Friday, January 16, 2009

Vote for Preservation!

This appeared on the PreservationNation blog yesterday, posted by Jason Clement, online content provider for the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

For so many reasons, this past presidential election was like nothing we’ve ever seen - online that is.

With the candidates YouTube-ing, their advisors Twitter-ing and pretty much everyone Facebook-ing, we had a front-row seat to see politics get a daytime talk show-style makeover. And now that we’ve picked a president and he’s just days away from taking office, we have another avenue for getting involved online.

The YouTube video (see!) above is from Valerie Jarrett, a co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Team. In it, she describes an innovative new project on, the always-open online office of President-Elect Obama. Called the Citizen’s Briefing Book, it’s an opportunity for viewers to not only make policy suggestions for the new president, but to see and vote on the ideas of their fellow users. At the end of the project, the topics that are voted the most popular will make their way to Obama’s desk in the Oval Office.

All you need to do it visit and register - a necessary (yet quick and easy) step in order to participate. Next, search the idea pool for “Historic Preservation.” You’ll find a variety of topics related to our mission, including this popular entry entitled “Historic Preservation is Sustainability:”

The National Historic Preservation Program is essential for the funding of public and private initiatives to advance sustainability. Financial tools to improve energy efficiency in buildings must include assistance for owners of historic buildings, both residential and commercial, to rehabilitate and upgrade their properties in accordance with historic preservation standards.

Maximizing the contribution of historic preservation to the green economy and sustainability requires a skilled labor force.

Global climate change leads to increasingly devastating natural disasters that require a comprehensive approach to the protection of historic sites and communities.

Infrastructure rehabilitation and improvements are critical to the preservation and sustainability of our historic urban and rural communities.

To this end, expanding resources for the National Historic Preservation Program is critical to providing the infrastructure needed for the stewardship and sustainability of the built environment.

You’ll see the rating of each idea once you open them. The goal is to “vote up” ideas like the one above (which is already at over 1,500 and counting) that are related to our preservation goals.

And of course, if you have a spare moment after doing your voting up, consider leaving comments as well (use our policy platform if you need help making the case). This is, after all, a public forum designed to uncover what the people feel are the most pressing issues facing our nation today. It’s critical that, when given “open government” opportunities like this, we all act as thought-leaders by demonstrating how preservation is so much more than just standing in front of bulldozers.

Posted by Katie Eggers Comeau, Director of Preservation Services


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Three-minute preservation action item

Happy new year! Kristen Harbeson of the National Council of State Historic Preservation Officers has alerted us to another opportunity to let the incoming Obama administration know that historic preservation is the greenest tool for stimulating the economy while building stronger communities. I quote from Kristen's email:

As we have mentioned before in this forum, the Obama administration has provided a remarkable tool to communicate with the President-Elect’s policy team through the website The e-mail this morning from John Podesta asks people to vote on the importance of questions that people have submitted to the incoming administration.

I encourage you to make the Preservation voice heard by taking just a few minutes to do the following:
1) Go to
2) You may need to sign in or create a username.
3) There is a box that allows you to “Search Questions.” Type in “Historic Preservation.”
4) Click the check on each of the questions to indicate that you think they are important questions.
5) WATCH OUT, though, for the sneaky question that talks about Historic Preservation as a “Land-Grab” to benefit the rich [and potentially other questions that are not actually preservation-friendly].

It takes just a few minutes, and may make a difference in the reception of your preservation advocates when they approach the new administration. If you submit preservation questions, you may want to let us know so that we can continue to spread the word to make sure your issues are addressed on Capitol Hill and in the White House.

I wish you all a very good New Year,
Kristen Harbeson
National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers
Please take a couple of minutes to do this, and if you have other questions for the administration regarding historic preservation, please do so, so that the rest of us may vote on them! New questions are submitted every day, so check back in a few days to see if there are more opportunities to vote for preservation.

Posted by Katie Eggers Comeau, Director of Preservation Services