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Scott Says He Was Named to Planning Commission : Appointments: The West Hills attorney will use his position to guard property rights. Mayor's office won't confirm his selection.

July 09, 1993|JOHN SCHWADA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

West Hills attorney Robert Scott, a vocal advocate of property rights and champion of breaking up the Los Angeles school district, said Thursday that Mayor Richard Riordan has named him to the powerful city Planning Commission.

Scott, who worked in Riordan's campaign but whose claim was not immediately confirmed by the mayor's office, said he would try to use his new appointment to protect property owners from city interference with development plans.

"The presumption should be in favor of the property owner," said Scott, 47, currently president of the United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley, in an interview outlining his philosophy.

"Protecting the quality of our life is essential. But the way it works now, property owners' rights have been run over rough-shod by the city. It's appalling. They should not have to run a gantlet to build."

He will try to reform the city's planning system, which he considers "unnecessarily burdensome and slow-moving" for property owners now, he said.

Scott said Riordan called him Wednesday evening to tell him he was being named to the five-member Planning Commission, one of the most powerful of the city's three-dozen citizen panels.

The current Planning Commission, picked by former Mayor Tom Bradley, has two Valley members--Suzette Neiman and Ted Stein, the commission's president. Stein, a close Riordan adviser, is expected to be named to the Airport Commission.

Annette Castro, Riordan's press secretary, declined to confirm Scott's appointment. The new administration has not announced the names of any of its commission appointees to date.

Still, Scott's appointment would appear to fit the Riordan profile for his commissioners. The new mayor has said that although his commissions will reflect the city's ethnic and cultural diversity, they will also have more San Fernando Valley members and a pro-business bent.

Since April, 1992, Scott has been president of the United Chambers, a group noted for its advocacy of small business interests.

The group is a coalition of numerous community chambers of commerce throughout the Valley. "You don't have to be the CEO of Blue Cross to be in our group," Scott said Thursday.

Scott attracted widespread attention as a critic of the Los Angeles school system. Scott joined Valley PTA leaders and City Council members last summer to oppose a redistricting plan that eliminated one of the two Valley-based school board districts.

Scott blasted the redistricting plan as a serious reduction of the Valley's influence on the school board.

After the council narrowly adopted the plan, Scott became the leader of a Valley-based group that advocates breakup of the school district.

During the mayor's race, Scott was part of a Riordan "truth squad." Scott, for example, held a news conference to criticize mayoral candidate Mike Woo's plan to revitalize the idled Van Nuys General Motors plant.

"Woo was invading the Valley--a place he had been disdainful of in the past--and it was a joke that he was trying to paint himself as a friend of business," Scott said Thursday.

After Riordan defeated Woo in the June 8 election, Scott helped organize an event at the Sportsman's Lodge in Studio City to introduce the mayor-elect to 60 Valley residents jockeying for posts in the Riordan administration.

"We wanted to see fair, if not proportional, representation of the Valley on the commissions," Scott said.

In 1990, Scott ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary against state Assemblywoman Paula Boland (R-Granada Hills).

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