Capitol Weekly looks at 100 political warriors

Well, here it is: Capitol Weekly’s list of 100 political players. But since we don’t want you to gag, we’re giving it to you piecemeal. This week, we’re providing 51 through 100. Next week, we’ll do 1 through 50.  After that, we’ll disconnect the phones and head to Puerto Penasco.

The most interesting aspect of this year’s rundown is that it clearly reflects the impact of the new Brown administration. Jerry Brown owes his election, in large part, to organized labor. And labor’s clout is demonstrated throughout with a number of labor chiefs and their lobbyists. The list really is a snapshot in time and “Top 100” may be a misnomer here: The rankings change yearly, even quarterly or monthly, as new players arrive, veterans depart and the administration goes through growing pains.

Lists like these are interesting not only for who’s on them, but for who isn’t. There’s no Maria Shriver, no Susan Kennedy, no Henry Gomez. There’s no Grover Norquist, despite a dozen demands that we put him on – if he wants to be on our list, he can move to California.

You’ll also see a greater number of political fund-raising professionals, vital players in the Capitol’s politics.    

Finally, thanks to everybody who emailed or phoned in tips. We received some 270 suggestions in dozens of emails, letters and phone calls. (My favorite: “I don’t care who you put on, but make sure this bastard doesn’t make it.” Sorry, he made it.)

A drum roll please…  

51. Fredericka McGee
Fredericka McGee is new on the list this year, and we say welcome aboard. As Assembly Speaker John Perez’s top lawyer, McGee is a pivotal player in the Capitol whose role as general counsel touches politics, policy and governance. And as someone who has the speaker’s ear, she carries plenty of authority in the building – a role she’s accustomed to. She also served as general counsel to several of Perez’s predecessors – Karen Bass, Fabian Nunez and Antonio Villaraigosa.

52. Terry Brennand
SEIU is a pervasive force in California politics and the key instrument of SEIU’s political operation is Terry Brennand, who sports the fancy title of Senior Government Relations Manager. Behind the title is a strategist with a keen eye and a sharp elbow, and he carries a clear perception of the enemy. He also knows how to negotiate a deal – a treasured commodity in the Capitol – and he doesn’t shrink from a fight, which is good because SEIU seems to be in a lot of them.

53. Courtni Pugh
Courtni Pugh is the SEIU state council’s political director, a major gig in a state where the powerful union is embroiled in battles, and not always with outsiders. A former L.A. Times newsie once described her as the “sharpest labor strategist I met” during a brief stint covering labor, and others in the Capitol clearly agree. In conversations about the top labor players, her name is always mentioned in the top tier. SEIU is a fundamental Democratic ally, and a key goal of the union is to make sure Jerry Brown doesn’t forget it.

54. Jon Fleischman
Fleischman is a little hard to classify, but he’s a Republican activist, first and foremost. Fleischman’s blog, the Flash Report, is a daily read for many in the Capitol and GOP. It’s partly aggregation, but he also offers a stream of blog posts and hundreds of original opinion columns. He also breaks stories – sometimes big stories, as in the Mike Duvall scandal — and he played a major role in heading off Brown’s June special election on the budget Fleischman has influence within the state party’s officialdom – he’s been south state vice chair for four years – and he is viewed by many in the party as a powerful figure, at least in part because of the Flash Report’s reach.  

55. Rob Lapsley
The California Chamber of Commerce is a major political player in California – no surprise there – and it casts a wide net, not only in contributions to candidates, but in lobbying and in donations to political nonprofits, with the foundation that paid for former Gov. Schwarzenegger’s travel a prime example. But for all its institutional heft, the Chamber is light-footed and deft, and one of the reasons is Rob Lapsley, who ran his own strategy outfit for 20 years and joined the chamber as a vice president in 2007. He’s got an unusual pedigree, including a stint as special assistant to the U.S. Ambassador to Spain and under secretary of state to Bill Jones. He’s also got street smarts – he handled both of Jones’ successful statewide campaigns.

56. Steve Maviglio
Inside or outside of government, Democratic strategist Steve Maviglio always seems to know what’s going on below the surface, whether it’s the latest round of Capitol intrigue or a full-blown, public political battle. He worked for Gray Davis, where he built a following of journalists sniffing stories, and he worked in the Assembly leadership, where he did the same thing. He makes little secret of his spin – in fact, he makes that clear up front – but his facts typically are strong enough to carry the day. Plus, he really likes politics. Cool.

57. Alice Huffman
Alice Huffman is president of the NAACP in California and a shrewd political player – a combination that gives her influence, particularly when it comes to endorsements. Huffman is a familiar figure in California, a hard-ball political player who asks for no quarter, and gives none. She once represented the California Teachers Association, so she knows to move money around for political leverage. She’s also not afraid to buck the party line – which sometimes makes her fellow Democrats nervous.

58. Bev Hansen
In the world of state politics and lobbying, it’s been there, done that for Bev Hansen: She’s a former Assembly member and legislative staffer, and now she’s a partner at Lang, Hansen, O’Malley and Miller, a heavyweight lobbying firm with clients that include health services, bankers, gaming interests, truckers, labor, even the San Diego County Water Authority and AFSCME. Quite a lineup.

59. Robin Johansen
Robin Johansen is a founding partner of Remcho, Johansen and Purcell, known in the Capitol as the “Remcho law firm” after political litigator Joe Remcho, who died eight years ago. The Democratic firm has been involved in most of the major Democratic legal fights during the past three decades, including redistricting, political reform issues and initiatives. The bare-knuckles firm is, effectively, the legal adviser to the California Democratic Party. Johansen is at the center of the action.

60. Dan Walters
The Bee’s Dan Walters has been in or around the Capitol and state political reporting for some 35 years and his current column – he came to the Bee in 1984 from the old Sacramento Union – is a must-read. He sees politics as a blood-sport and he delights in detailing the winners and losers. He’s more right than left, but not nearly to the degree that he was earlier in his career. He often breaks stories – at heart, he’s an old news hound – nd when you ask lobbyists and Capitol staffers who they read first, it’s usually Walters. He seems to be unusually gentle with Jerry Brown, by the way.

61. Mark DiCamillo
Mark DiCamillo is the heart of the Field Poll, which after its founding in 1948 quickly became the state’s premier political pollster. DiCamillo learned his craft from Mervin Field himself, and in the dicey world of gauging public opinion, DiCamillo stands at the top. He has corporate clients as well, but his passion is for political polling. During the heat of a major campaign, the Field Poll provides the reliable data that f
uels debate, assesses the candidates’ chances and analyzes the electorate. “When’s the next Field Poll?” is probably the single-most common refrain from political junkies during a tight race.

62. Mark Baldasare
The “other Mark” in the world of political polling is Mark Baldasare of the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-profit, independent think tank that rivals the Field Poll in its ability to assess the public’s mood.  PPIC polls are reliable and extensive, and they offer a welcome menu of hard data amid the hype and fury of political campaigns. PPIC also has a deep research and academic component that Field lacks, but it is the political surveying that makes PPIC such a standout. And more: PPIC also has a Sacramento operation staffed by Dave Lesher, a fomer L.A. Times and California Journal newsie.  

63. Lisa Gasperoni
The political strategists in the Capitol have intense jobs indeed, and that is especially true in the Senate, where Lisa Gasperoni serves as Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg’s key political adviser. A Senate leader’s first job is to protect the flock, and that’s where Gasperoni comes in. Gasperoni is a go-to person on legislative races, and her job is to protect her majority and come up with a couple more Democrats to reach the magic two-thirds number to pass budgets. On one hand, her task may be a bit easier than the last time around, because big labor money may be more plentiful. On the other, the next election cycle will be in newly drawn districts, which is making everybody a bit nervous.

64. V. John White
When it comes to renewable energy, look no further than V. John White – “V John” to his friends – who as executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies is part lobbyist, part techie, part Energy Commission watchdog, part energy advocate and part entrepreneur. One thing that makes White a standout: He has a thorough knowledge of the impact of energy regulations on business. He’s also not afraid to be quoted on sensitive issues, which has made him a gold mine for energy and business reporters from Sacramento to Washington, D.C.

65. Phil Trounstine/ Jerry Roberts

Calbuzz offers Democrats a worthy alternative to the right-wing punditry that seems to dominate the state’s web-based bloviation, but there’s another big difference: Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine are good reporters with solid chops, political acumen and a well-honed knowledge of the Capitol. Trounstine used to be a Mercury News political editor before he went to the dark side as Gray Davis’ communications director, and Roberts was a ranking editor at the Chronicle, and elsewhere, and he’s an adviser at UC Santa Barbara. Pros.

66. Chuck Bell
If Robin Johnsen is at the core of the Democratic legal machine, then Chuck Bell (with partners Tom Hiltachk and Colleen McAndrews) is at the heart if the GOP’s court strategy. If there’s a legal battle involving Republicans, then Bell is either leading the charge, defending against the enemy or offering sought-after advice to everyone else. Bell has the good lawyer’s knack of explaining even intricate issues with clarity and simplicity, and if you think that’s not a valuable skill, you try it sometime.

67. Steve Merksamer
At the intersection of law and politics, Steve Merksamer is there. Merksamer, the staff chief to fomer Gov. George Deukmejian and an enduring partner in the Nielsen Merksamer law firm, knows the Capitol inside and out. He is courted for his legal savvy as well as his political knowledge — a potent combination, as his blue-chip client list attests. A former top aide to Deukmejian when then latter served as attorney general, Merksamer has been a force in the Capitol for four decades.

68. Peter Douglas
Peter Douglas is the soul of the California Coastal Commission, and he is as significant a player in governance and politics as he is unknown to the general public. But as the Commission’s top staff executive, Douglas exerts a profound influence over the policies of the state’s coastal watchdog. He educates the Commission’s members, shapes and defends decisions and — no small feat — has kept his crucial post for decades in the cut-throat world of state politics. Douglas has spearheaded every major Commission decision and, as one observer — no admirer — put it, “his fingerprints are everywhere.”

69. Bob Balgenorth
Bob Balgenorth’s State Building and Construction Trade Council is a major labor player, with 160 affiliated unions that represent more than 350,000 workers. The blunt-spoken Balgenorth is at or near the center of the Capitol’s interminable labor-vs-management battles, and Democratic political strategists – as well as fellow labor leaders – pay attention to him. His political clout – and the purse strings it entails — is one of the reasons that Jerry Brown is governor.

70. Greg Schmidt
Greg Schmidt is the secretary of the Senate, which means he is the top staff executive in the upper house. That, in turn, means he manages hundreds of Senate employees on one hand and answers directly to the Senate leadership on the other. It’s not an easy balancing act, but Schmidt carries it off, in part because he is fast and detail driven, in part because he knows his house from top to bottom. Schmidt is the staff man who gets things done and runs the house smoothly.

71. Jon Waldie
Schmidt’s counterpart in the Assembly is Jon Waldie and his task is similar: He manages the Assembly staff, enforces the administrative rules and tracks such things as office space, employee benefits and the endless hassles of managing a political environment. But he also has sharp political instincts – a necessity when it comes to heading off embarrassing staff blowouts and making sure that what’s private stays private. Those can include personnel issues, lawsuits, job-related complaints and the like. Waldie’s job – and he’s a master at it – is to keep the ship sailing on course.

72. Kim Belshe
Kim Belshe, the former Health Human Services Secretary under Schwarzenegger, has moved over to the Public Policy Institute of California, an influential role in itself, but she’s also wearing another hat: She’s a member of the newly-created health insurance exchange board, a position that will enable her to have a major voice in the implementation of health care reform in California. She also has some major management chops: In addition to her stint as HHS secretary, she headed the Department of Health Services under Pete Wilson, and was a deputy in his Health and Welfare Agency.

73. Liz Snow

Liz Snow heads the PAC of the California Dental Associaition, where she returned following a stint at the California Building Industry Association. Those roles have put her at the center of many of the most significant policy and political battles in the Capitol. The dentists’ PAC is well-financed and influential, and at the top tier of the long line of political action committees that have an impact on issues. Snow is particularly influential because she has the trust of Republicans, including Assemblymember Bill Emmerson, dentist.

74. Craig Cornett/Chris Woods
Craig Cornett and Chris Woods do much the same thing in different houses, so we put them together. Both are the center of state budget negotiations in the Legislature, both are the top fiscal advisers to their respective leaders and both frequently go to the mat with the governor’s budget writers – and sometimes win. The bottom line: They help shape the fiscal policies of the Legislature’s ruling Democrats, no small feat. And if Democrats ever win two-thirds majorities in the houses, Woods and Cornett will be even more indispensable.

75. Christy Bouma

Christy Bouma, who owns Capitol Conne
ction, is the top lobbyist for the California Professional Firefighters, an aggressive,  well-financed labor group and a top player in Democratic politics. Capitol Connection has done work for others, including the California School Employees Association — a nice fit, since Bouma was a teacher for 11 years. But her principal role is to advocate for CPF, which is more than a full-time job. We’ve always liked CPF – full disclosure: our editor’s daughter works there – because they like fights. Since the Capitol is nothing but fights lately, CPF fits right in. And when it comes to campaigning, CPF steps up. Just ask Jerry Brown.

76. Rusty Areias
Rusty Areias, a former Assembly member and Parks and Rec. director under Gray Davis, is a familiar Capitol figure. He knows the pressure points of power and he is close enough to Brown to have held high-profile fundraisers for the governor at Brown’s old address at 1400 N, where Areias maintains a residence. Insiders say Brown sought Areias’ advice on a number of issues, which gives the former Democratic lawmaker leverage that he didn’t have under Schwarzenegger. Areias’ wife, Julie Sandino, is one of Sacramento’s top fund-raisers, which makes the two a definite power couple.

77. Bob Hertzberg

Bob Hertzberg is one of those hyper-kinetic, Type-A personalities who love politics for its own sake. He’s a former Assembly speaker, an L.A. lawyer and a go-to guy for his ideas on political reform. Amazingly, he was a sort of adviser to former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and he continues to be an insider Democrat with his fingers in lots of pies. He also seems to be traveling constantly, carries three cell phones and is liable to pop up anytime. We ran into him a while back at the Capitol Park Café on 9th, and one time we called him and he was headed to Ireland for an energy plant ceremony. We get tired just writing about “Hugs Hertzberg.”

78. Jason Kinney
Jason Kinney worked in Gray Davis’ communications shop and since then he has become a partner in Bob White’s strategy and consulting group. Kinney moves at the top tier of Democratic politics: He’s a top political adviser to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and he’s close to Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg. Kinney is known best in the Capitol and among reporters for his political connections, but he’s also advised any number of the corporate clients that Bob White’s outfit attracts, including AT&T.  Kinney also knows the relationships between strategists, candidates and clients, and is a walking encyclopedia of what’s going on beyond the public view.

79. David Townsend
David Townsend is a long-time Sacramento political strategist who has handled so many campaigns over the years that it’s hard to keep track. He’s won some – a lot, actually – and he’s lost some, but he’s still there with a top-flight operation that draws major clients, such as Sacramento Mayor Kevin  Johnson, and includes former Sacramento Bee newsie Jeff Raimundo.  Last year, Townsend had a big piece of pro-Proposition 16 campaign, the move by PG&E that would have made it harder for locals to set up their own municipal utility districts. Proposition 16 was a transparent power play by PG&E, which spent an estimated $46 million on it, and it went down in flames, big time. But tomorrow’s another day.

80. Mike Madrid
Mike Madrid knows the Capitol from inside out, knows Republican Party politics (and Democratic politics, too, for that matter) and, most of all, knows the ins and outs of the state’s relationships with local governments. A long-time representative of the League of California Cities, Madrid – he has his own firm now — still advises the League on key issues. He’s part entrepreneur and part political strategist, and he knows a good news story when he sees it.

81. Wendy Warfield
Wendy Warfield heads a fund-raising operation that targets GOP candidates, and when the conversation turns to successful fund-raising, her name always pops up. Her clients include many Republican lawmakers – Diane Harkey, Sharon Runner, Martin Garrick and Mimi Walters – immediately come to mind and she’s got a donor list of 30,000 names. She handles regional fund-raising – she’s got ties to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, and she also targets PACs and lobbyists.

82. Chris McKenzie
There’s always a fight going on involving the cities, and this year the battle was a lulu: Gov. Brown sought to abolish California’s redevelopment agencies, and the howls of protest could be heard from Chula Vista to Alturas. The redevelopment agencies are creatures of the cities, and the cities use redevelopment money for all manner of projects, most of them worthy. A ferocious communications and lobbying campaign stymied Brown and saved the agencies – at least in the first round – and that victory belongs in part to McKenzie. Another top warrior: John Shirey, the top staffer at the California Redevelopment Agency.  

83. Tom Adams
As president of the California League of Conservation Voters, Tom Adams is a key player in environmental politics and not one who is especially well-known to the public. The CLCV is nonpartisan, but the group is aggressive in organizing public opinion behind environmental programs, including walking the streets, ringing doorbells, knocking on doors and talking to the electorate. The CLCV’s environmental scorecard is a significant event for those who follow environmental issues. The group’s board is impressive, too, such as V. John White, Anne Notthoff, Carl Guardino and Steve Blank.

84. Darius Anderson
Darius Anderson seems to reinvent himself year after year. He rose to prominence during former Gov. Gray Davis’ administration, handling fund-raising chores, then expanded his contacts and influence dramatically. When Schwarzenegger came in following the 2003 recall, many in the Capitol figured the days of Anderson’s Platinum Advisors  were numbered. In fact, he has thrived mightily since, and has offices in Sacramento, San Francisco (home office), Orange County and Washington, D.C. His interests now include real estate, trade groups, communications and lobbying, among others.

85. Rick Simpson
The most complex, largest single piece of the state budget involves education. Relatively few people get it and even fewer can explain it clearly to others. But Rick Simpson can, which is why he’s been the go-to education adviser to Assembly speakers for years, including the current speaker, John Perez. His expertise may never be put to a greater test than this yearor Democrats, Simpson’s take on education finance is the last.

86. Amy Brown
She’s under 40, but she’s a player when it comes to retirement in California — both in her work as a governmental advocate for DiMare, Van Vleck & Brown LLC, where she represents the California Retired County Employees Association, and as publisher of the online newsletter The Public Retirement Journal. She also used to work for the League of Cities, and the realignment plan being pushed by another Brown, Jerry, could make that kind of expertise even more valuable. She also has guts — she’s appearing in a performance of “The Vagina Monologues” on Tuesday. (See our Personnel Profile this week.)

87. Donne Brownse
The senior VP of Sacramento Advocates is behind lots of touchy-feely sounding causes: adoption, breast cancer, dispute resolution. Don’t be fooled. She joined the lobbying corps 18 years ago, when there were far fewer women in positions of power in the industry and became the first woman in Sacramento to establish her own major f
irm. Brownsey is known for having a sharp mind for legislative language and a preference for working behind the scenes. And she’s been deep in water issues — a sink-or-swim pool for any lobbyist, to be sure.

88. Philip Anschutz
Just because you’re a billionaire doesn’t get you on Capitol Weekly’s list, but it does help. And ours won’t be the last Top 100 list that Anschutz appears on this year: He’s made a Business Week list of the top 100 Most Influential People in Sports, and he has a spot on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest people alive — though he ranks a mere 124 there. But the reason we like him is this: He’s the owner of L.A. Galaxy professional soccer club and he wants to build a new NFL stadium in downtown L.A. That project means he will be in and out of the clutches of state government, embroiled in political maneuvering and generally be the topic of hundreds of news stories. We wonder how the S.F. Examiner will cover it, since he owns that paper, among others.

89. Patricia Megason
When one thinks of counties’ advocacy, the California State Association of Counties comes to mind. But there’s another group, too: The 38-year-old Regional Council of Rural Counties, hich is involved in some of the hottest issues of the Capitol, including curbing greenhouse gas emissions, land use restrictions, transportation, water rights, growth and the like. The fights are usually uphill, but nobody said it would be easy. And at the center of RCRC is Patricia Megason, the group’s executive vice president, who helps translate the will of RCRC’s governing board into action. And that’s no easy chore.

90. David Kieffer
When you see those hordes of people in purple shirts marching at the Capitol, the guy behind them is SEIU California executive director David Kieffer. His union — which represents 700,000 janitors, healthcare workers and university employees—should be a major player after having helped elect Jerry Brown as governor. Brown has pledged to curb retiree healthcare costs, but Kieffer and his people will be at the table.

91. John and Ken
Nobody knows much about KFI’s John and Ken in the Capitol, but if you’re a Republican in Southern California you know all about these two talk-radio hosts who deliver a brand of ultra-conservatism to avid listeners. John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou put errant lawmakers’ heads on a stick, figuratively, slam spenders at every opportunity and blame the woes of the world on Democrats and anyone to the left of the late Sam Yorty. John and Ken say they are entertainers, not journalists, but whatever they are, they have good ratings. And in radio, that’s the name of the game.

92. Kassy Perry
Kassy Perry’s communications firm – she’s not a lobbyist – specializes in health issues, and her role is likely to expand as some version of health care reform takes root in California. She represents myriad companies and groups such as Aetna U.S. Healthcare, PhRMA, MAXIMUS, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Merck, who are deeply interested in California’s health reform issues. In 2008, in something of a departure for Perry, she was called in to try and salvage the sputtering No on Prop. 8 campaign.

93. Gareth Elliott
After years in the Senate – including eight years as a top aide to former Senate leader Don Perata—Elliott was named legislative affairs secretary to the incoming Brown administration in January. In that role, he’ll be an important player in what bills Brown signs or vetoes. If we ever get past this budget thing and start doing legislation, Elliott will be a major gatekeeper.

94. Ed Roski
Life is a sport for Ed Roski. The billionaire Roski is the driving force behind that other L.A. NFL stadium bid, the City of Industry one, and a bigwig in L.A. sports circles. Roski is huge source of Democratic campaign cash, putting in big for the party, Jerry Brown, and the effort to stop Prop. 23, among causes in the most recent campaign cycle—which saw him dole out $1.2 million. He and Anschutz (see above) are rivals on the stadium issue but among the co-owners of those others Kings, the LA NHL team, showing Roski knows how to compartmentalize – an important trait for any long-term political player.

95. Jeanne Cain
Jeanne Cain is the executive vice president of the California Chamber of Commerce, and we presume that makes her No. 2 behind President Allan Zaremberg. Cain, who has an insurance industry background, is the former chair of the multibillion-dollar State Compensation Insurance Fund. Cain knows money and she knows politics – particularly Republican politics – and she’s been involved in political battles for years as a fighter for corporate interests or against excessive regulation.

96. Richard Mersereau
As the policy guru of the Assembly Republican Caucus, just about everyone we talked to agrees that Mersereau belongs on the 100 List, but just where is a bit harder to define. The Republicans are not irrelevant – despite the Democrats’ fondest hopes – but they are increasingly dominated by the Dems, which means the GOP policy initiatives don’t count for much absent a miracle. But the hard-working Mersereau has been around for years, he knows the Republicans’ policy dreams and he knows how to get the most with what he’s got. He’s also somebody that people on both sides of the aisle trust.

97. Paula Treat
When the world’s “tribal lobbyist” comes up, this is the woman who pops up in many people’s minds. As the longtime lobbyist for the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, Treat is a major player on all things tribes and gaming. As a behind-the-scenes player, she provides a counterweight to the Pechanga’s frenemy gaming tribe, the Morongo Band, and their online poker ambitions.

98. Andrew Acosta/ Roger Salazar
These two are the twin pillars of Acosta/Salazar, a political consulting firm that handles a bit of everything, including legislative races, statewide contests, ballot initiatives, local races – you name it. They have business clients as well, and they have expertise helping them deal with the state’s regulatory machinery.  They’ve done issue campaigns on insurance, the environment, health care, gaming and much more. They’re sort of the Batman and Robin of Sacramento political consulting. So who’s Robin?

99. Dan Morain
Dan Morain, formerly of the L.A. Times and, briefly, of the Consumer Attorneys of California, appears in the opinion pages of the Sacramento Bee, and it’s a great gig. He gets to voice his opinion, he gets to break stories and he gets to do real reporting. That’s what sets his columns apart from most other print pundits: Morain has the reporting chops to bring it all together.  The Capitol reads him and other reporters read him, too.

100. Moira Topp

Moira Topp’s been in the Capitol – in the Horseshoe, in fact, under Schwarzenegger, and on the legislative side, too – and worked for the Chamber as a lobbyist, but she since has gone to the blue-chip lobbying firm, Sloat, Higgins, Jensen and Associates, which Republican-friendly clients. As before, she specializes in transportation and environmental issues, and with everything from high-speed rail to changes in CEQA taking center stage, she’s likely to be busy.

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