LONG BEACH - Last week the city of Long Beach welcomed Mark Perez as the newest member to join the Long Beach Planning Commission.
A resident the Peninsula since 2004, Perez and partner Mike Kutras moved here from Santa Cruz, Calif. He has worked for IBM for 30 years and continues to work from home as a remote employee.
Perez says city government peaked his interest after he attended a June city council meeting that addressed a low-income housing proposal. He continued to attend meetings regularly and even applied for a vacant council seat, which was later filled by Steven Linhart. With an open seat to fill, Perez was appointed to the planning commission, and he happily obliged.
"It's interesting and it seemed like a good place to start," he says of his new position.
With his professional, management and project development skills, Perez says he looks forward to interpreting city codes and supporting the flow of communication between the planning commission and the city council. He also hopes to encourage better public participation in city meetings and workshops, at which he is often the only member of the public present.
He feels city officials are constantly trying to find better ways of balancing the quality of life for Long Beach residents while still attracting tourism. "I have a lot of respect for those people, they deal with a lot - a lot more than I ever expected."
"I like the small town atmosphere and I like the friendly people here," says Perez, who lives right around the corner from his parents, Larry Foster and Lupe Perez.
Work and city government aside, Perez says he enjoys home improvement projects, gardening, and their "many dogs and cats." He has two children and two grandchildren, all of which live in California. He has future plans to get involved with the South Pacific County Humane Society's events and fundraisers.