August 4, 2014 Housing Action Coalition
The seven-member Planning Commission is seeing some new faces for the first time in a while. Recently, Mayor Ed Lee announced that Planning Commissioner Gwyneth Borden would move to the MTA Commission and would be replaced by Christine Johnson, formerly at OCII, the successor agency to SF Redevelopment Agency, and is now a Director of Project Acquisition at Bayes Impact. Then last week, the full Board of Supervisors also confirmed the appointments to new terms for two Planning Commissioners, Kathrin Moore and Dennis Richards. Both Ms. Moore and Mr. Richards were nominated by Board President David Chiu and will fill two of the three Planning Commission slots allotted the Board, as opposed to the four slots allocated to the Mayor.
The power of both the Board President and the Mayor to nominate planning commissioners is important because each has historically nominated commissioners generally friendly to their political views: more liberal in the case of the board president and more moderate in the case of the mayor. While not common, the commissioner’s differences in perspective results in 4-3 split votes on important projects which are often high-visibility and politically controversial.
Ms. Moore is a long-time architect and urban planner. Mr. Richards, a vice president at Salesforce and long-time community activist from Duboce Triangle, replaces Hisashi Sugaya who was not renominated by Sup. Chiu. Commission Vice President Rodney Fong was quietly and routinely reappointed.