Antonio Villaraigosa is a respected voice in American politics and a prominent policymaker with a keen understanding of America’s mainstream and emerging communities. Known for his exceptional skill at building broad bi-partisan coalitions, he draws support from the broad center of both Democratic and Republican voters.
In 2013 Mr. Villaraigosa finished his two terms as 41st Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, after eight years of major strides in transportation, crime reduction, infrastructure, energy and resource sustainability, right-sizing government, business development and education reform. From 1994 through 2000, Mr. Villaraigosa served in the California State Assembly as Democratic Whip, Majority Leader and Speaker of the Assembly. He was a member of President Obama’s Transition Economic Advisory Board and was the 2012 Chairman of the Democratic National Convention.
Bill Lockyer is a member of the Firm's Government Law and Strategies team in the Orange County office. His high-octane representation of health care, energy, insurance and financial service businesses benefits those caught in the “Bermuda Triangle” of government, law, and politics. He is noted for complex conflict resolution.
Bill is a widely admired California politician who most recently served as the 32nd State Treasurer of California, elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. He also has served as California Attorney General. Prior to that, he served over twenty-five years in the California State Legislature, more than half that time in the State Senate, where, for the last four years of his tenure, he was chosen by his peers to be President Pro Tempore, the most powerful position of the upper legislative house.
Christopher Thornberg is Founding Partner of Beacon Economics, LLC and widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading economists. He is also the Director of the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development at the UC Riverside School of Business Administration and an Adjunct Professor at the School. An expert in economic forecasting, regional economics, labor markets, economic policy, and industry and real estate analysis, he was one of the earliest and most adamant predictors of the sub-prime mortgage market collapse and of the global economic recession that followed. In 2015, Dr. Thornberg was named to California State Treasurer John Chiang’s Council of Economic Advisors. Between 2008 and 2012 he served as a chief economic advisor to the California State Controller’s Office and was Chair of then-State Controller John Chiang’s Council of Economic Advisors.
Dr. Shafie's research and teaching interests include public policy, environmental politics, and California politics. His most recent books are Presidential Administration and the Environment, published by Routledge, and Eleventh Hour: The Politics of Policy Initiatives in Presidential Transitions (Texas A&M University Press). He is co-author of Rethinking California: Politics and Policy in the Golden State (Longman, 2nd ed.) and he has published articles in American Behavioral Scientist, the Journal of Information Technology and Politics, and the Southeastern Political Review. Dr. Shafie has been a Fulbright Scholar in the Republic of Azerbaijan, where he taught Public Policy. He is a core faculty member in Chapman’s Environmental Science and Policy program and serves as coordinator of the Environmental Studies minor.
Emile Haddad is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of FivePoint Holdings, LLC, a real estate management company. FivePoint, which is the largest developer of mixed-use communities in coastal California, owns and manages Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine, Newhall Ranch in Los Angeles County and The San Francisco Shipyard and Candlestick Point in San Francisco.
Combined, these four mixed-used communities will include approximately 40,000 residential homes and 20 million square feet of commercial space. All total, these developments will generate approximately 288,000 jobs during construction and $54 billion in activity for the California economy.
Emile serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of California, Irvine and is on the Real Estate Advisory Boards of the University of California, Irvine and the University of California, Berkeley.
Emily Hamilton is the policy research manager for the State and Local Policy Project at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. Her writing has appeared in USA Today, the Christian Science Monitor, Economic Affairs, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. She contributes to the blog Market Urbanism.
Emily is an alumna of the Mercatus Center’s MA Fellowship at George Mason University. After completing her MA, she worked in commercial real estate market research before returning to the Mercatus Center as an associate director of state outreach. She is currently a Ph.D. student in economics at George Mason University.
With 20 years of leadership experience in business and media, Eric Spitz brings to his clients, expertise in the cannabis industry, in the policy decisions that will govern it and in the economic picture that is likely to result. Eric was the chairman of the Orange County Register and the chief financial officer of Narragansett Brewing Company. Eric holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT.
Fred Smoller, an Associate Professor of Political Science and Chapman faculty member since 1983, is the organizer of this conference. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University. His major area of interest is American politics, with an emphasis on state and local government, citizen engagement, and public administration. In 2010, two of his graduate students collected data for a groundbreaking salary study that exposed salary levels of some public employees that many considered egregious. The ensuing City of Bell scandal focused much attention, some positive and some negative, on Dr. Smoller and his two students. Their research set in motion a public discussion about local government that led to the passage of transparency legislation. He is currently completing a book on the scandal in the City of Bell.
With over 18 years of experience in the art world, Genny Boccardo-Dubey holds a BA in International Relations from the University of San Diego, an MBA in International Business and Marketing from University of San Francisco, and an MA in Art History and Museum Studies from Case Western Reserve University, a program closely associated with the Cleveland Museum of Art. She was most recently the associate director of member programs at the Orange County Museum of Art and prior to that, development manager for the Photography and African Art Acquisitions Committees, and Membership Manager for the Tate. She was the founder and director of a contemporary art gallery in Cleveland, Ohio, La Cachette Gallery. She has been at Laguna Art Museum since January of 2015 assisting the executive director and Board of Trustees to take the museum to the next level of excellence.
James Doti earned his B.S. degree in economics from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago.
He was appointed the president of Chapman University in 1991 and served for 25 years. In September 2016, he returned to the Chapman faculty. He holds the Donald Bren Distinguished Chair in Business and Economics.
Dr. Doti joined the Chapman faculty in 1974. In 1978, he founded the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research to provide data, facilities, and support to encourage faculty and students to engage in research of high quality, and to widely disseminate the results. The Center's inaugural Orange County Forecast, presented in December 1978, was the first economic forecast in the U.S. to be based on an urban econometric model.
Chris Nguyen is publisher of OCPolitical.com, a contributing writer at OCDaily.net, and a founding partner of Western American Public Affairs, an Orange County-based political/governmental consulting firm that has won elections for State Legislature and various County, City, and School District offices. His public service career has included serving as Analytics Manager for the Orange County Auditor-Controller, Deputy Chief of Staff for an Orange County Supervisor, OC Field Representative for a California State Assemblymember, and Sacramento Legislative Aide for the California State Senate Republican Caucus Chairman. His County policy portfolio included County budget and finances, the Local Agency Formation Commission, and the OC Fire Authority. He is a California Republican Party Delegate, an Alternate Member of the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee, and the President of the Orange County Young Republicans. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History at Stanford University and a Master of Public Administration at USC.
Joe Mathews is Innovation Editor for Zocalo Public Square, a nonprofit combining daily journalism and live events. He writes the syndicated Connecting California column for Zocalo and 30 media outlets. Joe serves as a professor of practice at Arizona State University and Co-President of the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. Joe is co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It and author of The People's Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy.
Kurt Thurmaier is Presidential Engagement Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Administration at Northern Illinois University, and he was Founding Director of the School of Public and Global Affairs at NIU. His research interests include state and local public budgeting and finance, local government collaboration, intergovernmental relations, and comparative public management. His career includes four years in the Wisconsin State Budget Office as a budget and management analyst; and consultant work on various US city-county consolidation efforts.
He is currently co-authoring a book with Dwight Ink, a distinguished emeritus federal senior executive, which transforms critical events in Dwight’s career into case studies for pre-career and mid-career MPA/MPP students. His most recent published article examines budget transparency for local government collaborations, such as E911 call centers.
Maria Cabildo has spent her career promoting and advancing socially and economically just community development in East Los Angeles, the community where she was born and raised. During her tenure at ELACC, an organization she co-founded in 1995, ELACC has developed a community development model that fuses grassroots community organizing, contextualized real estate development and asset building to preserve and enhance communities. Over the last ten years, ELACC has captured and invested over $135 million in affordable housing and community development resources and organized the participation of hundreds of community residents in development decision making, community planning, and anti-displacement efforts. She is on the board of directors of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, California Housing Partnership and the Los Angeles Unified School District Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee.
Mark Funkhouser, Ph.D., Publisher of GOVERNING Magazine, and former mayor of Kansas City, Missouri. Funkhouser began his career as a social worker and then went on to become an auditor, first in Tennessee state government and then for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, where he served from 1988 until 2006. Funkhouser was Mayor of Kansas City from 2007-2011.
He is credited with stabilizing the city’s finances during his term. He holds several degrees, including an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in public administration and sociology.
Marshall Toplansky serves as a senior advisor to Chapman University for Data & Analytics and is a member of the adjunct faculty in the Business School. He is also Chairman of The Cicero Institute, a research institute focused on strategy.
Marshall most recently co-founded the sentiment analysis company Wise Window, which was acquired by KPMG in 2012. While working as Managing Director at KPMG, Marshall co-founded the firm’s Center of Excellence for Data & Analytics and contributed to the firm’s thought leadership on that topic.
He is co-author, with Joel Kotkin, of “The OC Model: An Economic Vision of the Future of Orange County”, published in September 2016. He serves on the board of directors of Double Check, LLC, Shield Crypto Systems and Harvard Business School Association of Orange County.
Peter Larsen grew up in various areas the US, in California, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Oregon. He graduated from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore. with degrees in English and Communication. Earned a master's degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Peter worked at the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois, the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register. He is also a Professor at California State University Long Beach in the journalism department.
Tom Zoellner is an associate professor of English at Chapman University and the author of four critically acclaimed nonfiction books. His journalism has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, Harper’s, Time, Men’s Health, The Oxford American, World Literature Today, The American Scholar, Sierra, Audubon, Orange Coast, The Wall Street Journal, and many other places. He is also the
political editor of The Los Angeles Review of Books, in which he has written at length about Orange County’s history and culture.
Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel The Little Brother, which Vanity Fair called “a brutal, deeply empathetic, and emotionally wrenching examination of American male privilege and rape culture.” She is also the author of the novels The Peerless Four and This Vacant Paradise, a 2011 New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her story collection, Drift, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the Story Prize and was selected as one of the best books of 2009 by The San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in South Pasadena, California with her family and teaches at Antioch University.
Wendell Cox is principal of Demographia, an international public policy firm located in the St. Louis metropolitan area. He has served as a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers in Paris since 2002. His principal interests are economics, poverty alleviation, demographics, urban policy, and transport. He is co-author of the annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.
Mayor Tom Bradley appointed him to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (1977-1985) and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appointed him to the Amtrak Reform Council, to complete the unexpired term of New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman (1999-2002). He is the author of War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life.