ASPA LogoAmerican Society for Public Administration
Southern California Chapter Newsletter

October 2011


Our ASPA chapter has put on some thoughtful and timely events in the last few months, and in this newsletter we are excited to share them with you. We have been sending out invitations to upcoming events including a dinner discussion with two current city managers and upcoming panel discussions. The Upcoming Events column in this newsletter conveniently lists these and other events. Scroll down for photographs and summaries of our annual awards luncheon, a panel on the City of Bell, and another on the public pension crisis. 

We hope to see you at our future panels and discussions, and we look forward to continuing our tradition of engaging our region in the study and practice of public administration well into the future.


Debbie Dillon
ASPA Southern California Chapter President


ASPA Southern California Chapter Awards Luncheon
Mike Davis, Chet Newland, Steven Bradford
Awardees Assemblyman Mike Davis and Chet Newland with Assemblyman Steven Bradford

Over 125 people gathered for the Southern California Chapter of ASPA gathered for the annual awards luncheon to recognize the achievements of the region's foremost public administrators and leaders. The awardees were:


Tom Bradley Equal Opportunity Award: Assemblyman Mike Davis, Vice Chair, Legislative Black Caucus, and longtime leading public servant in the African-American community.


Henry Reining Outstanding Organization Award: Longtime civil rights attorney Connie Rice for The Advancement Project, a racial justice action group founded in 1999

Hertzberg, Rice, Callahan
Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, awardee Connie Rice, and Rich Callahan


Janice Fukai

Assemblyman Steven Bradford 

and Janice Fukai. 

Clarence A. Dykstra Award for Excellence in Government: Attorney Janice Y. Fukai of the Alternate Public Defenders Office, which represents the indigent in criminal cases, having grown in nine years from a small office to 250 employees.


Chapter President Award: Zot Wheels automated bike sharing program at University of California, Irvine.




Harry Scoville Award for Academic Excellence: Richard Callahan, the director of USC's State Capital Leadership Programs in Sacramento since 1998 and awarded Professor of the Year in 2007 and 2010 by the USC Graduate Policy and Administration Community Student Association.


Earl Warren Outstanding Public Service Award: Chet Newland, USC public administration professor since 1966. The initial director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, he served twice as the director of the Federal Executive Institute and is an honorary member of the International City/County Management Association.


Will Baughman Chapter Development Award: Carol Rush, Associate Dean Student Affairs, USC School of Policy, Planning and Development (SPPD) and Regina Nordahl, Associate Dean, USC SPPD. 

Nordahl, Callahan, Rush

Awardees Regina Nordahl, Rich Callahan, and 

Carol Rush at the luncheon. Photos by Mason Fong.


The Keynote speaker for the event was Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, Co-Chair of California Forward, a state and local government reform organization, and Founder of G24 Innovations, a manufacturer of solar cells.

Public Pension Crisis in California - Panel Convenes to Discuss Reforms

Public attention has increasingly focused on mounting public employee retiree costs in California as a significant driver of state and local government expenditures. In the spring, ASPA's Southern California Chapter again partnered with The Bedrossian Center for Governance and the Public Enterprise at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development (SPPD) to host a panel discussion of public administrators and researchers to discuss the reforms proposed to address the pension crisis, including the state's bipartisan Little Hoover Commission's much-debated report. Among the issues the panelists considered:


  • Can California's pension crisis be resolved through asset gains, or are reductions in current or future benefits required? 
  • Should the Legislature authorize the transition to a hybrid pension system with reduced defined benefits and a new 401(k) style system?
  • Should voter approval of pension plan changes be required?
  • Does the pension crisis threaten to fundamentally alter the relationships between government, employees and taxpayers?
  • With defined contributions largely replacing defined benefits in the private sector, how can maintaining defined benefit public pensions be justified in the eyes of the public?
  • What will be the major political and legal obstacles for resolving the crisis?
Public Pension Panel

Public pension crisis panel discussion.


Panelists included Stuart Drown, Executive Director, Little Hoover Commission, Ed Derman, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, CalSTRS, Julie Butcher, Regional Director-Los Angeles/Orange County Cities, Service Employees International Union 721, Bruce Channing, City Manager, City of Laguna Hills & President-Elect of the City Managers Committee, League of California Cities, Juliet Musso, Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Programs in Public Policy and Management, USC School of Policy, Planning and Development. The panel was moderated by Dan Mazmanian, Director, Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise, USC SPPD.


Governance Reforms after the City of Bell Scandal
Event Panel

Chris McKenzie, Hector De La Torre, and Jack Knott. EGPNews. Reprinted with permission. Photo by Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou.


The Southern California Chapter of ASPA partnered with The Bedrossian Center for Governance and the Public Enterprise at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development (SPPD) to host a timely panel last fall on the City of Bell scandal. With standing room only and a cadre of press to cover the panel, the event was a success!


The LA Times reporters who broke the story about the Bell scandal, a USC expert in administrative ethics, the Executive Director of the State League of Cities and a state legislator who introduced reform legislation gathered for a panel discussion focusing on the checks and balances necessary to prevent crises of governance like those seen in Bell. The participants discussed:

  • the roles the press and citizens play in the accountability process and the tools they need to do so effectively; 
  • the responsibilities of public administrators and how they can reclaim the public trust;
  • the definition of meaningful transparency and how it can be achieved;
  • what it takes to translate information into effective public scrutiny, and therefore real accountability.


Participants included Assembly member Hector De La Torre, 50th District (D-South Gate), Chris McKenzie, Executive Director, League of California Cities, Dr. Terry L. Cooper, Professor in Citizenship and Democratic Values, USC SPPD, and, Ruben Vives and Jeff Gottlieb, Staff Writers, Los Angeles Times. The panel was moderated by Jack H. Knott, Dean, USC SPPD.

To read more coverage of the event, click here.



California redevelopment law reform:

Luncheon panel discussion

October 28, 2011


Double Tree a Hilton Hotel

Claremont, CA  


ASPA has partnered with The College of Business and Public Administration at The University of La Verne to host a luncheon panel discussion on California redevelopment law reform.






Raising the Bar: Ethics, Values and Virtues at Work

Professional Development Seminar

November 17th, 2011


The Grand, Long Beach, CA


ASPA and the Federal Executive Board of Greater Los Angeles will be offering this morning seminar describing management at its best.


 If you are interested in attending this event, email




Save the Date!

ASPA Southern California Annual Awards Banquet

June 28, 2012


The California Endowment, Los Angeles, CA




Fiscal challenges at the local level:
Luncheon panel discussion

October 6th, 2011
USC Campus


ASPA partnered with The Haynes Foundation and The Bedrossian Center for Governance and the Public Enterprise at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development to host a luncheon panel discussion examining case studies on how cities and counties are managing their current fiscal challenges. 





Student Professional Dinner

October 10th, 2011
The home of Denise and Bud Ovrom.

ASPA hosted a dinner conversation with two city managers, Jim Starbird with the City of Glendale and Michael Beck with the City of Pasadena. Dinner events are a great way to network and learn in an intimate setting with students and professionals alike.


Quick Links






Attention Scholars and Practitioners:

Would you like to be published in the next ASPA Southern California Chapter Newsletter? We are currently accepting submissions on the topic of innovative solutions to fiscal challenges in public administration. Articles submitted can cover recent events, research findings, or lessons learned from practical experience. One article will be chosen and highlighted in the next newsletter.


Submissions must be 500 words or less and submitted to Shoshana Raskas ( by November 30, 2011.