Santa Monica Mayor Christine Reed said she will try to have Planning Commissioner Derek Shearer fired if he does not resign when he returns from vacation next week.
Shearer, husband of former mayor Ruth Yannatta Goldway and a member of Santa Monicans for Renters Rights, has come under fire for his public criticism of recently hired Planning Director Ann Siracusa.
Reed said last week she will endeavor to line up the five City Council votes necessary to remove Shearer unless he leaves the commission. Shearer could not be reached for comment.
Reed said Shearer’s remarks about Siracusa were “arrogant and irresponsible.” In a letter to Shearer, she said, “It is clear that you are incapable of functioning as a responsible member of the commission. I urge you to resign.”
Reed is a member of the rival All Santa Monica Coalition and one of that organization’s four votes on the seven-member council.
In an interview published in the Santa Monica Evening Outlook last week, Shearer said that Siracusa was inept and that fellow Planning Commissioner Penny Perlman was inefficient.
Councilman Dennis Zane, a member of Santa Monicans for Renters Rights, also was critical of Shearer’s remarks about Siracusa but said Shearer should not have to resign. Zane accused Reed of exploiting difficulties on the Planning Commission for political gain.
“I call upon the mayor,” Zane said, “to cease this unnecessary escalation of tension that only hurts the city by hurting the morale of the planning staff, and to play the healing role we expect of the mayor instead of trying to squeeze this for political advantage.
“The Planning Commission has been in a shambles for a year or more and frustration over this is evidently leading the mayor to seek a political vendetta against Shearer.”
Coalition members have frequently criticized Shearer for his poor attendance record.
Zane has countered that Commissioner Larry Israel, who won his seat with coalition support, “has an attendance record equally bad or worse than Shearer’s.”
While acknowledging that “to a certain degree” Israel has not been “a team player,” Reed said that Shearer should resign because “I believe that he has no confidence or respect for city staff or fellow commissioners and does not desire to work for those people.”
It is unlikely that Reed can muster the votes necessary to oust Shearer without the support of independent Councilman Alan Katz.
Katz said that although Shearer should apologize for his remarks about Siracusa, he will reserve judgment on whether Shearer should resign until he can discuss the situation with him.