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    HomeNewsMark Edwards on Leaving Planning Commission - 'All Good Things (Must) Come...

    Mark Edwards on Leaving Planning Commission – ‘All Good Things (Must) Come to an End’

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    All Good Things (Must) Come to an End. I am grateful to Vice Mayor Byers for the opportunity to serve the people of West Hollywood as a Planning Commissioner. I was sworn in as a planning commissioner in May 2023 and resigned June 3, 2024. In that year, I joined my fellow commissioners in approving or recommending to the city council  a broad range of projects that align with the City of West Hollywood values, which are creativity and inclusion. 

    Land use can be a tool for either inclusion or exclusion. For too long it trended towards exclusion and a clear example is single-family zoning. I believe land use (how we allocate the permitted uses of land throughout the city) is a potential tool for permitting a more inclusive city that thrives. And it aligns with democracy as an ongoing experiment focused on creating a bigger circle instead of a circle with some in the middle and many on the outside. 

    I joined the planning commission with a few goals, including supporting more good housing projects. My initial focus was on addressing the process, because it can be a barrier to achieving the city’s goals. One part of the process is the role of public hearings. Unfortunately, there is a belief that public hearings should be a veto point for any project. I think it is undemocratic because a minority is given power over the majority. 

    As a representative government we elect council members to represent us. As representatives they are the last to approve – after a long public process – the general plan, which frames our land use and transportation.  We also have an inclusive public process to set the housing element and the transportation element, therefore the public is given every opportunity to give input on land use and transportation. Hence, to fight a project at the last point in the process with claims the community did not have a chance to opine is not fair. 

    I was hoping to have more time on the commission to make this argument from the dais, but the fickle finger of fate intervened and I found it necessary to resign, because my new job as Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for Mayor Bass, is so demanding I was unable to dedicate the time to review all the documents – an Environmental Impact Report can be 300+ pages – to be prepared for the hearings. Furthermore, arriving on time and or at the last minute canceling was unfair to my fellow commissioners, city staff and the community, so I resigned immediately instead of waiting for it to be a problem.  

    Thank you to all the West Hollywood staffers who put in countless hours on each case to ensure it aligns with a complex set of federal, state, county and local rules and regulations and that our meetings go smoothly. Thank you to my fellow planning commissioners for being in community to serve the people. Thank you to Vice Mayor Byers for your faith in me and for all you do to create a caring community.  Lastly, thank you to WeHoans because you care enough to get involved. We may not agree on some issues, but we share a commitment to the community. So this is not goodbye to being an activist on dais, but sustaining by activism in other ways. 

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    Mark Edwards
    Mark Edwards
    Mark R Edwards has been a West Hollywood resident for the past 9 years. He is a former West Hollywood Planning Commissioner and currently serves as Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for Mayor Karen Bass. He has been engaged in the democratic project of a more inclusive society since he was 7 years-old.

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    Sam B
    Sam B
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    15 days ago

    One of the best people of WeHo.

    Kevin
    Kevin
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    15 days ago

    Thank you for your service, Mark!

    Natasha
    Natasha
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    15 days ago

    He sounds like a nut job. Good luck to the people in the city of LA.

    Harlan Allen
    Harlan Allen
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    Reply to  Natasha
    12 days ago

    ???

    Catherine
    Catherine
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    15 days ago

    Bravo! West Hollywood benefits from active, caring residents like Mark. I have learned so much about civic engagement and causes from him and I am grateful to call him a friend

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