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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Elects 2013 Officers to Steer the Course

• Chair Is Strong Advocate of Importance of Public Access to Outdoor Holdings for Healthy Families

BY ANNE SOBLE

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy announced the election last week of environmental activist Irma Muñoz, the board member appointed by the City of Los Angeles, as chair. Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks was elected vice chair. Both posts have one-year terms.
Muñoz is the founder and president of Mujeres de la Tierra‚ an environmental nonprofit whose goal is to “inspire and teach women and their children to take ownership and leadership of neighborhood issues and challenges.”
MDLT, translated as “Women of the Earth,” was started 10 years ago to aggressively tackle environmental issues facing Latino and other Los Angeles communities that thought they were disproportionately underserved in these areas.
Mujeres’ mission is “to support women and families interested in becoming active participants and decision makers in environmental issues impacting their neighborhoods [and] to create a network of trained community leaders to lead, speak and act with a collective and influential voice.”
Muñoz has served as chief of staff to a state legislator, worked in public relations, been a presidential appointee with the Clinton Administration for seven years at the Small Business Administration, and a member of the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Commission.
Parks, noted for strong land preservation views, represents the second district on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. She previously served as a planning commissioner, city council member, and mayor for the City of Thousand Oaks.
She founded the Ventura County Discovery Center, and wrote T.O.’s first campaign reform law. 
As an open space advocate,  Supervisor Parks was a champion in the 16-year effort to preserve what is now Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, which was purchased by the SMMC in 2003.
The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy itself was established by the state legislature in 1980. It is composed of nine voting members and three ex officio members.
The nine voting members represent local, state, and federal government, including the superintendent of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, a member appointed by the mayor of the City of Los Angeles, a public member appointed by the Governor, a public member appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, one public member appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, a member appointed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, a member appointed by the Ventura County Board of Supervisors, the designee of the secretary of the Natural Resources Agency of California, and the Superintendent of the Angeles District of California State Parks.
The ex officio members include the supervisor of the Angeles National Forest and appointees of the California Coastal Conservancy and the California Coastal Commission.
A 26-member advisory committee, consisting of representatives of local jurisdictions, and members appointed by the governor, the senate rules committee, and the speaker of the assembly, advise the conservancy.
Since it was founded, the person at the helm of the SMMC has been Joseph Edmiston. As its executive director, Edmiston’s name has become synonymous with public acquisition and preservation of over 69,000 acres of parkland in wilderness and urban settings.
The SMMC’s stated mission is to “strategically buy back, preserve, protect, restore and enhance treasured pieces of Southern California to form an interlinking system of urban, rural and river parks, open space, trails, and wildlife habitats that are easily accessible to the general public.”

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