Santa Monica Lookout
|New Rules Mean Third Term for Santa Monica Landmarks Commissioner|
By Jason Islas
December 3, 2013 -- The Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to give Landmarks Commissioner John Berley a third four-year term Tuesday after first doing away with restrictions that limited his tenure to two terms.
After one long-time Landmarks Commissioner termed out early this year and with three more set to term out over the next six months, including Berley, the Council voted to revise the City’s policy of allowing only one-third of any board or commission’s members to serve for three terms.
The new policy allows the Council to make appointments that would violate the “one-third” policy so long as the appointment receives two-thirds of the Council’s approval.
Before the adjustment was made, Berley would have been forced to step down because three of his fellow commissioners had already been designated to serve three terms.
The change to City policy, however, only affects boards and commissions that require “specific qualifications, professional standing or expertise for any seat,” according to City staff.
The change will not effect most boards and commissions, since only a few have such requirements, staff said.
However, bodies like the Planning Commission, which must have at least “two professional architects” and the Landmarks Commission, which must have “at least one registered architect,” are the exceptions.
For Berley, a 32-year resident of Santa Monica, there is also the question of continuity.
Along with his colleague Ruthann Lehrer, who finishes up her third term in June 2014, and former Planning Commissioner Nina Fresco, Berley worked with City Planners early in drafting the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) to make certain that strong language for historic preservation was incorporated into the document.
Now, as the City prepares to adopt the Zoning Ordinance that will officially put the new planning document into action, Berley thinks it is important to have someone on the Commission who was involved in the original LUCE process.
The new policy, Berley said, could also help stagger the changes to boards and allow novice commissioners to serve with more seasoned veterans more frequently.
“A new commissioner will go from not having much to say early on” and studying the situation to being an active member of the group, he said. “That usually takes a number of months.”
The Council appointed Berley over several applicants, including former Architectural Review Board member Amy Rothman and Jodi Summers, a recent appointee to the Civic Center Working Group. ("City Council Chooses Group to Help Save the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium," October 24)
The Council also passed up Peter Ciriello, a real estate broker with a Masters in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica, and William Christian Creed, also a realtor and member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Mid-City Neighborhood Association and Save Our Nativity, a group that opposed restricting Nativity displays in Palisades Park.
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