Presentations by:

Mary Leslie, President Los Angeles Business Council


Mary Leslie is president of the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), one of the most respected business advocacy organizations in California. Under her leadership, the LABC has developed a national reputation as a catalyst for innovative policy in the fields of housing, transportation, renewable energy development, CleanTech and more. Most recently, the LABC led a citywide coalition to support the creation of the CLEAN LA Solar feed-in tariff program, the largest rooftop solar buyback program in the United States.

Prior to leading the LABC, Ms. Leslie served as a Deputy Mayor under Richard Riordan and held a senior position under Erskine Bowles in the Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Santa Clara University, she holds a Master’s degree in public policy from the University of Southern California and an executive certificate from the UCLA Anderson School of Business.

David Pettit, Senior Attorney, Urban Program NRDC


David Pettit is director of NRDC’s Southern California air program in Santa Monica and an experienced trial and appellate lawyer. Since joining NRDC in 2007, he has focused on curbing pollution in California by litigating against polluting industries and campaigning for clean, alternative energies and greener development in urban areas.

David has litigated environmental cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts for many years in private practice and at NRDC, including major air pollution matters, offshore oil spills, groundwater pollution, habitat preservation, and natural resource damage assessment disputes. He has a B.A. in philosophy and a law degree from UCLA.

Mott Smith, Co-founder and Principal of Civic Enterprise


Mott Smith is a founding board member of the California Infill Builders Association and adjunct faculty in USC’s Master of Real Estate Development Program. Earlier, he was as Acting Director of Planning for the L.A. Unified School District after serving as founding Executive Director of New Schools-Better Neighborhoods. He also worked as editor/business manager of The Planning Report. Mott is past president the Westside Urban Forum. He received a Master of Real Estate Development from USC and a BA in Linguistics from UCLA.


Rick Cole, City Manager Santa Monica


City Manager Rick Cole has 30 years of experience in public policy and administration. Most recently, he served as Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation for the City of Los Angeles where he was responsible for a budget of $8.6 billion and oversaw five city departments with more than 3,000 staff. He also supervised LA’s Chief Sustainability, Technology and Data Officers.

For 15 years, Mr. Cole was City Manager of two Southern California cities, Ventura and Azusa. He has been recognized as one of America’s Public Officials of the Year by Governing Magazine and one of the “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers” by Government Technology Magazine. He has won awards for municipal management excellence from the American Society of Public Administrators and the Municipal Management Association of Southern California, as well as for urban planning leadership from the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Mr. Cole served 12 years on the Pasadena City Council and was Mayor when Pasadena adopted its landmark General Plan, an early model for smart growth. Called “one of Southern California’s most visionary planning thinkers” by the Los Angeles Times, he has been an active leader in the International City Managers Association and the City Managers Department of the League of California Cities.

As Santa Monica’s City Manager, Mr. Cole is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the City of Santa Monica, which includes implementation of City Council ordinances and policies, oversight of all City departments and a budget of $564 million.

Gladys Limón, Staff Attorney, Communities for a Better Environment


Her work involves using integrated, high-impact advocacy strategies, including policy, litigation, and community-based campaigns, to protect the civil and human rights of communities bearing a disproportionate burden of environmental harms, and advocate for healthy, sustainable environmental practices.

Ms. Limón represents community members in all stages of litigation, and in administrative proceedings. Her work currently includes legal challenges to a major refinery’s project that plaintiffs allege will result in the transport of heavy, dirty tar sands crude by rail, as well as a proposal to build a fourth power plant on the City of Oxnard’s beaches. Ms. Limón’s policy work includes statewide efforts to reform the Department of Toxic Substances Control based on the discriminatory impacts of siting and enforcement practices on Latino communities, and developing local and state policies concerning oil refineries and extraction.

Gladys brings to CBE a wealth of complex litigation experience from her former civil rights work, which focused on impact and class-action suits. She previously worked at the civil rights firm Hadsell Stormer & Renick, LLP, and spent several years at MALDEF, where she challenged policies and practices unlawfully discriminating against Latinos and immigrants. As a recipient of the Fried Frank Fellowship, she spent two years as a litigation associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver, and Jacobsen LLP in New York before joining MALDEF. Prior to joining CBE, Gladys spent time working pro bono with EarthRights Int’l in Peru, researching legal strategies to challenge large-scale extraction operations in the Amazon.

Gladys received her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2003 and served as a law clerk to the Hon. Lawrence K. Karlton in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (2003-2005).

Douglas P. Carstens, Managing Partner of Chatten-Brown & Carstens LLP


Douglas Carstens, managing partner, is a graduate of Cornell University and UCLA Law School. Prior to attending law school, he served for five years as an officer in the Navy. During law school, Doug was awarded a Joseph Drown Foundation Fellowship to work at the Lands Section of the California Attorney General’s office, and worked as a legal clerk at a business and entertainment litigation firm.

Doug has extensive experience in environmental, land use, municipal and natural resource matters. He was a member of the Long Beach Naval Complex Restoration Advisory Board overseeing the implementation of the Base Realignment and Closure Act process for the Long Beach Naval Station and Shipyard. Doug has also written articles and lectured on CEQA, water quality, public trust, and historic resources issues.

Doug has been extensively involved in all of the appellate litigation handled by Chatten-Brown & Carstens, and takes pride in the over 90% success rate in reported cases. He was lead counsel on the CEQA cases Uphold Our Heritage v. Town of Woodside and Committee to Save the Hollywoodland Specific Plan v. City of Los Angeles, among others.

He was selected to be a Southern California “Super-Lawyer” (reportedly representing the top 5% of lawyers) for environmental law in 2009. He is admitted to practice in California, all federal courts in the State of California, and the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Moderated by:

Paula Daniels, Executive Director of California Central


Paula Daniels is Executive Director of California Central, a USC Villaraigosa Initiative. She is the founder and chair emeritus of the LA Food Policy Council, Stanton Fellow (awarded by the Durfee Foundation), and a 2015 Pritzker Environment and Sustainability Education Fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. In addition to UCLA, her academic appointments have been at Vermont Law School and UC Berkeley. After a long career as an attorney in civil litigation, she served as a Los Angeles Public Works Commissioner and then Senior Advisor to Mayor Villaraigosa of Los Angeles. She has also been a commissioner with the California Coastal Commission, and a gubernatorial appointee on the governing board of the California Bay-Delta Authority. She is an appointee of Governor Brown to the California Water Commission, and served in his Office of Planning and Research as Senior Fellow for Food Systems, Water and Climate. In addition, she is a member of the California State University Board of Trustees, having been appointed by Gov. Brown in April 2015, and serves as a member of the Financial Sustainability Task Force at the L.A. Unified School District.

Raphael Bostic, Bedrosian Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise at the USC Price School


Dr. Raphael Bostic is the Judith and John Bedrosian Chair in Governance and the Public Enterprise at the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California

He has recently returned to USC after serving for 3 years in the Obama Administration as the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In that Senate-confirmed position, Dr. Bostic was a principal advisor to the Secretary on policy and research, with the goal of helping the Secretary and other principal staff make informed decisions on HUD policies and programs, as well as budget and legislative proposal. Bostic led an interdisciplinary team of 150 which had expertise in all policy areas of importance to the department, including housing, housing finance, rental assistance, community development, economic development, sustainability, and homelessness, among others. During his tenure and with his leadership, PD&R funded more than $150M in new research, became an important advisory voice on departmental budget and prioritization decisions, and reestablished its position as a thought leader on policies associated with housing and urban development.

Dr. Bostic arrived at USC in 2001, where he served as a professor in the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning, and Development. His work spans many fields including home ownership, housing finance, neighborhood change, and the role of institutions in shaping policy effectiveness. A particular emphasis has been on how the private, public, and non-profit sectors interact to influence household access to economic and social amenities. His work has appeared in the leading economic, public policy, and planning journals. He was Director of USC’s Master of Real Estate Development degree program and was the founding director of the Casden Real Estate Economics Forecast. Prior to that, he worked at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, where his work on the Community Reinvestment Act earned him a Special Achievement Award.

In an earlier stint at HUD, Dr. Bostic served as a special assistant to Susan Wachter when she served as the Assistant Secretary for PD&R. He earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Stanford University and his BA from Harvard University.

Remarks by

Antonio Villaraigosa, 41st Mayor of the City of Los Angeles


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. Prior to his election as Mayor, Mr. Villaraigosa served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council from 2003 to 2005. From 1994 through 2000, Mr. Villaraigosa served in the California State Assembly as Democratic Whip, Majority Leader and Speaker of the Assembly.

Mr. Villaraigosa also has served in academia, as a fellow at Harvard University and a professor in public policy at the University of Southern California. He also is a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he works in the private sector as a Senior Advisor with Banc of California, amongst others, and serves on the McGraw Hill Global Education board of directors.