Loretta Lynch, a San Francisco lawyer with solid Democratic credentials, is the new Office of Planning and Research director. Gov. Gray Davis in mid-March named Lynch to the top job at OPR, which provides technical assistance to local planners and runs the State Clearinghouse for project review. The 37-year-old Lynch has been a partner in Keker & Van Nest since 1991, where she represented small and large companies in securities trading matters. Lynch is a graduate of University of Southern California and earned her juris doctor from Yale. She clerked for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Dorothy Wright Nelson. Prior to attending law school, Lynch was a legislative aid to Assemblyman Johan Klehs. Lynch "developed research strategies, policy and issue positions" for the campaigns of President Clinton, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin, according to the governor's office. While the top post at OPR is now filled, the governor has not replaced Terry Rivasplata, who has joined Jones & Stokes Associates of Sacramento as a senior environmental planner. Rivasplata for 14 years managed the Planning and State Clearinghouse Unit and worked closely with local governments. Senior Planner Terry Roberts, who came to OPR in February from the West Sacramento Community Development Department, is in charge of the understaffed unit on an interim basis. "Everybody who was here before is gone, with the exception of one clerk who is handling the State Clearinghouse paperwork," Roberts said in mid-March. In his new position with Jones & Stokes, Rivasplata will provide technical expertise regarding the California Environmental Quality Act, general plans, environmental analyses, and local and regional planning to local government and private-sector clients.