Affiliate Spotlight: Molly Kirkland, SDCAA
As the Director of Public Affairs, Molly Kirkland has been with the San Diego County Apartment Association (SDCAA) for more than two years. SDCAA represents more than 2,400 members serving the needs of companies and individuals who own, manage or provide services and products to more than 150,000 rental housing units in San Diego County.
NAA recently asked Kirkland about SDCAA’s state and local legislative priorities and thoughts about being a volcanologist:
NAA: How did you get involved in politics?
MK: When I began college I wanted to be Indiana Jones so I originally declared anthropology/archaeology as my major. I took a political science class to fulfill a requirement. I was hooked and changed my major at the next opportunity.
NAA: What are your association’s state legislative priorities this year?
MK: We’re fighting off any attempts at expanding rent control and want to improve the state’s laws regarding water submeters.
NAA: What are the 2014 local legislative/regulatory priorities?
MK: With the loss of redevelopment funds, cities are now looking to the development community to fund affordable housing. That translates to additional fees on rental housing construction. At the same time localities are now also creating climate plans that often include retrofit requirements for existing construction. These types of proposals only serve to add to the cost of rental housing.
NAA: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
MK: Overcoming misconceptions about property owners. Unfortunately, some elected officials and many in the general public think that property owners are making money hand over fist and don’t care about residents.
NAA: What are the top three issues that association members consistently throw at you?
MK: Companion animals, medical marijuana and issues within our courts impacting unlawful detainers.
NAA: What are your typical day-to-day responsibilities as your association’s government affairs director?
MK: I could spend an entire day going from meeting to meeting or I might be in the office all day. There is no typical day-to-day for me. One constant is monitoring news and reading dockets…my smartphone has made sure I cannot avoid that. Making sure we know what’s coming and being at stakeholder meetings is crucial so we can be a part of policy making.
NAA: Do you miss your Blackberry?
MK: No. I was not a fan. The first one I was forced to carry wound up in a toilet by accident. My displeasure with the phone was not a secret so I don’t think anyone believed it was an accident.
NAA: If you weren’t in politics, what would you be doing?
MK: I took a natural disasters course in college and was beyond fascinated. I think I would be a volcanologist: one who studies volcanoes…not one who studies Spock.