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O'Day Resigns from Planning Commission

By Lookout Staff

August 10, 2009 -- Terry O'Day -- whose appointment to the Santa Monica Planning Commission six years ago began a shift of power from resident activists to a more development-friendly board -- resigned from his post Thursday.

O'Day cited personal reasons for leaving the post in the middle of his second two-year term, saying he needed to spend more time with his family and on his job as executive director of Environment Now, a locally based non-profit.

The council is expected to appoint Jason Parry, who has been a member of the Housing Commission for 11 years, to fill the vacancy.

A staunch advocate for affordable housing, Parry lost to Winterer by a 4 to 3 vote in his bid to be appointed to the seven-member Planning Commission earlier this year.

O'Day's resignation comes as the Planning Commission and City Council are putting the finishing touches on an update to the City's Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE). The document, which has been more than three years in the making, will shape development for the next quarter century. ("Setting Benefits for Development," July 8, 2009)

O'Day was appointed by the City Council in July 2003 in a politically charged 4 to 3 vote to replace Kelly Olsen, a former City Council member who led a commission that was widely viewed as actively opposing all major development in the beachside city. ("Olsen's Bid for Reappointment Fails," July 9, 2003)

An environmental activist and small business owner, O'Day, who is considered a moderate pro-growther, was initially shunned by other board members, most of whom were eventually replaced when their terms expired. Only Jay Johnson remains from the Olsen-led board. ("Commission Laments Olsen's "Loss;" Frick Defends Department," July 14, 2003)

O'Day made a unsuccessful City Council bid in 2006, finishing fourth in the race for three seats, despite the strong financial backing of Santa Monica's business community, including major developers. ("Council Incumbents Sweep to Victory Despite Attacks," November 8, 2006)

Last year, O'Day co-chaired the campaign that successfully defeated the Residents' Initiative to Fight Traffic (RIFT), a measure on the November ballot that would have capped most commercial development in the City at 75,000 square feet a year. ( "Prop T Goes Down," November 5, 2008)

O'Day's resignation comes three months after the council appointed Ted Winterer to replaced Gleam Davis on the powerful commission. ("Council Picks Winterer to Fill Planning Commission Seat," May 14, 2009)

Davis had been appointed to the council to replace Herb Katz, who died in January. ("Davis Picked to Fill Katz’s Seat," February 25, 2009)

A council candidate who helped lead the RIFT campaign, Winterer is considered a slow-growth advocate.




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