Ron Sims, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and former County Executive, King County, Washington presented the keynote address during the Fall General Assembly on Thursday, October 22, 2009, in San Francisco. As the second most senior official at HUD, Sims is responsible for managing the Department's day-to-day operations, a nearly $40 billion annual operating budget, and the agency's 8,500 employees. Sims set the stage for the half-day General Assembly discussion by presenting an expansive federal perspective on how to build partnerships to support sustainability, livability, and economic development in the 21st century. Sims spoke about the importance of aligning interests and integration of housing, transportation, and air quality with an emphasis on healthy neighborhoods. “Regionalization is our only way to be able to compete globally and be competitive for the rest of the century,” Sims told the audience of ABAG elected officials and staff. He emphasized, “HUD is not your regulator, but will partner in community development with a desire to see regions plan together with investments that make regions work.”
A panel of Bay Area elected leaders, including Solano County Supervisor Jim Spering, San Francisco County Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, San Jose Councilmember Sam Liccardo, Oakland Councilmember Jean Quan, and Moderator Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, followed Sims. Speakers discussed the current economic downturns and their impact on public revenues and services, and examined local opportunities and partnerships for moving toward long-term sustainable and equitable local and regional development.
The General Assembly featured an informative presentation on leveraging sustainability by luncheon speaker Will Fleissig, President of Communitas Development Inc. and active member of Urban Land Institute and ReConnecting America. Click here to view Fleissig’s Presentation.
ABAG’s General Assembly is a bi-annual conference that brings Bay Area decision-makers together to explore key issues and trends in a regional context.