use public transit to commute. This results in lowering carbon footprint, cleaning the air and saving each family $10,000 annually from the high-cost of automobile ownership.  CHA describes this work as building transit integrated neighborhoods.


This event is eligible for 1.5 hours of AICP Certificate Maintenance Self-Reporting Credit.

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We the People: How to Make More Voices Heard – on 2/6

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