February 28, 1996 - From the February, 1996 issue

Inside Planning: DRC Recommendations, Public Works, and more!

City of Los Angeles

CRA—Over the protests of the Mayor's Office, the L.A. City Council delayed confirming all four of Mayor Richard Riordan's nominations to the CRA Board of Commissioners: Bobbi Fiedler was to be reappointed to a second term; Mee Hae Lee was to be appointed to the position vacated by Dan Garcia's move to the Airport Commission: Juanita Chavez would replace Shelby Kaplan-Sloan; and Christine Robert would replace Al Osborne. City Hall insiders say that the Council is holding Riordan's nominees in limbo until he is willing to discuss with the Council his criteria for choosing commissioners.

DRC Recommendations—Progress L.A., the public-interest group monitoring the progress of the Development Reform Committee's (DRC) recommendations to simplify the city's permitting process, released its first bench mark analysis of the success of development reform. Among the findings: 2/3 of all recent applications surveyed cited improved employee attitudes as a significant change; applicants who were assisted by the city's new case management system were considerably happier. However, 80 percent of applicants surveyed still do not believe the system is improving.

Public Works—The Reason Foundation released a report recommending that the City of Los Angeles privatize its water operations. The report, "Restructuring America's Water Industry," suggests that privatization could provide a steady stream of revenue. Under the current system, the DWP is expected to return five percent of its revenue to the general fund. The report is the latest in a series of privatization recommendations from critics of city services, notably power and sanitation services.

Real Estate and Development

Coldwell Banker Corporation, which sold its commercial real estate division in 1989, has reentered the commercial real estate business and will begin franchising commercial real estate companies nationwide through a new business unit, Commercial Affiliates, Inc. 

St. Vibiana's—The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is expected to choose an architectural firm by June I to design its new cathedral complex at the current site of St. Vibiana's Cathedral in downtown L.A. The $45 million project, led by executive director Ira Yellin, calls for razing the current 119-year-old, earthquake-damaged cathedral and replacing it with a larger one. 

WorldPort L.A.—More than fifty developers, architectural and planning firms met with WorldPort L.A. staff in late January as part of the ongoing Request for Qualifications (RFQ), due by March 18. The Port is looking for a master developer for the $100 million, mixed-use commercial, entertainment and recreational waterfront project covering 86 acres of commercial land and 78 acres of water surface at the Port.

West Hollywood—The Pacific Design Center (PDC) is abandoning its year-old plans to open a fashion show­room complex. The move constitutes a victory for downtown California Mart wholesale center, which would have been the PDCs main competitor. PDC says that they plan to redirect their efforts to special events, trade shows and niche markets for fashion and design. 

Anaheim Stadium—Major League Baseball owners have approved Wah Disney Co.'s acquisition of a 25 percent stake in the California Angels baseball team, but the deal hinges on a $100 million plan to renovate Anaheim Stadium. 


MTA—A measure to replace the 13-member MTA board of directors with a nine-member panel of non-elected officials, backed by Mayor Richard Riordan and introduced by Assemblyman Steve Kuykendall (R-Long Beach) failed in the Appropriations Committee in January. The bill is likely to be introduced in another form later this year. 

Following the MTA Board's vote to oust Franklin White, interim chief executive officer Joseph Drew is reshuffling staff at the agency. 

Linda Bohlinger was appointed interim deputy chief executive officer. L.A. “Kim" Kimball was appointed the agency's new chief administrative officer. Kimball joined the MTA at its inception in April, 1993, and has served largely as special assistant to chief executive officer, Franklin White. 

Anthony Padilla, meanwhile, has been appointed MTA's director of Internal Audit. Padilla has over 20 years of auditing experience, and was previously employed by the FDIC/ Resolution Trust Corporation in Newport Beach. 

Patricia V. McLaughlin, a veteran of the SCRTD, was appointed as interim executive officer for planning and programming, replacing Bohlinger. James de la Loza, was appointed to replace McLaughlin as interim deputy executive officer for multimodal programming. 


CEQA—The California Environmental Quality Act, the state's most pervasive environmental statute is again coming under renewed criticism. A detailed report, "Fixing CEQA," by the California Policy Seminar (CPS) compares CEQA with other states. The report, which finds that California subjects more private projects to environmental review, that the state’s EIRs are "action forcing," and that CEQA is too often used as a legal tool, has generated a considerable amount of controversy. 

SCAQMD—Amid new opposition from Southern California industry and an increasing pro-business attitude in Sacramento, the South Coast Air Quality Management District is abandoning efforts to expand the RECLAIM "smog-credits" program. 


City of San Fernando—Assemblywoman Paula Boland (R-Grenada Hills) has revived an old, and divisive issue with the introduction of a AB 2043, which would repeal a 1985 state law that makes breaking up Los Angeles impossible. Boland last year spearheaded legislation making it easier to break up the Los Angeles Unified School District. 

Redevelopment—Senator Quentin Kopp is expected to introduce a new bill in 1996 which will contain a variety of provisions relating to redevelopment law. The bill is likely to regulate the use of eminent domain, prohibit redevelopment assistance for gambling enterprises, and revise the definitions of loans/grants and the definition of blight. 


In a partnership likely to influence the course of development in downtown Los Angeles for years to come, Nelson Rising, President and CEO of Catellus Development Corp. announced in early January that civic leader and developer Ira Yellin is joining the firm as senior vice president for all Southern California development. 

Yellin has been credited with refurbishing downtown's Grand Central Square and is executive director of the St. Vibiana's Cathedral Square project. In his new role, Yellin is likely to be central to Catellus' partnership with Peter O'Malley, owner of the L.A. Dodgers, in trying to bring a football stadium to downtown L.A. 

Director Gene Boutilier has resigned from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. The organization was named by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1994 to administer a $20 million trial homeless service plan, and insiders say that LAHSA's board has been reluctant to move designated federal dollars to local service providers. 

Gary Mendoza, previously California Commissioner of Corporations, will join Mayor Riordan's administration as the new deputy mayor for economic development. Mendoza replaces Mary Leslie, who left the Mayor's office to head a nonprofit foundation.

Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan nominated William Dahl, Sr., a practicing Los Angeles archi­tect to replace Ted Stein on the Airport Commission. Stein resigned earlier this month to run for City Attorney. 

Dominick Rubalcava, an attorney, was nominated by Riordan to the Board of Transportation Commissioners. Riordan also nominated Jurutha Brown, a veteran city employee as interim general manager of the Personnel Department. Brown replaces Faye Washington, who left the department in October, 1995 to become assistant general manager for the Department of Water and Power. 

Emily Gable, previously a senior planner with the L.A. Department of City Planning, is the first woman to become a zoning administrator for the City of Los Angeles, 

Philip Lanzafame is the new economic development administrator for the city of Glendale. 

Fred Guido, director of program development with Bryan Stirrnt and Assoc., has been reappointed to the L.A. County Regional Planning Commission.

Three new members were elected to the Southern California Association or Non Profit Housing Board of Directors: George Cole of the Oldtimers Foundation in Fontana; Peter Dreier of the International and Public Affairs Center of Occidental College in Los Angeles; and Robin Hughes of the L.A. Community Design Center.

Ann-Marie Villicana, a Pasadena attorney and real estate broker, was appointed by Governor Wilson to the Fair Employment and Housing Com­mission. 

Zev Yaroslavsky appointed Judith Frank, owner of Assets Strategics, to the L.A. County Health Facilities Authority. The Southern California Housing Development Corp. has elected L. Gail Gordon, a partner at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, and John F. Tavaglionc, a Riverside County Supervisor, to the Company's Board of Directors and Advisory Board, respectively.


© 2024 The Planning Report | David Abel, Publisher, ABL, Inc.