Wildfire; What Cities Can Do

Climate Resolve held Wildfire; What Cities Can Do on Friday, June 14 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Participants heard from the State of California and local government leaders as well as national and local organizations on local actions that can protect life and property from wildfire.

Presentations

The Science; What We Can Expect by Dr. Neil Berg

How the Woolsey Fire Became Very Personal to One Scientist by Dr. Randy Olson

Fire Particulates on Human Health by Dr. Scott Epstein

The State of Future California Policy on Wildfires by Zanku Armenian

Program

Time

Content

8:30 am

Registration and Breakfast

9:00 am – 9:15am

Welcome
Emcee: Gabriela Teissier – News Anchor, Univision

9:15 am – 9:35 am

Opening Remarks
Welcome Speakers: Sachi Hamai – Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer
Rachel Huguet – International Programs Program Associate, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Robert Miyashiro – International Programs Program Officer, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

9:40 am – 10:05 am

Morning Keynote: The Facts; What Happened in 2017-2018
Speaker: Daryl L. Osby, Fire Chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department

10:20 am – 10:30 am

Morning Keynote: How the Woolsey Fire Became Very Personal to One Scientist
Speaker: Dr. Randy Olson – Lecturer in Biology / Filmmaker / Marine Biologist, USC

10:30 am – 10:40 am

Break

10:40 am – 11:10 am

Morning Keynote: The Science; What We Can Expect
Speaker: Dr. Neil Berg – Associate Director, UCLA Center for Climate Science

11:15 am – 11:45 am

Morning Keynote: Wildfire and Insurance
Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, California Department of Insurance

11:45 am – 12:35 pm

Lunch

12:05 am – 12:25 pm

Lunch Keynote: Fire Particulates on Human Health
Dr. Scott Epstein – Program Supervisor, South Coast Air Quality Management District

12:25 pm – 12:30 pm

Respondent:
Larry Greene – California Air Pollution Control Officers Association

12:35 pm – 1:40 pm

Afternoon Panel: Wildfire Policies – What Are the Gaps and What Are the Remedies?
Panelists: Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks, Lisa Soghor (City of Malibu), Glenn Barley (CalFire),
Michael Gossman (Sonoma County Office of Recovery and Resiliency)
Moderator: Samuel Carter – Resilience Accelerator Director, 100 Resilient Cities

1:45 pm – 3:40 pm

100 Resilient Cities Project Working Session

3:40 pm – 3:50 pm

Break

3:50 pm – 4:55 pm

Afternoon Panel: The State of Future California Policy on Wildfires
Panelists: Alice Reynolds (Office of Governor Gavin Newsom), Jessica Morse (California Natural Resources
Agency), Aaron Pfannenstiel (Atlas Planning Solutions), Chris Thompson (Southern California Edison)
Moderator: Gary Gero – Chief Sustainability Officer, County of Los Angeles

4:55 – 5:00 pm

Thank You + Conclusion of Program

Speakers

Zanku Armenian

Zanku Armenian is Director of Public Affairs for Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities. He manages external outreach and public engagement efforts on major policy issues, working with local and regional governments and community stakeholders throughout SCE’s service territory that includes 200 local cities and counties covering 50,000-square-miles within Central, Coastal and Southern California. He also is a senior member of the company’s emergency preparedness and crisis response teams. He previously served in SCE’s Corporate Communications department.

Glenn Barley

Glenn Barley currently serves as the Unit Chief for the San Bernardino Unit of CAL FIRE serving San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono Counties. He has worked in the San Bernardino Unit and the Southern Region of CAL FIRE serving as a vegetation management planner, Forestry Assistance Specialist, Unit Forester and Region Resource Manager. Glenn also serves in fire operations within CAL FIRE in a variety of roles on incidents across the state. He recently lead the State-Wide Taskforce on Tree Mortality which helped coordinate the state’s response to the unprecedented tree mortality in the Central Sierras. Glenn is a Registered Professional Forester and a graduate of Washington State University.

Dr. Neil Berg

Dr. Neil Berg is an applied climate scientist with the overarching goal of increasing climate resilience and sustainability in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. His recent research and interests focus on changes in the California hydrological cycle — particularly how snowpack, precipitation, and extreme events may change in the future, and the impacts of these changes on the region’s water resources, energy security, and agricultural productivity. This work involves analyzing global climate models and conducting cutting-edge regional climate simulations using supercomputers.

 

Recognizing that we live in integrated physical and social systems, he is passionate about extending the results of regional climate simulations to practitioners, policymakers, and officials to guide decision-making and planning efforts across LA. He believes that the co-development of climate resilience solutions between scientists and stakeholders is necessary for mitigating and adapting to changing environmental conditions.

Samuel Carter

Samuel Carter is Director of the Resilience Accelerator at 100 Resilient Cities. In this role, he is leading a partnership with Columbia University’s Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes to engage faculty and students in 100RC’s work.  He is currently developing the accelerator to spot key moments in a project’s lifecycle where we can convene and connect expertise to create more funding and investment opportunities and produce better resilience outcomes.

 

Sam most recently served as Managing Director leading the Resilience Team at The Rockefeller Foundation.  In that role he led the Foundation’s partnership with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on the National Disaster Resilience Competition, as well as its work in the New York region post Sandy and in the Louisiana state ongoing long term recovery efforts.  He also served as an advisor on the Global Resilience Partnership, a collaboration with DFID and USAID to connect humanitarian response to long term planning to improve the strength of communities and reduce repetitive losses.

 

In 2007, Sam helped to establish the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, where he served as Associate Director.  Prior to working at the IPK, Mr. Carter worked as Program Coordinator for the President’s Office of the Social Science Research Council, where he coordinated the SSRC Katrina Task Force and two books for the Privatization of Risk Series with Columbia University Press.

 

Sam has taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and NYU’s Stern School of Business.  He has served as a Researcher for Vice President Joe Biden and political strategist Robert Shrum. Mr. Carter studied planning and policy at NYU.

Dr. Scott Epstein

Dr. Scott Epstein leads the Air Quality Assessment Group at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Among other tasks, his team issues air quality forecasts and smoke advisories for greater Los Angeles region. Dr. Epstein did his postdoctoral work in atmospheric chemistry at the University of California, Irvine. He holds a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in Chemical Engineering where he studied the formation and fate of atmospheric particulate matter.

Anna Friedman

Anna Friedman has worked at 100 Resilient Cities for almost three years, where she has partnered closely with cities in North America to develop and implement comprehensive Resilience Strategies that help address their core challenges. Before joining 100 Resilient Cities, Anna worked for several years in New York City government, helping to develop and implement innovative economic development and education policies at the NYC Economic Development Corporation and NYC Department of Education. Anna began her career in NYC government as a New York City Urban Fellow. Anna graduated from Harvard College with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Studies. She also holds a Master in Public Affairs degree, with a Certificate in Urban Policy, from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs.

Gary Gero

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Gary Gero to be the County’s first Chief Sustainability Officer in November 2016.  Gary previously served as the President of the Climate Action Reserve, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles and operating across North America.  Gary’s career includes many years in local government including having served as the Assistant General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Department.  He also worked for several years at the LADWP where he oversaw energy efficiency, renewable energy, and distributed generation programs. Gary earned his Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a pair of undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.

Michael Gossman

Michael Gossman has held various roles and positions over his 19 year career in county government. He is currently a Deputy County Administrator and Director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency; prior to that, he was the Chief Financial Officer for the Sonoma County Water Agency.

 

Mr. Gossman received Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Master of Business Administration degrees from Sonoma State University. He is also an instructor for the Government Finance Officers Association and sits on the Board of Directors for the Sonoma County employee’s pension system.

Larry Greene

Larry served for 22 years as Executive Director for two California Air Districts, Sacramento and Yolo-Solano. During this time he was elected to positions as president for the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association and the National Association of Clean Air Agencies. He also served the nation as a military officer in the US Army from 1972 to 1995. He was on the initial leadership group that founded ARCCA and the Capitol Region Climate Readiness Collaborative.

Sachi Hamai

Sachi A. Hamai is the Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles County. She is responsible for managing the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of the nation’s largest municipal government, including the oversight of Los Angeles County’s $32.5 billion budget. Her commitment to strong fiscal management has led to the County achieving its strongest long-term credit ratings in more than a decade.

 

As CEO, Sachi also leads L.A. County’s workforce of more than 112,000 in developing, implementing and advancing the Board of Supervisors’ key priorities. These include the unprecedented response to the region’s homeless crisis, streamlining access to health services, justice reform, child protection, immigrant rights protection and environmental innovation and oversight.

 

A champion of transformative change within local government, Sachi has successfully challenged L.A. County’s workforce to break down barriers, collaborate and innovate across a broad range of society’s most challenging issues.  Sachi is also committed to helping L.A. County’s next generation. In 2017, she co-founded WomenLeadLAC to network up-and-coming women in management with L.A. County’s top executives.

In 2019, Sachi was named one of L.A.’s Top 500 most influential leaders for the fourth consecutive year by the Los Angeles Business Journal. Most recently, Innovate@UCLA  announced Sachi as their unanimous choice to receive their 2019 Public Sector Executive Leadership Award. Sachi is also the 2018 winner of the Clarence A. Dykstra Award for Excellence in Government. Her honors also include the Asian American Architects and Engineers Association’s 2017 Asian American Leadership Award, and honors from the Asian American Employee Association and the Indian American Professional Association.

She serves on the board of United Way of Greater Los Angeles and is a member of the U.S.-Japan Council.

 

Sachi is also a passionate marathon and long-distance runner who has participated nationally and internationally in nearly 40 races in the past five years. She achieved her personal best time in the 2015 Tokyo Marathon.

Rachel Huguet

Rachel Huguet is a Program Associate at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation where she supports two international grant portfolios: Disaster Risk and Recovery and Avoidable Blindness. To this end, she conducts research and analysis associated with their strategy development, as well as stakeholder coordination, project management, and communications to ensure high quality implementation of the programs.

 

Prior to joining the Hilton Foundation, Huguet worked on water, sanitation, and hygiene at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She has also spent time as a consultant for the National Park Service, a Social Innovation Associate at Mercy Corps, and a Rural Community Development Volunteer for Peace Corps, Costa Rica. Huguet holds a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from George Washington University.

Robert Miyashiro

Robert Miyashiro manages the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s international grantmaking in the areas of Avoidable Blindness and Disaster Relief and Recovery. He previously served as Program Associate for the Foundation’s Safe Water strategic initiative. Prior to joining the Foundation, Miyashiro worked for The Carter Center in South Sudan, serving as Regional Coordinator in the Guinea Worm Eradication Programme. Previously, he held positions in the California Department of Public Health, the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters, and at several community-based public health organizations. His chief volunteer engagements include the Peace Corps, serving as a health extension volunteer in Madagascar, and the American Red Cross, where he functioned in various leadership positions in Youth Services, Disaster Services, and Health and Safety Services at three chapters within California. The foci of his current and previous extracurricular activities include: local community development, community resilience-building, political mobilization, public health promotion, and youth leadership development. Miyashiro holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of California, Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Jessica Morse

Jessica Morse is the Deputy Secretary for Forest Resources Management at the California Natural Resources Agency. In her role, she is working to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration and emergency fuel breaks throughout California.

 

Prior to joining the Newsom administration, Jessica spent nearly ten years in National Security working for the Defense Department, State Department and the US Agency for International Development. Her assignments included a year and a half in Baghdad, Iraq, as well as India, Myanmar, and US Pacific Command in Hawaii.

 

Throughout her career she designed and executed innovative strategies across agencies and governments, including a strategy using renewable energy technology transfer as a catalyst for improving US defense engagement with India.


Jessica is a 5th generation Northern Californian. She and her family still own their original homestead forestland near Tahoe. Her Sierra roots translated into a deep love of the outdoors. Jessica can be found backpacking, skiing and fishing throughout the Sierra. She even hiked 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.

 

Ms. Morse holds a Masters of Public Affairs from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from Principia College.

 

In 2018, Morse ran for Congress against Tom McClintock in California’s 4th Congressional District.

Dr. Randy Olson

Randy Olson is a scientist-turned-filmmaker who left a tenured professorship of marine biology (PhD Harvard University) to attend USC Cinema School, then work in and around Hollywood for 25 years.  He wrote and directed the documentary feature film, “Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus,” which premiered at Tribeca and aired on Showtime. He has published four books on the communication of science starting with his identification of the problems in, “Don’t Be Such A Scientist: Talking Substance in an Age of Style” (Island Press, 2nd edition, 2018) then followed by his recommended solutions in, “Houston, We Have A Narrative:  Why Science Needs Story” (University of Chicago Press, 2015). The latter book outlined his Story Circles Narrative Training program that has now involved over 1,000 scientists from government agencies (including the National Park Service, NIH, USDA, USGS, USFWS) and numerous universities as it continues to grow. His newest book (2019) is, “Narrative Is Everything: The ABT Framework and Narrative Evolution.”

Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby serves as the ninth Fire Chief of the Los Angeles
County Fire Department. With an education in business and executive management and a
progressive outlook towards the future, Fire Chief Daryl Osby strives to ensure the Department
maintains its acclaimed reputation through continual sharing of best practices with fellow fire
agencies as well as creating an inclusive work environment representative of the communities it
serves. As head of one of the largest emergency service agencies in the world, Los Angeles
County Fire Chief Daryl Osby oversees the delivery of fire suppression and life safety services
to more than 4.1 million residents and commercial businesses in 59 cities, along 72 miles of
coastline, and all unincorporated areas within the County’s 2,300-square-miles. In addition, the
Department provides health hazardous materials and forestry services throughout the County.

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara

Ricardo Lara is California’s 8th Insurance Commissioner since voters created the elected position and leader of the state’s largest consumer protection agency. He is one of California’s most effective environmental champions, passing laws that promote innovation and investment in clean air, embrace equity, protect our waters, repair the damage of oil drilling, and keep California at the forefront of confronting global climate change. Commissioner Lara received the 2017 U.N. Climate and Clean Air Award with California Governor Jerry Brown for his groundbreaking work to create California’s short-lived climate pollutant strategy. He served as a legislative member of the California Air Resources Board and was part of the legislative delegation at the U.N. COP21 Paris (2015) and COP23 Bonn (2017) Climate Conferences.

Supervisor Linda Parks

Supervisor Parks is a past Mayor and Planning Commissioner for the City of Thousand Oaks. She has helped preserve thousands of acres of open space for parks and created laws that protect farmland. She is also a strong advocate for people with mental illness and recently started a non-profit native plant nursery that provides horticultural therapy and employment for people with mental illness. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from the University of Washington and sits on the Executive Committees of the Clean Power Alliance, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Southern California Association of Governments, and chairs the Ventura County Regional Energy Alliance. Supervisor Parks is honored to be the recipient of the 2019 Justice for Victims Award from the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office and the National 2019 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official from the Small Business Administration.

Aaron Pfannenstiel

Aaron Pfannenstiel is an urban planner and geologist with Atlas Planning Solutions, a consulting firm focused on increasing resiliency at the local, state, and federal levels of government.  As a principal of the firm, Aaron focuses on integration of resilience into communities, through hazard mitigation planning, climate adaptation, and comprehensive planning. Mr. Pfannenstiel has prepared local and multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plans, emergency operations plans, climate adaptation plans, general plans, and safety elements for communities throughout California. In addition to his professional work, Mr. Pfannenstiel has volunteered with numerous planning and hazards focused non-profit organizations (American Planning Association, California Planning Foundation, Care for Nepal) and trained hundreds of students, planners, and other professionals in these topics over the past decade.

Alice Reynolds

Alice Reynolds is the Senior Advisor to the Governor for Energy. Reynolds previously served as Senior Advisor for Climate, the Environment and Energy in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. from 2017 to January 2019. She was the Deputy Secretary for Law Enforcement and Counsel at the California Environmental Protection Agency from 2011 to 2017. Prior to joining CalEPA, she served as a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General from 2002 to 2011. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law.

Lisa Soghor

Lisa Soghor has 25 years of experience in public service. She has served as the City of Malibu’s Assistant City Manager for the past three years. Prior to that, Lisa served as the Deputy Executive Officer and Chief of Developed Resources for the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. A Los Angeles native, Lisa holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Princeton University and a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gabriela Teissier

Gabriela Teissier serves as host of Univision Los Angeles’ morning show A Primera Hora (At First Hour) that airs Monday through Friday, 5a.m. to 7a.m. Univision Los Angeles’s KMEX-TV is the nation’s No.1 Spanish-language station.

 

She is a six-time Emmy awardee and received “Best News Anchor” recognition by the prestigious LA Press Club, as well as the Distinguished Journalist Award by the Society of Professional Journalists.

 

Gabriela Teissier was recognized with the Othli Award, the highest honor that the Mexican Government gives outside Mexico’s territory to individuals who have aided, empowered or positively affected the lives of Mexican nationals in other countries.

 

She has interviewed important personalities including President Barack Obama, the President and Nobel laureate Shimon Peres, President of Mexico Vicente Fox, Steve Forbes, journalist and former first lady of California Maria Shriver, just to name a few.

 

Teissier was honored her with the Excellence in Broadcast Journalism Impact Award by the National Hispanic Media Coalition and has been recognized numerous times by the California Senate, the County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles for her contributions to the betterment of the community and people she serves.

 

She is passionate about environmental, social and education topics. For three years in a row now, Teissier earned the prestigious LA Press Club award for best environmental reports across all platforms. Her work around this topic has been recognized by important non-profit organizations like Heal the Bay.

 

Teissier has served on the board of the American Heart Association as well as the board of directors of Act-Today, a not for profit organization that provides therapy and services for families with people with Autism.

 

Born and raised in Mexico City, Gabriela grew up speaking Spanish, German and English, becoming fully trilingual before she moved to the United States. She lives in California with her two sons and her husband.

In partnership with:
County of Los Angeles, 100 Resilient Cities, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Climate Resolve, Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability, Local Government Commission, Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power

For more information, please contact:
Kristina von Hoffmann
kvonhoffmann@climateresolve.org
213-634-3790 x108

Climate Resolve