CHANGE OF PLANNERS ...Last August, Planning and Transportation Commission member William Riggs described his commission as "powerless" and suggested that it doesn't bring any real value to the city. "That's why I think about quitting every day. It's not something I enjoy." Despite his unusually curbed enthusiasm and a spotty attendance record (he missed seven of the commission's 15 meetings between Jan. 10 and Sept. 26), Riggs was narrowly elected on Wednesday to serve as chair of the influential commission. In an unusual move, Riggs nominated himself for the central seat on the commission and immediately received the support of Michael Alcheck, his closest ally on the more pro-growth wing of the often-polarized commission. Riggs and Alcheck were joined in the vote by Giselle Roohparvar and Carolyn Templeton, two newly appointed members who were making their commission debut. By a 4-3 vote, Riggs edged out Ed Lauing, who had served as chair in 2018 and who was nominated by his colleague Asher Waldfogel for a second term. Summa joined Waldfogel and Lauing in supporting Lauing. In advocating for himself, Riggs said he wants to focus on "having an efficient, respectful, empathetic process. Not that it hasn't been, but I really want to speed up our time of decision and try to be as consensus-driven as possible. I've dealt with frustration a little bit in the last year in some of the projects we've been grappling with. What I'm energized about is being very action oriented." After being selected as chair, his first vote was to support the election of Alcheck as vice chair. Like Riggs, Alcheck nominated himself and advanced to the second leadership position with the help of Roohparvar and Templeton. Alcheck, a land-use attorney and fervent housing advocate, edged out Commissioner Doria Summa, whose views hew closer to the council's slow-growth "residentialist" wing.
ON AN UPWARD TREND ... Vincent Zhou of Palo Alto secured his third consecutive medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Sunday, Jan. 27 in Detroit, Michigan. The 18-year-old took second place with a total of 284.01 points, which was aided by his short program score of 183.76 points. "My legs were definitely a little shaky because I was so nervous, but I thought I did a really good job today of staying in my own bubble and focusing on what I needed to do," Zhou said in a press release. "I'm very proud of myself for coming so far this season, because I had a late and rough start. I'm just so grateful and proud to be here." Zhou secured his winning score by nailing his free skate to selections from the 2000 film "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," which was coincidentally released the same year he was born. The second-place finish is a milestone for Zhou, who suffered a back injury that led him to late-season start. The teen, who competed in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he trains.
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