Gary Klein, vice chair of the Calabasas Planning Commission and 2009's "Citizen of the Year" died Tuesday morning while being hospitalized following a car crash over the weekend, according to Media Operations Director Deborah Steller. Klein was 65.
He passed away while being treated for injuries at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills, according to Ed Winter, assistant chief of investigation at the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner. An autopsy is pending, he said.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on March 5, 1947, Klein served as a planner for the city of Los Angeles until his retirement in 2006. He and his wife, Charlene, moved to Calabasas in 1989 where he went on to become president of the Calabasas Park Homeowners Association as well as vice president of the Calabasas Hills Homeowners Association.
Klein served on the Calabasas Planning Commission beginning in 2001. From 2006 to 2008 he chaired the City’s 20-member General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) which created the city’s new 2030 General Plan, a forward-thinking policy guide for development and infrastructure improvement decision making in the city over the next 20 years.
The new plan was honored by the Southern California Association of Governments in 2010 for its emphasis on sustainability. "Putting together the plan was very worthwhile," Klein said. "It was a tough 18 months, but the product we put out is a fine product. It's nice to have a hand in seeing that plan go forward."
“Gary's contributions to the look and feel of this great city are immeasurable and everlasting and he will be sorely missed in Calabasas. Our thoughts are with his family, including his son Michael who will carry on his father’s legacy working in our planning department,“ said Calabasas Mayor Mary Sue Maurer.
Upon being named Calabasas Citizen of 2009, Klein remarked, "Other people tell me I've done an awful lot, but to me, that's part of being in this community. You're so encouraged to be a part of the city, you're foolish if you don't take advantage of it."
He is survived by his wife Charlene, his sons Michael and Evan, Michael’s wife Laura and 1-year-old grandson Harrison.
This is a developing story. Check back for more details.
-- Arin Mikailian contributed to this press release from the city of Calabasas.