San José Planning Commission Welcomes New Leadership with Chair Mariel Caballero and Vice Chair Rolando Bonilla

New members George Casey, Deborah Torrens, Justin Lardinois, and Jorge Antonio Garcia were also appointed to the Commission

SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 14, 2020) – The seven-member San José Planning Commission now has new leaders elected by the Commission as well as four new City Council-appointed members. 

At the last Planning Commission meeting of fiscal year 2019-20 on June 24, commissioners elected Commissioner Mariel Caballero as Chair and Commissioner Rolando Bonilla as Vice-Chair.

Caballero has lived in San José for 39 years and is currently employed as a Deputy Director in Probation Administration for the County of Santa Clara. She holds a B.S. degree from Santa Clara University in Political Science and an Executive Masters of Public Administration from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.  

Her civic experience includes 18 years in local and national government positions as well as serving on more than a dozen civic committees, notably including the East Side Union High School District’s Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee from 2013 to 2017 and the Board of the Latina Coalition from 2002 to 2008. 

Bonilla is the Chief Strategy Officer for Voler Strategic Advisors, a public relations firm. His family has deep roots in East San José, having lived there for nearly 50 years. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of San Francisco and a J.D. from San Francisco Law School. In addition to 24 years of public service in government work, his civic experience includes serving on the Board of Directors for the Healthier Kids Foundation. 

On June 30, the San José City Council reappointed Caballero to a second term on the Planning Commission, and then addressed four vacancies by appointing George Casey, Deborah Torrens, Justin Lardinois, and Jorge Antonio Garcia. Bonilla was appointed by the Council to his first term in 2019.

In thanking outgoing commissioners for their leadership, Caballero said, “Chair Ballard and commissioners Allen, Griswold and Yesney served with distinction. They brought their expertise in urban planning and passion for our City to their roles as commissioners, and they will be missed. Chair Ballard has championed affordable housing, safe biking, and inclusiveness throughout her career and time on the Planning Commission. I am honored to follow in her footsteps as Chair. We are entering into a new era of geographic and ethnic representation on the Commission, and with Vice Chair Bonilla, I look forward to leading the Commission through this historic transition.”

Commission members oversee implementation of the San José General Plan Envision 2040, the blueprint for how the City will grow and develop over the coming decades, as they consider proposed developments coming before them.

 “We’re greatly looking forward to working with this Commission and its new leaders and members,” said Rosalynn Hughey, Director of the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement. “We have an exciting year ahead as we anticipate major development proposals will be considered, and we count on the Commission to provide perspective on those development proposals and important land use and zoning issues.”

About the City of San José

With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040.

About the San José Planning Commission
The seven-member Planning Commission is established in the City’s Charter, Section 1000. Commissioners are city residents and appointed by the City Council. The commission has the responsibility of making recommendations to the City Council on a range of land use and development issues; acts as an appellate body on appeals to Planning Director decisions that allow for such appeals; certifies Environmental Impact Reports; may grant Conditional Use Permits without requiring Council approval; and may have other duties provided by the City Council. The Director of the Department of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement or designee serves as the Secretary to the Planning Commission.

About the San José Department of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement
San José, Capital of Silicon Valley, is the largest city in Northern California and the 10th largest city in the nation. The mission of the Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Department (PBCE) is to guide the physical change of San José to create and maintain a safe, healthy, attractive, and vital place in which to live, work, and play. PBCE is responsible for:

  • San José’s long-range planning and specific project review
  • Issuing permits and inspecting projects for conformance with building codes
  • Enforcing ordinances that promote the health, safety, and appearance of buildings and neighborhoods
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