Incumbents plan to reapply

Publication Date: Wednesday Jun 17, 1998

PLANNING COMMISSION: Incumbents plan to reapply

Applications due Friday for posts on city's most powerful board

by Elisabeth Traugott

The terms of Palo Alto Planning Commissioners Phyllis Cassel and Annette Bialson expire at the end of July, but both say they intend to reapply. So far, only Cassel has submitted a letter to City Clerk Gloria Young saying she will apply again. No one else has applied, but the deadline isn't until Friday at 5 p.m.

Bialson, an attorney, was appointed in April of last year to finish out Sandy Eakins' term after Eakins was appointed to the City Council that January. Bialson said she plans to reapply for a full term of her own, but she was not available to elaborate on her plans.

Cassel, 57, has served one four-year term plus the last 15 months of a term vacated by former Commissioner Pam Marsh when she moved out of state. A registered nurse, Cassel is employed at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Palo Alto.

Housing has been her main concern over the past five years, she said, but she has come to realize how interdependent issues like housing and transportation can be.

"We have to have housing, and we have to have ways to get between our housing and our jobs that are efficient and effective," she said.

The Planning Commission is seen as one of the city's most powerful boards--the first public review for developers who are trying to build major projects in Palo Alto. And many past commissioners have gone on to become City Council members--Lanie Wheeler, Vic Ojakian and Sandy Eakins, to name a few.

But Cassel said that's not the direction she's moving. "I didn't come on the Planning Commission with that in mind, I haven't served with that in mind, (and) that isn't the goal with which I'm pursuing another term." 

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