Public Policy Student Earns LeadersUp Fellowship Opportunity to conduct research on business investment

By Adeney Zo
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

Ascending Public Policy student Crissy Chung has been awarded the LeadersUp Fellowship for the upcoming summer 2015 term.

LeadersUp is an organization founded by the Starbucks Corporation and other major U.S. businesses in an effort to mobilize businesses into hiring young graduates, or “Opportunity Youth.” Through funding demonstration projects at partner businesses, the organization aims to demonstrate the viability of hiring young workers and tackle the growing issue of youth unemployment.

Graduate fellows help monitor these demonstration projects, collecting data and measuring returns on business investment for Opportunity Youth. Their research acts as an important quantitative component of the program initiative: to provide results-based proof of the value of hiring Opportunity Youth. Chung is one of three graduate fellows selected for this program and will work through the months of June, July, and August 2015.


UCLA Luskin Salutes the Class of 2015 The annual Commencement Ceremony featured remarks from students, faculty and Uber executive Rachel Whetstone


UCLA Luskin celebrated the graduating class of 2015 Friday, welcoming 68 students in urban planning, 56 students in public policy and 101 students in social welfare to the ranks of its alumni.

“This is how change is made,” Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., said in his opening remarks. “It starts with a small group of people who believe.”

His words resonated with the audience of faculty, family and friends, who have watched UCLA Luskin’s graduate students develop as change agents over the course of their education.

Three students addressed the crowd during the ceremony. Ana Tapia, who graduated with a master of urban and regional planning and who came to UCLA as an undocumented student after her family emigrated to the U.S. in 1994, spoke of how her degree encouraged her to follow her dreams. Urban planners, she said, “are people who turn dreams into reality. We not only dream and plan, but make things happen.” She urged her fellow students to “go dream, go plan and go on to do great things.”

Public Policy graduate CC Song cast her cohort as the “architects of the future,” devising and deploying policies to help build equity and create a better world. She spoke of being ready to take on life after graduate school, asking her fellow students to “find the courage to seek what makes you curious, fulfilled and challenged.”

Jennifer Chou, a graduate of UCLA Luskin’s Master of Social Welfare program, spoke about the “acceptance of not knowing” when confronted with an uncertain future. Her heartfelt speech included a rendition of a verse from the Louis Armstrong classic “What a Wonderful World.”

The invited speaker, newly installed Uber public relations executive Rachel Whetstone, brought in the perspective of a group not often mentioned on Commencement day — those who “don’t dream well.” Whetstone put herself in that category, and told the story of a career that proceeded not by some overarching grand scheme but instead progressed as a series of steps from college to internships to opportunities at various organizations.

She said her experience had taught her that hard work helps make up for the absence of a dream. “Pour yourself into your job,” she said, “even if it seems like a chore.” As she acknowledged and embraced the persona of the stereotypical overworked Silicon Valley executive, she relayed a story of a visit with a psychiatrist friend, who said something that stuck with her: “Has it ever occurred to you, Rachel, that hard work is what makes you happy?” Hard work can open up new horizons, she said, and she urged the graduating students to apply themselves to their work, “because if you don’t try, you will never, ever know.”

The ceremony was a mix of pomp and celebration, with a sense of impending change on the horizon. Dean Gilliam summed up the mood best through his quotation of, as he described it, a “classic of American Cinema,” the movie Friday.

“For most people, Friday’s just the day before the weekend,” he said. “But after this Friday, the neighborhood will never be the same.”

New Magazine Adds to LA’s Policy Conversation UCLA Blueprint, a new magazine bringing together policy research and civic leadership, debuted at a Wednesday event


By Cynthia Lee
UCLA Newsroom

UCLA has launched a new magazine that aims to inform ongoing conversations on major public policy issues facing Los Angeles and California, serve as a public resource and highlight relevant campus research.

UCLA Blueprint — written and edited by veteran journalists and astute observers of local and state government — debuted this week with an issue focused on public safety and criminal justice. The magazine is a partnership between the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and UCLA External Affairs, whose public outreach programs facilitate the campus’s role in addressing societal challenges.

At a Wednesday night event marking the magazine’s inaugural issue, Chancellor Gene Block said civic engagement has been one of his top priorities since the beginning of his administration. “UCLA engages with the greater Los Angeles community in myriad ways. And I am delighted to say that the launch of UCLA Blueprint is very much in keeping with our ongoing civic engagement efforts…. It’s dazzling in every way.”

Among the guests celebrating the launch of Blueprint was former California Gov. Gray Davis (left), standing with UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and Blueprint Editor-in-Chief Newton.

About 125 guests attended the event at the Chancellor’s Residence, including community and business leaders, UCLA administrators and faculty, journalists and government officials. Among them were Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, former California Gov. Gray Davis, former Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, City Controller Ron Galperin and Los Angeles City Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, Paul Krekorian and Bernard Parks.

The event featured a wide-ranging conversation between Garcetti and Blueprint Editor-in-Chief Jim Newton, covering crime, the mayor’s extensive use of real-time data and metrics to monitor the pulse of the city, Los Angeles’ booming tech sector, the recent minimum-wage increase and other topics in the news.

Newton is a former Los Angeles Times writer and editor of 25 years, the author of biographies on Earl Warren and Dwight Eisenhower, and a co-author of a memoir with Leon Panetta.  He said before the event that the magazine is intended to strengthen UCLA’s ties to civic life and share faculty expertise in a way that serves the greater good.

“Much of the work of city, county and state government in California is now done without the benefit of serious research,” said Newton, a senior fellow at the Luskin School and lecturer in communication studies, where he teaches courses on journalism ethics and writing. “Largely, that’s a product of budgets — governments just don’t have the kind of research capacity they used to have. By bringing UCLA research to the attention of policymakers, better policy can be made.”

In the editor’s note in the first issue, Newton wrote that he spent more than two decades “watching sausage being made in city, county and state government (and occasionally the school board), often baffled by the basis for decisions. Why doesn’t the subway go to the airport? Why does the region capture so little rainwater? Why do some drug offenders spend more time in prison than those convicted of violent crimes? The poison in each case is politics. The antidote is research.”

Newton emphasized before Wednesday’s event that Blueprint is not an academic journal. “We’re striving to make it serious and journalistic, a general-interest magazine that’s accessible to people beyond the core policy community,” he said. “This is a region that is famously disengaged on matters of serious government policy, and this magazine is intended to draw people into those conversations and give them the information they need to help them participate.”

Replete with bold, attention-getting graphics, the first issue of Blueprint takes a sweeping look at criminal justice and public safety from a variety of entry points. Beck, the LAPD’s top cop, talks about how policing has changed. UCLA Luskin researcher Michael Stoll reveals what’s behind the surge in the U.S. prison population. UCLA psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff explains how he measures hidden racial bias in law enforcement. And in a Q&A, California Attorney General Kamala Harris talks about the biggest challenge she has faced in fixing the state criminal justice system.

There’s also a profile of a community activist whose call for reform of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has been transformed into a rallying cry among protesters nationwide — “Black lives matter.”

Newton said the debut issue addresses criminal justice and public safety because police use of force is increasingly in the headlines and because the topics are familiar to him — he covered the LAPD as a reporter for five years.

In the discussion Wednesday, Garcetti reflected on the recent unrest in Baltimore and L.A.’s own problems.

“We had Rodney King.… We had the consent decree. We had Ramparts,” he said. “It is through the trauma that we went through that Los Angeles is a more resilient city and [has] a more resilient [police] department.… What a police chief says, what a mayor does, who we collectively are as a city in moments of potential trauma is, first and foremost, what good policing — good public safety — is all about.”

Blueprint’s second issue, due out this fall, will focus on economic and social inequality and include an interview with Joseph Stiglitz, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, a Columbia University economist and respected author. Newton said he hopes the magazine will grow into a quarterly publication, and he plans to hold public events to extend the discourse around each new issue.

“Not only are we trying to create a conversation online and in print,” Newton said, “but a literal conversation where we will gather together policymakers, journalists, academics and other thoughtful people and hope that they learn from each other.”


Shawn Landres Named Civil Society Fellow The cofounder of Jumpstart Labs will work with students and researchers to better understand giving and civic well-being.



Social and civic entrepreneur Shawn Landres is serving as Civil Society Fellow in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for the spring and fall quarters, 2015. He is advising The Center for Civil Society on research, meeting with students and guest lecturing in classes, participating in outreach, and working with the Luskin Center for Innovation to develop a civic innovation summit during the 2015-16 academic year.

Dr. Landres cofounded Jumpstart Labs, a Los Angeles-based think tank and infrastructure support organization known for its applied research on faith-based social innovation, and chairs the board of Hub Los Angeles, a social enterprise development center in Los Angeles’s Arts District. A member of the Los Angeles County Quality and Productivity Commission, he chairs its Strategic Foresight Working Group.  Dr. Landres also co-chairs the Santa Monica Public Library’s Innovation Technology Task Force.

“Shawn Landres is a dynamic player in the Los Angeles nonprofit and philanthropic community and beyond,” said Bill Parent, acting director of the Luskin Center for Civil Society. “He is accomplished in solution-oriented leadership, innovation, and research. It is great to have him with us at UCLA.”

Dr. Landres co-conceived and led Jumpstart’s six-part Connected to Give series, a nationally representative study of religion and American household charitable giving. He will be working with the CCS and the California Community Foundation on a study and forecast of giving and civic well-being across Los Angeles to be conducted during the summer of 2015.

“Across the private, public, and charitable sectors, successful innovation is rooted in listening, whether to the data that informs the challenges at hand or to the people closest to them, who are best positioned to lead sustainable change,” said Dr. Landres. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with the insightful research team at UCLA Luskin to help advance effective evidence-based policymaking.”

Dr. Landres holds degrees in religious studies and social anthropology from Columbia University, the University of Oxford, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned his doctorate. He is a member of the board of directors of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry. Dr. Landres has co-edited four books and published award-winning articles and essays that advance intergroup understanding. He has more than two decades of experience in academic, nonprofit, and philanthropic leadership, social entrepreneurship, network building, and organizational development.  In 2009, The Forward named Dr. Landres one of America’s 50 most influential Jewish leaders. In 2012, the White House featured him as a “spotlight innovator” at its Faith-Based Social Innovation Conference and in 2013, the Liberty Hill Foundation honored him with its NextGen Leadership Award.

Students Reflect on Experiences From Japan Yearly visits to Japan provide insight on reconstruction, education, and transportation

By Angel Ibañez
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

For the fourth consecutive year UCLA Luskin students visited Japan to learn about its unique culture and public policy perspective. The trip was organized by UCLA Luskin students and consisted of three groups that visited cities within three policy areas in Japan: reconstruction, education, and transportation & economy.

The 2015 Luskin Japan Trip Report collects the stories and experiences from thirty-nine students across the Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning departments that traveled to the region earlier this year. In the trip over Spring Break, groups of students toured the National Diet of Japan—the home of the Japanese legislature—ministries, and local schools. The trip spanned five days and covered six different cities and areas including Fukushima, Kyoto and Yamanashi.


Uber’s Whetstone to Speak at Commencement Rachel Whetstone, senior vice president of policy and communications for ride-sharing service Uber, will give the 2015 Commencement address


By Alejandra Reyes-Velarde
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

As the digital age continues to advance with implications across all areas of public life, UCLA Luskin searches for ways to increasingly integrate technology in its students’ understanding of policy, planning and social work.

Rachel Whetstone, senior vice president of policy and communications at Uber, will give her insight as a woman with experience in technology, communications and public policy during the 2015 Commencement Ceremony at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

Prior to her appointment at Uber this year, Rachel Whetstone served as senior vice president of communications and policy at Google since 2005. Formerly, Whetstone held posts in government in the United Kingdom, including service as Michael Howard’s chief of staff following his election to leadership of the conservative party.

In 2013, Whetstone was named one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by “Woman’s Hour” on BBC radio.

When she joined Google in 2005, she became an advisor to CEO Larry Page and handled many of the company’s biggest policy issues including the recent anti-trust charges in Europe, according to Business Insider.

At Uber she will face similar challenges related to policy and public relations, including challenges to Uber’s business model from taxi companies and aggressive expansion plans, according to Re/Code.

The UCLA Luskin commencement ceremony will be held in Royce Hall on Friday, June 12, at 9 am.


Dean Gilliam Named Chancellor of UNC-Greensboro After seven years at UCLA Luskin's helm, Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., will step down to lead the East Coast university in the fall


The following message was sent to the UCLA community today from Chancellor Gene D. Block:

To the UCLA Community:

I am sad to announce the departure of Frank Gilliam, dean of the Luskin School of Public Affairs and a longtime faculty member, but I am very proud to share the news that he has been named chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His appointment is effective Sept. 8.

A visionary leader, skilled administrator and renowned scholar of public policy and politics, Frank has been instrumental in advancing UCLA’s civic engagement through community partnerships and research addressing some of society’s most pressing problems.

After being named dean in 2008, Frank shepherded a transformative $50 million gift that named the school in honor of our generous donors Meyer and Renee Luskin. With Frank’s guidance, the Luskin School of Public Affairs has ascended on a new trajectory of influence in research and innovation in education. Under Frank, the Luskin School has focused on identifying some of our world’s most vexing issues – such as immigration, drug policy, transportation, national security, health care financing and the environment – and establishing itself as a leader in addressing them. Through the Leadership Initiative, Frank expanded opportunities for students to interact directly with policy leaders, helping to prepare them for real-world challenges in public service. In the new Global Public Affairs program, students and faculty study problems that cross international borders and explore solutions that require a global perspective.

Even before being appointed dean, Frank championed UCLA’s civic engagement. He created the UCLA Center for Community Partnerships and served as associate vice chancellor of community partnerships from 2002 to 2008, forging academic and community collaborations to improve the quality of life throughout Los Angeles. In large part because of Frank, UCLA earned its first Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement classification. Frank’s impassioned commitment to the cause helped make him an ideal choice to lead the Luskin School, which is dedicated to public service through scholarship that informs public policy and teaching that prepares future civic leaders.

I share Frank’s dedication to public engagement. His success in that arena was one reason I chose him, in 2013, as a special adviser to develop a framework for UCLA’s civic involvement in our region – a framework that is now being strategically implemented.

Frank joined UCLA’s faculty in 1986, and he now holds appointments in political science and public policy. His scholarship focuses on elections and political campaigns, with an emphasis on racial and ethnic politics, and how strategic communications shape public policy. Frank is frequently interviewed about these and other subjects by top news outlets. His work is published in many leading academic journals, and he is the author of Farther to Go: Readings and Cases in African-American Politics. Frank also was founding director of the UCLA Center for Communications and Community and he held leadership positions at the UCLA Center for American Politics and Public Policy.

Befitting his scholarship and his commitment to civics, Frank helped establish the FrameWorks Institute, which publishes research to further public understanding of social issues and aid nonprofits. He is a senior fellow at the institute, which this year earned a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Frank also serves as chair of the Blue Shield of California board of trustees and is on the boards of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Southern California Grantmakers.

Frank has made an indelible mark on UCLA through our strengthened relationships with partners in the communities we serve. His deanship has elevated the Luskin School to a new level of excellence and helped to prepare thousands of students to become leaders working to enhance the lives of others. By any measure, Frank has had a profound impact on our campus as well as communities throughout the Los Angeles and across the nation.

I am proud to have him as a colleague and am confident he will enjoy continued success leading the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Please join me in congratulating Frank and wishing him well in this new chapter of his career.

We are fortunate to have many strong leaders at the Luskin School, and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh and I intend to appoint an interim dean very soon and then conduct a search for a successor. We are grateful for the clear path Frank has set at the Luskin School, and we are well-positioned to continue UCLA’s broader efforts to serve as a valuable resource for the community – work that is essential to our mission as a public university.


Gene D. Block



Transportation and Connectivity at Luskin Lecture Series U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx discussed the ways transportation builds community at a Luskin Lecture Series event

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Study: Asian American Electorate Expected to Double by 2040 New data collected by the Center for the Study of Inequality predicts an increase in Asian American political power in the next 25 years

By 2040, there will be over 6 million more registered Asian American voters in the U.S. than there are today, an increase of more than 100 percent and proof that Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing electorates.

That finding is just one of the results of a new report coauthored by Paul Ong, a professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at UCLA Luskin with a joint appointment in Asian American Studies. The study explores the implications this growing segment of the population has for the U.S. electorate and upcoming political races through detailed demographic estimations.

According to the report, which augmented information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Asian American electorate will double to 12.2 million in 2040, a 107 percent increase. Due to their growing numbers, the Asian American population will have the potential to play a key role in tight presidential elections and close political decisions. The report is the first in a series of publications throughout the year that are expected to cover a broad range of topics including culture and multigenerationalism.

The report was prepared in partnership with the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), a national organization committed to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office. The report was coauthored by Elena Ong, a consultant to APAICS.

“These results provide a context for understanding the relative size and potential impact of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), as well as the current and future roles of (the population’s) leaders in serving two of the fastest growing racial populations in America,” Paul Ong said.

“This study shows that Asian Americans will have a growing presence and stronger voice in our national debates for years to come,” said Senator Mazie Hirono (HI), the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. “I look forward to continuing to work to grow the pipeline of Asian American leaders who will amplify the voice of our community and continue the fight to overcome the challenges we face.”

Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27.), the Chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, commented, “As AAPIs become more engaged in the political process, it is important now, more than ever, that our government both represents and responds to the needs of our diverse communities.”

In the report, the term Asian American is defined in diverse terms ranging from solely Asian to multiracial Asian Americans with mixed backgrounds in terms of culture, ethnicity, nativity and other factors. According to the report, multiracial Asians will have a larger growth rate of 130 percent versus Asians alone, who are expected to grow by 75 percent.

“Electoral candidates will need to understand that the Asian American vote is not a monolith,” the report says. “They will need to understand the political concerns and priorities of Asian Americans are both unique and complex, shaped in part by age, nativity, multiracial and other evolving demographic composition.”

Changes within the Asian American population could also have an impact on the electorate beyond the 2016 presidential election cycle. For instance, while the younger, U.S.-born Asian American population aged 18 to 34 currently constitutes the majority of Asian American voters, the report estimates that by 2040, 57 percent of registered Asian American voters will be over the age of 34.

“(Knowing this information) would help elected officials reach out to Asian American voters in a language, and in a communication preference, that is in tune with the Asian American voter’s immigration status and age-cohort,” Ong said.

According to the report, the difference in race and age may suggest that the growing population will have different needs, including more emphasis on foreign policy, international relations, trade and immigration to accommodate for the concerns of foreign-born Asian American adults.

In 2015, 44 percent of naturalized Asian American registered voters are over the age of 55, but by 2040, 53 percent will be, according to the study. As a result, the youth and middle-aged share of the political landscape will decline. Older, naturalized Asian American voters are likely to demand different needs, such as native-language registration forms, town halls, e-booklets and ballots in order to vote.

Conversely, authors suggest that populations under 34 are likely to share U.S. values and advocate for issues such as equality, health care affordability and college affordability, among others.

“Given the enormous diversity by age and nativity, along with ethnicity and nationality and socioeconomic class, there is a daunting challenge of creating a common political agenda that unites Asian Americans into an effective and cohesive voting bloc,” the report said.

Though the report focuses on political implications, the impacts of the demographic shifts can be extrapolated into other areas of governance. Among other things, these projections are important for understanding the social, cultural and economic dimensions affecting the development of public policies such as new educational programs, English as a Second Language programs, and occupational and social programs for Asian American citizens of all ages.

The report, titled “The Future of Asian America in 2040,” is available via the Center for the Study of Inequality, a research center headed up by Paul Ong and housed at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and APAICS. Commentaries are also hosted there from elected officials and scholars exploring the dynamics of race and politics in America today.

An Officer and a Graduate Student Lr. Michael Fonbuena's commitment to UCLA Luskin



By Angel Ibañez
UCLA Luskin Student Writer

When second-year Public Policy student Lt. Michael Fonbuena searched for programs offered by the Navy to earn his graduate degree while continuing his career in the service, he found the Career Intermission Program and chose to attend UCLA Luskin.

The program was implemented in 2009 and gives service members the opportunity to take a one- to three-year break to pursue personal or professional growth and return to active duty following the hiatus.

Fonbuena was attracted to UCLA Luskin for its unique location and the range of policy challenges engaged by the School, as well as the interdisciplinary focus that would bridge his passion for international issues.

When he first arrived at UCLA Luskin he came in knowing what he wanted to study, but his interests quickly expanded as he was exposed to new ideas.

“I came in thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do and what my interests were,” Fonbuena says, “but by expanding outside of my comfort zone and taking courses I hadn’t exactly intended, I have gained tremendous interest in several new topics.”

One of these new topics has been cybersecurity, and its legal implications, both within and outside of the military framework.

“Currently I am finishing a course in the Law School on cyber law and policy which has greatly piqued my interest not only in the security implications of cyber, which is of great interest to the military, but also on the legal ramifications of things we hear about on a daily basis,” Fonbuena says.

Such classes benefit greatly from students with unique backgrounds. As a sailor and a Naval Academy graduate, Michael has brought a unique viewpoint to many of his classes.

“I remember a few classes with Professor DeShazo where I felt I was able to provide insight on a personal level that some in my cohort might have found useful—specifically on the case study of the Tailhook scandal, and in general discussing what it was like working within such a large bureaucracy at the Department of Defense,” he says.

The intersection of ideas from its students with diverse backgrounds is at the center of UCLA Luskin’s mission to cultivate change agents who will advance solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

Fonbuena has benefited from this exchange, he says, and he will keep as he pursues his career.

“It really taught me that everyone brings something different to the table and can add valuable input. It’s a valuable lesson that I will take back to the Navy with me.”

Another unique resource Michael believes has helped him develop as a person and expand his knowledge of issues has been the guest speakers that come to UCLA Luskin, including former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“I honestly feel that by not taking advantage of the opportunity to learn from these individuals, students are doing themselves a huge disservice, both personally and professionally,” Fonbuena says.

As his time at UCLA Luskin is coming to an end, Michael says his experience has reinvigorated him.

“My experience here has recharged my batteries and left me with a desire to utilize the tools I’ve learned to make the Navy a better organization in any capacity I can,” he says.

“I developed a diversity of thought which I lacked prior to attending Luskin, which in the future will enable me to see problems through a wider lens and make more thoughtful and diverse decisions.”