Planning Commission appoints new chair

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Before it began to review planning projects at last week’s meeting, the Planning Commission reorganized. Commissioner Andy Stern was unanimously appointed as chair, and Richard Carrigan as vice-chair for the upcoming year.

This will be the second time Stern has served as chair, having been appointed once three years ago.

Stern is politically active on many fronts. Aside from dedicating time to the commission, he is also running for a City Council seat in the upcoming 2002 elections. As well, he serves as vice-chair on the Los Angeles County Beach Commission. Stern was appointed by Zev Yaroslavsky and has been on that commission for six years.

Stern said he intends to stay on the Planning Commission while he runs for City Council. He will only resign if he gets elected because he could not serve on both at the same time.

“I made up my mind that I will continue to do my very best on the Planning Commission regardless of the political consequences,” said Stern.

A planning commissioner’s job is easier because the rules are unbiased, he concluded. “We just interpret the law.”

Departing Chair Ed Lipnick said he enjoyed his time leading the commission.

“I felt sometimes like I had five heads because of the support I received from the commissioners,” said Lipnick.

“We’ve done very well for five white guys,” joked Lipnick in response to some people who commented that the commission lacked diversity. Diversity cannot only be measured by gender or by race, he said. “Two commissioners have beards and three do not.”