The California Policy Center is an educational nonprofit focused on how to improve California’s democracy and economy.
Board of Directors
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.
Mark W. Bucher, Chief Executive Officer
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ed Ring is the President of the California Policy Center. He directs the organization’s research projects and is also the editor of UnionWatch.org. His work has been cited in the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and other national and regional publications. Previously, as a CFO primarily for start-up companies in the Silicon Valley, he has done financial accounting for over 20 years, and brings this experience to his analysis and commentary on issues of public sector finance. From 1995 to 2009 he was the editor of EcoWorld, a website covering environmental issues from a free-market perspective. Between 2007 and 2010 he launched in partnership with AlwaysOn Media the highly successful “GoingGreen” clean technology conferences, held annually in San Francisco and Boston. He has an MBA in Finance from the University of Southern California, and a BA in Political Science from UC Davis.
Clare Venegas is the Development Director for the California Policy Center. Most recently, she served as the Executive Director of the Lincoln Club of Orange County, an influential business group whose members have promoted free-market policies since 1962. Venegas has over 15 years of professional experience in organizational management, development, media/corporate communications in the public and private sectors. Prior to the Lincoln Club, she served as manager of public affairs and communications for Orange County’s largest toll-road system, and held communications and public relations positions for technology manufacturers in Silicon Valley and OC. She began her career as a journalist for the Orange County Register and holds a BA in Political Science degree from Loyola Marymount University.
Kathryn Sanchez is the Development Associate for the California Policy Center. Most recently, she was a Congressional intern for Representative Ed Royce (39th) at his Brea office. She has always had a great interest for public policy and politics. During her stays in Kansas, she was actively involved in Young Republican groups and was elected Johnson County Young Republican Fundraising Chair. In addition, during her college years at Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island, she served as President of the Young Republican’s Club. She has combined her interest in politics with her passion for media/communications. While living in the Kansas City area, she interned for Fox Sports WDAFTV with Al Wallace and Jason Lamb. She resides in the Orange County area.
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 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
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.
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.
Marc Joffe is the founder of Public Sector Credit Solutions and a policy analyst with the California Policy Center. Joffe founded Public Sector Credit Solutions in 2011 to educate policymakers, investors and citizens about government credit risk. PSCS research has been published by the California State Treasurer’s Office, the Mercatus Center and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute among others. Prior to starting PSCS, Marc was a Senior Director at Moody’s Analytics. He has an MBA from New York University and an MPA from San Francisco State University.
Chad Morgan is an attorney in private practice focusing primarily on public law and public interest litigation. He represents clients in matters related to civil rights, access to public information, election law, and similar public interest matters. Prior to his legal career, Chad had an extensive background in government affairs and public relations. He has served as Chief of Staff for a member of the California State Legislature and has more than a decade of experience advising political campaigns at all levels. Chad is a graduate of California State University, Fullerton and Western State University College of Law.
Craig Alexander is the principal of the Law Offices of Craig P. Alexander and has practiced law for over twenty five years. He represents clients in litigation and non-litigation matters regarding construction defects, insurance coverage, personal injury, property damages, business litigation and general civil litigation matters and professional liability cases. Craig’s experience includes working for ten years inside 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 of 1987.
CONTRIBUTORS AND ADVISORS
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.
Since 2004, Jack Dean has edited the influential website PensionTsunami.org, 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.
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 (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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.