L.A. planning commissioners, who wield tremendous power and influence, should obviously have a background in urban planning and land use, right? Not according to Mayor Eric Garcetti. He’s nominated a political consultant for the California Democratic Party to the Central Los Angeles Area Planning Commission.
Across L.A., area planning commissions consider development projects before they head to the City Planning Commission — and then the City Council and mayor for final approval. The Central Los Angeles Area Planning Commission serves such communities as Hollywood, Westlake and the Wilshire district, where luxury mega-development has been overtaking neighborhoods.
Enter Jennifer Barraza Mendoza. According to her resume, she’s excelled not at becoming a planning and land-use expert, but advising California State Senator Kevin de Leon, supervising a voter registration drive, organizing press conferences and, perhaps most importantly, raising money for political candidates. In addition to her work at the California Democratic Party, Mendoza is a staffer at Hilltop Public Solutions, a political consulting firm.
So what does all that have to do with being an L.A. planning commissioner, who must understand the finer points of how development can improve or hurt a community today and into the future? Not a whole lot. And the nomination reflects poorly on Garcetti.
The City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee will now take up the Mendoza nomination. Will PLUM chair Jose Huizar and his colleagues correct Garcetti’s wrong?
Photo: Eric Garcetti/Flickr