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Archive for the ‘California Designers Against Legislation (CADAL)’ Category

As a matter of fact, well-behaved people of all genders are rarely the ones who are most instrumental in effecting any sort of important social changes.

It’s unfortunate, but it’s also a reality that it usually takes getting in bad guys’ faces loudly, and sometimes quite aggressively spreading the word, in order to rectify conditions in society and anywhere else that are unjust, discriminatory, and just plain wrong.

Look at the Suffragettes and the civil rights movement as just two examples that were even more extreme in their tactics than any anti-design legislation groups or proponents will ever be. It often takes people who are willing to put their own necks on the line, to risk everything from their reputations to their freedom to their very lives to stand up for what’s right, and protect the rights of all.

It takes repetition and yes, even loudness to get the apathetic to even pay attention, even when it’s their own interests at stake – and make no mistake about it, legions of designers have been incredibly apathetic about this issue, especially those who are most likely to be affected. Once they hear about the realities, though, they are sitting up and taking notice in droves.

Following my post about the Michael Smith situation, I received an email yesterday from a colleague who shall of course remain unidentified, criticizing me for essentially being as outspoken as I have been against design legislation, telling me my behavior is “unprofessional”, as well as “abrasive [and] combative”, for posting about it the way I do, which I’ve done in various venues.

I’m certainly not trying to make any kind of history, and frankly, I’d much rather spend the time I spend working against legislation on a whole lot of other things, including building my own design practice and the new patient advocacy business I want to start, taking care of my very sick brother and father, and blogging about the more fun aspects of interior design, but there comes a time in life when you’ve got to speak up for what you believe is right, and to protect the rights of others, even if the issues at hand will not affect you personally. And even if it brings the wrath of others down upon you.

I reached that point about a year ago, after several years of debating back and forth about the value of legislation, and studying both sides of the issue in great depth. I’ve written extensively about my thoughts on this subject both on this blog and elsewhere, including some of the listings on the CADAL and IDPC websites. Not all are attributed to me, but my thoughts are there. Eventually, I’ll get the CADAL site updated with more of the most current information.

Unfortunately, more sedate and quiet methods of trying to dissuade ASID and its legislative partners from their destructive paths have not worked. Until roughly sometime in the last year or so, their actions went unopposed, and people who disagreed with them had little recourse, as well as few others with whom to even discuss their dissent.

But now, there is a very strong grassroots opposition movement that is gaining steam nationwide, dedicated to spreading the word about how legislation is anticompetitive and only serves to harm the very designers and even the public whom its proponents claim to want to be protecting. The word is getting out – the truth is getting out. And there’s been an avalanche of support from every corner.

And the word must be spread. IDPC has been doing an amazing job of reaching a large segment of the design community, especially Allied ASID members and students, but there are still tens of thousands of others who need to know what’s going on, that will affect their livelihoods. Joni at Cote de Texas has done a bang-up job of alerting a lot of people to the issues and how they are playing out in Florida in her superb post “ASID: An Agency Out of Control” and other bloggers such as Laurie at Kitchen Design Notes have also done a huge amount to help. Patti Morrow of the Interior Design Protection Council is tireless in sending out email blasts, which are archived at http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs060/1102107213116/archive/1102156670830.html and there are dozens of other equally dedicated people who are posting all over the blogosphere and Twitterland about the issues, many of them in terms far less complimentary than any I have used. At least one has posted a quite obscene (although wickedly creative and funny) image graphically displaying her feelings.

And frankly, for every person I’ve encountered who disagrees with what we have to say, I’ve met many, many more who are applauding our willingness to stand up and put it all on the line, to fight for every designer. Every day, we are hearing from more and more people thanking us for the work we do, for helping them realize that they are not alone, and that they can fight back – and they can prevail.

In the past 2-3 years alone, something like 50 separate pieces of legislation have been voted down, vetoed, struck down as unconstitutional, or otherwise legally challenged or eliminated, because legislatures all over the country are recognizing that there’s simply no just rationale for this kind of law.

The Emperor has no clothes; we are just pointing that out – and we are winning, because the truth speaks for itself, and almost always triumphs, once people’s eyes are opened.

I used to think I’d miss out on a lot of networking and working with nice and talented people by not being associated with ASID, and the loss of some of the relationships I’d built with other members as a result of our finding ourselves on opposite sides of this issue has definitely saddened me, but the reality is there are thousands of incredibly nice and extremely talented designers all over the place who are not affiliated, and I find that I’m just forging solid relationships with others instead.

If spreading the word about the reality of what’s happening in our profession, exposing the real agenda of an organization that ought to be looking out for its members instead of using their own money against them, and working hard to protect the rights of all designers to practice is unprofessional, then I accept the charge and will wear that label proudly.

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Oh no, an unlicensed designer is going to decorate the White House – heaven forbid! Quick, get out the sandbags; the Obamas aren’t going to be safe in their own home, and neither will the public!

Or at least that’s what ASID’s Michael Alin would apparently like President and Mrs. Obama and the rest of the country to believe.

Feh.

As everyone already knows, the extremely talented and world famous California designer Michael S. Smith has been tapped by the Obamas as their designer for their private White House quarters. He couldn’t possibly be a better choice, as ample other posts in the blogosphere have already detailed and dissected (see Patricia Gray, The Peak of Chic, and Cote de Texas, among many others). Gifted, personable, with a versatile of-the-moment style that’s incredibly well-suited to a young, modern family in the US, Smith’s selection fits well with everything we know about our new First Family to date, and will creatively meld a contemporary aesthetic and lifestyle with the traditions of the White House in an utterly fresh, uniquely American way.

What’s particularly interesting, however, is that, as best as I have been able to determine, Smith is not only not licensed in the District of Columbia (one of only 4 jurisdictions in the US that requires licensure for interior designers to practice our trade), but is probably not even eligible, according to current ASID and NCIDQ standards, as I was unable to uncover any evidence that he possesses a degree in interior design. Despite this, he is clearly acceptable to the Obamas – and to all of the security people surrounding the more powerful person in the country.

As well he should be, because Smith is bloody brilliant – and is the embodiment of all of the reasons that the ASID argument that only licensed/certified/ASID and NCIDQ-credentialed designers know what they’re doing is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Now, in reality, the White House is technically on Federal land, not District land, and so licensure would not be required in any case, but ASID is still obviously upset about the Obamas hiring someone who is unlicensed anywhere – and clearly not a member of ASID, according to a search of their website. You can readily see this from the fatuous letter Interiors & Sources published from Michael Alin of ASID in their most recent issue, exhorting the Obamas to consider the health and safety of their family and visitors first and foremost – as if their safety has not already been more than amply assured by legions of security and safety experts.

If these professionals, charged with keeping the First Family safe, don’t feel there’s a safety risk in allowing the Obamas to select a designer without the “formal” ASID-dictated credentials that Alin and his minions tout, then surely the hundreds of millions of other citizens of our country who want freedom of choice in selecting a designer for their own homes and offices are not at any greater risk without legislation to “protect” them.

Funny how ASID is always screaming bloody murder about unlicensed designers specifically endangering the public all over the Web and email, and interfering in many designers’ lives and livelihoods – but they didn’t even directly bring up the question of Smith’s credentials or licensing status up in this letter. Could it be that they realize how utterly ridiculous it would make them look if they were to blather on about how Smith isn’t licensed – to the President of the United States, who just selected him? And how overtly critical of Obama’s judgment that would obviously make them seem? What is Alin seriously expecting? That the Obamas will read his letter, and then suddenly decide, uh oh, they’d better find another designer from within the ASID ranks, because the almighty ASID (which is unknown to most people) has hinted not at all subtly that the President and his wife are not adequately protecting their family because of their current selection?

Designer Walter B. Peterson of Philadelphia-based Weixler Peterson Luzi Interiors responds to the editors in more detail about how ridiculous this argument is, and how the Obamas’ selection demonstrates how utterly unnecessary interior design legislation is:

————————————————————————————————————————-

Mr. Robert Nieminen, Editor

Mr. Jamie Nicpon, Managing Editor

INTERIORS & SOURCES Magazine

615 Fifth Street, SE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Dear Sirs:

Michael Alin’s “Letter to President Obama” published in Interiors & Sources is presumptuous and embarrassing. Doubtless his advice is unsolicited, as the President’s and First Lady’s selection of the noted interior designer Michael S. Smith already satisfied their requirements in this area. Additionally, Mr. Alin’s expressed concern for the First Family’s environment – “modified to be safer and healthier” – rings hollow. One would be hard pressed to imagine any other head of state whose every environment, including the newest limousines he rides in, is any safer or healthier than that of the President, and any consideration of making the White House safer, healthier or more accessible would be handled by a team of government architects, conservators and the Secret Service, not an interior designer. But it is Mr. Alin’s suggestion that they consider the “health, safety and welfare” of their children before engaging an interior designer that is most offensive. Like all good parents, the Obamas have been taking such considerations into account since before their two lovely daughters were even born. Moving into the White House is the safest and healthiest move any family could make on this planet regardless of whom they hire to design it, and for Mr. Alin to imply otherwise is patently absurd.

Lastly, the fact that Michael S. Smith is not licensed to practice interior design in Washington, D.C. seems not to have altered the First Family’s decision to hire him, nor does it seem to upset the district’s legal authorities, who on any other resident’s unlicensed designer would doubtless impose punitive fines and possibly imprisonment. Given the round-the-clock concern for the President’s and First Family’s safety, the appointment of Michael S. Smith to design their most private living quarters sends a clear message to every legislature and court in the nation that interior design licensing is a bogus act, completely unnecessary to protect the public’s health and life safety, and therefore nothing more than an attempt by a tiny minority of ASID’s interior designers to create an exclusive monopoly in the marketplace of creative ideas and design.

Sincerely,

Walter B. Peterson

WEIXLER PETERSON LUZI
Exceptional Interiors ~ Extraordinary Living
232 South Fourth Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
T: 215-592-9570 – F: 215-592-4782 – C: 215-880-3955
www.wplinc.com

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Please see the No Design Legislation blog at http://nodesignlegislation.wordpress.com for further information, extensive links about fighting interior design legislation in all affected states, and to discuss the issues. Please post your legislation-related comments there.

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Concerned about your right to practice interior design anywhere in the country? Think you’re alone?

No, there’s a very strong grassroots opposition movement well underway spearheaded by the Institute for Justice and the Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), and a wide range of individual grassroots organizations in affected states – and we’re having huge success blocking anticompetive laws, and in some cases, having existing ones overturned.

All this takes money, though. ASID reportedly has spent nearly $6,000,000 to the date of this post on their campaign to disenfranchise the majority of designers and has an army of paid lobbyists. We’re winning, as my previous post indicated, and expanding like crazy as money comes in to pay the support staff, despite being all volunteers, and operating on donations.

Join IJ and IDPC today to help fight anti-competitive legislation nationwide, and preserve interior designers’ right to make a living at our chosen profession. Please also see the No Design Legislation blog for a list of links to individual known state grassroots opposition organizations.

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Press Release

superheroGROUP RESIGNATION FROM ASID

SENDS A STRONG MESSAGE:
STOP THE PUSH FOR REGULATION

On December 19, 2008, Michael Alin, Executive Director of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) was sent a letter via Fed Ex with the signatures of 27 Allied and Professional members resigning their membership with ASID, designated as “Group One.”

Among the reasons outlined in the letter was the groups’ pronouncement that legislation supported and funded by ASID is not in the best interest of the Allied members, and has requirements so restrictive that they would be denied the right to practice. Allied members in states where licensing has been enacted have suffered terrible persecution and lost their right to earn an honest living. The group expressed concern that in a failing economy such as this, ASID should be using all its resources to support and market designers, not to destroy them through legislation.

The group resignation was coordinated by Jayne Rosen, a long-time Allied ASID member, in response to colleagues voicing their desire to resign. Rosen commented that she has seen ASID’s focus shift from education and networking to pushing a legislative agenda that does not include their own Allied members and that she feels is dangerous to the future of the profession.

The Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the rights of interior designers, has led the national movement to expose and neutralize ASID’s lobbying efforts to monopolize the interior design industry. “Interior design is a dynamic profession that celebrates innovation, creativity and diversity,” stated Patti Morrow, Executive Director of IDPC. “ASID’s attempt to impose its one-size-fits-all occupational licensing scheme on the profession is not only contrary to those values, but also hurts Allied Members, the majority of ASID’s own constituency, who while successfully working as professional designers, do not possess or wish to poses ASID’s self-mandated credentials which it claims are necessary to be considered a “professional” or to work as an interior designer.”


Diane Plesset, a “professional” member of ASID who resigned her membership earlier this year also added her name to the protest letter. “I’ve passed the NCIDQ exam required for licensing, but I cannot in good conscience support legislation that will put many honest, hard working designers out of business,” said Plesset. “A true professional is always confident enough to compete based on the merit of the work they produce.”

Rosen expects the news of the multiple-signer resignation will be a wake-up call to ASID’s Allied members, and could even be the catalyst for more resignations to take place before the December 31st renewal deadline. “The more resignations, the stronger our message becomes,” said Rosen. “ASID has neither a right nor a mandate to dictate who may or may not practice interior design.” ASID members interested in participating in another group resignation can reach Rosen at libertyforpadesigners@yahoo.com.

Morrow reported that she has been flooded with emails from Allied members indicating they do not intend to renew their 2009 memberships. “Allied ASID and independent designers need to wake up and smell the coffee,” said Morrow. “2009 could be a financial disaster for them if they do not support and join IDPC’s effort to stop the insidious spread of anti-competitive interior design regulation that may put them out of business.”

Click here to read the Resignation Letter sent to ASID.

ASID Renewals Lapse

chartIn our last newsletter, we extended an invitation to anyone not planning to renew their ASID membership to tell us why.

We have been astonished at the incredible number of responses flooding our office! Even more amazing is that unbeknownst to each other, most designers said basically the same thing. You can read a small sampling of these messages in our Letters to the Editor section below.

If you are also not planning to renew your membership in ASID, please feel free to voice your concerns and opinions at pmorrow@IDPCinfo.org. Your name and email address will be held strictly confidential and used only for IDPC internal survey purposes.

If you are interested in adding your name to an additional group resignation letter to send a message to ASID, please contact libertyforpadesigners@yahoo.com.

ASID President’s Letter
December 18, 2008

superheroIt appears that IDPC’s newsletters are reaching thousands of their Allied members, causing them great concern and prompting them to contact the ASID national offices. ASID recently wrote to their members attempting to assuage the growing fears of their membership. As usual, ASID provided nothing substantial or empirical as backup to their rhetoric. Below are some of their statements followed by IDPC rebuttal.

“ASID is working tirelessly to advocate for the right regulation that enhances your right to practice.”

Wrong. ASID, through the coalitions it funds, initiates and funds legislation which puts their Allied members’ right to practice in jeopardy. Just look at the laws already in place as well as every single bill proposed. They have three lobbyists working to enact and expand legislation, and they charge a $15 mandatory assessment, whether or not you agree with their agenda

“ASID is actively recruiting Allied members and welcomes new Allied members into ASID each and every day.”

Of course they do! Dues from Allied members make up the majority of their income. If Allied members decline membership, the money available to push for licensing drastically declines.

[ASID provides] “Listing on the national designer referral service.”

Until recently, the ASID website had been changed so that the default said “Show Professionals Only.” Clearly, this was demeaning to Allied members, demoting them to second-class status, and made it difficult for consumers to find the Allied listings, not to mention subliminally indicating to consumers that they would be choosing an “unprofessional” designer.

IDPC brought this matter to the attention of the design community, many of which are Allied ASID, and in response to what must have been (should have been) outrage by the Allied members, it appears that the default has now been changed back to “Show All Practitioners.”

Another victory for IDPC, the only national organization that truly looks out for all designers!

“Use of the ASID Allied Member appellation” [as a benefit]

We have received copious amounts of email from Allied members as well as unaffiliated designers stating that their clients neither know about nor care whether they are ASID members. They care only about the quality of work they produce.

“Each state is defining interior design – and no two definitions are the same.”

Misleading and disingenuous. There are of course subtle differences to comply with the detailed process in each state where ASID is supporting legislation. But in virtually every proposed bill, the requirement for licensure, registration, or certification has and continues to be passage of the NCIDQ exam. Most successful, practicing Allied designers do not possess the criteria needed to even sit for the exam, thus excluding them from qualifying.

“We have not and do not seek to restrict others’ livelihoods.”

The legislation they support and fund HAS and DOES restrict the livelihoods of the majority of interior designers in this country who are not NCIDQ certified, including ASID’s own Allied members. Just take a look at the situation in Florida, as just one of many available examples. Many, many Allied ASID members and independent designers in Florida have been fined or ordered to Cease and Desist. Their names will appear on Google forever as having been prosecuted. This is a foreshadowing of what will happen in every state if practice acts are allowed to be enacted unchecked.

“Currently, interior designers in many jurisdictions are prevented by existing laws from offering services within their scope because the profession is not legally recognized.”

Absolutely false. As we have reported many times, the IBC’s actual language is: “[C]onstruction documents shall be prepared by a registered design professional where required by the statutes of the jurisdiction in which the project is to be constructed.”

The International Building Code (IBC) establishes common code and other safety requirements for various building types. It does not regulate any design profession, nor does it require that any design profession be regulated or not be regulated. Nor has the International Code Council (ICC) ever taken a position to the effect that “interior design services must be regulated in order to protect the public.” It is telling that there is no citation or reference whatsoever supporting the false statement that it has.

For detailed information on why the IBC is a non-issue, click on these two newsletters:

Don’t Let Codes Scare You

10 False Statements About Licensing

“If your state does have an interior design law on the books, it may not affect you or the type of work you do.”

Nonsense! States with a practice act take away your occupational freedom to practice to the full scope of your abilities — they allow only work with “surface materials,” i.e. “decorating.” States with a title act take away your free speech right to accurately describe your work or yourself, thus making it more difficult or impossible to market yourself

“Our Society is what it is today because of you.”

The membership dues and mandatory legislative assessment you pay to “your Society” ARE FINANCING THE LOBBYING EFFORTS THAT MAY PUT YOU OUT OF BUSINESS!

Isn’t it time for YOU to stop “YOUR” society from using YOUR dues to push an agenda YOU do not agree with?

Isn’t it time for you to join IDPC?

Tattletales
And other despicable creatures..


ratDid you know that under the Florida interior design practice law, licensed designers are legally required to turn in other designers, decorators, architects, employers, co-workers, competitors, anyone they see or know of who is just trying to earn a living but is in violation of the Florida law?

That’s right. Here’s the statute:

455.227 Grounds for discipline; penalties; enforcement.
(i) Failing to report to the department any person who the licensee knows is in violation of this chapter, the chapter regulating the alleged violator, or the rules of the department or the board.

Is this how you want your life to be? Constantly looking over your shoulder for (1) someone to turn you in for just trying to put food on the table, or (2) in constant fear that they’ll come after you, in spite of your license, because you failed to rat out one of your colleagues…?

This is the kind of KGB-like state you will be faced with if the cartel is successful in getting more practice acts like Florida’s.

And it doesn’t only affect interior designer and decorators — the office furniture and restaurant equipment industries are also being targeted and prosecuted in Florida!

It’s time for Florida designers, decorators, office furniture dealers, restaurant equipment dealers, kitchen and bath designers, architects, etc. to join our movement and help us create a plan for your state for 2009.

It’s time for the design community in the rest of the country to join IDPC and stop practice acts from getting enacted in your state.

Your future is in your hands.

ANTI-licensing article
Insurgence of the Independents by Patti Morrow

Window FashionWindow Fashion Vision is the second national, unaffiliated magazine this year to publish an article from the point of view of the resistance movement. Click here to read Insurgence of the Independents, an exposition on why unaffiliated designers — the vast majority of practicing designers — are resisting the effort led by ASID to regulate the profession, in the November issue of magazine.

Click here to subscribe to Window Fashion Vision.

www.wf-vision.com

Letters to the Editor

“I am not planning to renew my ASID Allied membership. They have not listened to my objections to licensure. I have made my voice clear for twenty years and they are still trying to regulate a profession that does not need it. I have also felt that they haven’t given me anything for my dues money as an Allied member. Clients and prospective business contacts never ask about my membership, so what’s the point?”

* * *

“All this licensing really comes down to is money. Money for NCIDQ, money for ASID, money for the legislation………and lots of it! It would take over $2,000 for me to get my license (with the STEP course, hotel and travel, the test, registration fees, and purchasing extra practicums and templates – from ASID, of course). It’s not worth it at this point in my life to become licensed. It will benefit me none. I believe my work speaks for itself. Plus, the multiple choice part of the test material is irrelevant to real-life daily practice…even in the commercial world (for which I work). They do not deserve my hard-earned money. I do not currently believe in this process to be licensed.”

* * *

“I am one of those allied ASID members who is NOT renewing my membership. The economy is only part of the problem. I do believe that ASID’s push for legislation is self-serving, and does not help me, as I am always on the bottom of any referral lists, because I have not sat for their exam, although I graduated at the top of my Interior Design Curriculum. I have NEVER been asked by a client whether or not I belong to ASID. My work and referrals speak for themselves.”

* * *

“I have decided not to renew for a few reasons, most importantly because I do not agree with their proposed legislation of interior designers. Secondly, I do not feel that it is currently worth $400+ for the benefits that they offer.”

* * *

“I have chosen to not renew my ASID membership this year. The high membership dues in this economy are coupled with the fact that I do not feel that I am getting anything out of my membership. That is magnified by their apparent lack of concern for allied members (with the legislation they are pushing for, etc). It is outrageous that a professional organization like ASID supports a move toward licensing that excludes those who have chosen to take an alternate path of education, and practical, professional experience, rather than paying to take an exam to become a ‘Professional Member’ of ASID.

Thank you for the thoughtful and researched material. I plan to forward this e-mail to design & construction colleagues who are affiliated with other professional organizations”

* * *

“I’ve been a professional designer for 30+ years (Allied Member ASID for about ten years) and have never been responsible for any harmful circumstances to my clients. It seems to me that this is an attempt to make the public view Interior Designers as having expertise beyond our scope of training/education/experience…such as architects/electricians/plumbers and building contractors……Not so!!! If those are the credentials they want to present, then they should achieve the education/training and accredidation necessary to qualify them to attach those titles to their names…..passing the NCIDQ does not nearly come close to filling that level of expertise.”

* * *

“Why align myself with an organization that is costly to maintain and may put me out of business?”

* * *

“I am not renewing my ASID membership for 2009 because ASID has done nothing to promote my business or assist me in any way. I just read the list of ten reasons a licensed interior designer is necessary and I laughed it was so absurd. I am not licensed and I am fully aware of all code requirements, ADA specifications, etc. as I regularly pull permits for jobs. Every time I read something from the IDPC I get madder! I will be joining your organization in January. Thank you for all you do.”


-Letters may have been edited for length only-

Special thanks

superheroOn behalf of the Board and Staff of IDPC,

we’d like thank our

troops and veterans

for their selflessness and courage in protecting that which we hold most dear:

OUR FREEDOMS

Please do not let their sacrifices be in vain. Do not let the pro-regulation Cartel take your economic liberty from you without a fight. Help IDPC protect your Constitutional rights to occupational freedom and free speech.

giftAsk for a membership to IDPC for Christmas.

Or better yet, why not give yourself the gift you richly deserve?

$100 a year for Members of the design community and supporters

$ 20 a year for Students

CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO JOIN?superhero

Happy holidays and a prosperous and regulation-free new year.

signature-black
Executive Director
Interior Design Protection Council

info@IDPCinfo.org

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Membership Information

Case Statement

Please forward this email to every interior designer, interior decorator, student, vendor or industry partner who would be negatively affected by regulation

Who is IDPC?

The Interior Design Protection Council is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the rights of interior designers, interior decorators, office furniture dealers, showrooms, suppleirs and other businesses who would be negatively affected by interior design regulation.

We also actively influence legislation germane to protecting the livelihood of our members.

For more information on IDPC, please visit our website at

http://www.IDPCinfo.org

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We just received a copy of the letter below sent to ASID Headquarters. Thanks to the Interior Design Freedom Coalition http://www.interiordesignfreedom.org/blog.html for posting it.

Please see the links on this blog in the Interior Design Legislation Opposition section to the Interior Design Protection Council and the Interior Design Freedom Coalition for more information on licensing efforts and how to protect your real right to practice in your state, and how ASID efforts will put thousands of designers out of business.

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ASID RESIGNATIONS
-GROUP ONE-

December 19, 2008

Michael Alin, Executive Director
The American Society of Interior Designers
608 Massachusetts Ave., NE
Washington, D.C., 20002

Dear Mr. Alin:

Over the last several years, we have watched as ASID has recklessly spent our dues and MANDATORY legislative assessments on a failed policy falsely proclaiming to “raise the level of the profession” and to cull what you have decided are the “real designers” from those not following the path you dictate. The legislation you support has requirements so restrictive that most designers would not be able to comply and will therefore be denied the right to practice.

Over and over… we have watched as ASID’s president, members and board repeatedly mislead their own ASID colleagues about the EFFECT of legislation on our right to practice, while currying support from the very designers who would be put out of business by your legislative actions. And we have listened as Allied Members were described as the “Cash Cows” of the organization – too stupid to understand that we were being used to fund our own demise.

Over and over… we have watched as ASID betrayed its own ethics to push its own agenda – an ego-driven agenda that has the potential to destroy more than half of its own membership.

Over and over… we have listened as ASID members said sweetly, “We’re not trying to put you out of business.” [Subtext: as long as you forego your practice to go back to school for at least 2 years, do a supervised internship with an NCIDQ certified designer – if you can find one who also happens to be hiring – and intern from two to five years while being paid virtually nothing; then if you have any money left, pay about $2000 to take step workshops, purchase study materials, and take and pass the NCIDQ test (which is rarely passed on the first attempt), and then prove to the satisfaction of your own competitors that you actually are a designer, and comply with any regulations they happen to write.] But nobody’s trying to put you out of business; after all, there’s grandfathering. And from what we’ve seen of the way “grandfathering” is often written into the legislation, that’s just as bogus a claim as the rest of the pro-legislation argument.

Legislators have told us that representatives (either ASID and/or IIDA members) have misrepresented the content, objectives and design support for their legislation while governors of four states have clearly understood it to be anticompetitive and protective.

In states where practice acts have been enacted, designers have suffered terribly – persecuted for what they have done successfully for years, sustaining huge fines and legal fees for miniscule “infractions” and in some cases, bankrupted and driven out of the state in order to earn a living.

Florida designers bear witness to the travesty of your actions, and we hear more and more from them every day. The disgraceful behavior of Florida ASID members who deliberately work to expose and report their own members, as well as others, and help to put them out of business tells us what we need to know about ASID as an organization and about how legislation really works to
destroy designers’ rights to practice. And Florida is not the only state where this happens or has happened: try Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Connecticut and others.

There are estimated to be between 200,000 and 400,000 interior designers in practice in the U.S. today. ASID claims membership of only about 20,000 practicing designers, the majority of
whom don’t even care about “raising the level of the profession”. Many are not even aware of your legislative agenda. They just want to practice design successfully as they always have.

We have personally spoken to Allied designers all across the country, and have found the vast majority to be opposed to your actions. As we’ve said before: the only designers who benefit from your tactics are the so-called professional designers who have passed the NCIDQ – and those are few and far between.

You do not represent independent designers as you have claimed, hence the title independent. They don’t want ASID’s interference in their right to practice, and have told us that they resent ASID’s efforts to dictate policy in which they have no say. Even ASID members are not welcome to disagree with your policies as the invitation to the Arkansas conference clearly shows, where attendees were carefully vetted to make sure that there would be no discordant voices.

ASID HAS NO RIGHT AND NO MANDATE TO DICTATE TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DESIGNERS ALL ACROSS THIS COUNTY WHO WILL BE ALLOWED TO PRACTICE AND WHO WILL NOT. YOUR LEGISLATION IS BEING DEFEATED BECAUSE DESIGNERS DO NOT SUPPORT YOUR OBJECTIVES.

It is clear to us that ASID no longer advocates for all of its members. This is illustrated in the make-up of the board which is ponderously commercial, in the membership of your pro-legislation coalitions across the country, where the majority are often commercial designers and in your undue influence in the schools, where students are pushed toward architectural/commercial design and where residential design gets short shrift. Students have told us that ASID has misled them, pushing them into commercial/architectural design on the premise that jobs at the commercial or architectural firms would be awaiting them when they graduate, and that ASID would help them get those jobs.

Even before the economic downturn, commercial jobs were very hard to come by – by ASID’s own statistics, only 15% of the market – and the few students who manage to land those jobs do so without ASID’s promised-but too often undelivered assistance. Many students, unable to secure those jobs have wound up selling commercial furniture and other commercial products. And most residential designers cannot hire them, as designers who have, have told us that they can draft, but cannot do other things that are crucial to residential design.

ASID’s preferential conduct is also apparent in the way Allied Members are treated on the national website’s “Find a Designer” page, where potential clients searching for referrals are offered a choice of “Show Professionals Only” (listed as the default) vs. “Show All Practitioners” which they have to search for [note: this appears to just have been changed]. This is insulting and clearly shows a bias toward “professional” members, which is especially unjustifiable considering that many so-called “Professional” designers have never passed the NCIDQ test and have just been allowed in. Allied Members pay the majority of dues and mandatory legislation fees, are no less professional in their work, and do not deserve a lesser marketing effort than any other members.

Additionally, by promoting its single-entry method as the one true path to design, ASID has created a rift between practicing designers and those who take ASID’s EEE path, with the younger designers evincing rudely worded disrespect for their more experienced elders – a situation which is not conducive to job creation.

Interior Design is a creative field. Yet ASID is determined to legislate creativity out of it by restricting the many paths of entry into the field that have nurtured that creativity and vision for years, producing brilliant designers – down to one path that is engineered to produce – engineers.

In a failing economy such as this, ASID should be using all its resources to support and market designers, not to destroy them through legislation. And make no mistake, we completely understand your actions and your intent.

We are ashamed and deeply disappointed by this organization. We can no longer support a Society that deliberately destroys its own membership and endangers the future of design and designers in its unending desire for power and dominance. And because of your exclusive policies, we know there is no hope of changing the trajectory of your actions.

ASID had a slogan: PROTECTING YOUR RIGHT TO PRACTICE. You are, in fact, subverting your own raison d’etre by deliberately trying to destroy our right to practice. And that is unethical, unconscionable and unacceptable.

And so we are resigning.

Jacqueline Bazaar, #1533586, Pennsylvania
Margaret H. Benson, #1504190, Texas
Gayle Beyer, #1519494, Colorado
Loraine Brown, #1250453, Georgia
Christine Colman, #1534167, Washington
Ellen Fernandez, #1239917, Maryland
Diane Foreman, #61436, Oregon
Debbie Gersh, #1485135, Texas
Noreen Dunn Gottfried, #1502827, Pennsylvania
Carol Gumpert, 1550669, California
Karen K. Hartley, #75601, Georgia
Nancy Hartsing, #1559067, Arizona
Henrietta Heisler, #1859365, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Kauermann, #97269, Pennsylvania
Nancy Phillips Leroy, #1231856, Pennsylvania
Christie Meehan, #1201627, Pennsylvania
Tonya Morrison, 1487732, Pennsylvania
Jayne Rosen, #78935, Pennsylvania
Rebecca Ruediger, #1250458, Missouri
Carly Sax, #1500172, Illinois
Anne-Marie H. Schimenti, #1504255, Florida
June Shea, #1486996, Virginia
Nadia T. Tanita, #1542001, Hawaii
Terri Temple, #18099, Connecticut
Mary Sue B. Wiedmer, #1215131, Pennsylvania

Resigned earlier this year for the above reasons:

Janice Onsa, Pennsylvania, former Allied Member
Diane Plesset, Oregon CMKBD, CID #5818, C.A.P.S., former ASID

cc: Bruce J. Brigham, President
Board of Directors:
Bruce Goff
Charrisse Johnston
Doug Hartsell
Lisa Henry
Mary G. Knopf
Rachelle Schoessler Lynn
Stephanie Clemons
Sybil J.B. Van Dijs
According to a survey by Interior Design Magazine as quoted in the New York Times, January 29, 1987

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