Lakewood City Council member Jacqueline Rynerson could be a compromise candidate for a hotly contested seat on the prestigious state Coastal Commission.
Rynerson was nominated two weeks ago by Baldwin Park City Councilman Leo W. King, a former member of the commission. Rynerson said that she had asked King to submit her name to the Los Angeles County Cities Selection Committee, which is made up of the mayors or their designees of the 83 cities in the county.
"I'm surprised at how quickly everything has happened," Rynerson said.
The cities' other nominee is Redondo Beach Councilman Ronald Cawdrey. This is Cawdrey's second nomination for the 12-member commission. He was nominated by the county Board of Supervisors last year as its second choice after King. The Senate Rules Committee earlier this year refused to reappoint King.
Others on List
Other officials on the list of potential commissioners are Redondo Beach Mayor Barbara Doerr, who was nominated by the Los Angeles County cities' committee last May; Newport Beach City Council member Ruthelyn Plummer, who was nominated by the Orange County Cities Selection Committee; and Cypress Mayor John Kanel, who has the support of both the Orange County cities group and the Orange County Board of Supervisors. The Orange County cities' group might name one or two more nominees this week.
The Coastal Commission was formed in 1976 to balance development and concerns about the coastal environment. The commission must approve most developments along the state's 1,000-mile coastline.
Rynerson, 66, says her 26 years of experience in Lakewood government as a council member, planning commissioner and parks and recreation commissioner qualify her for the post.
"I think I can bring a balanced point of view to the commission," she said. "I have experience in land-use and zoning decisions, and in other aspects of city government. Most importantly, I understand that we have a great heritage to protect environmentally but also, having been in local government, I understand that local control is an important issue."
The Senate Rules Committee, the governor and the Speaker of the Assembly each appoint four commissioners. The current vacancy to be filled by the Rules Committee must be filled by an elected official in Los Angeles or Orange counties. The only member of the commission currently from the two counties is Mark Nathanson, a Los Angeles businessman who lives in Beverly Hills, he was appointed as a public member by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown.
The newness of Rynerson's candidacy may give her the advantage. Senate staff members said she is being looked to as a possible compromise candidate.
Rynerson said she is unsure how beneficial King's backing would be to her candidacy. While he was on the commission, King was criticized by representatives of the Sierra Club, the Planning and Conservation League and the National Resources Defense Council. The groups said King leaned too heavily toward coastal development.
"The fact that he nominated me could either be a plus or a minus," Rynerson said. "But it's really too early to tell."
Bob Forsyth, press secretary to Rules Committee Chairman David A. Roberti (D-Los Angeles), said that "the important thing is whoever fills the position be a committed environmentalist, and the Rules Committee wants to be certain of that."
Rynerson would not characterize herself as either pro-environment or pro-development, saying: "That would be a very foolish decision for me at this point in time" without talking about a specific issue.
The Lakewood councilwoman's candidacy may have been promoted to offset that of Burbank Council member Mary Lou Howard. Rynerson acknowledged that Howard's bid "may have been a factor . . . I understood that there was some competition from that corner, yes. It wasn't personal on my part."
The two-year terms have no set beginning or ending date and may be extended or cut short at the discretion of the committee," said Nancy Michel, appointments consultant for the Rules Committee. Commissioners generally are reviewed every two years, she said. They do not receive a salary but their expenses are paid.
Although the post has been vacant for more than a year, the committee is not expected to fill it soon, Michel said.