Jane Usher, reached via phone at her home, told us that the main reason she is leaving her unpaid position as president of the city planning commission is because of monetary issues. "This is a painful assignment to my pocketbook," she said. Usher, who said that she first approached the Mayor about resigning this summer, had a lot more to say--it's after the jump. Also after the jump: Her resignation letter.
Why are you leaving your position?
When the Mayor and I started this, his commitment to me and mine to him, is that I would chair it for a year. Three and half years later, I am still chairing the commission.
Early in the summer, I asked for my liberation. This assignment is intense, it is demanding. And as I looked at my bank statements in September and October, I realized?I work for free, and I have thrown myself into this body and soul?and I pay my own way, and this is a painful assignment to my pocketbook.
So are you leaving for mostly monetary reasons?
Yes, but I have tried to convince myself and the mayor that it always is a good idea to bring in a fresh set of eyes to conquer a problem and advance a cause.
What kinds of jobs do you think you'll be looking for?
My skill set is that I am a lawyer and administrator, I would love the chance to run something or practice law in ways that are useful. I haven't started to look..
The timing of this comes with a decision in the density bonus lawsuit, any thoughts?
I think people are misunderstanding that, I think people may be mixed up. That lawsuit is percolating? This is the case that came under state law, not under a new law?we long anticipated this ruling. But having said that, the timing is just what it is.. The lawsuit ruling that I am looking forward to hearing is the billboard ruling and the ceqa lawsuit.. That case [the Louise Apts] will stand all by its lonesome, coming in at a time when the city had no density bonus ordinance.
What are you most proud of in your three years?
Without a doubt, the Do Real Planning policies...our predecessors had never spoken up about the bigger picture, we had the audacity to offer up the principles?.we got calls from other planning departments in other cities, telling us that they pinned that document up on their walls. Without a doubt, I’m proudest of that document.
Anything that you regret in the last three years?
It’s always an interesting question to think about when to be outspoken and when to be patient. And patience isn’t my strength, and I am hopeful that the next chair of the planning commission will use his or own her skills to advance topics that are consistent to his or her own strengths.