Putting his stamp on city panels that drive economic development, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is enlisting a mix of business and labor leaders to serve on the city Planning Commission and the Community Redevelopment Agency board.
The appointments, which will be made in the next few weeks, are seen by Villaraigosa as critical because economic development is one of his top priorities, but he also wants commissioners who will balance the desires of developers with those of neighborhood residents.
The appointments come at a critical time because the city's planning director is resigning and the head of the redevelopment agency recently quit to take a job on Villaraigosa's mayoral staff.
The redevelopment board is responsible for revitalizing blighted areas. The Planning Commission weighs in on whether development complies with the city's land-use rules.
The mayor has decided to reappoint labor leader Madeline Janis-Aparicio, executive director of the labor-backed Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, to the seven-person redevelopment board.
Barring last-minute changes, sources close to the mayor said Villaraigosa is expected to replace other board members with:
William Jackson III, a real estate attorney who lives in Beverlywood; Brenda Shockley, president of Community Build Inc., a nonprofit community development corporation in South Los Angeles; Bruce Ackerman, president of the San Fernando Valley Economic Alliance; John Perez, political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers; and Joan Ling, a Westside resident who is executive director of the nonprofit Community Corp., which builds affordable housing.
Jackson and Shockley have direct experience working in City Hall. Jackson is a member of the city's police and fire pension commission. And Shockley, an attorney, has been a deputy city attorney, as well as vice president for finance and administration/operations of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. He was an assistant to Yvonne Brathwaite Burke when she served in Congress.
Villaraigosa's appointments to the Planning Commission are expected to include:
Andres Irlando, a northeast Valley resident who is president of the Cesar Chavez Foundation; Jane Usher, a former regional transportation commissioner under Mayor Tom Bradley; Laura Pulido, a Mid-City activist; architect William Roschen of Hollywood; and West Los Angeles businessman Joseph Montes.
The mayor previously appointed Robin Hughes, executive director of the nonprofit L.A. Community Design Center, to the Planning Commission.
The appointments appear to include some who will speak up for neighborhoods, said William Christopher, a land-use consultant and former planning commissioner.
He said Usher has been an active proponent for "enlightened planning" on behalf of the Windsor Square neighborhood, and Hughes will bring a perspective on the needs of disadvantaged communities.