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SAN FRANCISCO-San Francisco’s brand-new planning commissioners introduced themselves to the public this weekend, offering to work together although wrangling among city officials kept the body from meeting for months.

The influential panel’s previous incarnation of was dissolved in June, since voters approved a new power-sharing plan this spring that divides nominations between the Board of Supervisors and the mayor instead of giving him all seven picks as previously authorized.

I’m glad that we’re all sitting here, frankly,” says Kevin Hughes, an electricians’ labor administrator who was appointed by Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano along with three others. When the board approved Ammiano’s selections but indicated it might turn down some of the mayor’s four appointees, Mayor Willie Brown yanked them all and so the planning commission has lacked a quorum to meet until a recent compromise over a different set of individuals.

Meantime, Planning Commission President Hector Chinchilla has been charged by city prosecutors with seven misdemeanor conflict-of-interest violations during his tenure on the commission, which critics charged favored developers over neighborhood interests.

Incoming President Shelley Bradford Bell, one of Brown’s latest appointees, is also the director of the Bayview Opera House. Bell says she will support the arts community in San Francisco. “We need to make sure that our artists are not starving artists,” she says.

Bill Lee, a city administrator who has worked on projects in different neighborhoods, says he hopes to become a bridge between the public, developers, city government and community groups. Another mayoral appointee, Westside dentist Michael Antonini, says he’d like to help attract departed businesses back to the city.

Lisa Feldstein, an appointee who was trained as a lawyer before becoming an affordable housing advocate, says she hopes the new commission would be marked by civility as well as “rational and reasonable” decisions.

Staff Planning Director Gerald Green, who has been hearing and ruling on some projects this fall on an emergency basis, says he had learned how hard the new commissioners’ job is, with weekly meetings that often stretch from the afternoon into the night. He says they face a backlog of roughly 120 projects to consider, plus the usual influx of new proposals. “We’ve got a lot of work before us,” says Green.

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