|(Nov. 29, 2017) -- Amy Bodek, the City of Long Beach's Director of Development Services, who became a lightning rod for public opposition to density increases in city staff's proposed revision of LB's Land Use Element (LUE), will exit Long Beach City Hall to become Director of Regional Planning for Los Angeles County.
A LB City Hall release said Ms. Bodek "was recruited to apply for the position" and "has been selected by the County Board of Supervisors" for the position...and the Board will meet on December 5 to formally offer Ms. Bodek the job. A spokesperson for the L.A. County's Chief Executive said that as a matter of policy, it can't and won't comment on such offers until the Board votes on the matter, but did indicate that the County's previous Director of Regional Planning announced his retirement in roughly July 2017. In a City release, City Manager Pat West called Ms. Bodek "one of the very best in her field" and said "it is fitting that she is being offered one of the top planning positions in the United States."
In recent weeks, LB's grassroots Council of Neighborhood Organizations (CONO) began circulating a petition urging that Ms. Bodek and City Manager Pat West be fired over the proposed LUE, its density increases and city staff's actions in advancing them.
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A flash point came at an August 17 Planning Commission meeting of LB when public opposition (nearly 30 speakers) blasted the maps and said the City hadn't seriously informed the public of the significance of the changes with meaningful opportunities to be heard. When the Planning Commission (which legally can only offer recommendations to decision making City Council) recommended conducting additional public outreach, Ms. Bodek responded that regardless of the Planning Commission's recommendation, city staff planned to bring the maps to the Council (with the Planning Commission's recommendation) on Oct. 3 because that City Council date had already been scheduled.
Ms. Bodek's stance angered residents (many of whom failed to grasp that the Mayor's office would likely have been involved in scheduling the Oct. 3 Council session before the Planning Commission had voted on its recommendations.) In the wake of the Planning Commission brouhaha, Mayor Garcia issued a statement asking city staff to schedule more public outreach, an action for which he received public plaudits while Ms. Bodek took the heat.
Staff planned the public outreach to consist of "information stations" for individual resident interactions, but CONO took control of the first meeting and effectively required city staff (including Ms. Bodek) to answer questions "Town Hall" style...and warned they'd do it again at the next meeting. City staff adjusted the format of three subsequent meetings, which drew crowds ranging from roughly 500 to (Councilman Supernaw's estimate on Oct. 4) roughly 700. At the Oct. 4 Whaley Park meeting, Ms. Bodek fielded questions on stage (occasionally assisted by other Planning Staffers) for over four hours. For VIDEO of that meeting, click below.
To view a salient portion of Ms. Bodek's introduction, Power Point and audience response click below:
Ms. Bodek's FY17 budgeted salary as $218,474, with a FY18 proposed budgeted sum of $227,300; her County salary isn't immediately available.
Ms. Bodek steadily advanced through LB City Hall's ranks from Management Assistant (hired in 1992) to Administrative Analyst; Development Project Manager; Redevelopment Project Officer; Real Estate Officer; and Manager of the Project Development Bureau. City Manager Pat West hired Ms. Bodek as Director of Development Services after she served as Acting Executive Director of the now-state-dissolved Long Beach Redevelopment Agency and Manager of LB's Redevelopment Bureau.
LBREPORT.com's first interaction with Ms. Bodek came in 2002, when she was Project Manager for a new LBPD North Division Police station and faced issues ranging from nesting birds to felling old growth trees and consuming part of Shearer Park.
Ms. Bodek earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Design from Cornell University, a Master of Urban Planning from New York University, and a certificate in Landscape Architecture from UCLA. She also holds registration as a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Urban Land Institute.
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