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Three reappointed to Design Review Board

Alternate position dropped, leading to complaint that longtime member was not reappointed.

October 28, 2010|By Barbara Diamond, coastlinepilot@latimes.com

The City Council reappointed three of the four Design Review Board incumbents at the Oct. 19 meeting.

Ken Sadler, Robin Zur Schmiede and Ilse Lenschow were appointed to terms ending Jan. 30, 2013. The council also approved a resolution dropping the board's alternate position, deemed no longer necessary since the reduction of weekly meetings to twice monthly, as agreed to by the board at a joint meeting with the council in May.

"We knew when we made the recommendation that one of the incumbents would not be reappointed," said Lenschow, who will have served on the board for 16 years at the conclusion of the new term.

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Ramon Navarro, husband of incumbent Leslie LeBon, who was not reappointed, has asked the council to nullify the appointments and reconsider the elimination of the alternate position.

Navarro said Councilwoman Verna Rollinger erred in voting for only two applicants for the three open seats.

In fact, council members are not required by city code or resolutions to vote for any applicants. However, they cannot vote for more applicants than seats are open.

Navarro also claimed that the council had discussed the elimination of the alternate position prior to soliciting public opinion. The discussion held at the joint meeting in May was open to and attended by members of the public and the media.

Earlier this year, the board elected then-alternate Sadler as its chairman, an unprecedented move also criticized by Navarro.

As alternate, Sadler was only able to vote on projects if a regular member was absent or excused from participating in discussions or voting on a project due to conflicts. The same rules applied to his role as chairman when he would alternate with the chair pro tem, when appropriate.

Lenschow described the arrangement at the time as more like a co-chairmanship. She said she feared Sadler would resign from the board if not given the chairmanship.

"He brings something to the board that no one else does." Lenschow said. "He is very analytical, and he is an engineer."

The board voted 3 to 2 for Sadler's chairmanship, LeBon and Michael Wilkes dissenting.

Community Development Director John Montgery did not favor the election of an alternate as chair and informed board members of his opinion that it would prove unwieldy.

Sadler had been appointed alternate by the council in October 2009. He was the chairman pro tem at the time, with the expectation of being elected chairman by the board for the next term under usual procedures.

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