The California Policy Center is an educational non-profit focused on public policies that aim to improve California’s democracy and economy.

Board of Directors

Robert Loewen

Robert W. Loewen, Chairman

An attorney licensed in California since 1975, Mr. Loewen recently retired after practicing 36 years as a member of a prominent international law firm in its 85-lawyer Irvine, California office. There he specialized in business litigation with an emphasis on environmental and appellate cases and is still consulted on constitutional issues concerning personal freedom. Robert Loewen is chairman of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, where he has been a member for over 20 years. He served as President of the Lincoln Club from 2009 to 2013.

Loewen received his bachelor of arts degree from Pomona College in 1970. Following college, Mr. Loewen served in the United States Army, including a tour in the Republic of Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in 1972 as a First Lieutenant.

In 1975, Mr. Loewen graduated first in his class from the University of Southern California School of Law, where he served as Executive Editor of Lead Articles for the Southern California Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif. Following law school, Mr. Loewen served as a law clerk to Justice Byron R. White at the United States Supreme Court and for Judge Walter Ely at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Loewen serves on the Board of Directors of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Orange County, the Board and Executive Committee of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, and the Board of Advisors of The Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. Married to Jacinta Loewen in 1972, the couple has three grown children. They have lived in Laguna Beach, California for over thirty years.

Robert Loewen
David L. Bahnsen

David L. Bahnsen, Board Director

David L. Bahnsen is founder, Managing Director, and Chief Investment Officer of The Bahnsen Group, a private wealth management boutique based in Newport Beach. David has been named as one of Barron’s America’s Top 1,200 Advisors as well as On Wall Street’s Top 40 Advisors Under 40 and Financial Times Top 400 Advisors in America, he directs all portfolio and strategic asset allocation decisions, personal wealth advising and advanced estate planning strategies for The Bahnsen Group’s high net worth individuals and families.

David is a member of the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA) and holds numerous financial designations and licenses. He is an active board member of the Lincoln Club of Orange County where he serves on the Executive Committee and chairs the Platinum Circle. He is the Vice President on the Board of Trustees for Pacifica Christian High School of Orange County. Mr. Bahnsen also serves on the Blackstone Faculty of the Alliance Defense Fund and is a Cooperating Board member of the Center for Cultural Leadership where he is the Senior Fellow of Economics and Finance.

David is a disciple of Milton Friedman, a lover of Ronald Reagan, and a “National Review kind of conservative.” His prolific writings strive to reflect an ideology of freedom principles integrated with transcendent truths. David’s hobbies include travel, fine dining, golf, and sports. His ultimate passions are his lovely wife of nearly 14 years, Joleen, their gorgeous and brilliant children, sons Mitchell and Graham, and daughter Sadie, and the life they’ve created together in Newport Beach, California.

David L. Bahnsen
John Kruger

John Kruger, Board Director

John Kruger is one of the founders & Chairman at TravisMathew Apparel, an Orange County based manufacturer of sports & lifestyle apparel. Kruger has been a life long entrepreneur, previously serving as the second generation CEO of Accurate Metal Fabricators, a precision metal fabricator serving the electronics industry. In 2008, he sold the company and now invests his time in school activities – serving on the board of Orange Lutheran High School, supporting the charter school movement, as well as other school efforts which will promote real improvement in outcomes. John lives with his family in Orange County, California.

John Kruger
Dale Okuno

Dale Okuno, Board Director

Dale Okuno is an active Los Angeles based investor in real estate and start-up technology companies and serves on a number of for-profit boards.

Prior to angel investing, Dale was CEO and founder of E-Z Data, Inc., a SaaS based company focused on customer relationship management (CRM) and new business processing systems for insurance agents, investment advisors, broker dealers, and insurance companies. E-Z Data was sold in 2009 to a NASDAQ listed company. He is also Series 7 and 24 licensed and a Registered Investment Advisor.

He and his wife support various charities. He is a very active board member and Secretary of the Alliance for College Ready Public Schools, a charter management organization operating 19 high schools and 9 middle schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Dale Okuno
Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer, Board Director

Jim Palmer is President of the Orange County Rescue Mission, the county’s most comprehensive private homeless services provider. The Rescue Mission started with nine people and has grown into the largest non-profit, faith-based organization serving more than 19,800 people throughout Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties by providing more than 1.7 million units of service and more than 1 million meals in 2010.

Under Mr. Palmer’s visionary leadership, OCRM has received national recognition for success rates of client graduates and entrepreneurial approaches to developing self-sufficiency, including the 211th Presidential Point of Light award, Governor Schwarzenegger’s Service Award (2004), and recognition from President George W. Bush at the Faith-based Initiatives Conference in Washington, D.C. On July 3rd, 2007 President George W. Bush nominated Mr. Palmer for the position of a Director on the Board of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Sixty days later, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Palmer’s nomination for his term ending 2011.

Mr. Palmer is the only person to have served on three levels of government simultaneously. He served as a local elected official, County Commissioner, and Federal Official from 2006 to 2010. Mr. Palmer continues to serve as a County Housing Commissioner, and a Senate Confirmed Presidential Appointee. He recently completed four years on the Tustin City Council. One of his significant achievements was authoring and implementing the most comprehensive government transparency law in California.

Mr. Palmer served as the Commander of the Orange County Sheriffs’ Department volunteer Professional Services Responders. He commanded a group of over 400 volunteers that provided $5 million dollars worth of service. He has personally volunteered more than 2,000 hours, in the areas of homeland security, fire arms range master and commander of the unit.

Mr. Palmer is an advocate for children’s issues in Orange County. He fostered nine children and adopted three. As a father, Mr. Palmer spends time with his two sons and two daughters. In his free time, he is a rancher raising horses and goats. Mr. Palmer resides in the City of Tustin with his four children.

Jim Palmer

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Mark W. Bucher

Mark Bucher has been actively involved in public affairs since the 1993 Proposition 174 school choice campaign, when he acted as the volunteer coordinator for Orange County. His observations during that campaign of the power and influence of the unions in our state led him to found the Education Alliance, a group dedicated to assisting independent school board candidates as well as authoring, qualifying, and chairing the 1998 Proposition 226, which would have required unions to receive permission to use their members’ dues for political purposes.

Bucher is a longtime entrepreneur. He is the chairman and founder of Employers Resource, a full service human resources consulting firm. He is also the CEO and founder of Service First, providing plumbing and HVAC solutions to commercial clients throughout Southern California.

Bucher obtained his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Biola University, and his Juris Doctorate from Western State University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude, first in his class, and with the additional honor of Valedictorian. Mark lives with his family in Orange County, California.

PRESIDENT

Will Swaim

Will Swaim is President of the California Policy Center. He served most recently as editor of Watchdog.org, a national network of state-based investigative reporters, and vice president of journalism at Watchdog’s nonprofit parent, the Washington, D.C.-based Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity. Swaim began his journalism career as a business reporter in 1990, as managing editor and ultimately editor and publisher of the international business magazine, World Trade. In 1995, Village Voice Media named him OC Weekly’s founding editor; that newspaper became the fastest startup to profitability in the alternative weekly industry. In 2000, he was promoted to associate publisher, and to publisher in 2002. Swaim left OC Weekly in January 2007, and shortly after launched The District, an alternative newsweekly in Long Beach, California. Swaim graduated summa cum laude in journalism and with honors in theology from the University of Southern California. He earned an MA in history from UC Irvine where he was a California Regents Fellow. A seventh-generation Californian, Swaim has written extensively about California business, media, politics and religion; is the winner of several print journalism awards and a Southern California Broadcasters Golden Mike award for public affairs commentary. He appears regularly on television and radio.

VICE PRESIDENT, DEVELOPMENT

Buckley Morlot

Buckley Morlot is Vice President of Development at California Policy Center. She started her career in the Bush White House, serving under President George W. Bush until the very last day of his Administration and left as an Associate Director of Presidential Personnel. She then joined the nonprofit world as a Development Associate at Smile Train, an international charity based in New York City. It was there she found her passion for fundraising. At Smile Train, Buckley was responsible for their major gifts program and corporate partnerships. When the 2012 Presidential races began to ramp up, she knew she couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer. Her initial love of politics drew her back in and she began consulting on campaigns throughout New York State. For the four years prior to joining CPC, she was a full-time finance consultant on gubernatorial, senatorial, congressional and local races in the Empire State. Buckley is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Paul Olivett

Paul Olivett brings more than 25 years of major gift fundraising experience to the California Policy Center including time with National Review, the Pennsylvania State University, and the American Red Cross (during which time he helped raise money for the victims of the Northridge earthquake). Paul specializes in working with growing, free market minded organizations whose mission is to educate the public about the issues that impact their daily lives. Paul graduated from Franklin and Marshall College (BA, English) in Lancaster, PA and earned a Master’s in Higher Education from Penn State. Paul is very active in the community and has served on the finance committee for his local school district for the last 8 years. He coaches youth football and is also a certified official for high school basketball and baseball.

DIRECTOR, COMMUNITY RELATIONS

Cecilia Iglesias

With her family, Cecilia “Ceci” Iglesias immigrated to the United States and has lived since 1979 in Santa Ana, California. She is a product of the Santa Ana Unified School District – graduated from Valley High School, earned an AA degree from Santa Ana College, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services from California State University, Fullerton. She also received a Sign Language Certificate from Santa Ana College. She is fluent in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. Ceci founded the nonprofit Santa Ana Family Empowerment (S.A.F.E.) to provide homework assistance to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. She has tutored deaf students in Language Arts and Math. As a social worker with the County of Orange, she assisted families in crisis. As a legislative staffer for State Senator Bob Huff, she assisted constituents with Education and Human Services concerns. Ceci Iglesias strongly supports partnerships between education, business, nonprofits and other community groups. First elected to the Santa Ana School Board in 2012, Ceci was reelected in November 2016. On April 27, 2016, Ceci was sworn in by Former California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Marion Bergeson, as a member of the Orange County School Boards Association Board of Directors for the year 2016-2017.

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT

Angie Cano

In 2014, Angie was a candidate for School Board, and through that experience gained a better understanding of her community. The campaign also gave Angie hands-on experience in fundraising, media relations, and local government.Angie is a graduate of the Marian Bergeson Excellence in Public Service Series.  During the program she was trained and mentored by experts in the political field.  Currently, Angie serves on Santa Ana’s Community Redevelopment and Housing Commission. Angie graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, Political Science and Spanish Literature. She currently resides in Santa Ana and is an Orange County native.

LEGAL COUNSEL

Craig Alexander

Craig Alexander is CPC’s General Counsel. He is the principal of the Law Offices of Craig P. Alexander and has practiced law for over 25 years. He represents clients in litigation and non-litigation matters regarding the California Public Records Act, office leasing, insurance coverage, personal injury, property damages, business litigation and general civil litigation matters and professional liability cases. Craig’s experience includes working for 10 years in the insurance claims industry, including for carriers that insured construction and design professionals for residential and commercial real estate projects. Craig is a graduate of Santa Clara University’s School of Law and he was admitted to the California State Bar in December 1987.

RESEARCH ASSOCIATES

Scott Kaufman

Scott Kaufman brings his journalistic experience to the California Policy Center to write investigative reports and editorials for UnionWatch and the Prosperity Digest. Kaufman also works for the Orange County Register as an editorial writer. He graduated from the University of California, San Diego and got his start in journalism with the Washington D.C. based weekly Human Events. He transitioned to local government reporting at the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Kevin Wen

Kevin Wen manages local politician profile research for the California Policy Center, coordinating the efforts of paid and volunteer data gatherers. He is also a District Representative for a member of the California State Legislature and a contributor for the California Transparency Project. Kevin has extensive public relations experience through his work in the political and business sphere. Kevin received a BA in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

SENIOR FELLOW – FISCAL POLICY

Carl DeMaio

Former San Diego city councilman and lifelong entrepreneur Carl DeMaio is now tackling state-wide fiscal reform policy. While on the City Council, DeMaio led the effort to cut red tape on small businesses, reform the city’s contracting processes to expedite infrastructure projects, and enact some of the toughest “Sunshine Law” open government requirements in the nation. In 2012, DeMaio crafted and led a citizens campaign to qualify and pass the “Comprehensive Pension Reform” Initiative – the first-of-its kind measure to switch San Diego from a Defined Benefit Pension Plan to a 401(k) retirement program. In 2003, DeMaio founded the American Strategic Management Institute (ASMI), which provides training and education in corporate financial and performance management.  In late 2007, DeMaio sold both of his companies to Thompson Publishing Group. DeMaio holds a BA in International Politics and Business from Georgetown University.

POLICY ANALYST

Kevin Dayton

Kevin Dayton is the President & CEO of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC, and a policy analyst for the California Policy Center. Dayton is the author of frequent postings about generally unreported California state and local policy issues at on the California Policy Center’s Prosperity Forum and Union Watch, as well as well as on his own website LaborIssuesSolutions.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaytonPubPolicy.

CONTRIBUTORS AND ADVISORS

Ken Churchill

Since 2012, Ken Churchill has been executive director of New Sonoma, an organization of financial and business experts and concerned citizens dedicated to working together to solve Sonoma County’s serious financial problems. Churchill has over 40 years of business and financial management experience as founder, CEO and CFO of a solar energy company and environmental consulting firm. He sold both companies and now grows wine grapes and produces wines under his Churchill Cellars label. For the past several years, Churchill has been actively researching and studying the public sector pension crisis.

Jack Dean

Since 2004, Jack Dean has edited the influential website PensionTsunami.com, formed to monitor developments in all three pension spheres nationwide – public employees, corporations and social security. He is a former newspaper editor and  a past executive director of the Reason Foundation. He has been active in politics for more than three decades and currently serves as president of the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers.

John Dickerson

Since 2008 Dickerson has been the publisher of the influential website and newsletter YourPublicMoney.com. He focuses on the impact of unfunded pension debt on the 21 California counties that operate their own independent Pension Funds. He is a financial and organizational planner and analyst with 30 years of experience. Dickerson earned his MBA in Strategic Planning from the University of Texas at Austin.

William Fletcher

William (Bill) Fletcher retired as Senior Vice President at Rockwell International. During most of his time there he was responsible for international operations and business development for Rockwell Automation. Before joining Rockwell, he worked for Bechtel Corporation, McKinsey and Company, Inc., and Combustion Engineering’s Nuclear Power Division, and was an officer and engineer in the U.S. Navy’s nuclear program. His international experience includes expatriate assignments in Hong Kong, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Canada. In addition to his interest in California’s state and local government finances, he is involved in organizations dealing with national security and international relations.

Claire Friend

R. Claire Friend, MD, is the Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, UC Irvine Medical Center, and the editor of the UC Irvine Quarterly Journal of Psychiatry. She is a retired psychiatrist and frequent commentator on the psychological dimensions of education and social welfare policies.

Marcia Fritz

Marcia is President and founding board member of California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, dedicated to research, education, and development of alternative solutions to handling California’s emerging public employee pension crisis. She is currently a member of the Governmental Accounting Standards Board Task Force – Pension Accounting and Reporting Standards, the GASB Advisory Committee – Pension Accounting Research Project, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Prior to selling her practice in December 2011, Marcia had over 30 years of public accounting experience, serving clients including the California Justice Dept., CalPERS, CA Dept. of Education, CA Dept. of Insurance, CA Dept. of Corrections, CA Bureau of State Audits, CA Dept. of Health Services, CA Dept. of Finance, and many others in government and the private sector. As a national expert in public sector retirement, she is frequently quoted by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee and other newspapers throughout California.

Bill Monnet

After a management career in the Silicon Valley, Bill Monnet currently serves as a board member of Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans in Marin County.   He has an MA in Political Science from UC Davis and an MBA in Finance from UC Berkeley. Monnet was briefly an adjunct Professor of Public Administration and then spent 24 years in Silicon Valley in various management positions at IBM, Siemens and Cisco Systems. His work experience includes positions in finance, service & manufacturing operations, demand forecasting and failure analysis. He says that his varied experiences have proved surprisingly effective in understanding the counterintuitive world of public finance.

Larry Sand

Retired public school teacher Larry Sand began his teaching career in New York in 1971. Beginning in 1984, he taught Elementary school as well as English, math, history and ESL in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where he also served as a Title 1 Coordinator. Retired in 2009, he is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues – information teachers will often not get from their school districts or unions. CTEN was formed in 2006 to present objective information to teachers on education policy, education leadership, and education reform, professional liability insurance, options of relationships to teachers’ unions, and the effect of unionism on teacher pay. Sand has appeared on numerous broadcast news programs, panels and talk radio shows in Southern California and nationally to discuss education reform efforts and the impact of teachers’ unions on public education.

Steven Greenhut

Steven Greenhut is senior fellow and western region director for the R Street Institute. In this role, he is responsible for running R Street’s West Coast office in Sacramento, California and leading R Street’s work on legislation and issues affecting the western states. He previously was the California columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Steven also was previously vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, where he managed a team of 35 investigative reporters and editors who covered state capitols across the country. Steven has written for publications that include Reason, Human Events, Bloomberg andCity Journal. He is the author of the 2009 book, “Plunder! How Public Employee Unions Are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives And Bankrupting the Nation” and the 2004 book, “Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain.”

TJ Zane

With over 15 years of experience as a political professional, TJ Zane has provided direct campaign management services for candidates for public office at every level, as well as consulting services on several local ballot initiatives, including successful campaigns for the preservation of the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial and the renewal of “TransNet,” the region’s transportation infrastructure bond. Zane received degrees in Political Science and Communication from the University of Pennsylvania. An Eagle Scout and native of Connecticut, Mr. Zane is a member or director of numerous professional, social, non-profit, and political organizations, including current affiliations with the Boy Scouts of America, San Diego County Taxpayers Association, Herb Klein Leadership Roundtable, Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation, “No Excuses University” Foundation, American Association of Political Consultants, and the Penn Club of San Diego. Mr. Zane and his family live in San Diego, California.

David A. Bego is the president and CEO of EMS, an industry leader in the field of environmental workplace maintenance, employing nearly 5000 workers in thirty-three states. Bego is the author of “The Devil at My Doorstep,” based on his experiences fighting back against one of the most powerful unions in existence today.

RiShawn Biddle is Editor and Publisher of Dropout Nation — the leading commentary Web site on education reform — a columnist for Rare and The American Spectator, award-winning editorialist, speechwriter, communications consultant and education policy advisor. More importantly, he is a tireless advocate for improving the quality of K-12 education for every child. Biddle combines journalism, research and advocacy to bring insight on the nation’s education crisis and rally families and others to reform American public education.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.

Jason Hart is an Ohio-based reporter covering labor issues for Watchdog.org, with a focus on right-to-work, public employee unions and Obamacare. Before joining Watchdog, Jason was communications director for Media Trackers Ohio. His work has been featured at FoxNews.com, The Daily Signal, RedState, Washington Examiner, Townhall and elsewhere. His investigations into labor union spending and Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion have been cited by national commentators including Michelle Malkin, Erick Erickson, Dana Loesch and Mark Levin.

Gloria Romero is the State Director of Democrats for Education Reform and has been a forceful advocate for education reform and civil rights. She was elected to the 24th Senate District in 2001, representing East Los Angeles and the greater San Gabriel Valley. She was elected by her peers to serve as Senate Democratic Caucus Chair and as Senate Majority Leader — the first woman to ever hold that leadership position in the history of the California State Senate. Romero served as Chair of both the Education Committee and the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Education. She believes that education is the civil rights issue of our time.

Mike Shedlock is the editor of the top-rated global economics blog Mish’s Global Economic Trend Analysis, offering insightful commentary every day of the week. He is also a contributing “professor” on Minyanville, a community site focused on economic and financial education. Every Thursday he does a podcast on HoweStreet and on an ad hoc basis he contributes to many other websites, including UnionWatch.

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