Click to view.
Click to view
Title 1, Chapter 1.08
Issued September 1, 2021
Commissioner Hailes Soto developed an interest in voter rights and redistricting while in college. He completed his education at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Studies and Planning, and California State University, Long Beach, with a Master’s degree in Public Administration (MPA). Consequently, he understands and can apply applicable State and Federal legal requirements that deal with redistricting and voting.
Throughout his career with the City of Bell Gardens, he has developed a reputation as a quick learner and a dedicated worker who can handle a variety of tasks effectively. As a city planner, he prepared fact-based reports for the decision-making bodies (i.e., Planning Commission and City Council). In that role, he understands the importance of being a steward of the public trust. His work at Bell Gardens has provided him with the foundational understanding of State and Federal laws and processes to minimize the potential of legal challenges.
Having been born and raised in Los Angeles, he also knows the diverse demographics, its cosmopolitan urban areas, and geography of the County of Los Angeles. He is committed to ensuring that all geographical areas in Los Angeles County are properly represented. He believes the diverse demographics must be addressed during the Los Angeles County Citizens Redistricting Commission’s deliberations.
Moreover, Commissioner Hailes Soto understands that this Commission has a great potential to be a national model. He views his role as a commissioner as a unique opportunity to make a meaningful contribution in voting rights – something that he embraces and celebrates.
As an avid international traveler, he has learned to appreciate how special Los Angeles is. He is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Below you can view and download (1) a fact sheet about the Citizens Redistricting Commission and redistricting, (2) a detailed presentation about redistricting, and (3) a flyer about upcoming summer public hearings. Please check back as we will continue to update this section with translated materials for the 12 threshold languages. To request corrections or documents to be translated to specific languages, please email the Clerk at email@example.com.
The Commission needs to know four key things from you about your community:
While there are no clear rules on how to define a community of interest, we’ve identified ways for you to describe your community.
Enter in your address to find the nearest public hearing to you:
iFrames are not supported on this page.
Commissioner Mary Kenney is a retired lawyer, most recently practicing in Pasadena, CA, as Deputy General Counsel for East West Bank, one of the largest independent banks headquartered in California. East West Bank was founded to serve the immigrant Chinese- American community. East West is the leading bank serving the Asian community in the United States. Commissioner Kenney also practiced in Pasadena as Associate General Counsel for Fannie Mae, a mortgage industry wholesale lender, supporting the development of affordable housing initiatives, including initiatives that addressed inequities in delivery of financial services based on race. Earlier in her career, Commissioner Kenney worked in downtown Los Angeles for more than 25 years. More recently, she volunteered at Patriotic Hall in downtown Los Angeles for the Los Angeles County Bar Association Veterans Project, assisting veterans who are unemployed and at risk of homelessness, by assisting in clearing outstanding traffic tickets (frequently resulting in the veteran’s loss of his or her driver’s license) and expunging criminal records.
Commissioner Kenney is a graduate of Smith College, majoring in Latin American Studies; she received her J.D. degree from the University of Southern California. She worked and studied Mexican law with the University of Houston in Mexico City, Mexico. She currently (pre- pandemic) visits Tijuana, B.C., Mexico, five times per year as part of a support outreach to six charities serving the homeless individuals, educating special needs children and kindergarteners, and providing shelter to unwed teenage mothers and daycare services. Her grandparents immigrated to the United States in the early 20th century from Lithuania and never learned to speak English. Her grandfather was a coal miner in Pennsylvania and a member of the United Mine Workers. She currently resides in the 4th Supervisorial District, along with her husband and her son and his family (including 4 children). She has long-standing ties with all areas of the county, having attended elementary school through 8th grade in the east end of the 1st District, and having resided in the north end of the 2nd District, the south side of the 3rd District, and the south side of the 5th District. She is committed to a careful, intentional, fair-minded, and impartial approach to establishing supervisorial district boundaries in an equitable manner.
Thai V. Le is a Ph.D. candidate in the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California (USC) where he researches and advocates on issues of social equity, racial justice, and intersectionality. He is also a consultant with KH Consulting Group of Los Angeles.
As a mixed-methods researcher, Thai uses a series of spatial, quantitative, and qualitative tools to incorporate data-driven analyses in examining policy topics including immigration, economic mobility, public finance, and the digital divide. Currently, Thai is working on his dissertation which looks at the inequitable barriers to citizenship and integration that immigrants face. He focuses on how race/ethnicity, class, gender, and immigration status facilitate cumulative disadvantages and inequitable outcomes. He is interested in identifying these intersectional experiences to shape policies that will close such disparities.
Thai’s experiences in research and advocacy also include collaborative reports and policy recommendations with research groups, such as the Equity Research Institute (formerly the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity) and the Connected Communities and Inclusive Growth team—ranging in topics from economic recovery and housing to broadband access. Thai’s collaborative work with organizations and research centers focus on addressing local inequities to uplift marginalized communities’ voices.
Education: He holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from USC and a bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies and Asian American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Commissioner David A. Holtzman, M.P.H., J.D., is a public health professional, civic leader, and electoral reform advocate who moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles to join the inaugural class of the (now-David J. Epstein) Program in Public Interest Law and Policy at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law.
Before law school, David attended college at Princeton University and public health school at the University of Michigan. While working in the Bay Area, he earned a UC Berkeley Extension certificate in alcohol and drug abuse studies.
David’s career includes service as a state scientist in air pollution health risk assessment, work as an environmental consultant specializing in air quality, and a term on the independent Hearing Board at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. He has also worked as an attorney for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (now Consumer Watchdog) and on litigation related to public parkland and the environment. For summer employment during law school, he worked in Boston for the National Environmental Law Center and in Los Angeles for the Center for Law in the Public Interest.
As a volunteer, David has donated time to the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles; has given presentations on behalf of the Climate Reality Project; and has served as a condo association president, public safety chair of a Los Angeles neighborhood council, a board member of Californians for Electoral Reform, and a board member and president (2009-2013) of the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles. He is the founder and executive director of Los Angeles Voters for Instant Runoff Elections.
David lives in Burbank with his sweetheart, who teaches kindergarten in the Los Angeles Unified School District. They share interests in live music and food around Los Angeles. In appreciation of the environment, David enjoys bicycling and hiking, and drives an all-electric car.
Commissioner Daniel M. Mayeda is the Associate Director of the Documentary Film Legal Clinic at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law. In this role, he trains and supervises law students in the provision of pro bono legal services to independent documentary filmmakers. Prior to this appointment, Dan practiced law for nearly 35 years, most recently as a shareholder in the Los Angeles law firm of Leopold, Petrich and Smith (now Ballard Spahr), where he specialized in litigation involving the media and entertainment industries.
Dan has been a longtime advocate for accurate and sensitive depictions of Asian Americans in the media. He is the longest serving member of the Board of Directors of East West Players, the country’s premiere Asian Pacific American theatre organization which was recently recognized as one of “America’s Cultural Treasures.” Since 2000, Dan has helped lead a national, multi-ethnic coalition of civil rights and media activism groups to advocate for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in Hollywood and in the media.
Dan has written and spoken extensively on media, intellectual property, and Asian American community issues. He has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and has taught media courses at California State University, Los Angeles, and California State University, Northridge.
Dan grew up in the South Bay (Gardena/Torrance), lived in Westwood and West Los Angeles while attending UCLA, and also lived and worked for a few years in the Washington, D.C. area. He now resides in Culver City and has been actively involved in local neighborhood and city matters for more than 30 years.
Commissioner Carolyn Williams partners with nonprofit leaders and organizations to create meaningful change. She is a professional, certified life and executive coach and volunteers as a restorative justice mediator working with youth, impacted persons, and families to achieve mutually agreeable outcomes. With more than 35 years in consulting and corporate America, her experience covers organizational development, training and development, and corporate philanthropy.
Her professional background includes evaluation research, large-scale systems change, creating and managing large philanthropic initiatives, employee program development, and community leadership. She has evaluated cultural change programs; trained managers and leaders; managed multimillion-dollar philanthropic budgets, employee programs, and community initiatives; and led or worked with small to large (over $1-billion) nonprofit organizations and institutions.
Recently selected as a Commissioner for the Los Angeles County Redistricting Commission, she currently serves on a number of local boards. These include the Dymally Institute at California State University, Dominguez Hills (founding board chair); Center for Nonprofit Management; Towne Street Theater; Lynwood Education Partners Foundation; Executive Support Network; and Women in Leadership Vital Voices (executive committee). Other past involvement includes founding board member/Emeritus University of Southern California (USC) Price School of Public Policy, Downtown Women’s Center (former board chair), United Way Community Investment Committee, USC Black Alumni, Council on Foundations Corporate Committee, and the Conference Board Education Committee.
Carolyn has been recognized over the years for her community work, receiving awards from All Peoples Community Center, the Downtown Women’s Center, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, National College Resources Foundation, Southeast Communities Intervention & Prevention Programs, NAACP, Sickle Cell Disease Research Foundation, and the Greater African American Chamber of Commerce, among others.
Carolyn holds a B.A. in psychology from Louisiana Tech University, a Master of Public Administration from USC, and professional certificates from Boston College, USC, the Center for Nonprofit Management, and the Association for Talent Development. She has done other graduate-level study at California State University, Los Angeles (psychology); Cal Poly Pomona (business management); and USC where she completed all Ph.D. coursework in applied behavioral science. She is also a fellow/graduate of California Connections, Leadership California, Leadership Southern California, and the Management Action Program. She enjoys theater, traveling, reading, and has one son, Joshua, who is a chef/actor/singer.
His extensive background in multicultural marketing, brand messaging, media planning, media buying, and negotiating yields a solid platform for managing social and cultural challenges and opportunities. He is always staying abreast of new trends in the market and seeking ways to apply these to any clients. Currently he leads all media strategies for First 5 LA and Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
First 5 LA
Carlos has work side by side with First 5 LA to ensure its advertising budgets are maximized while meeting all marketing and advertising goals. He has implemented media strategies for various departments within the organization. Some of those departments include Best Start and Welcome Baby.
Baby Safe Surrender
Carlos played an important and vital role by implementing media strategies, especially in buying and strong negotiations to create awareness among the Hispanic and African American markets. With limited budgets, he managed to extend the message within the Los Angeles County and his strong negotiation skills resulted in a 37% plus added value for the campaign.
LA Department of Health Services, Office of Women’s Health
Women often put their family and other responsibilities first and their health last. His work helped to bring light to this issue, urging women to receive preventive care, offering them an easy source of useful information by calling a hotline. Carlos managed the general market, Hispanic market, and African American market media efforts with focused on driving brand awareness and brand positioning within Los Angeles County.
L.A. Care Health Plan
Carlos developed all media strategies for L.A. Care’s brand, Medicare Program, and Family Resource Centers for all ethnic groups within Los Angeles County. His knowledge and relations with all media platforms in Los Angeles County is vital when negotiating.
Los Angeles Zoo, Molina Healthcare, Bienvenidos , Verizon Wireless, Sit N’ Sleep, Los Angeles Dodgers, Wescom Credit Union, Manufacturers Bank and many others.
Professional Affiliations and Memberships
Holly Whatley is a Shareholder of the firm Colantuono, Highsmith and Whatley, PC, and specializes in providing legal services to local public agencies throughout the State. Her practice includes both advisory and litigation matters, focusing on election law, municipal finance issues, public utility rates, matters involving Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCOs), land use, California Public Records Act, the Brown Act, conflict of interest laws, CEQA and public works. In 2013, the last year they made such an award, the Daily Journal recognized her as one of the top 20 municipal lawyers in California. Holly currently serves as the Commission Counsel for the San Diego County Local Agency Formation Commission. She previously served as City Attorney for La Habra Heights and Assistant City Attorney of Calabasas, Sierra Madre, and South Pasadena.
Holly has a particular expertise in litigating complex cases in a broad range of areas, including class actions against public agencies. She has represented cities in municipal finance litigation, including writ actions involving multi-million-dollar claims. Engagements include a constitutional challenge to A.B. 1484, the post-redevelopment legislation, a $10-million per year dispute between Los Angeles County and 47 of its cities regarding property tax administration fees, a multi-million-dollar dispute between a telecommunications carrier and more than 30 cities regarding telecommunications user taxes, and a $24-million per year dispute between Chevron and the City of Richmond regarding business license taxes.
Holly also leads her firm’s Elections Law practice and has litigated many elections disputes, including initiative proposals, ballot argument disputes and the like, including recent writ matters involving a voter-approved measures. She provides advice to local agencies on elections practices and compliance with Elections Code requirements and has advised cities transitioning from at large elections to district-based elections.
Education: Holly graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from the University of Texas at Austin in 1988. She received her J.D from the University of Texas School of Law in 1992 and joined the California Bar that same year. While in law school, Holly taught legal research and writing to first-year students.
Gayla Kraetsch Hartsough, Ph.D., is President of KH Consulting Group (KH). She is also an Associate Adjunct Professor, University of Southern California, Sol Price School of Public Policy/International Public Policy & Management (IPPAM).
She founded KH in 1986. KH specializes in strategic planning, organizational design and restructuring, organizational development and corporate culture, human resources, and process improvements. She has extensive expertise in public policy, strategic planning, organization change, management audits and performance reviews, program and service delivery, accountability metrics, community needs assessments, and stakeholder buy-in.
She has consulted throughout the United States and in Asia, Europe, and Australia. KH has served more than 200 clients in 25 states and 9 foreign countries. Much of KH’s work involves local, state, and federal governmental agencies; higher education and K-12 educational systems; non-profit organizations; transportation systems; utilities; and health care providers.
Gayla has personally served hundreds of clients, including the County of Los Angeles Civil Grand Jury (19 projects), County of Los Angeles (15 departments), City of Los Angeles (12 departments), Los Angeles World Airports (LAX), Telstra Enterprise & Government (Australia), University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Port Authority of New York-New Jersey, County of Orange (California), City of Beverly Hills (CA), City of Pico Rivera (CA), San Francisco Community College District, Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, Los Angeles Community College District, University of Southern California, City and County of Denver, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), County of Los Angeles Civil Grand Jury, and 30% of the community colleges in California.
Prior to KH, she was with:
KH has been ranked among the top 18 business consulting firms in Los Angeles, 2019, 2020. She has been named one of the top 50 women at 50+ in Los Angeles by BTW; Ten Women of Achievement, Century City (California) Chamber of Commerce; and Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement honoree in Marquis Who’s Who. She has been involved in the Organization of Women Executives (former President/Board member); Women’s Leadership Council (member); and National Association of Women Business Owners Los Angeles (NAWBO-LA) (former Board member). For Northwestern University, she is on the Council of One Hundred (member) and served on the School of Communication’s National Advisory Council (member for 12 years). She has published more than 20 articles and chapters in books on public sector, research, and management issues.
Education: She holds multiple degrees: B.S., Northwestern University, School of Communications; Masters, Tufts University; Ph.D. and Masters, University of Virginia; and an Administrative Fellow/post-doctorate, The Institute for Citizens & Scholars (formerly Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship), Princeton, NJ.
Commissioner Doreena Wong, Esq., currently works at Asian Resources, Inc, (ARI) as its Policy Director, in its Los Angeles office. ARI is a non-profit, community-based organization with its headquarters located in Sacramento. Established in 1980, ARI is dedicated to providing multiple social services for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to addressing the needs of other low-income communities of color, immigrants and limited-English proficient populations. Her work focuses on advocacy to increase access to health care and transform the current health care system to be more equitable and responsive to the communities ARI serves.
Before coming to ARI, Doreena was the Director of the Health Access Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles, where she worked to: 1) promote access to affordable, culturally and linguistically competent and quality health care for vulnerable populations and 2) help ensure the effective implementation of health care reform across the country and state through outreach, education, enrollment, and advocacy. She has more than 30 years of experience as a civil rights attorney, with expertise in the areas of health care, language access and voting rights while working at a range of public interest legal organizations, including: 1) the National Health Law Program; 2) a Los Angeles civil rights firm specializing in enforcement of consent decrees in race discrimination cases; 3) Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, CA; 4) the ACLU of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania; and 5) the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C.
Doreena is also a well-known social justice advocate who has helped to found several Asian-American lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer rights group, including API Equality-LA and the Asian Pacific Islander Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Network. She graduated from New York University School of Law in 1987 as a second career after having worked as a health care professional for nine years.
Teaching political science for more than 20 years, Commissioner John Vento encountered varied opinions about the voting process from his students. Comments regarding disenfranchisement, such as “my vote does not count,” emerged as a recurring theme in classroom conversations before and after elections semester after semester. When the opportunity to serve on the Citizens Redistricting Commission arose, John recognized it as a way to integrate his passion and expertise regarding the election process and election outcomes with the voices of his students in pursuit of public service. His goal is to positively impact the Los Angeles County citizens and ensure future students that their vote does indeed count.
John is a second generation Angeleno, having been born in La Cañada and spending many years in Santa Monica, Westwood, and Long Beach, before settling down in Palmdale. John earned degrees in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles, and California State University, Fullerton, and is currently a full-time, tenured professor of Political Science at Antelope Valley College (AVC). John teaches courses in American Government, Comparative Politics, and International Relations. At AVC, he serves on the Honors Committee and the Law Scholars Program. He also oversaw the Model United Nations Program from 2004 to 2012, which underscores the fundamental necessity of international diplomacy.
John and his wife, Sarah, have three children, and have been volunteers for the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Alumni Association for many years, and as Co-Chairs of the UCLA Community College Scholarship Program in the early 2000s. He is an active blood donor, having given more than 10 gallons to the Red Cross and UCLA hospital. He is also a CORO Alum, and participated in the Neighborhood Leadership Program.
In the community, John coached youth soccer, basketball, and baseball teams. He was an American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) referee, ran five LA Marathons, and is involved in his son’s Scout Troop. As his friends and neighbors will attest, he has extensive experience selling Girl Scout cookies (Samoas are his favorite), popcorn, wreaths, and countless other products that support local schools, sports teams, and troops. Additionally, he brings intimate knowledge about the roads and highways of Los Angeles – he has spent the last decade driving his children to various extra-curricular activities in and around Los Angeles County. He is an avid sports fan and, as a young boy, often dreamt of playing football for both the UCLA Bruins and the Los Angeles Rams. For now, however, John Vento is content to cheer his children’s sports teams on from the sidelines.
Commissioner Brian Stecher has been a policy researcher, educational program director, and teacher. In 2019, Brian retired from the RAND Corporation, where worked for 30 years as a Senior Social Scientist studying national and state education policy. His research examined the implementation and impact of federal and state laws related to education, particularly accountability systems. For example, he led a national study of the implementation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; he directed a study of the effects of California’s Class Size Reduction Act on students and teachers. Prior to working at RAND, Brian worked for seven years as a Professional Associate in the Eagle Rock and Pasadena offices of the Educational Testing Service, developing tests and helping families and schools understand the appropriate use of test results. Previously, he served as Director of Project SEED, a mathematics education program for inner-city elementary school students in Richmond, CA, and Columbus, OH.
He began his career teaching mathematics to elementary students in the Compton, Willowbrook, and Enterprise school districts. He has served on numerous national and State of California Advisory Boards, including the Board on Testing and Assessment of the National Academy of Science. He has authored more than 100 research papers, journal articles, and technical reports. In 2012, he received a lifetime achievement award from the California Educational Research Association. Brian earned a Ph.D. in Education from University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), a master’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Oregon, and bachelor’s degree from Pomona College.
On the personal side, Brian has deep roots in Los Angeles that give him an appreciation for the geographic and demographic diversity of the County. His maternal grandmother came to California from Lithuania, and she moved to Los Angeles more than 100 years ago. His mother was born in Los Angeles, as was Brian, and he has called Los Angeles County home for most of his life. He has lived or worked in communities and neighborhoods throughout the County, including the Fairfax District, Reseda, Claremont, Hermosa Beach, Compton, Sherman Oaks, Eagle Rock and Santa Monica. Brian has been active as a volunteer in his community. He co-chaired the School Site Council at his children’s elementary and middle schools and served as a member of the school district’s Technology Advisory Committee. He was a volunteer referee for 16 years with the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), where he learned to apply the Laws of the Game in a fair and unbiased manner regardless of the color of a team’s uniform or the region they represented.
Brian believes whole-heartedly that Los Angeles County’s diversity is its strength. He brings to his role as Commissioner not only a love of the County, outstanding analytic skills, and a commitment to fairness and objectivity, but also a belief that the legislative boundaries set by the Commission must be sensitive to the cultural and community identities of voters.
Commissioner Saira G. Soto is the deputy executive director for the Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA). In addition to assisting in the guidance of the organization, Saira leads the development, implementation, and expansion of CDF-CA programs for children and youth.
Saira has a background in environmental science, labor, and social justice advocacy. She began her career studying clean water access and its impact on the health of migrant farm worker communities. She was compelled to join the labor movement after witnessing the harsh working conditions and constant workers’ rights violations suffered by this community. Before joining CDF-CA, she was the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Service Employees International Union, Local 721, where she fought alongside public service providers and advocates for the preservation of public assistance programs.
In her current role as deputy executive director, Saira is committed to raising strong, literate, empowered children who are not merely citizens in waiting.
Saira was awarded the prestigious CDF Beat the Odds® scholarship in 1998, and later earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Systems-Environmental Chemistry from the University of California, San Diego. She is a native of Durango, Mexico, and was raised in East Los Angeles with her parents and six siblings. Saira is inspired by her family and her community’s tenacity to innovate even in the most challenging of circumstances. She resides in East Los Angeles with her wife and their beloved dogs.
Commissioner Priscilla Orpinela-Segura is a communications professional with ten years of expertise in stakeholder engagement, crisis management, and public policy.
Currently employed with AARP California, Priscilla serves as an Associate State Director – Communications, a role that provides her the opportunity to serve as a communications lead for the Hispanic/Latino population. Prior to joining AARP, Priscilla was the Communications & Public Affairs Manager for the City of Norwalk, where she led an innovative year-long Census campaign. She was also the former spokeswoman for the City of El Monte and Central Basin Municipal Water District.
An advocate for higher education, Priscilla has also served as a part-time educator at California State University, Los Angeles, where she also obtained her Master of Arts in Communication Studies. Priscilla obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from the University of La Verne.
Daughter of Mexican-immigrant parents, Priscilla was raised in northeast Los Angeles, where she currently resides with her husband and puppy, Mickey.
Commissioner Nelson Obregon was born in New York City. His parents were Cuban immigrants. Growing up, his family moved between New York City and Miami, Florida, several times before settling in Los Angeles in 1967. Nelson has lived in northeast Los Angeles ever since. He attended Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools, followed by East Los Angeles College and California State University, Los Angeles, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Science.
His working career essentially has two parts: His first career was with Pacific Telephone/AT&T where he worked for 18 years. Although he felt fortunate, he was not satisfied with his career because he always held aspirations to pursue teaching. In response, he switched careers and began his second career as a teacher of Social Science for LAUSD for 15 years.
He considers himself a native Angeleno and was always amazed by the complexities of its legislative lines and how they were created. He considers his selection as a Commissioner as an honor.
Commissioner Apolonio “Polo” Morales grew up in El Monte and resides in District 4 in Whittier with his partner and two sons. He was raised by undocumented immigrant parents and experienced the hardship that families face within a broken immigration system firsthand. His understanding and belief in providing inclusive spaces that create belonging were shaped by this upbringing. These core beliefs have led him to work toward social justice and equity for all communities.
He attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated with an English degree with an emphasis on Modernism and earned an Education minor. After teaching English in East Oakland and at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Rosemead, he coordinated Harvey Mudd College Upward Bound’s La Jolla Summer program where he helped first-generation, college-bound students from the San Gabriel Valley experience and learn to succeed at college life.
As a former labor organizer for the California Nurses Association/United Steelworkers’ Healthcare Workers Alliance, he learned to organize healthcare workers and advocate for their rights at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. His passion for community organizing led him to work with the faith community through L.A. Voice where he served as Director of Communications and Development on housing and immigrant issues. Apolonio moved to the Bay Area to work for Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization (CCISCO) as a community organizer during the foreclosure crisis, then as Director for Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action (BOCA), and lastly as the National Immigration Lead Organizer for the PICO National Network’s (now Faith in Action) Campaign for Citizenship. His work within the PICO National Network provided an opportunity to work with diverse faith beliefs, including the Catholic, Evangelical Christian, Jewish, Lutheran, Methodist, Muslim, and Unitarian community.
Currently, he is proud to serve the immigrant community as the Director of External Affairs at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights where he continues to fight the good fight to pave the way for future immigration legislation by building, maintaining, and expanding diverse coalition work through the coordination of the California Table for Immigration Reform and the Los Angeles Action Table.
At a local level, as a steering committee member, he works to promote civic participation through the Whittier Latino Coalition (WLC), a grassroots community organization which led and won redistricting in Whittier, CA, to help promote adequate representation within the City Council. The WLC organizes training for community members on how to run for office as well as connecting the Latino community together with their local, county, state, and federal elected officials and their respective departments.
In his spare time, he writes short stories and has been published in the online publications KCET Departures and Tropics of Meta. Most recently, he was published in East of East: The Making of Greater El Monte, a collection of 31 essays that trace the experience of a California community over three centuries, from 18th-century Spanish colonization to 21st-century globalization published by Rutgers University Press. He also contributed as a writer to The ‘Mexican’ OC, a play about the history of Mexican American activism in Orange County, which was turned into a radio play on KPFK Pacifica Radio and performed both at El Centro Cultural de Mexico in Santa Ana and Chapman University.
Commissioner Mark T. Mendoza’s career spans more than 30 years, consisting of employment in both the public and private sector. He possesses a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and Urban Economics from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Real Estate Development (MRED) from the School of Urban Planning and Development from the University of Southern California. He presently serves as a Program/Project Manager for a Southern California based right-of-way consulting firm, with program-level responsibility for multi-billion-dollar public works projects in transportation, water conveyance and storage, and vehicular congestion and pollution relief.
Mark began his career as a Project Manager for the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority (LA Metro). He was principally responsible for the Mid-Wilshire Red Line tunnel project station site acquisitions; the Green Line light rail station site acquisitions including the South Bay aerospace community and solely negotiated with TRW, Northrop, Rockwell, etc.; and the Blue Line light rail property acquisitions in the South Gate, Willowbrook, Compton, and Long Beach areas. He later worked for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) in the capacity of Manager of its 31-person real estate department.
Mark has multiple decades of experience interpreting and applying various promulgating federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including the California Code of Regulations. He is well-versed with Caltrans requirements, directives, dictates, procedures, and protocols for on-system projects as well as the Caltrans Local Assistance Procedures Manual. He is highly familiar with the established policies of many other agencies he has served, such as Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County Sanitation District, Los Angeles County Flood Control, and Los Angeles County Public Works.
Mark served on the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) Relocation Assistance Appeals Panel, which deliberates over contentious, unresolved matters between the Agency and entities displaced by its project. He has authored the comprehensive written policy to address the relocation assistance appeals process for displaced residents and businesses used today by the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE). Additionally, Mark served on MWD’s internal appeals panel, which held hearings and deliberated on matters associated with the Diamond Valley Reservoir project which included acquisition of nearly 15,000 acres of property and displacement of hundreds of businesses and residents.
A lifelong resident of the County of Los Angeles, Mark grew up in Montebello, CA, and currently resides in La Verne, CA, where he enjoys the diversity of the Los Angeles County landscape when exercising outdoors, riding his motorcycle, or walking his rescue dog, Heathcliff.
Commissioner Jean Franklin is one of the original founding members and Executive Director of United Job Creation Council (UJCC), a non-profit organization formed in 2006 to advocate for jobs and construction job training programs for disenfranchised low-income residents residing in south Los Angeles communities.
Jean was successful in directing the City of Los Angeles to implement the organizations Local Hire Job Creation Initiative. The organization led south Los Angeles community in a united campaign to implement new construction local hire ordinances and public policies to establish employment opportunities for residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles. Under her leadership, the organization coalition network grew from 10 churches to more than 100 combined churches and community-based organizations.
She formed the Los Angeles Alliance of Ministers and Pastors (LAAMP) in a community effort to encourage the faith-based community to advocate for local hire. The coalition successfully collected 5,000 signatures on petitions, urging the City to adopt local hiring practices. Under her leadership, the faith-based alliance garnered the support of workforce organizations, including Los Angeles and Orange County Building Trades to partner with UJCC in its Local Hire Job Creation Initiative to effect new ordinances and public policies to establish construction employment opportunities for chronically unemployed and disenfranchised community neighborhoods. The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) adopted the language from UJCC Local Hire Initiative in February 2008, resulting in an MOU for its collaborating practitioners and service providers. The Los Angeles City Council adopted the CRA Construction Career Ladders Policy, which (UJCC) initiated.
In January 2014, UJCC and Jean received recognition from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Los Angeles City Council for their outstanding work in mentoring justice-involved youth (ages 12-24) returning from juvenile camps and prisons. She represented United Job Creation and the faith-based collaborative as a guest at an Obama White House Reception honoring the grand opening of the Smithsonian African American
Exhibit and represented Los Angeles faith-based and community-based organizations at the Obama White House first African American Policy in Action Leadership Conference hosted by President Barak Obama.
In 2016, Jean became Director of Anchor of Hope International Ministries, Inc., and implemented the Criminal Justice Courage Campaign Initiative that consists of a collective union of faith leaders interested in Criminal Justice Reform, consisting of pastors, faith leaders, and citizens and representing more than 100,000 congregates committed to making California communities safer through advocacy, policy, and successful prison and reentry ministries and long-term success of the formerly incarcerated and families. The organizations mission is to encourage local churches and houses of worship to develop and implement effective evidenced- based prison and reentry ministry to serve both the spiritual and practical needs of citizens returning from incarceration and their families. Anchor of Hope Ministry’s interest is to reduce recidivism; improve employment attainment and retention; and increase and improve collaborative partners’ ability to serve justice- involved individuals by reducing the barriers to employment of the formerly incarcerated and at-risk youth through vital mental health, pre-employment, housing, and legal resource assistance.
Jean has been a member of the City of Refuge-LA church since 1985 and is a Minister and Auxiliary Leader at the City of Refuge-LA Church, under the leadership of pastor, Bishop Noel Jones.