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MAJ STATE CAPITAL.JPGThe Fair Political Practices Commission today announced the members of a new panel tasked with revamping the state's campaign finance laws.

Center for Governmental Studies President Bob Stern, a former FPPC counsel who helped draft the initiative to create the agency, and Republican political attorney Chuck Bell have been selected to chair the FPPC's Chairman's Advisory Task Force.

The directive of the 25-member panel is to make the state's lengthy and complicated Political Reform Act clearer and more accessible for candidates and the public.

"The Act has provided an invaluable service to our state's voters since its passage in 1974 and has provided necessary guidance to those candidates, donors, and citizens interested in participating in the political process. But after 36 years of faithful service, it has become clear that the Act is in need of an overhaul," FPPC Chairman Dan Schnur said in a statement.

The task force is scheduled to unveil its proposals at the commission's January meeting. Schnur has said his goal is that the Legislature put the suggested revisions to the law on the 2012 ballot.

Its first meeting will be held next Monday at 1 p.m. in Room E of the USC State Capital Center at 1800 I St. The full list of members and bios provided by the FPPC is posted after the jump.

Co-chairman Charles H. Bell, Jr., is the Senior Partner of Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk, LLP, has practiced election and campaign law for over 30 years, and was the Founding Chairman of the California Political Attorneys Association.

Co-chairman Bob Stern is the President of the Center for Governmental Studies, a Los Angeles based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that has studied the governmental process since he joined it in 1983. He is the co-author of a number of campaign reform proposals, including the initiative that established the Fair Political Practices Commission. He was the Commission's first general counsel, from 1975 to 1983, and previously served as an attorney for the Assembly Elections and Reapportionment Committee and the Secretary of State's office.

Darius Anderson is Founder and President of Platinum Advisors, a full-service government affairs firm that ranks in the top five of California government advocacy companies. Mr. Anderson served as Finance Chair to Governor Davis during his election in 1998 and his re-election in 2002, as well as the Director of the Governor's Inaugural Committee.

Tina Z. Bass is the Chief of the Administration Division at the Fair Political Practices Commission. After receiving her Master of Science degree at the University of California at Berkeley in Resource Economics, Ms. Bass accepted a position at the California Department of Finance in 1989. Since then, she has held various fiscal and policy management positions within state government including the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, the Legislative Analyst's Office, the State Board of Equalization and the Department of Industrial Relations.

Lynda Cassady is the Chief of the Fair Political Practices Commission's Technical Assistance Division. She is responsible for developing all state and local campaign disclosure forms, related instructional material and prepares the campaign disclosure filing schedules for all local and state elections. She also oversees the Commission's toll-free advice line, which receives over 50,000 telephone calls a year, from state and local employees, candidates, campaign committees, lobbyists and others who must file disclosure reports.

Jeannine English is a member of the AARP National Board of Directors and most recently served as the State President of AARP California and as a member of the AARP National Policy Council. In her role as State President, she co-chaired the successful open primary Initiative (Proposition 14) this year. In 2008, Ms. English served as co-chair of the groundbreaking initiative that established an independent citizen's commission to redraw legislative districts.
Ms. English is a former Executive Director of the Little Hoover Commission.

Scott Hallabrin has been General Counsel of the Fair Political Practices Commission since 2007 and has specialized in campaign finance and government ethics laws since 1988, including time as the chief litigation attorney for the Commission, senior attorney at the California Legislative Counsel's Office, and counsel to the California Assembly's Committee on Legislative Ethics.

Janis R. Hirohama has been President of the League of Women Voters of California since 2007. An attorney, she has served on the board of directors of EdSource and on the California Judicial Council's Commission on Impartial Courts. She has spoken and written widely on redistricting, campaign finance reform, voter education, and other issues relating to good government and civic engagement.

Dixie Howard is the Assistant Division Chief of the Technical Assistance Division, and she is responsible for managing the division's day-to-day operations including overseeing staff that provide telephone and written advice, and conduct informational seminars. Ms. Howard has worked for the Fair Political Practices Commission for the last 20 years.

Fred Keeley is the elected Treasurer of the County of Santa Cruz. After serving two terms on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, Mr. Keeley went on to represent the Monterey Bay area in the California Assembly, where he served as Speaker pro Tempore for three Speakers. Mr. Keeley is a member of the board of directors of the California Voter Foundation, California Forward, the California Ocean Science Trust, and Sempervirens Fund.

Steven S. Lucas is a partner at Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, specializing in California and federal political law and has a 50-state lobby and campaign compliance practice. He is the former Chairman of the Bipartisan Commission on the Political Reform Act, (appointed by Governor Wilson), served as Counsel for the Webster Commission, which investigated the LAPD's preparedness for and response to 1992 riots, and is a Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School.

John Marelius is a retired political writer for The San Diego Union-Tribune where he covered state and national politics since 1986. Before that, he covered politics and local government for the Los Angeles Daily News.

Jeff Marston is President of Marston+Marston, Inc., a San Diego-based public relations firm he owns with his wife Myrna. A former State Assemblyman, he is co-chair of the California Independent Voter Project. Marston is involved with numerous business, community and civic organizations including the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, San Diego State University and the Balboa Theatre Foundation.

Michael D. Martello has been the Interim Town Attorney for Los Gatos since January 2010 and prior to that he spent 16 years as the City Attorney of Mountain View. Mr. Martello works closely with the League of California Cities and the League's Institute for Local Government, serving as Chair of the League's City Attorneys FPPC Committee for over a decade and in that capacity worked closely with the FPPC in providing input on local issues relative to the Political Reform Act.

Trish Mayer has worked with the FPPC for over 23 years and manages staff in the Technical Assistance Division's Statement of Economic Interests unit that acts as a filing officer for over 20,000 Form 700s filed annually.

Luisa Menchaca currently serves as Staff Counsel IV in the Enforcement Division. Her professional experience with the FPPC includes over 18 years in the Legal and Enforcement Divisions, including six years as General Counsel. Prior to serving at the FPPC, Ms. Menchaca was a Senior Consultant with the State Legislature and an Analyst for the State of California.

LeeAnn Pelham is Executive Director of the voter-established Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, where she has administered and enforced a comprehensive set of local campaign finance, ethics, and lobbying laws since 2001. Before joining the Commission in 1991, she served at the State's non-partisan Office of the Auditor General, and was on the national grassroots lobbying staff of Common Cause in Washington, D.C., where she worked to mobilize citizen activists in a 14-state region.

Joe Rodota is founder and CEO of Forward Observer, Inc., a Sacramento-based research and strategy firm. He served as Cabinet Secretary and Deputy Chief of Staff to Gov. Pete Wilson and as Deputy Director of Public Affairs in the Reagan White House.

Emelyn Rodriguez is a Staff Attorney with the Legal Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission and has drafted numerous Commission advice letters and regulations interpreting provisions of the Political Reform Act. Previously, she worked for various news publications, most recently as senior editor for the California Journal and state political reporter for The Oakland Tribune.

Dorothy Rothrock is Vice President of Government Relations for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. Before coming to CMTA in February 2000 she consulted on energy and telecommunications regulatory issues for industrial energy users, policy advocates, and economic research firms. She began her career at Portland General Corporation as an attorney, moving to management positions in commercial operations, public affairs and power marketing prior to relocating to California in 1990.

Araceli Ruano, an attorney, is Senior Vice President and Director of California for the Center for American Progress. Her political experience includes serving on the policy and campaign staff of former Vice President Al Gore as well as the Government and Global Trade Practice at Mayer Brown.

Rich Schlackman is a partner at MSHC Partners, a political communications firm. He has been involved in politics for more than 30 years and is credited with creating a new school for direct mail known as the "California Style." He has been a member of the board of the American Association of Political Consultants for nearly 20 years, now serving as the Legislative co-chair.

Hyla P. Wagner is a Senior Counsel in the Legal Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission where she has focused on campaign finance and ethics laws. She came to the FPPC from the New York City Campaign Finance Board where she was Director of Policy Analysis and staff counsel. Ms. Wagner also worked at the New York City office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker, and in the Washington, D.C. office of Congressman Anthony C. Beilenson.

Galena West is a Senior Commission Counsel in the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission and before that, served in the Legal Division. Previously, she worked as a law clerk for the California Franchise Tax Board, Legal Division, the California Attorney General's Office, Appeals, Writs & Trials Division, and the U.S. Attorney's Office, Civil Division.

Gary Winuk is the Chief of the Fair Political Practices Commission's Enforcement Division.

File photo of the state Capitol. Michael Allen Jones, Sacramento Bee.



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