Board of Supervisors Blocks Parker Appointment
January 25, 2011
The county board of supervisors voted 3-2 today not to appoint Supervisor Jane Parker's nominee to the planning commission. The nomination was called into question at the most recent board meeting on Jan. 11 because the nominee, Janet Brennan, is a resident of district 5, not Parker's district 4, though county rules make no residential stipulations.
Parker believes there may be motives to the board's decision beyond discussed concerns pertaining to district representation. “My colleagues put a highly qualified planning commission appointee in the middle of a power struggle on the board,” she says. "Planning commission rules do not include any residency requirements. Since they have all previously participated in approving appointees who didn’t live in the district of the appointing supervisor, I just really have to think it’s about something else.”
Parker was referring to the one other occasion supervisors can recall on which a nominating supervisor selected a planning commissioner from outside the district. Simon Salinas appointed vintner Steve Pessagno in 2008 to provide expertise on the wine industry. That case was different, says Supervisor Louis Calcagno, because he held property within the nominating supervisor’s district. For Parker to appoint a resident of District 5, he says, is “thumbing your nose at the people of Seaside and Marina.”
At the board meeting today, some residents of district 4 spoke out in favor of district residents serving on a supervisor's committee and commission appointed seats. District 5 Supervisor Dave Potter said, "There was some pretty compelling [public] testimony from Jane's district that wasn't there last time. Publications like yours got people riled up a little."
Potter made a motion to appoint Brennan today. At the Jan. 11 meeting, Potter was the first to raise an objection to Brennan's nomination, citing "political courtesy" as the hold-up. Potter says, “having heard the three [other supervisors] opine, I knew what was going to happen. I just wanted to get on to the next topic. The math was bad.”
Parker attributes at least part of the board's vote to her raising a public conversation about seats on LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission, responsible for determining jurisdictional boundaries, annexations, and incorporations). She has voiced interest in serving on LAFCO, out of keeping with board tradition.
Potter says, “Historically, as long as people are content with the committees they’re on, nobody’s ever made a move to take someone off. It’s a collegial thing. You really don’t want to have a dogfight with your colleagues over something like that.”
Parker says a public conversation about the board of supervisors' two seats (currently Calcagno and Simon Salinas) is in order. And part of her interest in serving on LAFCO, Parker says, is ensuring peninsula representation on the agency. "I'll be very interested to see if their concern about district 4 representation carries forward to the LAFCO discussion,” referring to Supervisors' Calcagno, Salinas, and Armenta's votes today in favor of geographic representation on the planning commission.
The ten-member planning commission meets tomorrow with a vacancy for district 4, while Parker's office resumes a search for a nominee. LAFCO seats are slated for conversation at the next board meeting Feb. 1.