Council names incumbents for Planning Commission

VISTA — Planning Commission incumbents Debra Cramer and Don Looney were reappointed by the Vista City Council in a 4-1 vote with Councilwoman Amanda Rigby opposing. Rigby made the recommendation to appoint Jeffery Wilson instead of incumbent Don Looney.

Rigby thanked the community for the great response in wanting to be part of the city’s commissions and boards, which contributed to two to three days’ worth of interviews. She went on to say that sometimes there is a discussion about how a commission or board may have an opening, but there are no vacancies because incumbents continually get reappointed.

“I am of the mindset that being reappointed to a commission isn’t a lifetime appointment,” she said.

Rigby’s view is that an incumbent must earn it — serving the city is an honor.

“We need to see that the person has been an effective commissioner for the city and the City Council. To that end, there is one commissioner who reapplied for a commission that I really feel has not been a good or efficient voice for the City Council and I am not in support of the motion as it is,” said Rigby, referring to Looney.  “I am looking for commissioners on the Planning Commission and all of the commissions that reflect the vision of the City Council and the city as a whole.”

Councilman John Aguilera defended Looney’s reappointment.

While he was supportive of Cramer to serve on the commission once again, he said as an architect, Looney is qualified to be a good Planning Commissioner.

Aguilera then referred to a comment made by Looney in an interview, which he believed was misconstrued and the basis for Rigby’s objection. It suggested that the City Council and Planning Commission do not always agree 100 percent and the quote may have been misunderstood, Aguilera said. 

“You know, I actually kind of appreciated that comment because I don’t think the Planning Commission is there to rubberstamp our projects or ideas,” Aguilera said. He added, “They (Planning Commission) are there to review projects independently.”

Aguilera ended his comments by saying that he supported Cramer and Looney for reappointment because they were doing a great job.

Mayor Judy Ritter echoed Aguilera’s views. Her opinion, she said, was the Planning Commission had a good balance and a great group of people because of all their strengths and different ideas.

Before the 4-1 vote, Rigby interjected her point of view on the matter again regarding the Looney interview.

“I just wanted to clarify that the comment wasn’t so much well, that ‘we don’t always agree,’ but ‘it is a good thing to have a Planning Commission that doesn’t agree with your City Council,’” Rigby said. She added that this was the basis for her objection. She said the Planning Commission is, “the first stop for projects before they come to the City Council or before they are done; and they are based on what City Council has put forth as a platform and a vision.”

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