Millicent Johnson announced on Thursday, July 30 that she was stepping down from her position on the Planning Commission. (Courtesy photo)

Millicent Johnson announced on Thursday, July 30 that she was stepping down from her position on the Planning Commission. (Courtesy photo)

Planning Commissioner steps down, giving Mayor Breed another vacancy to fill

Millicent Johnson departing to move to Oakland, start a philanthropic organization

A spot on the Planning Commission opened up with the departure of Commissioner Milicent Johnson last week.

Johnson, who was appointed by interim Mayor Mark Farrell in 2018, announced last Thursday that it would be her final day on the Planning Commission. She will be moving to Oakland and plans to launch a philanthropic organization that “supports the visionary leadership of Black women.”

Mayor London Breed will make an appointment to replace Johnson.

“I joined the commission because its work sits at the nexus of issues I have worked on my entire career; land use and planning are inextricably linked with issues of economic, racial, and social justice,” Johnson told the Examiner. “During my time I worked hard to build bridges across ideologies, support desperately needed housing for all San Franciscans, and diligently worked to champion our department’s racial and social equity work.”

A notable moment on Johnson’s time on the commission came during the social unrest spurred by the police killing of George Floyd, when she recounted in June being followed by a man who questioned why she was in Pacific Heights. She considers the resolution that followed, directing the Planning Commission to develop strategies to counter structural racism in housing and apologizing for past policies, as a culmination of her work on the oversight body.

Johnson previously worked for Women Donors Network and Tipping Point Community to help obtain grants that target homelessness and criminal justice.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served our city on the Commission,” Johnson said. “Ultimately, it’s my hope that both the Planning Department and Commission will continue to evolve to embody the vision statement of the department’s Racial and Social Equity Initiative laid out in the department’s vision for its racial and social equity work.”

Johnson’s departure will mark the fourth opening on the Planning Commission in about a year.

The seat Johnson previously occupied is under the purview of Mayor London Breed, who has say over four designated seats. The Board of Supervisors nominates three designated seats.

Breed nominated Commissioner Sue Diamond, land use and real estate attorney, to replace now-Planning Director Richard Hillis in October. Board of Supervisors President Yee nominated Commissioner Theresa Imperial, founder of an affordable housing nonprofit, to replace Myrna Melgar, who stepped down to run as Yee’s successor for District 7 Supervisor.

Yee also nominated former Chinatown Community Development Center planner, Deland Chan, to replace Dennis Richards, who stepped down after ethical issues arose over his use of tenant buyouts and a dispute with the Department of Building Inspection.

The terms of Diamond, Imperial, and Planning Commission President Joel Koppel expired on June 30, but commissioners are allowed to vote up to 60 days after appointments expire. The Rules Committee will hear their reappointments in the coming weeks.

Bay Area NewshousingPlanningsan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The J Church train could begin running again later this month on at least part of its surface route. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)
First Muni trains will return to service Dec. 19

Three additional bus routes coming back online in January

Smoking cannabis. (Shutterstock)
Supes ban tobacco smoking in apartments but exempt cannabis

San Francisco banned smoking and vaping of tobacco in apartments Tuesday night,… Continue reading

Dr. Grant Colfax and Mayor London Breed said new restrictions could come this week due to rising COVID-19 cases.<ins> (Examiner screenshot)</ins>
Breed: ‘More restrictive action’ needed to slow spread of COVID-19

San Francisco officials said Tuesday tougher restrictions will soon be imposed to… Continue reading

Many landlords fought the proposal requiring them to register properties, calling it an invasion of privacy. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
Housing inventory wins unanimous approval from supervisors

Legislation will require landlords to register properties, report vacancies and rents

Harlan Kelly, head of the SFPUC and husband to City Administrator Naomi Kelly (right), faces federal charges for allegedly trading inside information on a city contract in return for a paid family vacation. (Courtesy photo)
Harlan Kelly, head of SFPUC, charged with fraud in widening Nuru scandal

Kelly accused of engaging in corrupt partnership with permit expediter

Most Read