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Planning Commission Gets 2 New Members, O’Day Reappointed

By Jorge Casuso

August 16 -- Planning Commissioner Terry O’Day will serve a second term on the powerful board, while former chair Darrell Clarke failed in his unusual bid to serve a third term, as the City Council made three crucial appointments to the commission Tuesday night.

In addition to O’Day, the council appointed Gleam Davis, an education activist who has run for the School Board and City Council, and Jim Ries, a land use consultant who chairs of the Sustainable City Task Force.

The reappointment of O’Day, who is executive director of Environment Now, Davis and Ries assures the board will likely pursue a moderate stance on development, while pushing a green agenda.

O’Day’s appointment four years ago began a shift from the slow-growth commission headed by former City Council member Kelly Olsen, who was viewed as a crusader against major development.

A member of the city’s powerful tenants group, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights, Davis, recently removed her name from contention for an open seat on the School Board.

Davis, who currently serves as co-chair of the School District’s bond committee, outlined a sustainable agenda on her application form to the commission.

“My goal would be to complete the current work on the Land Use and Circulation Element and to preserve the diversity, sustainability, and livability of our neighborhoods,” Davis, an in-house counsel to AT&T, wrote on her application.

“I am interested in opportunities to expand parks and other public open spaces and I would work to integrate planning and public transportation policies,” she wrote.

Ries, who has been involved in neighborhood efforts, shares Davis’ goals.

“I want to work towards an aesthetically interesting, vital and sustainable City offering recreational, employment, educational and living opportunities to the City’s diverse population,” wrote Ries, who has a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from the UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

His failed bid for a third term -- which would have required five council votes -- was a disappointment for Clarke, who has worked on the ongoing process to update the City’s General Plan, which will dictate development for the next quarter century.

A champion of public transit, Clarke also was looking forward to continuing to push to bring light rail to Santa Monica, as City officials begin a process that will help decide where to place the terminals and what development will rise around them.

“The next year is really important,” Clarke, who is the long-time co-chair of Friends of the Expo Line, told The Lookout last month.







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