January 30, 1996 - From the January, 1996 issue

Inside Planning: CRA Reorganization, Long Beach Freeway, and more!

City of Los Angeles

CRA Reorganization—In a three month report to the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board of Commissioners, John Molloy proposes a new hard-hitting mission statement for the agency, as well as a new conceptual internal organization, emphasizing "line" or operational functions for the agency.

Molloy has made no secret of his view of the ineffective way various city department/agencies involved in economic and community development and housing interact; expect this to be the subject of his next proposal. 

CRA—The CRA Board of Commissioners has seen a number of changes in the last month. Christine Essel was selected as the new chairperson of the CRA Board of Commissioners, 

succeeding Dan Garcia, who resigned to join the city's Airport Commission. Essel is vice president of planning and development for Paramount Pictures. 

LA Mayor Riordan made two new nominations to the CRA Board of Commissioners: Juanita G. Chavez, an attorney specializing in family law, estate planning and personal injury, would replace Shelby Kaplan-Sloan, whose term expired last month; and Christine Robert, president of the Robert Group, which focuses on new business development and advocacy for minority-owned businesses, and president of the LA Metro Chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus. would replace Al Osborne, who is leaving the CRA to serve on the board of the Los Angeles Community Development Bank.

Meanwhile, Bobbi Fiedler, a current CRA commissioner, was nominated by Mayor Riordan to a second term. 

General Plan Framework—After being recommended by the Planning Commission in Sept., the Framework has had a decidedly lowkey reception in City Hall. City Council member 

Bernson, chair of the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee, sent in late December a request for comments within 30 days to the Transportation, Housing and Community Redevelopment and Public Works committees. 

Transportation

MTA—Following the dramatic 9-4 Metropolitan Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors vote to oust chief executive officer Franklin White in December, Joseph Drew, who served as MTA's deputy chief executive officer since May, has been appointed interim CEO. LA Mayor Riordan subsequently appointed deputy Mayor Rae James as executive officer for external affairs at the MTA. Sharon Morris, a Board of Public Works Commissioner, was promoted to fill James’ position. 

Long Beach Freeway—Caltrans’ plan to shift part of the proposed freeway extension through Pasadena, South Pasadena and El Sereno to avoid a newly-identified historic district in El Sereno is likely to be approved by the state Transportation Commission, holding up the extension once again. The nearly 30-year­old planned 6.2 mile extension has long been fiercely opposed by local residents. 

Technology in Planning

SCAG—The Southern California Association of Government's ACCESS Project, to put 186 member cities online via the Internet, is expected to roll out its world wide web homepage in February, and member cities should begin receiving the necessary hardware and software in April. 

The University of Southern California (USC) is establishing a Southern California Studies Center (SC2 for short), to monitor the region through a series of on line multimedia projects and of publications. The project is backed by a collaborative of academic units and $1.5 million in funding. Michael Dear, professor of Geography, will serve as the director. 

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Legislation

Proposition 62 Update—Dozens of governments in California are facing financial crises in 1996 unless they seek and win voter approval of taxes on which their budgets rely. In mid-December the California Supreme Court held that general law cities and counties must obtain voter approval of general taxes, which includes utility and business taxes. 

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assoc. has threatened to governments still out of compliance in March, 1996, and the League of California Cities has made the issue their highest legislative priority for 1996. 

People

Following Jack Gardner's move from the Hollywood Community Housing Corp. (HCHC) to San Francisco, Christina Duncan formerly a project manager with HCHC, will become the new executive director. HCHC has an immediate opening for a new senior project manager. 

Julia Simmons, leader of a neighborhood organization which supported LA Mayor Riordan in his recent battle with the LA City Council over the 81st St. and Vermont Ave. mixed use development, was nominated by the Mayor to the Board of Library Commissioners. The nomination must be confirmed by the City Council. 

LA City Council president John Ferraro won election to the influential National League of Cities Board of Directors in December. 

Following earlier rumors, housing developer Kaufman & Broad, has officially announced the consolidation of the Coast Valleys and South Coast divisions into a coastal division located in Newport Beach.

Larry Kosmont, president of LA based real estate consulting firm Kosmont & Associates, has accepted an invitation to join the highly-selective Counselors of Real Estate (CRE). 

As part of its restructuring effort, the Port of Los Angeles is actively recruiting candidates for a newly created chief operating officer (COO) position. A study requested by the Board or Commissioners, released in Jan. 1995, called for the port to restructure operations and reduce staff through attrition. A task force subsequently created the COO position, which will oversee day-to­day Port operations. 

Holly Barnhill, who has headed the Downtown Marketing Council since its inception two years ago, left her post as part of a restructuring that incorporates the council into the Central City Assoc. of Los Angeles. The marketing council will now be headed by Becky Zahrly.

The Century Housing Corporation has been newly designated as a nonprofit corporation, and in December, 1995 elected its new 1996 board or directors: Carl Covitz; president of Landmark Capital; Norman Emerson, principal of Emerson & Associates; Carrie Hawkins, president and CEO of Trinity Mortgage Company; G. Allan Kingston, president and CEO of Century Housing Corp.; Daniel Lopez, principal of Lopez & Assoc.; Stephen McDonald, managing director of Trust Company of the West; Robert Norris, .Jr., deputy executive director of the San Diego Housing Commission; William Park, a partner at Kwak, Kim & Park, William Robertson; a retired former secretary/treasurer of the LA AFL-CIO and Ronne Thielen, vice president of Related Capital Company and director of Related's Western Regional Office. 

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