Bruce Bonacker - San Franciscans for Preservation Planning
- There has been a collective concern about leadership within the Planning staff.
- There is a perception that this leadership has been lacking.
- They are looking forward for help from the Planning Commission.
- He recommends a wide search within and outside of San Francisco.
- In the search and in the discussions, recognize the importance of San Francisco's existing character.
- The new leader should de-politicize the atmosphere in which planning takes place, strengthening public trust and community dialogue and encouraging the highest professional standards, communicating and working with different constituencies, the value of community based planning, the appreciation of history, contextual planning, etc.
Joe O'Donaghue - Residential Builders
- In the search for looking for a planning director, the question is why are we looking for a planning director.
- The problems that the planning director has had is the blocks that the Board of Supervisors has made.
- One of the primary credentials will have to have is a skin of a hippopotamus.
- There is an exodus of African American leaders in this City.
- More specific reasons of protocol need to be established.
Nilka Julio - Local 21
- The Union appreciates the continued interest of the Commission in this endeavor.
- There is some much secrecy and so much stomping on the Charter.
- The language in the Charter is quite clear.
- The Union will support the Commission in providing the Mayor with candidates and not the other way around.
Kate White - Housing Action Coalition
- The Mayor ran on a good planning of long range planning, ethical behavior, etc.
- These are all the qualities that they want to see in a new director of Planning.
- She has been working on various projects in San Francisco.
- It has been a decade since the Planning Department has moved forward on any projects.
- This shows a real lack of leadership and management. The will is there but there needs to be more leadership.
- The Commission should move quickly to pick the candidates and forward them to the Mayor.
Mary Bull - Green Wood Earth Alliance
- She echoes the previous speakers.
- The qualifications of the candidates should not be "yes" men for big development.
- She believes in neighborhood sovereignty.
- Sustainability in this City is very important.
Lois Scott - President of the Planners of Local 21
- They suggested rewriting the job description of the planning director since it probably dates back 50 years.
- The Commission should take an active role in the local and national search for the director.
- The planning director needs to motivate staff.
- Staff should be allowed to participate in the search process.
- Staff should also be involved in the annual evaluation process.
Joshua Switzki - Planning Staff
- Candidates should display a thorough commitment in thoughtful engagement in the field of planning.
- Someone who has a graduate degree in this field.
- A well rounded planner is needed.
- The department does not need a technocrat who will just interpret the code.
- It would be great to include the planning staff in the process of choosing someone.
- An international search would also be good.
David Alumbaugh - Planning Staff
- Six months ago, planning staff heard that the Mayor was searching for a new planning director. Planning staff contacted the Mayor's office to remind him that planning staff was available to cooperate in the search.
- After much effort, planning staff was able to obtain a meeting with the Mayor yet only the Mayor's staff was able to meet.
- Later an ad was placed in the APA Journal.
- There has not been any planning staff input in this search.
- No process for selection of a director should lose site of the historical lessons of the urban trenches of America.
- This is also about vision, techniques, compassion, etc.
- Planning directors have focused on the corporate ties of San Francisco.
- Commissioners should not loose site of the ball whether it is a long list or a short list.
- He is a former building Commissioner.
- He knows of all the issues between the Planning Department and the Building Department.
- The most important thing that the planning director should deal with is the budget. The second most important thing is that the candidate who has the technical ability to interact with the Commission. This is critically important to do.
- The other thing is that the director should have an institutional memory of the history of San Francisco.
- A director should also be accessible to everybody.
- He echoes the previous speaker's comments.
- The director should be able to juggle priorities that are crucial to every other function.
- There is an impact of delays of implementation processes.
- He does not know who the candidates are but is confident that Mr. Larry Badiner has the knowledge of being a director since he has been acting director.
Daniela Kirshenbaum - San Francisco Neighborhood Network
- Is it time for San Francisco to join the ranks of the lesser cities or should the residents applaud painfully on.
- Last time she was at the Commission, she noticed how surprised the Commission was to learn that the director would be absent one year.
- Larry Badiner has helped to begin a fine process but because of the polarization begins at the Department of City Planning, she urges the Commission to start a new chapter in the history of this city.
- As he understands the City Charter, it includes that the mayor can appoint department heads subject to the provisions of the Charter.
- The Charter also states that the duties of the Commission includes removal of a department head. The Mayor may recommend removal of a department head and it shall be the Commissions duty to act on the recommendation by removing or retaining the department head within 30 days.
- The Planning Commission shall provide the Mayor with at least three candidates for director of planning.
Lebod Piech - Culture Makers
- There is a certain concern from the people who preserve culture that the people have been clouded about forward thinking people that have multidisciplinary skills.
- It would take a keen openness to recognize a candidate who has the ability to se both global possibilities as well as be competent and well trained.
- If one opens their minds and find a way to look and research into the extracurricular activities of the candidates, he is sure the future of San Francisco would look right.
Tom Redoulavitch - Transportation for a Livable City/Board of Directors of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System
- It is important to do an international search.
- There are some fantastic and innovated people in various countries.
- Maybe the department does not need a planner but an urbanist.
- Someone with a strategic bend is important.
- The director needs discretion to organize the department.
- The Commission also needs to know what they do and think strategically as well.
David Nivogrosky - Executive Director of Local 21
- Over the past 20 years that he has been working with the Planning Department, he has seen a deterioration in the department because of a lack of leadership.
- He would like to also associate himself with Jim Chappell and his testimony this evening.
- She actually used to work in urban planning and has lived in San Francisco for 40 years.
- There has been a lot of irreplaceable changes done because of a lack of planning.
- She would like to see someone professional with a real sense of aesthetic.
Alton Chin - Planning Staff
- He has enjoyed the nature of his work and that his contributions were respected.
- The Commission should consider the ability of the new director to manage the organization and respect the professionalism, seriousness and contributions of all the department.
- It is important to see the strategic direction and goals of the Information and Technology group.
- The whole department as a whole should have a strategic plan.
Clark Mannus - Architect
- He has practiced in the city for 20 years.
- He congratulated the Commission for their service.
- There are a lot of people in the department that work really hard and provide quality work.
- The Commission needs to look for one individual that has international stature.
- The department should have a group that can work as a unit.
- Is this a competitive and open process?
- There are some rumors that the Mayor's office or the Mayor himself submitted a list of candidates to the Commission.
- Can anyone submit their resume?
- There are some many surprises and rumors from the press.
- Politics should stay out of this process.
ACTION: The Commission decided to 1) request from the Mayor's Office information related to the applicants; 2) schedule publicly noticed meetings for the subcommittee with proper notifications.