San Jose’s Mehran Kamkar Appointed to the City’s Planning Commission
San Jose, CA - In June of 2006, Mehran Kamkar was appointed to the San Jose Planning Commission. Having already served on the Traffic Appeals Commission as well as the Small Business Development Commissions for the past 8 years, Kamkar has strategically positioned himself towards a possible candidacy for the San Jose City Council. An active member of the Iranian American community in Northern California, Kamkar believes that Iranian Americans must get involved in local politics in order to protect their interests and enhance the image of the community.
After visiting the United States with his family in 1975, Kamkar knew that he was going to adopt America as his second home. He attended San Jose State University and finally Stanford University where he received a BS in Civil Engineering and a MS in Engineering and Management. As an officer with the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society at San Jose State University, Kamkar's appreciation for community involvement bloomed.
After earning his Master’s Degree from Stanford and becoming more experienced with public works projects, Kamkar decided to join the Navy’s Reserve Officer Program to incorporate more discipline into his life and give back to his adopted country. Unfortunately, due to age restrictions, the Navy could not accept him at the level he wanted, but instead suggested he give back to his local community. He took those words to heart. He volunteered his time and coached youth soccer for 8 years, school robotics for 3 years, and judged youth science and engineering fair contests for 3 years.
Kamkar currently serves as a principal of CCC Engineers, a small consulting, engineering and land development firm in San Jose. In addition he is involved in a number of public and private projects all over California. His twenty years of experience in most facets of civil engineering helped create the first toll highway in Orange County and allowed him to serve as an expert witness in various construction claim cases.
Dedication to his work is matched only by his passion for his community. Kamkar currently serves on the Board of the Bay Area Iranian American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) and is one of the organizers of the Norouz Spring Festival, celebrating Sizdeh Bedar, in Bay Area. He is also known for his work with the Society of Iranian Professionals (SIP) in Northern California and is currently working on a new project to create an Iranian American Community Center in the South Bay.
All of the energy spent in these endeavors has given him the knowledge and experience needed for the appointment to the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission has two major responsibilities. Under the city charter and the municipal code; to act as a quasi-judicial body when deliberation on land use permits is necessary and to serve in an advisory capacity on the topics of zoning, re-zoning, general plan amendments, and zoning code amendments. Pursuant to California state law, the Planning Commission is also required to review redevelopment and capital improvement plans.
Kamkar encourages Iranian Americans, regardless of their party affiliations, to participate in the political and civic affairs of the United States. “This is our 2nd home. We call Iran our mother country and the U.S. our father country,” says Kamkar. “We must care about our country. Our children are living here now. It is our responsibility to raise the standard of living for the next generation and be good examples while enjoying the wonderful amenities of this life.” As a member of the Planning Commission, Kamkar is proud to represent the Iranian American community in San Jose. Kamkar’s advice for the young Iranian Americans who aspire to become more involved in their communities is simple: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way. We are strong in numbers and we have lots of money, but we are constantly looking for the next guy to make the difference. We need to stop looking for someone else to do the job and realize we must do the job ourselves.”