The Planning Department had been under attack from numerous quarters, however earlier in the year Howe insisted he had no plans to retire. Though the buzz is Mayor Hahn was eager to see Howe go, spokes-flacks for both Howe and the Mayor denied he was pushed. The LA Times notes that Howe is the 12th department head to resign this year. Howe is only 55 but his 12 years of service allows him to retire with full benefits and having served in similar posts in other cities, allows him to pop up somewhere else, double dipping, should he choose to go that route.
A nationwide search is underway (more consultant dollars - maybe they can swing by the Mayor's office and give resume tips) for a replacement. Howe will serve until one is chosen, assuming Hahn doesn't already have someone in mind. Apparently few are sad to see him go, even this letter writer to the Daily News:
Since I know we have some of you planning folks out there, feel free to share your thoughts. Overall this is a boring news story, but yet another sympton of the sickness that is City Hall.
What a thoughtful and wonderful Christmas, oops, holiday, present City Planning Director Con Howe has given Los Angeles with his retirement announcement. It's also time for some of the old guard in the Planning Department to consider joining him, especially those who have fought the concept of neighborhood-development specific plans and neighborhood council empowerment for neighborhood land-use decision making.
Along with selecting a replacement, the issue of neighborhood council land-use planning and land-use decision-making empowerment should go on the City Council table. Given this news, and with upcoming Los Angeles city elections, the time and the opportunity to pursue real neighborhood empowerment may never be better.