Ericka Erickson of San Rafael, a 38-year-old Latina activist, was appointed to the county Planning Commission on Tuesday, as officials declared it was time for a new perspective.
Erickson, a Brazilian Alliance board member who works as associate director of Marin Grassroots, said she brings the outlook of a Latina interested in issues including sustainability and social equity. She called climate change the biggest challenge facing the county.
Her appointment was applauded by a diverse group of well-wishers.
She was the top choice of Supervisors Steve Kinsey and Katie Rice, as well as Judy Arnold, who had asked her to apply. But Supervisors Kate Sears and Susan Adams indicated the commission isn't an ideal place for beginners in light of the complicated issues it faces.
Sears and Adams backed a veteran community planning watchdog, Ann Thomas of Corte Madera. Thomas is a Marin Conservation League board member and open space activist and formerly served on the Kentfield Planning Advisory Board.
Also interviewed for the post was commercial realty broker Brian Foster of Mill Valley, the great grandson of Frank Howard Allen, the legendary realty tycoon who also served on the commission.
Kinsey, in urging Erickson get the post, noted the commission had more men than women, no ethnic minority and no young person. He noted, though, that "these are difficult decisions for us."
Rice said Erickson will bring "a completely
new a different perspective" to deliberations.
But Sears indicated that experience at a local level is critical before serving on the Planning Commission. "We do have some really big land-use issues coming up," Adams added.
After it was clear Erickson was favored by the majority, the board appointed her unanimously. She fills an at-large seat vacated by Mark Ginalski of Tiburon.
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