October 30, 1995 - From the October, 1995 issue

Inside Planning: Carpool Rule, Health Care Crisis Seminar, and more!

Pressure Mounting for Change in MTA Board

At a recent meeting hosted by the Central City Association (CCA), ranking officials from San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) suggested that the size of the Metropolitan's Transportation Authority's (MTA) board, which currently contains 13 members, should be reduced. The advice came during a panel discussion in which moderator George Kieffer, CCA Transportation Committee Chair presented a chart showing that only two of the nation's 17 transit agencies have boards of 15 or more people. 

This advice comes shortly after Mayor Richard Riordan, Vice Chair of the MTA, called for reducing the size of the MTA board and pushed for AB 273, which was recently introduced by Assemblyman Steven Kuykendall(R-Long Beach). AB273 would reduce the panel's 13 members to nine, replace elected officials with appointees, and eliminate the use of alternate members. The changes would be effective July 1, 1997. 

Board Shake-Ups: CRA in Flux, LAX Gets Garcia 

After recently getting new Administrator John Molloy, previously director of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, the CRA is losing Dan Garcia as Chairman of the Agency. Garcia, Senior Vice President for Real Estate Planning and Public Affairs at Warner Bros., Inc. has been nominated to the vacancy created by the resignation of Michelle Park-Steel on the City's Airport Commission, and will likely become President of the Airport's Board.

It is rumored that Current Airport Commission President Ted Stein may resign by the end of the year to run for LA City Attorney, at which time Garcia would replace him. Garcia had previously served for 15 months on the Airport Board in 1993-94. Meanwhile, Chris Essel, Vice President of Planning and Design at Paramount Pictures is expected to take over Garcia's positions as Chairman of the CRA Board. 

Carpool Rule May Get Sideswiped 

Both the State Assembly and Senate passed legislation which, if signed by the Governor, would eliminate the State "carpool rule," although federal law still requires employer rideshare programs be part of regional anti­pollution programs. Congress is also considering a measure to invalidate the requirement.

The carpool rule was passed by the AQMD Board in 1987 and took effect in 1988. It requires all employers of more than 100 workers to develop plans which provide incentives for employees to carpool. Southern California business leaders despise the rule. 

SCANPH Housing Awards 

Bank of America was honored with the "Financial Supporter of the Year" award by the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing Conference (SCANPH) at their annual conference in September, although the award had a chunk taken out of it: "Tell your legal department to work a little harder," the award presenter told BOA. BOA's Community Development Bank had already recently dissolved the department.

Other winners included the Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (Jack Gardner, Director) for Non-Profit Developer of the Year, and Marcia Scully, volunteer attorney for Lincoln Place Tenants, as Advocate of the Year. The Hollywood El Centro Apartments, developed by Thomas Safran & Associates and Young Apartments, developed by the Los Angeles Community Design Center were both recognized with Project of the Year awards.

Health Care Crisis Seminar 

Metro Investment Report, sister publication of The Planning Report, is sponsoring a Los Angeles County Healthcare Crisis Seminar, tentatively scheduled for November 16, 1995.

Seminars for Planners 

UCLA Extension Public Policy Program is offering a series of seminars for planners. Planning and Zoning Law and Practice will be held Oct. 27; Introduction to the California Environmental Quality Act on Nov. 2; and a two-day intensive seminar on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Sacramento Update 

The State legislature has recessed the 1995 legislative session until January, 1996. 

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The Legislature reached agreement on the Orange County proposal in the last few days of the session. The bills require a plan of adjustment by January 1, 1996, or the Governor may appoint a trustee for Orange County. Three bills make up the relief package, and are joined to the LA County relief bill, SB 727, sponsored by Senator Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica) and Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) to authorize the reallocation of $150 million from the MTA to the LA County general fund for 1995-96. Governor Pete Wilson signed SB 727 in early October. 

After two years of lobbying that pitted farmers and developers against each other, the State passed SB 901, sponsored by Senator Jim Costa (D-Fresno), which requires local governments to consult with local water agencies about the source and availability of water for new developments (500 units or larger) before adopting an EIR. If the water agency finds a water shortage, SB 901 declares this a significant environmental effect under the California Environmental Quality Act. 

Meanwhile, SB 1066-Developer Fees, sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Campbell (D-Contra Costa), failed in the legislature's final days. SB 1066 would have converted any development tax, condition or charge into a development fee, limiting a city's ability to raise general fund revenues, and would have reduced school facility fees to $0.28 per s.f. for qualifying non-profit housing. 

SB 936-Housing Elements (Campbell) provides relief in the preparation and adoption of housing elements, and supported by cities throughout the state, was also passed just hours before the legislature adjourned. The bill includes a one year extension for the due date for housing elements, allows cities to include re­habilitated housing as part of the "adequate sites" contained in a housing element, in addition to three other revisions. 

Federal Update: The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which was ostensibly made a permanent part of the Federal tax code in 1993, will be extended only through December 31, 1997, under a proposal being advanced in the US House of Representatives Committee of Ways and Means. The Committee is also requesting a full-scale review of the program, and will hold hearings on the LIHTC in 1996. 

Technology Update 

Information systems, and in particular, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are a rapidly growing component of planning.

GRASSLinks is a World Wide Web interface to the geographic database of REGIS, an environmental planning research group at the University of California, Berkeley. GRASSLinks is still in the experimental stages, but is an excellent example of an online, public access GIS, capable of providing low-cost, high-quality maps from large spatial databases and powerful GIS software.  

People…  

Peter Weil was nominated to the Planning Commission, replacing George Lefcoe, who submitted his resignation from the Commission on September 22, 1995. Weil is a former member of the City's Board of Zoning Appeals and a senior partner in the law firm of Christensen, White, Miller, Fink & Jacobs. 

Gay Forbes, Director of the City of West Hollywood's Community Development Department will be taking a new position in the City of Anaheim as Economic Development Manager. 

Mee Hae Lee, Manager of Governmental Affairs for Real Estate Planning al Warner Bros., Inc. has been nominated to the Board of the Community Redevelopment Agency.

The Pasadena City Council re­confirmed City Manager Philip A. Hawkey and extended his position through October, 1997. 

Father Juan Santillan, a prominent local pastor and community activist, was nominated to service on the Recreation and Parks Commission. 

Richard Quevedo, Assistant Business manager for the Laborer's Local 300 Union was nominated to the Affordable Housing Commission. 

Denise Lamaute, President of Lamaute Capital Inc., was nominated to the Los Angeles Convention and Exhibition Authority.

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