Next week the City Council will appoint a replacement for Tim Hughes who resigned from the Planning Commission (PC) in order to pursue opportunities in another State. Click here for that story.
Even with Hughes on board, the year has been hectic and filled with controversy, contentiousness, and more appeals to the City Council in a few months than had ever happened in the 20 year history. Moreover, most of these appeals resulted in the PC being overturned. Click here.
Many people blame the poor record this year on the appointments made by the new City Council, who have shown a partisan approach that far exceeds some of the excesses of previous Councils.
The City Council is lucky to have so many talented people applying for the position. We listed the names in our last post, and many of these names will be familiar to many people in the City. We have people who have been active in our HOAs, in our civic organizations and groups, our sports teams, etc. It's a very impressive list.
With only 1 position and 15 applicants, it helps to winnow the list down. Here’s a brief summary of some of the applicants who met the primary criteria of education or training or experience in various aspects of land planning. This doesn't mean that the rest of the field is without merit. In fact it contains some excellent people, but the City Council is not appointing an excellent person, or a good person, or a hard worker, etc. They are appointing someone to fill the vacant seat on the PC, and given all the problems the PC is having this year, they should be looking for someone who can hit the ground running.
I've listed them alphabetically.
Terry is a former Planning Commissioner for Lake Forest. He has a B.S. in Biology (U Arizona), an MBA in Financial Planning (Ca. Lutheran U), and is a Certified Financial Planner. He’s a member of Kiwanis, a coach for LaCrosse and Soccer, and a charter member of the Chamber of Commerce.
Anna Baldenegro works as a Project Engineer for Stantec. She has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Cal State Pomona (1999). She has more than a decade’s experience working in all aspects of land planning.
Dave is a founding member of the Lake Forest Planning Commission. In addition, he’s a member of Kiwanis, the Chamber of Commerce, and has been the driving force establishing a Boys and Girls club for the city. He has a B.A. in Business Administration (CSU LB), and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration (CSU LB).
Tom Grable is a VP of Project Management for TRI Pointe Homes, which is a developer of new home communities. Prior to this he worked for William Lyon Homes. He’s been a member of the BIA Board of Directors and the OC Board of Supervisors Development Processing Review Committee. He has a B.A. from CSU Fullerton. He was active with the Saddleback Valley YMCA.
Karen Knox is an Architectural Graphics Consultant and works as a Land Planner for L. D. Iverson, Architect. She has a B.A. in Architecture from Cal State Pomona (1997). She has more than a decade’s experience working in all aspects of land planning.
Amanda Morrell works as a Program Management Consultant for the Onyx Group where she provides planning support services for new communities. She has a B.S. in Landscape Architecture from Purdue. She is a former Parks and Recreation Commissioner and has worked extensively as a volunteer with SVUSD, Boy Scouts, AYSO, etc.
Sean is the owner of Schwab Construction where he’s managed residential and commercial building projects in Southern California for more than a decade. He is a licensed general contractor.
This group looks like the most “qualified” based on either education, training, or work experience.
"TWO MEN ENTER, 1 MAN LEAVES"
Was the song they sang when the combatants entered the fighting ring in Mad Max's Thunderdome. In our case we have 15 men and women, and though all 15 leave, only 1 enters the PC. But that's a shame because 14 other talented people have offered to help the City and the City would be a lot better off if it could take advantage of these people's generous offer to serve. More on that tomorrow.
Meantime if you have an opinion about who should be our next Planning Commissioner, please share it here.