Tom Butt
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  RPA Picks a Fight Over Planning Commission Appointment
September 24, 2018

Blaming it on hostility and retaliation, the RPA is taking issue with my decision to appoint a person other than Marilyn Langlois to the Planning Commission.

The Richmond City Charter (Added at the election November 2, 2004) gives the mayor sole authority to make appointments to boards and commissions:

“…the Mayor shall have the authority at any regularly scheduled meeting of the City Council to make appointments to or removals from all City boards, commissions and committees with the concurrence of at least three (3) other members of the City Council.”

The Charter gives the City Council the right to approve but not the right to select.

Marilyn Langlois was appointed to the Planning Commission six years ago by Gayle McLaughlin, and I reappointed her when her first term ended.

After six years, I proposed to replace Marilyn Langlois with Macy Leung primarily because Macy is more qualified than Marilyn and will bring an extraordinary amount of experience and expertise to the commission.

Other than serving on the Planning Commission, Marilyn Langlois has no educational background, job experience or extracurricular activities that prepared her to be a planning commissioner.

Macy Leung has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from UCSB, a Master of Architecture Degree from Iowa State, and a Master in Design Studies, Real Estate Finance and Development from Harvard. Leung has worked as a land use economist with experience in Land use, planning and architecture and serves on the Urban Land Institute Programs and Steering Committee, Community Energy Service Corporation Advisory Committee, Homeownership SF Policy Committee, Habitat for Humanities Sacramento Property Committee, American Institute of Architects Homeless Task Force and the Harvard Real Estate Alumni Organization Board.

Macy will also help with the diversity of the Commission. The new makeup will be:

  • 1 African American male
  • 2 White females
  • 1 Latina
  • 1 White male
  • 1 Asian male
  • 1 Asian female

With Langlois, we would have had three White females.

I hope the RPA reconsiders its campaign to challenge my appointment. I want the best people and the most diversity I can find on Richmond boards and commissions, and the Planning Commission is especially important.

From the RPA “Activist #254”:

9/25: Butt to not reappoint Langlois to Planning Commission

RPA Picks a Fight Over Planning Commission Appointment
At a time when the city needs more participation in its Boards and Commissions, Mayor Butt has abruptly decided to not reappoint longtime RPA leader Marilyn Langlois to the Planning Commission. He will be taking this to the City Council for a vote this Tuesday.

Given the Mayor’s increasing hostility towards the RPA, this move has all the appearances of political retaliation rather than a decision that is based on the best interests of the city. It also comes on the heels of a recent East Bay Express article, “Richmond Mayor and Sons Profiting from Cannabis Compliance Push,” which raises concerns about potential conflicts of interest given Mayor Butt’s appointment of his son Andrew to the Planning Commission.

Langlois has served on the Planning Commission for 6 years, and was elected Chair of the commission by her colleagues in 2017, a position she still holds. She is well-respected by the other members of the commission, and has important experience and expertise that she brings. All of the other 5 commission members who are up for being reappointed have been told they will, indeed, be able to serve again. Only Marilyn Langlois is being singled out in this way, with no reasonable explanation given.

Please come out to support Langlois on Tuesday night at 6:30, City Council Chambers, Richmond Civic Center. Agenda Item H-5.