Kwappenberg Brought In For Second Go-Round On Planning Commission

Theresa Kwappenberg has returned to the San Bernardino County Planning Commission nearly six years after she departed from that panel.
Kwappenberg was appointed to the post by Third District supervisor Neil Derry in a move that some perceived as pregnant with political implication.
Kwappenberg served as a planning commissioner for more than nine years, beginning in 1997. She was appointed the first time by her one-time political rival, Dennis Hansberer. In 1996, Kwappenberg had run in the primary election for Third District supervisor in a four-person race that included Hansberger, Bill Lemann and Chris Smith. In that June primary, Lemann had soundly outpolled the others, capturing 19,064 votes or 33 percent. Hansberger received 14,880 or 26 percent, only 2,510 more votes, or four percent more than Kwappenberg, who captured 12,370, or 22 percent.  But in the November 1996 run-off between Hansberger and Lemann, Kwappenberg, who had some philosophical differences with Hansberger, endorsed Hansberger despite those differences. Hansberger managed to eke out a 49,136 to 47.823, 50.6 percent to 49.3 percent victory over Lemann.
Hansberger, a Republican, nominated Kwappenberg to the planning commission and her appointment was confirmed by the remainder of the then-board of supervisors. Kwappenberg, a Democrat with an environmentalist bent, proved to be less than absolutely accommodating of developers during her tenure on the planning commission. She routinely pushed for full environmental reports on projects, rendering development projects more expensive for project proponents. Her positions occasionally pushed her commission colleagues to impose conditions on approved projects that likewise increased project costs or reduced their profitability. She occasionally was a lone vote against some projects and on a few rare occasions prevailed on the commission to withhold approval of a project.
In June 2006, Hansberger removed Kwappenberg from the county planning commission, replacing her with William Collazo, a Redlands resident who had worked in the real estate industry.  While Hansberger at that point praised Kwappenberg as someone who was knowledgeable and dedicated to the planning process and passionate about her ideals, he said that he had not “seen eye to eye with the commissioner on every issue. She has been independent and her views deserved to be heard and she was given a voice in the system.” Hansberger said he was removing Kwappenberg in part to free her of a conflict of interest that would allow her to participate in the development of property she owned in Crafton Hills.
At the same time, Hansberger said he was bringing Collazo into the picture because he had “level-headed views on the balance between business and community growth” and that Collazo represented “someone who has a broad view of the needs of our current economic environment.”
Two years later, Hansberger was defeated for reelection by Derry, another Republican. Now, almost four years later, Derry is being challenged by James Ramos, a Democrat who has been endorsed, and is being advised by, Hansberger.
Thus Kwappenberg is seen as being of some potential assistance to Derry as she can serve as a bridge to some of the Democratic constituency that might otherwise swing behind Ramos. Moreover, Kwappenberg has electoral experience of her own, albeit unsuccessful, in the Third District.  In addition to her 1996 run, she also ran against then-incumbent Third District supervisor Barbara Cram Riordan in 1988 and 1992, polling respectable numbers both times.
In 1988, Cram Riordan, captured  41,220 votes (51.8 percent)  to Kwappenberg’s 38,210 (48.2 percent).  In 1992, Cram Riordan edged her 55,505 (51 percent) to 52,510 (49 percent).
Bill Collazo recently resigned to pursue other endeavors, according to a press release from Derry’s office.
“Planning matters have an enormous impact on the future of our communities and their residents,” Kwappenberg was quoted in the same press release. “I believe in following the rules and documents and consistently applying the law in a fair manner.”
Derry said Kwappenberg is known for being a student of the issues she encounters and for being well prepared. “I have the utmost confidence and faith in her knowledge, experience and ability to serve with integrity,” Derry said. “Her entire life has been devoted to one form of public service or another and her passion for fairness will be a great asset.”

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