L.A. City Planning Commissioners? Who Are They?

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The nine members of the City Planning Commission expected to vote on a new sign ordinance this coming Thursday have one thing in common.  They were all appointed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  For those who want to know a little more about this diverse group of citizens who pass judgment on some of the city’s largest real estate projects, here are brief bios.

William Roschen, President: Roschen was recently elected to head the commission after the abrupt resignation of Jane Usher late last year.  He is an architect and principal in the firm, Roschen Van Cleve, which has been heavily involved in Hollywood redevelopment, including such major projects as the Sunset & Vine and Hollywood & Vine mixed-use developments.  He was appointed in 2005.

Regina Freer, Vice-President:  Freer is an associate professor and chair of the politics department at Occidental College.  She is co-author of the book  “The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle For a Livable City.”   She was appointed in 2005.

Robin Hughes: Hughes is executive director of the Los Angeles Community Design Center, a nonprofit agency that develops and manages low-income housing.  She was appointed in 2005.

Michael Woo: Woo is a former city councilman who represented the 13th district from 1985 to 1993.  He is now adjunct professor in the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.  He was appointed in 2005.

Fr. Spencer Kezios: Fr. Kezios is the former pastor of the Parish of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Northridge, and chaplain to the Los Angeles police department.  He was appointed in 2005.

Diego Cardoso: Cardoso is an MTA planner who has directed planning and design of the Eastside Light Rail project and the drafting and implementation of the first Pedestrian Program for the MTA Transportation Long Range Plan.  He was appointed in 2005.

Cindy Montanez:  Montanez served in the California State Assembly from 2002 to 2006, when she ran for the city council seat now held by Richard Alarcon.  After dropping out of that race, she was appointed to the planning commission.  She is currently a special advisor to the director of the Department of Water and Power, and serves on the state’s Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.

Ricardo Lara: Lara served as an aide to former State Assembly speaker Fabian Nunez.  He ran for the seat vacated by Nunez last year, but withdrew from the race against Villaraigosa’s cousin, John Perez, and like Montanez was subsequently appointed to the planning commission.

Sean Burton: Burton is CEO of CityView, a development group that funds workforce housing projects.  The son-in-law of former HUD secretary Henry Cisneros, Burton served four years on the West L.A. Area Planning Commission.  He was appointed this year to fill the vacancy created by Jane Usher’s resignation.

Dennis Hathaway

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