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City has many interested volunteers, few openings

FinancePatrick Hayes

Showing a strong volunteer spirit, 23 La Cañada Flintridge residents have applied for just a handful of openings on the city's seven advisory bodies.

Some candidates, such as Kiwanis Club La Cañadan of the Year Terry Walker or schools booster and Chamber of Commerce volunteer Charlie Kamar, jump at the opportunity to take public service to a higher level. Others — including WorleyParsons engineer Leonard Pieroni and Glendale Water & Power civil engineer Patrick Hayes — want to put professional expertise to broader public use.

“I think these folks genuinely have an altruistic feeling about their community. It's always tough, though, because many who have applied for positions won't get them,” said City Councilman Donald Voss.

City Council appointees can serve up to two four-year terms as one of five members on the Planning, Design, Public Works & Traffic, Parks & Recreation and Public Safety commissions, or on the Investment & Financing Advisory Committee. Residents between the ages of 14 and 19 can serve for up to four years on the city's nine-member Youth Council.

On June 4, council members will replace three adult commissioners who have termed out, and also will decide whether to give nine incumbents second terms.

The Planning Commission, which advises the council on development issues and often settles landowner disputes, has one member seeking a second term and six willing volunteers for one open seat.

Walker, currently a Public Works & Traffic commissioner, said she'd like to jump to the Planning Commission to take a more proactive role in shaping the city's future.

Attorney William Johnson, who has fought the city over agricultural rights on 78 acres along Angeles Crest Highway and who chairs a white nationalist political group, offers the Planning Commission a more libertarian perspective.

“I think they do a good job, but I would be a little more willing to let the homeowner do what he wants,” said Johnson.

Other candidates for the Planning Commission include Richard Cohen, a critic of city zoning code and tree ordinance enforcement, architect Tracy Jeandron, contractor John Caire and Todd Christopher Royal, who served on the Studio City neighborhood council before moving to La Cañada.

Six teens have applied for three open Youth Council seats and two incumbents are vying for second terms.

The Parks and Recreation Commission and the Investment & Financing Advisory Committee have one open seat each.

Although no one is terming out of the Public Works & Traffic Commission, five new applicants are up against two incumbents and could see a seat open up if Walker jumps to Planning.

Pieroni and GWP's Hayes say they wouldn't want to shake up that commission, but would use their experience to speed work along.

“It takes people with experience to make sure projects come out as planned, and I was trying to find a way to give back that fits,” said Pieroni, son of former Parsons Corp. Chief Executive Leonard J. Pieroni.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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