Planning commission nomination ruffles feathers as Parker becomes supes’ chair.
Originally published January 20, 2011 at midnight, updated January 20, 2011 at midnight
In a departure from its usual practice of approving nominations to commissions and committees, the County Board of Supervisors blocked a nomination to the Planning Commission at a board meeting on Jan. 11. The nominee, Janet Brennan, has 30 years of experience as a professional planner in California.
In what District 4 Supervisor Jane Parker called “kind of a wild first day as chair,” District 5 Supervisor Dave Potter raised an objection because Brennan lives in Carmel Valley, within his district. Potter says, “If I was thinking of appointing someone from [Parker’s] district to the planning commission, I would certainly have called her.”
The issue was one of “political courtesy,” he says, and he believes Brennan is “very well credentialed.”
Potter says he supports Brennan, but did not second Parker’s motion to appoint her because there was “no point in making a statement vote and losing.”
During the meeting, Parker apologized to Potter and said, “I seem to have stepped on the toes of the foot of protocol.” Brennan describes a subsequentmeeting with Potter as “very friendly.”
Marc Del Piero, a county supervisor for 11 years and now a federal bankruptcy lawyer, appointed Supervisor Lou Calcagno to the planning commission in the 1980s. He recalls that after redistricting, Calcagno at one point did not reside in his district. Calcagno could not immediately confirm that information.
County rules allow for supervisors to appoint residents outside of their districts, but Parker says she is learning there are “the written rules and the unwritten rules.”
She has also been testing the unwritten rules regarding seats on LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission, responsible for determining jurisdictional boundaries, annexations, and incorporations). She spoke privately with Calcagno about her interest in serving on LAFCO, she says, but has not raised the subject with any other supervisors due to transparency rules.
Committee members generally produce vacancies when they resign, are voted out of office, or step down.
Calcagno has served on LAFCO for 12 years, and says this is the first time such a conflict has emerged. “Either we’ve been doing things wrong for 12 years, and we’re just starting do them right, or we’ve been doing them right for 12 years and now we’re doing something wrong,” he says.
Brennan’s appointment is still up in the air. If affirmed at the Jan. 25 board meeting, her term will begin on Jan. 26.