San Pedro Realtor nominated for LA harbor commission spot by Mayor Bass – Daily Breeze

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Lee Williams, a San Pedro Realtor who has been active in community groups and is well-known in the Harbor Area, has been nominated by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass for a position on the five-member harbor commission.
Williams is the third nominee put forward by Bass, who can, as mayor, replace all five of the sitting commissioners, if she chooses. But Bass is not expected to conduct a clean sweep of the panel.
Earlier, she nominated former U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard to take the seat now held by Lucia Moreno-LInares of Wilmington; and Michael Muñoz, research director for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, to replace Anthony Pirozzi of San Pedro.
Williams, meanwhile, would fill the seat now held by Jaime Lee, who also serves as president of the Los Angeles harbor commission.
While the potential role is daunting, Williams said, it also offers opportunity.
“I’m excited about the things that are going on at the waterfront and the opportunities,” Williams said in a telephone interview.
He now joins the other two nominees in the queue to receive City Council confirmation.
The confirmation process requires them to first be vetted by the city’s Trade, Travel and Tourism Committee, and then approved by the full panel.
In her letter nominating Williams, Bass described the Realtor as “especially qualified by reason of training and experience for the work.”
City Councilmember Tim McOsker, whose 15th District includes the Port of Los Angeles, said he was pleased with the pick.
“Local representation and advocacy is imperative for this commission and I’m glad it is being recognized by the Mayor,” McOsker said in a written comment. “Harbor area residents deeply understand that the Port Complex creates opportunities for good jobs and economic development, but also comes with the challenges of environmental impacts in our local communities that surround our port.”
Williams’s experience and perspective on those issues, McOsker said, will serve the port well and give “a voice for the communities of Wilmington, Harbor City and San Pedro.”
There are two other sitting commissioners remaining, Diane Middleton and Ed Renwick. Middleton is also a San Pedro resident and holds the seat traditionally tapped to reflect labor union concerns.
Appointing local residents to the panel has been a priority for the communities surrounding the port, which take most of the environmental impacts of its operations.
Both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach face hard deadlines in the next several years for reaching zero-emissions goals.
In March, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter asking the mayor to make sure at least three of the members on the recrafted commission come from the local community. That was followed by similar letters from the Wilmington chamber, the San Pedro Business Improvement District, and neighborhood councils.
Yolanda Regalado, president of the Board of Directors for the San Pedro Business Improvement District, said Williams was a good choice.
“He’s passionate about San Pedro and he really cares about what happens here at the port,” she said. “He’s well-known in the business community.”
The port has begun pursuing more commercial and beautification waterfront development projects with private development partners. The 42-acre West Harbor waterfront development, for example, is now under construction and there are plans also to expand the cruise industry in the port, which could involve other projects, such as a new hotel eventually.
Former Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino called Williams “an excellent choice.”
“As a prominent business booster and resident of San Pedro,” Buscaino said in a written comment, “Williams has demonstrated a deep commitment to the community and a keen understanding of the issues facing the Port of Los Angeles.”
It is believed that Williams may be only the second person of Black heritage — his race is listed as African American and Latino on the city’s paperwork — to serve on the panel, according to port officials.
Earlier, E. Grace Payne of Watts served on the panel from December 1984 to July 1993 as an appointee of former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
Both Roybal-Allard and Muñoz are listed as Latino on the commission appointment form. Roybal-Allard and Muñoz both live in City Council District 14, near downtown L.A.
Williams has been in real estate since 1988 and has sold properties in three states and two countries, according to an online biography. Since 2008, he has been the owner and operator of The Lee Williams Real Estate Group and has also served in several community volunteer positions, including on the the boards of directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of LA Harbor, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce (past board chair), Harbor Area Neighborhood Relief Fund, Harbor Connects, and the San Pedro Education Foundation.
“He’s been a tireless advocate for economic development and job creation in the San Pedro area,” Buscaino said. “He has played a key role in attracting new businesses to the community and promoting the growth of existing ones. His expertise in business and economic development will be invaluable in helping to shape the future of the Port of Los Angeles.”
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