Freer Named to Planning Commission
Regina Freer, an associate professor and chair of the politics department at Occidental College, has been confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council to sit on the city’s planning commission.
Freer was appointed to the post last month by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Villaraigosa, who was elected to office in May, chose Freer among his nine commission appointments. Because commissioner terms are staggered, Freer will serve until June 30. At that time, Villaraigosa will decide whether to seat her to a full five-year term.
Planning commissioners hear and make determinations on specific development proposals and on broader policy questions. Members also give advice and make recommendations to the mayor, city council, director of planning, municipal departments, and agencies with respect to city planning and related activities and legislation.
“This is an opportunity to really affect important long-lasting change in how the city develops,” said Freer, who has taught at Occidental since 1996. “The mayor has said he wants to make this the greenest city in the nation, and much of the business that comes before the planning department can help realize that.”
Freer added that she is concerned “when and where we build, and how we build.” “Something that is particularly important to me is equitable development – making sure that good development happens all over and that negative development is not isolated in any one community,” she added. “It’s easier to locate hazards in places where they already exist and that, in terms of environmental justice, is a problem.”
Freer said she is hopeful her appointment raises Occidental’s profile at City Hall. “Already I’ve had a number of people telling me there are internship opportunities available for students,” she said. “This is another opportunity for us to engage our student body.”
Freer earned her doctoral and master’s degrees at the University of Michigan, and her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley. Her doctoral dissertation was titled “From Conflict to Convergence: Interracial Relations in the Liquor Store Controversy in South Central Los Angeles.” Her articles have appeared in the Washington Post and Chronicle of Higher Education. She is co-author of “The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle For a Livable City,” which focuses on the connection between historic and contemporary social justice movements in Los Angeles. Freer’s particular areas of interest include race and politics, demographic change, urban politics, and the intersection of all three in Los Angeles. She also serves on the board for the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research and was a member of the funding board for Liberty Hill Foundation’s Seed Fund.