Five hundred people across the Bay Area will receive invitations to hear former President Bill Clinton speak at this year’s Blueprint For Healthy Communities Summit at Craneway Pavilion.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District will target city planners, city managers, transportation directors and key community members to attend the October 21 event, said Lisa Fasano, BAAQMD’s Communications Director. “We want to get folks here who pay attention to public health and the impact of city development,” Fasano said. BAAQMD’s announcement that Clinton would speak at the summit has generated attention around the Bay Area. Fasano said calls from people who want to get a ticket have jammed their phone lines.
“People are very excited about the event and excited to see Clinton,” she said. “It’s going to be a situation where not everyone who wants to come can attend.”
BAAQMD has a track record of securing big names for the annual summit and drawing high interest with those names. The event featured Al Gore in 2006 and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in 2009.
Fasano said that this year’s list of invitees will look similar to those of years past. Historically, the Air District has invited groups “who have particular interest in some of the district’s air quality work,” Fasano said. “We look for people on the frontline.” Fasano said the air district will provide a waitlist for people who do not receive an invitation but want to attend. Most people on the waitlist will not get in, says Fasano.
BAAQMD is not the only place getting high volumes of inquiries about the summit. “A lot of people are asking me how to get tickets to get in and I don’t know the answer yet,” said Richmond City Councilman Tom Butt, who added that he thought the event would be good for Richmond’s image.
Beyond an image or morale boost, Fasano said she hoped that Clinton would draw attention to BAAQMD’s message.
“Plan smart,” she said. “Plan for the future. Be thinking about public health. We need to change people’s thinking. We need to focus planning efforts here. There is a lot that can be done at the local level.”