The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

December 17, 2008
Real estate lawyers dominate Kevin Johnson's list of advisers
In his scramble to get up to speed on issues, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has assembled a transition team of advisors that "literally is hundreds of people," according to spokesman Steve Maviglio.

For the last week, The Swarm has been seeking a list of these advisers. Maviglio claims that a full list hasn't been assembled, but after a little prodding, he released the people Johnson has tapped to lead the transition teams.

So, for the first time, here is the list of the mayor's top advisers, with links to their biographies.
 
Chair
Jeffrey Dorso, lawyer and partner at Diepenbrock Harrison. Oversaw the Railyards Specific Plan for Thomas Enterprises.

Railyards
Dan Silverboard, land use lawyer with Diepenbrock Harrison
Jerry Way, Sacramento City Director of Transportation

Downtown
Mike Kvarme, real estate attorney with Weintraub, Genshlea, Chediak

Arts & Culture
Grace Bergen, lawyer with Greenberg Traurig, former general counsel for Tower Records
Kim Curry-Evans, director, 40 Acres Art Gallery

Transportation
Mark Harris, president of the Pineapple Group LLC, a development company

Environment
Bruce Starkweather, president of Lionakis Beaumont, the area's largest architectural firm
David Diepenbrock, associate with Diepenbrock Harrison

Flood control
Russell Austin, lawyer, Murphy, Austin, Schoenfeld, and board chair, Sac. Valley Conservancy
Tim Taron, partner, Hefner Stark and Marois

Homelessness
Ben Webster, partner with Pillsbury Winthrop

Regionalism
Phil Serna, president of Serna Consulting and son of former Sacramento mayor

Volunteerism/Philanthropy
Ann Lucas, executive director of the Non-profit Resource Center
Nancy Findeisen, president of the Community Services Planning Council

Housing/Riverfront
David Temblador, an associate with Diepenbrock Harrison

Looking at this list, you notice that several teams are headed by partners and associates at the Diepenbrock Harrison firm, and that Jeff Dorso, a partner at the firm, is chair of all the transition teams.

Diepenbrock is currently representing Thomas Enterprises in its Railyards project, and is also representing Sacramento Natural Gas in its bid to store gas under a city neighborhood. Both companies contributed to Johnson's gala inaugural parties. Other lawyers and consultants on the list represent major Sacramento developers, including Angelo Tsakopoulos, who also supported Johnson's campaign and inaugural.

Maviglio said that everyone on these teams have all signed a "no conflict of interest letter," but I'm not sure what that means. The Bee's newsroom has been trying to get copies of those letters from the mayor, but has so far been unsuccessful.

Dorso, in an interview earlier this week, said the teams are preparing reports with advice for the mayor on the various topics, which should be finished this week. The mayor, he said, is also planning a press event on the transition team's work.


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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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