Visiting Professor of Public Policy, 1988 Democratic nominee for president and three-term governor of Massachusetts Michael Dukakis traveled around Massachusetts in a 1949 Hudson in support of the North-South Rail Link, the Boston Globe reported. Dukakis said he hopes the journey will a send a message to lawmakers that the North-South Rail Link will alleviate traffic and improve the lives of those who use public transit. The project would build a tunnel between two stations to let trains travel through Boston. “We’ve got to get the folks in the State House to start getting serious about this,” Dukakis said, “and connecting these two stations is absolutely critical.” He is set to meet with legislative leadership to discuss the rail link and transportation in general. Dukakis also advocates a “first-class statewide regional rail system.” He emphasized, “These projects have got to start moving quickly and aggressively.”
From left, winners of local elections in the 2018 midterms are Regina Wallace-Jones MPP '99, Nelson Esparza MPP '15, and Jacque Casillas MPP '14.
By Stan Paul and Zoe Day
The November 2018 midterm elections provided an opportunity for several alumni to follow previous officeholders from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and put their educational experience and training to the test in local California races, with three Master of Public Policy graduates winning election battles.
Nelson Esparza MPP ’15, an economics instructor at Fresno City College, won a grass-roots bid for Fresno’s city council. His latest win follows a successful campaign in 2016 for a spot on the Fresno County Board of Education in which he unseated a longtime incumbent.
“I attribute my success to the variety of different variables, but my experience at the Luskin School was just invaluable,” said Esparza, who will serve out his school board term until he takes the oath of office for his new role in January. “It wasn’t just the nitty-gritty of the public policy that we got into in the classroom. It was the leadership aspects that I was able to engage in with my peers inside and outside of the classroom and through the different supplemental programs that Luskin offered.”
Esparza said he is excited about the opportunity to impact public policy in Fresno. He cited independent study with Luskin Public Policy Professor Mark A. Peterson and “instrumental” advice from Michael Dukakis, visiting professor of public policy and the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, as elements contributing to his win.
“And now we have a majority Democrat city council and a majority Latino city council, which is a lot more reflective of what our city looks like,” said Esparza, who has already started assembling his team and policy agenda. “We’re doing the best we possibly can to minimize the learning curve.”
Regina Wallace-Jones MPP ’99 was victorious in her run in East Palo Alto’s city council race.
“I cannot wait to get started with the policymaking. That’s where I am most enthusiastic,” said the chief of staff and head of product operations at eBay. She has also held posts at Yahoo and Facebook.
Wallace-Jones, who focused on technology policy as a student at Luskin, also said that classes such as Dukakis’ course were particularly “useful in sizing up the political opportunity.”
She is the founding board president of StreetCode Academy, a patron of Black Girls Code, a board member for Women Who Code and a partner of the Lean In Foundation.
Jacque Casillas MPP ’14, a nonprofit manager and healthcare advocate with Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, also won a city council seat in her hometown of Corona.
“I feel like the hard work paid off. We knocked on 10,000 doors in our election and … we fundraised like crazy,” said Casillas, noting that a majority of contributions came from individual donors.
“It’s OK to be outspent but don’t be outworked. You’ve got to be able to do the work,” Casillas said. Early in her campaign, she posted a small number of signs compared to her competition. “Everyone thought it was all over, but, you know, yard signs don’t vote, people vote,” said Casillas, whose goal was to knock on every door twice.
“My Luskin family were among the first folks to donate to my campaign; they were the folks that I called that I didn’t have to explain why the heck I thought this was important or what the heck I thought I was doing,” said Casillas. She noted the generosity and time of local and some out-of-state Luskin alumni — “cohorts past and present”— who phone-banked for her remotely. “It’s Luskin, you know, it’s our network.”
Talking about her first run for office, “Luskin also showed me the value of really diving in to difficult policy questions, and that’s how I really outperformed the competitors,” Casillas said. “My candidate peers had a lot of platitudes to share about decisions that were being made. But during candidate forums, I had more substance and could provide a more thorough perspective on things.”
She also benefited from “the tools of the trade” like cost-benefit analysis and being able to speak in policy terms. “I acquired those skills at Luskin,” she said.
For Casillas, who previously served as a field deputy director for a congressional campaign, serving at the local level is important.
“That’s where decisions are made that impact your everyday life. I’m more of a practitioner. I wanted to make decisions, impact change and see it within five years in my community. That’s why I went back to school and got a master’s in public policy,” she said.
Like her colleagues were for her, Casillas said, “I’m always there for Luskin.”
Peterson, who also holds UCLA appointments in political science and law, congratulated the efforts of former policy students. “There are many valuable ways to be effective change agents, our coin of the realm,” he said. “Few, however, are as potent as becoming one of the actual decision-makers chosen by the voters.”
Two other MPP graduates who threw their hats in the ring this election season garnered second-place finishes in their respective races.
Shana Alex Charles MPP ’01, a professor in Cal State Fullerton’s Department of Public Health, ran for her local school board in Fullerton. Her research focuses on equal access to affordable healthcare in California, health insurance for low-income children and public health policies. At Luskin, she was a teaching assistant for Dukakis.
Mark Anthony Paredes MPP ’02 ran for a seat on Garden Grove’s city council. He is a teacher, health care advocate and former planning commissioner. He also serves as an associate board member for the Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove.
About these candidates and others before them, Peterson said, “It takes guts, confidence, energy, optimism, hard work, a measure of luck and a thick skin, but there is no better way to become infused in one’s community and, if granted victory, to apply directly the MPP ethos and skills to improve policymaking.”
He continued, “Hats off to our dedicated MPP graduates who took the plunge in the past, in 2018, and who will in the future!”
By Les Dunseith
Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, is the 2017 recipient of the Distinguished Educator Award — the highest honor bestowed by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP).
The award is conferred every two years to honor significant contributions to the field of planning, and it recognizes scholarly contributions, teaching excellence, public service, and contributions that have made a significant difference to planning scholarship, education, and practice. Shoup is the second current member of the UCLA Urban Planning faculty to win this award; Professor Emeritus Martin Wachs won in 2006 when he was at UC Berkeley. Two other UCLA faculty members also won the award: John Friedmann in 1987, and Harvey Perloff, the inaugural recipient in 1983.
Perloff and Shoup are two of only three people who have won both the ACSP’s Distinguished Educator Award, which is given to academics, and the American Planning Association’s National Excellence Award for a Planning Pioneer, which is given to planners who have made important innovations in planning practice. This unusual combination of both awards highlights UCLA’s commitment to both academic excellence and practical relevance in urban planning.
Shoup said the latest award is particularly gratifying because it’s for education. “Universities reward you mainly for research and publication. It’s why we say, ‘Publish or perish.’ And I think most academics believe their lasting contribution will be their research,” he said. “But I think that our most important contribution is through teaching. If we have any influence — if there is going to be anything to remember after we are gone — I think it will be through the successful careers of our students who will be changing the world for the better.”
Professor Vinit Mukhija, the current chair of Urban Planning, remembers coming to UCLA as a job candidate when Shoup was department chair. Shoup’s manner then became a model for Mukhija to follow years later. “Donald was one of the first people I met on campus. His philosophy is to help people feel comfortable so they can share and present their best ideas. He takes that philosophy into the classroom, where he likes to engage students in a deliberative, non-confrontational manner as they discuss ideas that challenge accepted policy practices.”
During his tenure of more than 40 years at UCLA, Shoup has built an impressive record of accomplishment and scholarship, producing insightful research that has been truly influential on public policy. According to Urban Planning Professor Brian Taylor, Shoup is an “internationally recognized authority on parking policies and their effect on urban development and transportation. Though largely overlooked by academics for years, parking policies significantly influence land use development and travel behavior in U.S. metropolitan areas and in rapidly developing urban areas across the globe.”
“The High Cost of Free Parking,” Shoup’s widely acclaimed book (originally published in 2005, and revised and reprinted in 2011), was based on decades of research on parking policies. It also was based on years of listening.
“When I was younger, I focused much more on analysis and publication. As I began to see how policies got adopted, I became much more oriented toward the concerns of public officials,” Shoup said of how his approach has evolved over the years. “I have always tried to engage with practicing planners and city officials who will have to implement anything that I recommend — to hear their objections and concerns.”
The Distinguished Educator Award is selected from candidates nominated by faculty at ACSP member schools, which consist of universities with departments and programs offering planning degrees or programs that offer degrees affiliated with planning. Most are in the United States, but some member schools are located internationally.
“The conventional wisdom on good parking policy across the world is now defined by Donald’s research. Our students are fortunate to have been involved in the development of these ideas from the start.” — Professor Vinit Mukhija, chair of Urban Planning
The nomination letter included testimonials about Shoup from renowned scholars at UCLA and other universities:
- “… in recent years he has become one of the most widely cited urban planning scholars in the world. … [Shoup] is literally the world’s leading expert in the subject matter on which he specializes while admirably fulfilling all of the other responsibilities of a senior faculty member.” (Martin Wachs, UCLA and UC Berkeley)
- “Don is probably the most creative, original planning scholar who has been at work during the past several decades, and this is certainly so within the field of transportation.” (Alan Altshuler, Harvard University)
- “What impresses me most … is his willingness to take his ideas and writings and be fully engaged in public debate and action over them. It is not an exaggeration to say that he has been one of the most powerful forces in the nation for bringing sanity and good sense to our work with urban communities.” (Michael Dukakis, UCLA, former Massachusetts Governor and Democratic Presidential nominee)
- “Over the years I watched him create literally many generations of students who went on to implement his ideas in cities throughout the U.S. and world. It would be difficult indeed to find another scholar who has had as much impact on the practice of urban planning.” (Genevieve Giuliano, University of Southern California)
Shoup’s most important scholarly contribution has been his research related to how parking policies affect land use and urban travel.
Said Taylor, “Through more than three dozen publications on the role of parking in cities, Professor Shoup has almost single-handedly convinced a previously skeptical audience of planners and elected officials about the critical importance of parking policy to urban planning, transforming planning practice to a degree unmatched by any of his contemporaries in the planning academy.”
“The conventional wisdom on good parking policy across the world is now defined by Donald’s research,” Mukhija said. “Our students are fortunate to have been involved in the development of these ideas from the start.”
Shoup said that his research approach tends toward finding solutions to practical problems. “My focus is to look at areas where the prices that people pay are substantially below the cost of what they consume. Traffic congestion is a good example. Drivers in peak hour traffic pay far less than the cost they impose on other drivers and in the process they aggravate traffic congestion.”
His forte — parking policy — is another example. “The price that drivers pay for parking is usually far below the cost of providing it,” Shoup said. “Drivers park free at the end of 99 percent of all automobile trips in the United States. But all this free parking costs a lot of money.”
As his research progressed, he was struck by the lack of equity in parking. People who are too poor to own a car, or who prefer not to own one, receive no benefit.
“If you ride the bus or ride a bike or walk to work, you get nothing. But if you drive to work, you get to park free in a very expensive parking place. It leads to overuse of automobiles, creating air pollution and traffic congestion.”
When cities charge fair market prices for on-street parking and spend the meter revenue to finance added public services, they can improve the lives of everyone. Shoup’s work has inspired cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pasadena, Austin, Houston, Seattle, and many others to change their approach to parking.
Shoup has four degrees in electrical engineering and economics from Yale University. At UCLA he has served as chair of Urban Planning and as director of the Institute of Transportation Studies. And he practices what he preaches — walking or biking to campus every day, even after his “retirement” in 2015.
This dedication comes in part from his perception that he has been fortunate to have worked in Los Angeles, a city where his ideas about land use, traffic, and parking are particularly important and where civic leaders — some of whom count themselves among his legion of followers, known as Shoupistas — have been willing to listen to his advice.
Great city. Great university. Great professor. It all adds up to a career filled with great accomplishments.
Michael Dukakis, center, gestures during the annual luncheon at UCLA Luskin marking the end of his winter quarter teaching assignment at the school. Joining Dukakis was Meyer Luskin, left, and Dukakis's wife, Kitty. Photo by Les Dunseith
By Zev Hurwitz
As the presidency of Donald Trump enters its third month, former Massachusetts governor and Democratic candidate for president Michael Dukakis says he’s seen this before.
At an annual luncheon held in his honor, Dukakis shared his thoughts on the current state of American politics at a roundtable discussion with Luskin faculty and staff.
Dukakis began his discussion of the Trump Administration by drawing a parallel between Trump and Edward J. King, Dukakis’s challenger in the 1978 gubernatorial primary in Massachusetts.
“This guy came out of nowhere, using the same kind of approach and appeal that Trump has,” Dukakis said. “Fortunately, we do have a political system that tends to respond over time very wisely.”
Dukakis teaches courses each winter quarter at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs — a post he’s kept for 21 years. This year, he taught a graduate level course on Institutional Leadership and Public Management.
Public Policy Department Chair Mark A. Peterson introduced Dukakis at the farewell luncheon on March 16, 2017, noting that this year’s installment of the luncheon had an added element of a full roundtable discussion.
“We always have our regular conversation where Mike offers various insight. This time I gave him homework,” said Peterson, who asked Dukakis to frame his conversation around the initial impact on American politics of the Trump administration.
“At this moment in time in the United States, we’re experiencing an unusual model of executive governance and legislative leadership,” Peterson said. “I wanted to ask Mike, who has experienced a lot in that kind of role, to give us kind of a master class.”
Dukakis discussed his take on a variety of policy issues the Trump administration will likely tackle, and expressed his concern over the president’s ability to handle foreign policy issues.
“If he can tell me what we’re doing in Syria, let me know,” he said. “It seems like a mindless running around — where are we going?”
Dukakis, a Democrat, also shared his thoughts regarding the state of the Democratic Party, which controls neither the presidency nor Congress.
“My party’s got to start getting its act together,” he said, noting that he had faith in newly elected Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. “I think he [Perez] clearly understands that we’ve got to get off this red-blue narrative … this has got to be a 50-state push.”
When asked about his thoughts on President Trump’s ability to govern, given the current structure and membership of the White House staff, Dukakis referred to a quote from longtime friend Gordon Chase, former administrator of New York City’s Health Services Administration.
“He used to say ‘There are three important things in leadership for the public sector: people, people and people,’” Dukakis said. “So much of this has to do with quality and caliber and political skill of the folks you surround yourself with. This guy has got a bunch of characters who are clearly at each other’s throats for reasons I don’t quite understand.”
Among the most concerning for Dukakis is the president’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, whose rhetoric on immigration comes off as hypocritical, Dukakis said.
“If any ethnic group in this country ought to understand what it’s like to be a reviled immigrant community, it’d be the Irish, because they were,” he said, pointing out Bannon’s Irish heritage. “Working class anti-Catholics won every office in Massachusetts in the 1850s in the Know-Nothing party. Sound familiar?”
Dukakis went on to note that the “competent” parts of the administration were coming from the “more conventional” politicos and Washington insiders on the president’s team, including military leadership.
Five alumni join Kitty and Michael Dukakis before a panel discussion at UCLA Luskin. Shown from left are Paul Weinberg, Molly Rysman, the Dukakises, Daniel Rodman, Nahatahna Cabanes and Everado Alvizo. Photo by Yasaman Boromand
By Zev Hurwitz
With second-year Luskin students searching for career opportunities and first-year students looking to lock in summer placements, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs presented an alumni panel to give timely advice about what types of jobs might be out there in the public service sector.
At an evening panel discussion hosted by Luskin School Career Services on March 9, 2017, alumni of all three UCLA Luskin master’s programs spoke about working professionally with local governments and how their degrees opened those careers as possibilities.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, who has taught as a visiting professor at the Luskin School each winter for more than 20 years, spoke about the opportunities for Luskin students to engage in public service, and he challenged the audience — mostly current Luskin students — to make strides in addressing the world’s issues.
“Five-sixths of the world today is conflict-free,“ Dukakis said. “The challenge now is how do we get the remaining one-sixth to join the other five-sixths? I just hope that, in addition to everything else you’re doing, you’ll be working hard for that kind of future.”
Five UCLA Luskin alumni spoke on the panel, which was moderated by Emily C. Williams MPP ’98, a member of Luskin’s first-ever graduating Master of Public Policy class. Williams noted that the panel’s academic diversity demonstrated the value in having cross-educational opportunities for current students, and she encouraged the audience to enroll in courses in other disciplines.
“It’s really nice that we have this great array of talent from all three departments in the school,” Williams said. “What was nice, for those of us who took classes outside our department, is that we really got to know some of the people outside of our programs, which lends itself to great working relationships.”
Paul Weinberg MPP ’98 is now emergency services administrator in the Office of Emergency Management for the City of Santa Monica. Weinberg spoke about how his schooling — Dukakis’ course in particular — gave him important insight into professionalism.
“Always return your phone calls — I cannot tell you how important that is,” Weinberg said. “You’ve got to find a way to acknowledge people reaching out to you,” attributing that advice to Dukakis. “Also, never say or write anything you don’t want to see on the cover of the L.A. Times. If you think about that now, that is more important than ever because [if] you put something out there in social media, it’s everywhere.”
Nahatahna Cabanes MSW ’13 is director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program at L.A. Works. As a former Bohnett Fellow, Cabanes had the opportunity to work in the administration of former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa while a student at Luskin. She said her current job is different from her role in the mayor’s office, but both jobs speak to her interests.
“It’s because I’m a little bit bipolar in term of my interests that I still have the compassion that drove me to social work, but at the same time, I’m a community organizer at heart and I love the world of politics,” Cabanes said. “I sort of balance between the macro and the micro.”
Molly Rysman MA UP ’05 is now the housing and homelessness deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. Rysman discussed her experience bringing a priority issue to the mainstream of local politics.
“When I joined [Rysman’s] office, I worked really hard during her campaign to educate both her and her challenger that homelessness was an important issue — because back then you had to actually tell elected officials to care about homelessness,” she said. “Now I get to work on an issue that’s top of the agenda.”
Also serving on the panel were Daniel Rodman MURP ’14, now transportation manager in Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, and Everado Alvizo MSW ’08, a former Bohnett Fellow who now works as a project coordinator and registered associate clinical social worker for Special Service for Groups.
VC Powe, director of career services and leadership development at Luskin, said that giving opportunities for current students to engage with alumni is critical in providing a realistic idea of what life after UCLA will be like.
“When we have representatives from an organization talk about their work, they’re going to give you all of the formal, appropriate ‘yes-you-need-to-know’ detailed background about the organization,” Powe said. “When you’re talking to an alum, they’re also going to give you the inside story and they’re going to be honest. The alum knows what the students have learned here, so they can tell them how to tailor their experience to the jobs they’re seeking. I think that’s a very important difference.”
A Conversation with Michael Dukakis Michael Dukakis discussing this year's election, polarization and what he tells his students
By Roberto Gudino
Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic nominee for president and visiting professor of public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, weighs in on this year’s race, on the apparent polarization of the country, and offers advice to students interested in politics and public service. Watch this video to see if Gov. Dukakis offers any predictions on the Republican and Democratic nominees.
Michael Stanley Dukakis was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on November 3, 1933. His parents, Panos and Euterpe (Boukis) Dukakis both emigrated from Greece to the mill cities of Lowell and Haverhill, Massachusetts before marrying and settling down in the town of Brookline, just outside Boston. Dukakis graduated from Brookline High School (1951), Swarthmore College (1955), and Harvard Law School (1960). He served for two years in the United States Army, sixteen months of which he spent with the support group to the United Nations delegation to the Military Armistice Commission in Munsan, Korea.
Dukakis began his political career as an elected Town Meeting Member in the town of Brookline. He was elected chairman of his town’s Democratic organization in 1960 and won a seat in the Massachusetts Legislature in 1962. He served four terms as a legislator, winning reelection by an increasing margin each time he ran. In 1970 he was the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s nominee for Lieutenant Governor and the running mate of Boston mayor Kevin White in the year’s gubernatorial race which they lost to Republicans Frank Sargent and Donald Dwight.
Dukakis won his party’s nomination for Governor in 1974 and beat Sargent decisively in November of that year. He inherited a record deficit and record high unemployment and is generally credited with digging Massachusetts out of one of its worst financial and economic crises in history. But the effort took its toll, and Dukakis was defeated in the Democratic primary in 1978 by Edward King. Dukakis came back to defeat King in 1982 and was reelected to an unprecedented third, four-year term in 1986 by one of the largest margins in history. In 1986, his colleagues in the National Governors’ Association voted him the most effective governor in the nation.
Dukakis won the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States in 1988 but was defeated by George Bush. Soon thereafter, he announced that he would not be a candidate for reelection as governor. After leaving office in January 1991, Dukakis and his wife, Kitty, spent three months at the University of Hawaii where Dukakis was a visiting professor in the Department of Political Science and the School of Public Health. While at the University of Hawaii, he taught courses in political leadership and health policy and led a series of public forums on the reform of the nation’s health care system. There has been increasing public interest in Hawaii’s first-in-the-nation universal health insurance system and the lessons that can be learned from it as the nation debates the future of health care in America.
Since June 1991, Dukakis has been a Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University and visiting professor at the School of Public Affairs at UCLA. His research has focused on national health care policy reform and the lessons that national policy makers can learn from state reform efforts. He and the late former U.S. Senator Paul Simon authored the book titled “How to Get Into Politics – and Why,” which is designed to encourage young people to think seriously about politics and public service as a career.
Dukakis was nominated by President Clinton for a five-year term as a member of the new Board of Directors of Amtrak, The National Railroad Passenger Corporation on May 21, 1998 and served as Vice-Chairman on the Amtrak Board.
Mike and Kitty Dukakis have three children: John, Andrea and Kara, and are the proud grandparents of Alexandra Jane Dukakis, Harry Nicholas Hereford, Josephine Katharine Hereford, Olivia Dukakis Onek, Peter Antonio Dukakis, Nora Dukakis Onek, and Sofia Elena Dukakis.
By Alejandra Velarde-Reyes
UCLA Luskin Student Writer
Though Michael Dukakis, the popular three-term Massachusetts governor and 1988 Democratic presidential hopeful, has had a multitude of experiences and stories he could tell, he takes pride in sharing the success stories of former students he remembers teaching at the Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Thinking back on some of his most memorable experiences teaching at Luskin as a visiting professor of Public Policy, Dukakis proudly recalls the day his former teaching assistant, Rusty Bailey (MPP ‘99), became mayor of the City of Riverside.
“That was his ambition,” Dukakis remembers of Bailey. “We spent time making personal contact with every house and every voter. He was elected city counselor and six years later he was elected mayor.”
The story is just one instance of many that demonstrate Dukakis’ interest in his students. This year marks the 20th year that the well-known and oft-quoted politician and professor has been teaching at UCLA Luskin.
Dukakis says that when his time as governor came to an end and he knew he wouldn’t be taking up residence on Pennsylvania Avenue, he had to ask himself what to do next. He recognized he had a desire to share his knowledge, and with the wealth of knowledge and experience in successful public service, he decided to parlay that passion into work with young people. His goal: to inspire them to also seek careers in public service. After teaching at Northeastern University for a few years, Dukakis planted his flag at UCLA.
Through his courses, “Institutional Leadership and the Public Manager” and “California Policy Issues,” he has inspired many students to enter the field of government and public service. Whether students come in for his regular office hours or contact him from across the country, Dukakis says he always tries to makes time for individuals who come to him for guidance.
Mayor Bailey says because of the years of mentorship he received, he now patterns his work after Dukakis’s leadership style.
“Personal connection and relationships are important to Michael, and he gives his undivided attention when he speaks to people,” Bailey says. “He also is very committed and leads by example…All of these things have influenced my leadership style in my elected office.”
Though Bailey thinks Dukakis would have influenced history and the country in a powerful way had he won in ‘88, he believes the influence his former professor has as an educator and mentor is just as powerful.
“I think those of us who love what we’ve done, whether a doctor or a politician, we enjoy teaching and encouraging young people to follow in our footsteps,” Dukakis says. “I spend a lot of time with my students to talk about their futures.”
In addition to seeing Bailey climb to mayorship, Dukakis excitedly recounts the stories of other successful former students. Among them: Veronica Melvin, who leads a nonprofit organization for improving schools in Los Angeles County, and Matt Dababneh and Jimmy Gomez, who serve as committee chairs in the California Assembly and represent areas near Los Angeles.
“In many ways, working with students is the best thing I do,” Dukakis says. “ I feel strongly about this country and the world, and the importance of getting young people deeply and actively involved (in public service).”
When students come to him for advice and mentorship, Dukakis emphasizes the importance of optimism. “You have to be passionate about what you’re doing. You have to hold high standards of integrity for yourself and the people you work with, and you have to be good at bringing people together,” he says.
Urban Planning student Ben Kaufman says he was surprised when he first emailed Dukakis with the hopes of getting advice on which graduate schools he should apply to.
“I thought it was a ludicrous idea to Google a previous presidential nominee’s contact information, cold-email him, and expect a response,” Kaufman says. “But I did just that, and amazingly, he followed up within a couple of hours.”
The following week, Kaufman says he had an hour-long conversation with Dukakis during which the seasoned politician recounted old war stories and listened to Kaufman’s plans and goals for the future. After receiving a recommendation letter from Dukakis, Kaufman was admitted to UCLA a few months later.
“It’s amazing to me how kind and genuine he is as a person outside of the classroom, no matter whom he is speaking with,” Kaufman says.
Public Policy chair Mark Peterson agrees that Dukakis has been a true asset to the department as a skilled teacher giving students an unique perspective on politics, policy and public management.
“With a door that is always open, Dukakis avails himself to all who want to discuss current affairs, the coming election, next steps in their educations and long-term career choices,” Peterson says. “A devoted friend of the department and UCLA Luskin, Mike’s spirit resonates throughout the Public Affairs Building.”
Bailey cites examples of the former governor’s humility and leadership in everyday life as well, recalling the time after Dukakis’ service in elected office ended, and he asked the U.S. Postmaster General for permission to paint over graffiti on mailboxes.
“He would go around with a can of paint in his hometown and paint over the graffiti,” Bailey says.
In another incident, Bailey remembers Dukakis humbly declining a first-class seat that a flight attendant offered him.
“He replied without skipping a beat, ‘No I want to sit in the back with the Democrats,’” Bailey says. “That speaks volumes about his character and leadership style. It’s always been about public service and doing the right thing, and not about politics.”
Dukakis describes his typical day as beginning at 5 a.m., spending time with students, and doing a fair amount of public speaking outside of teaching. Despite his busy schedule, he enjoys coming to Los Angeles each winter quarter and being a part of the UCLA community.
“One of the great things about teaching is that you walk into a ready-made community,” he says. “You become a part of this community and don’t spend time wandering from friends. I’ve gained some wonderful friendships (at UCLA).”
Outside of his life as a professor, mentor and public speaker, Dukakis says he likes living in Westwood with his wife, Kitty, walking to campus, and enjoying the skyline of downtown Los Angeles from his window on clear days.
“Our favorite pastime is taking a brisk two-mile walk down Ocean Drive in Santa Monica and eating oysters by the beach. We know people around the whole region. It’s been really great,” he says. “It’s gratifying to be in a position to encourage young people and inspire them. I’m hoping I’m contributing to this country and the world.”
In honor of Gov. Dukakis’ 20th year as a UCLA faculty member, friends of UCLA Luskin will join together at a lunch in support of the Michael S. Dukakis Internship in Public Service. The fundraiser aims to raise $250,000 for the internship program and to expand the opportunities it provides for students who are seeking careers in public service. To learn more about attending the lunch and supporting the internship program, contact Melissa Bersofsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Peterson, an expert in health care policy and a longtime watcher of efforts to reform medical insurance in the U.S., spoke to an exclusive group of UCLA Luskin friends at a Dean’s Associates Salon a few weeks after the Affordable Care Act’s coverage began to become active.
UCLA Luskin student writer Max Wynn sent this postcard from the evening.
On January 15th friends of UCLA Luskin gathered at Michael and Natalie Mahdesian’s Studio City home for the eleventh Dean’s Associates Salon.
The highlight of the evening was a discussion of the Affordable Care Act led by Mark A. Peterson, UCLA Luskin professor of public policy, political science and law. Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, a visiting professor of Public Policy, provided closing remarks and perspective on the health care reform experience of his own state.
In his opening remarks, Mahdesian, a member of UCLA Luskin’s Board of Advisors, stated that the School trains leaders to come up with solutions to the problems and needs of our society. Health care is a universal need but health care reform is a complex issue, and the clarity of Peterson’s analysis reinforced Mahdesian’s reasoning for calling UCLA Luskin “one of the best [public affairs programs] on the west coast — if not the nation.”
The collected guests filled the Mahdesian’s spacious living room, and while some sat up right in their seats and others relaxed on couches, they all listened intently as Peterson spoke.
He began by explaining why the Affordable Care Act is such a complex piece of legislation, before tracing the fraught history of health care reform in this country up to the problems with the Act’s rollout last fall. However, the majority of his presentation was devoted to what he called “the implementation wars.”
Peterson characterized the national debate over Obamacare as a “civil war within our political ranks,” explaining that the vitriol of the debate was driven by an increasingly polarized Congress and the racial intolerance of a powerful minority within the conservative electorate.
This divisive rhetoric of the health care debate was a recurring theme throughout the night, but Peterson’s in-depth, factual analysis of Obamacare was a steady hand on the subject.
Peterson’s remarks were followed by a lengthy question and answer session, and the intimate setting fostered a lively discussion between Peterson and the attendees. Questions came from all corners of the room and the constructive nature of the discussion stood in stark relief to the divisiveness of the subject matter.
As the night wound down Dukakis delivered his closing remarks, emphasizing that, “Obamacare works…[and] it’s working in my state.”
As guests milled about afterwards the general consensus was that the night’s discussion had provided a level of context that is much needed, but rarely found, in the discourse surrounding health care reform.
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By Max Wynn
UCLA Luskin Student Writer
On January 29th the UCLA community packed into a sold-out Royce Hall to take part in the third Luskin Lecture Series event of the 2013-14, “A Conversation with Madeleine Albright.”
In a list of achievements in public service spanning nearly four decades, Albright most notably served as President Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997-2001. When she was unanimously confirmed by the Senate, she became the first woman to hold that position, and at the time was the highest ranking woman in the history of U.S. government.
Former Massachusetts Governor and visiting professor of public policy Michael Dukakis introduced Secretary Albright, describing how much he had enjoyed working with her during his 1988 presidential campaign. Albert Carnesale, a professor of public policy and engineering and former Chancellor of UCLA, then presented her with the UCLA Medal, an award given to those who have not only earned academic and professional acclaim, but whose works also illustrates the highest ideals of UCLA.
Upon receiving the honor, Albright joined Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, and basketball coach John Wooden in the exclusive club of UCLA Medal recipients.
Albright’s keynote address focused on the difficulty of creating effective foreign policy in the face of rapid technological change and growing global interdependence. These two megatrends, as she described them, are difficult to address from a policy standpoint because they create their own contradictions. They both share the potential to foster international cooperation and understanding, she said, and yet in many instances they have hardened sectarian, ethnic and regional divisions.
Conscious of her audience of students, Albright described her remarks as centering on “the challenges facing the next generation of global leaders,” saying “given all that’s happening across the globe, we have an awful lot to talk about.
“The world’s a mess,” she summarized.
Despite these weighty pronouncements, her light-hearted nature, sense of humor and inspiring closing statements made it clear that she retains an optimistic outlook for the future. “Higher stakes mean greater rewards,” she said.
“The leaders of today and tomorrow have a chance to examine the options before us, discard what is broken, adapt what can be made to perform better and create new mechanisms where they are needed so that the global system benefits us all,” she said.
In his opening remarks, UCLA Luskin Dean Franklin D. Gilliam. Jr., stated that “The mission of our school is to change the world. We do that by training the next generation of transformative leaders.” Albright echoed Dean Gilliam’s sentiment, recognizing the potential of Luskin’s students to do just that.
Describing the leaders that the 21st century landscape requires, Albright stated that we need “leaders who bring a broadened understanding of their role…men and women who understand the connections between policy, planning, and social welfare…who recognize the need for an interdisciplinary approach to an interdependent world.
“The Luskin School is the kind of place in which those leaders will be forged,” she said.
Early in her address Albright noted that she was particularly looking forward to the question and answer portion of the evening’s event. She explained that since she is no longer in government she was excited to be able to actually answer the questions students and members of the public asked her, and her answers were nothing if not candid.
After a conversation with Dean Gilliam in which the two discussed a series of topics ranging from the Syrian conflict to the revelation of National Security Agency spying practices to her father’s mentorship of Condoleezza Rice, Albright fielded questions from the audience, the majority of which came from UCLA Luskin students.
The questions touched on specific policy issues as well as covering more general inquiries about the experience of being one of the few women in the corridors of power. Lance Cpl. J. Vincent Barcelona, a Marine Reservist and a third-year undergraduate student, asked Albright what force she would recommend President Obama deploy in Afghanistan as he prepares to withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014.
After thanking him for his service, Albright said she didn’t know of the exact number, but she knew it was important to protect the United States’ investment in the country. She also spoke of her own experience advising on military action, and how seriously she and others in her role take the responsibility of sending young people to war.
Vernessa Shih, a second-year Public Policy student, asked what advice Albright would give to young women interested in public service. Albright responded that she would encourage women to not be afraid to interrupt, because if an idea is important enough to be shared, it’s important enough to break up a conversation. She also passed along what she called her “most-quoted line:”
“There’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women,” she said.
Members of the audience took part in the discussion on Twitter. See what they were saying: