LOS ANGELES-”Strategic planning” was a focal point of a panel discussion featuring local public officials yesterday. L.A. City Councilwomen Jan Perry and Wendy Gruel and Los Angeles city administrative officer Karen Sisson agreed on a need for more long-term planning to connect the L.A. region.

In talking about her plans for 2008, Sisson said: “We want a five-year plan, a long-term capital plan, a five-year technology plan. We need some sense of where we’re going longer than one year [at a time].”

For Gruel, the “biggest priority is a transit plan” that can connect the area’s various submarkets. “Currently, there is no plan, no vision” for transit in place, added Gruel, who held an executive spot with DreamWorks SKG before entering the public arena.

Perry, who has long been a champion builder of communities in Los Angeles, said the work is not yet done. “We need to make a linkage of Downtown to the rest of Los Angeles,” she noted. The participants did not delve into specifics for their plans, but said they are working to get them in place for the coming year.

Nearly 150 industry professionals turned out for the luncheon, honoring real estate’s most influential women in Southern California. The program was held at the City Club, located on the 54th floor of Wells Fargo Center. Sponsored by Real Estate Southern California magazine and Allen Matkins law firm, the luncheon also honored Ontario economic development director Mary Jane Olhasso as the publication’s inaugural woman of the year.

During the panel discussion, moderator Sonia Ransom, a partner with Allen Matkins, asked the participants about significant projects they had worked on or had a hand in pushing through. Perry talked about major Downtown projects such as the recently opened Nokia Theatre and the long-awaited Ralphs supermarket. She noted the projects have had a significant impact beyond just the bricks and mortar: “Job Creation. Those projects have been [instrumental in] creating jobs.”

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