The Planning Commissioner and the California Dream
Play it again Sam!

By Marjorie Macris

  • Item# PC
  • ISBN: 0-923956-93-X
  • Copyright (c) 2004
  • Paperback
  • Price: $35.00
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An easily readable guide that describes the roles and responsibilities of planning commissioners in California. Peppered with amusing references to motion pictures conveying the significance of California's unique environment. Includes interviews, a glossary of common terms, and tips on doing the job well.

In addition to the information provided below you may also:

See the Front and Back Cover of the Book (Acrobat)
Read the TOC and Preface (Acrobat)


Part 1
The Reason for Planning
Part 2
Legal Basis for Planning
Part 3
Planning Commission Responsibilities
Part 4
Making Sure Things Go Well
Part 5
Important Trends in Planning
Part 6
What Does It Mean to You?


An easily readable reference and set of guidelines directed to the on-the-job needs of city and county planning commissioners in California. Tackling a serious subject with welcome whimsy and humor, as well as seriousness of purpose, this handbook offers specific guidelines and tips on how to function as an effective commissioner in the face of complex issues, special interests, committed advocates, and intricate planning and environmental laws.

The author describes the roles and responsibilities of planning commissioners, and how to make sure things go well. The book includes interviews with a variety of planning commissioners, a glossary of common terms, and lots of tips on how to do the job well. Peppered with amusing references to selected motion pictures that convey the significance of California and its unique environment.

Topics Inclue:

  • The reason for planning
  • The legal basis for planning and development controls
  • Specific roles of the planning commission
  • The politics of planning
  • Important trends in California's growth machine and in the development of the landscape, for good and for bad
  • How planning commissioners shape our communities and protect our environmental resources-or should be doing so as provided by law


Marjorie W. Macris, a professional city planner sice the late 1950's has worked with both city and county planning commissions in a variety of diverse political settings. During these years she has served as planning director of Marin County and the city of Berkeley, and as interim director for various California cities such as Emeryville, San Anselmo, Alameda, Belmont, El Cerrito, and Half Moon Bay. Ms. Macris was inducted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners in 2000.