Brown to pass the torch

The candidate nomination period for 2011 La Cañada Flintridge City Council races begins Monday, but veteran Councilman Greg Brown has already decided he won't be putting his name on that list.

Brown, who has served since 2003, told the Valley Sun on Tuesday that he will retire from the council at the end of his term in March and endorse Planning Commissioner Michael Davitt to take over his seat.

Mayor Donald Voss and Councilwoman Laura Olhasso, whose council seats will also be up for grabs on March 8, have announced their intentions to run for reelection.

"There are a lot of reasons people want to serve on the council, but for me it's very goal-oriented. I set out to help the city accomplish a list of things, and all those things have come to pass. It's time for me to move on and let some new blood into the process," said Brown, executive vice president and general counsel for BreitBurn Energy.

Among that list of accomplishments over the past nearly 8 years is the reworking of city zoning codes — "we had too-large houses being built on too-small lots," he said — as well as improvements to city playing fields, increased park space, handling of the Town Center development, improvements along Foothill Boulevard and pending completion of the city's Loop Trail system.

"I'm really happy where the city is now. It's in good hands," said Brown, who also ran to counter previous council infighting he felt had crippled city affairs.

Brown said that he will work to help reelect both Olhasso, who last week announced her intent to run again, and Voss, who could not be reached.

He will also campaign for Davitt, who works as director of real estate for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and first joined the Planning Commission in May 2003.

"One of my main critical concerns is fiscal responsibility. The state is going to be battling with their budget issues for years to come, but La Cañada is fortunate to have a solid fiscal responsibility approach and I want to continue and enhance that. I want to make sure we don't get sidetracked from that philosophy," said Davitt, who also serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity – San Gabriel Valley.

"Being on the Planning Commission, I also want to make sure we continue with responsible growth in both commercial and residential areas," Davitt added.

Council members Brown, Olhasso and Steven Del Guercio served on the Planning Commission before winning election to the City Council.

Olhasso said in a statement last week that, if given another term, she would pursue funding for creation of freeway sound walls, fight plans for tunnel extension of the 710 Freeway and defend "residents without sewers [who] need protections from an overzealous county and state bureaucracy as they continue to propose stricter septic regulations."

La Cañada Flintridge residents wishing to put their names on the ballot for a four-year term in any of the three open council seats can file a nomination form at City Hall.

The nomination period starts Nov. 15 and ends Dec. 10. The election will be March 8.

"It's been a great experience and a real honor to serve," said Brown. "It's been a good run."

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