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The Young and Mighty LPPI

Research centers are born for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s just the right thing for a public research institution like UCLA to do. In the case of the Latino Policy and Politics Institute (formerly Initiative), “it was the single-biggest missing element in the School,” said Gary Segura, who co-founded LPPI soon after he became dean at UCLA Luskin in 2017. “We were a school of public affairs in a state that is 43-44% Latino, and we didn’t have any faculty expertise focused on that area.” Learn more about LPPI, which has attained funding of $13.5 million in just five years of existence,  from its founding director, a current student fellow and an alumna whose time with LPPI has proven crucial to her career.

Sonja Diaz MPP ’10, founding director of LPPI

What are you working on now?

A U.S. Latino data hub will create a portal for the first time of taking government data and disaggregating it by Latino subgroups. So, you’ll get a sense of the differences between Cubans in Florida and Puerto Ricans in Florida. And that, frankly, hasn’t been done across a number of indicators, from housing to the environment to voter registration. The second big project is a summit, and we’re trying to create a programmatic nexus between our scholars, our staff and our different policymaking audiences, lawmakers and researchers who need the support to have a Latino lens. We’re hoping to convene people in Washington, D.C., and establish a national presence for LPPI.

How did your directorship at LPPI come about and what has it meant for you personally?

I was leaving a position with a statewide constitutional officer at a time when we expected a different outcome from our 2016 U.S. presidential election. And it made sense for me to look at UCLA, which is personal to me and my family. My father received a Ph.D. in urban planning here when I was a toddler. Some of his faculty are my colleagues today. And in that way, it’s been one continuous line. What I didn’t expect was to be given the opportunity to marry policy and research. 

Now, after being on this job for a number of years, I am recognizing the impact that we’ve had, not only in the students that have walked through our doors, and even our staff colleagues, but to our community members. It has been mind-blowing. 

Recent successes of note?

Two things happened in ’20-21 that I think were so important for LPPI, but also for the Latino community writ large. The first was our work to advance full representation of Latino politicians to an important body, which is the U.S. Senate. And that was cemented with Gov. [Gavin] Newsom’s appointment of now-Sen. Alex Padilla, the first Latino in over 170 years to occupy that office.

The second thing, and this was happening at the same time, was providing a data lens to the COVID vaccine policy in the state of California that, in many ways, had disenfranchised youthful racial minorities, including Latinos, in the face of the evisceration of Latino households during COVID-19. And our work with over 40 community organizations, based on our data analysis, really changed course for the state and made it so it wasn’t just wealthy and older Californians who had access to the vaccine, but the hardest-hit communities that were working on the front lines.

Bryanna Ruiz Fernandez, an LPPI student fellow who majored in political science and minored in public affairs and Chicano/a studies and who will join the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a policy fellow after graduation

Talk about yourself, your role at LPPI and your future plans.

I am a proud product of immigrants. I come from a mixed-status household. We are from a border town, El Centro, California. I actually grew up in Mexico for part of my childhood, until I was around 8 years old. And then we immigrated to the United States. Spanish is actually my language of birth. And my mom, just recently, I was able to sponsor her for residency, for her green card.

She just became a U.S. resident, and it was a huge deal for the family because of the laws that can be discriminatory and negatively impact one’s life. 

And my dad is in the process. 

I understand immigration policy firsthand, and when it’s not properly researched by people with firsthand experience or who are culturally competent, what kind of impact it can have on communities of color, like my family.

I feel very fortunate to have been a fellow for LPPI for, basically, my entire undergraduate career.

In the classroom, I was learning methods and these broad concepts, but I didn’t really understand, especially as a first-generation college student, how that applies to the real world.

As a fellow, I was able to work with UCLA faculty. I was able to see firsthand how they conduct research, how they write reports. And on the other hand, I was also able to see how that research needs to be amplified. Because if we’re doing research and no one knows about it, then what impact is it actually having?

woman with short hair smiles broadly

MPP and MSW alumna Gabriela Solis Torres

Gabriela Solis Torres, MPP and MSW ’19, a founding student fellow at LPPI who now works as a project leader for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab in Houston, Texas

Please explain your work.

We’re a research and technical assistance organization that provides support to governments who are pursuing ways to combat some of the most complex social challenges. That’s things like trying to reform the criminal justice system or the child welfare system, or trying to address homelessness.

A lot of things have changed because of the pandemic. But a big change in my work came after the murder of George Floyd. Harris County, where Houston is, and a lot of other jurisdictions across the United States started thinking about what their policing looks like and really started exploring, I think, more seriously the alternatives to their emergency response approach.

And now I’m leading our portfolio for alternatives. I provide technical assistance to five jurisdictions across the United States that are implementing alternatives such as sending unarmed teams to 9-1-1 calls. 

Did your experience with LPPI have a direct relationship to what you do now?

For me, I think it really opened my worldview. I came into the Luskin School from a direct service background. I was a case manager doing outreach with folks who were homeless in Venice and Venice Beach, and I thought I wanted to be a clinician. I was going to school to study social work and learn to do therapy.

But I was thinking too much of the macro, always complaining about the rules and the limitations. And I was advised to get a public policy degree. And I didn’t really know anything about public policy. I think being at Luskin and then participating in LPPI really changed my worldview and my whole career track completely.

I like working directly with governments. I grew up in East Los Angeles. I’m first in my family to go to college and have a professional job. My dad used to work in a factory. My mom was a stay-at-home mother. And I had no access to professional spaces. 

Another thing has to do with access. I had never really talked to anyone who was an official, and LPPI was my first exposure to people who had a lot of power or influence. 

I remember when I first came to UCLA Luskin and received the Monica Salinas Fellowship, which was created by a successful marriage and family therapist, and I got to have dinner at their house. And that was, like, so fancy! It was the first time I’d ever been in a space like that. And it was very cool because she was also a Latina and was very supportive of the work. 

Then, with LPPI, I would help organize panels or events, which meant having to manage details with elected officials or work with very high-level stakeholders. It helped me develop confidence that is applied to my job.

Every day now, I work with mayors, city managers, the director of an emergency communications center. Those experiences at UCLA were very pivotal in assuring me,
“I know how to communicate. I know how to write. I know what I’m talking about.”

How did you get involved with LPPI?

I found out that Sonja was opening the shop, and I just went to talk to her in her office. There was no formality. This thing is happening, let’s go. And I think I was the first or second person she hired. 

What I really appreciated from working with her was the true openness to being collaborators, making me feel like my opinion was important, that she actually cared about it. 

Myself, and Sonja, and the other student fellows were a team. And we got real. It was a growth environment where everyone was expected to step up. If you didn’t know something, your mentality was: “I’ll learn how to do it.” 

We understood that we were in a startup environment. … I have very fond memories of that time and just feeling like I was helping to set up something that was big. And I take pride that LPPI is where it is now.

(Almost) Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Our Research Centers An introduction to the stories in this edition

Our goal was to create a definitive roundup of UCLA Luskin research centers. Over several months, more than two dozen professors, staff, students and alumni were interviewed, producing 160 pages of transcripts totaling 69,774 words. Did we capture every connection, permutation or interaction? No way. For one, we simply ran out of space. What follows are excerpts from the interviews. Also note that our research centers web page now has a mention of every — we think — research entity with a UCLA Luskin connection. Here are a few facts and notes about the project:

  • Funds that flow into the Luskin School are increasingly tied to a research center, and those numbers have risen as the School has grown in recent years. Research centers received 80% of all contract and grant funding at UCLA Luskin in the last fiscal year, totaling $18.5 million. With four months of 2021-22 to go, the research center tally stood at 82.9% of all awards and $17.9 million.
  • Most full-time faculty, and many part-timers, are associated with at least one research center. The financial benefit is a factor, but interviewees mostly spoke about collaboration and impact.
  • Research units play an integral role in advancing UCLA Luskin’s mission, particularly its community service goals. (Some of the many research-oriented advocacy success stories are told in this edition.)
  • There are a lot of them. In 2009, the Luskin Center for Innovation became the fourth research center at UCLA Luskin. Today, we show 12 research centers on the homepage and list more than a dozen more on the web page mentioned earlier. A couple of non-Luskin-School-based examples are in this issue, but faculty also hold leadership positions or fill scholarly roles in many other research centers housed within another UCLA school, hosted by an off-campus partner or existing as part of a national research consortium or an ad hoc project involving scholars from other universities.
  • Some research centers are — potential funder alert — still in the startup phase; others are firmly established but ready to grow. And two research centers have been bastions of the UCLA Luskin educational experience for decades. These highly respected and influential centers are profiled in chapter 1. 
  • The word center is often used in this project as an umbrella term even though individual entities are actually an institute, initiative, hub or lab. No disrespect is intended. Is there any official difference? We asked UCLA’s vice chancellor for research, Roger Wakamoto: “We do not discriminate a center from an institute or any other term. The names are
    used interchangeably.”
  • The main story in this issue unfolds in oral history form. Some minor rephrasing was needed for clarity’s sake, and trims were made. But the people associated with UCLA Luskin research centers tell their stories primarily in their own words

LPPI Formally Transitions From an ‘Initiative’ to Become UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute

The former UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative has officially become the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Institute, thanks to $3 million in ongoing annual funding from the state. The funding, championed by the California Latino Legislative Caucus, was initially secured in 2021 and continued in the state budget bill passed June 14. The support has allowed the institute, known as LPPI, to grow from a start-up initiative to a permanent research fixture at UCLA with a robust fellowship program and a consortium of nearly 50 faculty experts across UCLA. Founded in 2017 by attorney and MPP alumna Sonja Diaz and UCLA Professor Matt Barreto through a partnership between the Luskin School and the division of social sciences, LPPI was launched to address domestic policy challenges facing Latinos and other communities of color. It utilizes the power of research, advocacy, mobilization and leadership development to propel policy reforms that expand opportunity for all Americans. “As chair of the Latino Legislative Caucus, I am so grateful for the Latino-centric research from LPPI that has helped us formulate the policies our communities need most,” said state Sen. María Elena Durazo. “Latinos play an essential role in California, yet we are disproportionately impacted by issues like the gender pay gap and disparate health outcomes. It is critical that we have a Latino-focused think tank with readily available data on the various topics that Latinos care about most.” LPPI’s status as a leading national Latino policy institute furthers UCLA’s goal of achieving federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by 2025. — Alise Brillault


 

State Investments to Fight Climate Change Are Working, Reports Show

Watts is a leader in local solutions to the climate crisis, according to new progress reports for a state-funded project. This year, 300 Watts residents received energy efficiency upgrades like smart thermostats and LED lighting to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy bills. Volunteers delivered 261,000 pounds of fresh food to almost 10,000 residents by rescuing produce that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. And the community also started planting 2,250 trees, which will cool down streets and sequester carbon. These projects in Watts are part of the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) program administered by California’s Strategic Growth Council, which is providing millions of dollars in grants for climate action and community benefits in partnership with local government, residents and organizations. The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation analysis documents the progress of TCC-supported action in five communities across California: Fresno, Ontario, Stockton, and the northeast San Fernando Valley and Watts neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The annual reports are part of an ongoing evaluation that UCLA is conducting in collaboration with TCC grantees. “Learning from these pilots is important,” said Jason Karpman, project director at UCLA. “As one of the most comprehensive community-scale climate programs in the world, lessons from TCC can support equitable climate action elsewhere.” Policymakers are considering how to bring elements of TCC to more underserved communities, and a previous report from the Luskin Center for Innovation identified the TCC program as a nationwide model for such efforts.

 

Declines in Accountability Among U.S., Asian Governments Since 2000 Highlighted Berggruen Governance Index assesses the quality of democracy and measures quality of life in 134 nations

By Stan Paul

It started as a conversation about democracy and why some countries enjoy a higher quality of life than others, and it culminated in the release of a groundbreaking analysis of more than 130 governments around the world.

The 2022 Berggruen Governance Index, unveiled June 1 during a gathering at UCLA’s Kerckhoff Grand Salon, found a dramatic drop in the quality of government and quality of democracy in the United States over the past 20 years.

At the same time, several African nations showed measurable improvements in their provision of public goods like education, health care and environmental protection.

The collaborative project of UCLA Luskin and the Los Angeles-based Berggruen Institute is now available online on the index’s website as a report, plus links that allow researchers to search and sort the data for themselves.

“We had this fundamental concern that governance itself was poorly understood,” said Dawn Nakagawa, executive vice president of the Berggruen Institute, recalling the origins of the index during a “chaotic and concerning time” for democracy in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

The index was compiled by researchers from UCLA Luskin and the Hertie School in Berlin. It draws on data from sources that included the United Nations, statistical offices and research institutes from  2000 through 2019.

“And these have been a really consequential 20 years for democracy,” said Nakagawa, who spoke during the launch event, as did UCLA Luskin Dean Gary Segura.

Leading the day’s discussion was principal investigator Helmut Anheier, UCLA adjunct professor of social welfare and former president of the Hertie School in Germany, along with Markus Lang, a researcher at the Hertie School and the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

Anheier noted that although research and literature on governance have existed for some time, it has focused on various singular aspects of governance or democracy. He and his co-authors took a different, multipronged approach to understanding governance.

“We say governance is finding the balance among three components,” Anheier said.

The researchers scored selected national governments on an array of individual measures, grouping findings into three overarching categories:

  • Quality of democracy, which is based on the effectiveness of checks and balances between branches of government, and officials’ accountability to voters and society.
  • Quality of government, which considers governments’ abilities to generate revenue, function administratively and execute policies.
  • Quality of life, which considers governments’ ability to provide social, economic and environmental public goods.

“Rather than saying there is one number that represents governance performance, we see a lot of insight that had been gained by looking at the tension and relationship among these components, and that is expressed by something we call the governance triangle,” Anheier said.

illustration of a triangle illustrates the three key measurement areas of the report

The rankings evaluate quality of government, quality of democracy and quality of life measures, which the researchers call the “governance triangle.”

“It really does break open the black box of governance, looks inside, and allows us to see these three very important components interact,” Nakagawa said.

A major finding was the dramatic drop in the quality of government and quality of democracy in the United States, which was the only Western power with a declining score in those categories. The U.S. quality of life score improved, but only slightly.

Additional findings:

  • Although the U.S. score for quality of government remains far above the global average, its decline on that measure since 2000 was one of the world’s largest, on par with declines in Haiti, Hong Kong and Hungary.
  • The 10 countries with the greatest improvements in quality of life measures all are in Africa. However, as a whole, Africa still ranks well below other regions in terms of quality of life factors.
  • Quality of democracy scores retreated in several Asian nations, including in Bangladesh, China, India, the Philippines and Thailand. Many nations in the Americas also saw declines in those measures.

The day’s program also included a discussion of democracy, public policy and global challenges featuring UCLA experts. Moderated by Anheier, the panel featured Steve Zipperstein, an attorney and lecturer in global studies at UCLA;  Veronica Herrera, an associate professor of urban planning who studies political development in the Global South; Cesi Cruz, an assistant professor whose research intersects political science and economics; and Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld, an assistant professor of public policy focusing on subnational conflict, statistics and advanced data analysis.

Closing comments were provided by Michael Storper, distinguished professor of regional and international development in urban planning at UCLA Luskin, and Andrew Apter, a professor of history and anthropology at UCLA.

“One of the most important indicators of successful research is … surprising results,” said Apter, who complimented his longtime colleague Anheier on fulfilling that ideal.

Storper, who also serves as director of Global Public Affairs at UCLA Luskin, took a comparative view of the results. Democracy in the United States is very different from the federal governments in nations such as France and Germany that fared better in the analysis.

“European governmental setups are really different than what we have here in the United States,” he said. Several European countries have more modern constitutions, he noted, than the older, more rigid U.S. constitution.

“The index is going to allow us … to do more and more of this, I would say, comparative, evolutionary thinking,” Storper said. “Thanks for doing this work and actually bringing it to UCLA.”

UCLA produces and disseminates the index thanks to a $3 million gift from the Berggruen Institute. Researchers plan to publish the next Berggruen Governance Index in 2024. In the meantime, they will present the work at key institutions in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere, culminating in an international conference hosted on campus by UCLA Luskin on Oct. 10-11.


View photos from the launch event on Flickr:

Berggruen Governance Index Release


Watch a recording of the launch event on Vimeo:

Nancy Pelosi Addresses Undergraduates at UCLA Luskin Commencement Speaker of the House offers keynote remarks during School’s in-person ceremony

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and a member of Congress for more than three decades, gave the keynote address at the 2022 undergraduate commencement ceremony at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. 

Now in her fourth term as speaker, Pelosi made history in 2007 when she was the first woman elected to serve in that role. After serving as speaker for four years, she was House minority leader for eight years beginning in 2011. She returned to the position of speaker in 2019, when Democrats regained the House majority.  

Pelosi spoke during the UCLA Luskin ceremony that started at 3 p.m. on June 10 on the patio outside of UCLA’s Kerckhoff Hall. A crowd of up to 1,000 graduating students, family members and other invited guests had been anticipated.  

“Nancy Pelosi is a renowned leader who has skillfully guided California and the nation through some trials and tribulations — and many triumphs — during her long career as a public servant,” said Gary Segura, dean of the Luskin School. “She has also been a trailblazer in Congress and a role model for those who, like many of our students, may aspire to hold public office someday.  

“I know she will inspire our graduates to continue their quest to make a meaningful difference in the world.”  

As House speaker, Pelosi has championed legislation that has helped to lower health care costs, increase workers’ pay and promote the nation’s economic growth.  

She has represented California’s 12th District in San Francisco as a member of Congress since 1987. She has led House Democrats for 19 years and previously served as House Democratic whip. 

In 2013, Pelosi was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Seneca Falls, New York, the birthplace of the American women’s rights movement. 

Working with then-President Barack Obama, who called Pelosi “an extraordinary leader for the American people,” she led the House’s passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in early 2009 to create and save millions of American jobs in the wake of a worldwide recession. Pelosi also led the passage through Congress of the landmark Affordable Care Act.  

She has promoted legislation related to banking reform, consumer protection and funding for students. She has fought for women’s rights and sought to end pay discrimination. Pelosi’s many legislative accomplishments also include efforts to promote better nutrition for children and food safety. 

Many of her efforts align with UCLA Luskin’s mission to promote social justice, including her efforts to repeal discriminatory policies such as the “don’t ask, don’t tell” prohibition against gay and lesbian people serving openly in the military. 

The Luskin School is known for turning research into action, conducting academic studies that often lead to policy solutions. Many faculty, for example, are engaged in seeking ways to mitigate the growing effects of climate change. Pelosi has long been active in environmental causes, and she is known for 1989’s “Pelosi amendment,” which has become a tool to assess the potential environmental effects of development globally.  

Pelosi graduated from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She and her husband, Paul Pelosi, a native of San Francisco, have five children and nine grandchildren. 

The Luskin School also hosted commencement for students earning graduate degrees at 9 a.m. on June 10. Actor, activist and UCLA alumnus George Takei was the keynote speaker. 

Learn more about the 2022 Commencements at UCLA Luskin.

LPPI Policy Fellows Gain Direct Experience With Advocacy in Sacramento

Policy fellows from the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative (LPPI) recently traveled to Sacramento to gain experience in direct advocacy with the California Legislature. During three days from May 2-4, they presented LPPI research, proposed bills to lawmakers, and met with key policy stakeholders and governmental agencies. The trip culminated in a policy briefing luncheon hosted by LPPI experts. Silvia R. González, Yohualli B. Anaya and Misael Galdámez provided lawmakers with an in-depth look at new research and data insights on housing insecurity, inequities in access to telehealth, the impact of COVID-19 on higher education outcomes and other issues affecting California’s varied Latino communities. Fellows also met with legislators in their Capitol offices to advocate for bills on topics ranging from alternatives to incarceration to Cal Grant system reform. Policy fellows and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients Aimee Benitez and Marcos Ruiz Rojas had an especially powerful experience meeting with Sen. Ben Hueso and seeing people like themselves represented in his staff. “Senator Hueso is a Latino Bruin who has hired people from our community, including other DACA recipients,” Benitez said. “He took the time to talk with us about the trajectory of his career path, saying one day when he is out of office, we’ll be the ones to take over.” LPPI representatives on the Sacramento trip also recognized the Latino Legislative Caucus for its efforts to champion LPPI and secure state funding to enable a transition from an initiative to an institute. — Alise Brillault

Yaroslavsky on the Importance of County Government

Director of the Los Angeles Initiative Zev Yaroslavsky spoke to KCRW’s “Greater L.A.” about the race for Los Angeles County supervisor. The Los Angeles mayoral primary is getting most of the attention from voters and the media, but the race to represent L.A. County’s Third Supervisorial District, stretching from the Westside to the far northern San Fernando Valley, is consequential. “The County Board of Supervisors is a place where virtually every issue that matters to the general public crosses your desk every day,” said Yaroslavsky, who served as an L.A. County supervisor from 1994 to 2014. “Historically, a lot of people, especially middle-class voters, haven’t grasped the importance of county government and its services to millions of people — services that can literally mean the difference between life and death.” The Board of Supervisors oversees a $40 billion budget that acts as the human service arm of society, focusing on people who are economically marginalized, he said. 


Connecting the Dots on Climate Change Environmental scholar Robert Bullard charts a path to a more equitable future — if America can avoid repeating past mistakes  

By Les Dunseith

Robert Bullard has been called professor, dean, author, policy influencer, important thinker, movement starter and the father of environmental justice. But that’s not how he chose to describe himself during a May 12 talk at UCLA.

“I do what’s scientifically called kick-ass sociology,” Bullard said playfully in his opening remarks to a roomful of students, faculty, staff and other interested parties, plus an online audience. “And what I’ve tried to do is to make it simple, make it plain, make it real and connect the dots.”

The renowned scholar from Texas Southern University has written 17 books. “But it’s really just one book — don’t tell anybody,” Bullard said slyly. “The central glue that connects all of those volumes? Fairness, justice and equity.”

He often blended humor into his discussion of serious topics such as America’s history of racial discrimination and the growing global climate crisis. Titled “The Quest for Environmental and Climate Justice,” Bullard spoke and took audience questions for more than an hour in the Bruin Viewpoint Room of Ackerman Union as part of the UCLA Luskin Lecture series. It was presented in conjunction with the Harvey S. Perloff Environmental Thinkers Series and UCLA Urban Planning’s 50th anniversary celebration.

In his introductory remarks, Dean Gary Segura of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs said, “At the Luskin School, we try to have conversations about things that actually matter — climate degradation, environmental degradation and its impact on working class and poor people of color — and for which there is a desperate need for solutions.”

Bullard is known for his courage and “his insights into how questions of race figure into environmental justice,” said the evening’s emcee, Susanna Hecht, a geographer and professor of urban planning who also serves as director of the Brazilian Studies Center at UCLA.

“He is a person who has a broad perspective and broad horizons,” Hecht said. “His work has expanded to embrace a range of topics that evolved at the center of environmental, civil rights, human rights and the question of race and vulnerability under climate change, as well as patterns of pollution in both urban and industrial landscapes.”

So, what is environmental justice?

Bullard sees it as an essential notion that all people and communities are entitled to equal protection to ensure they have adequate housing, quality health care, and access to the energy and transportation they need in their daily lives. Civil rights and human rights.

The reality rarely matches the ideal, however. He cited as an example a study that showed government relief after a natural disaster going primarily to wealthier, predominantly white communities rather than to poorer, predominantly Black areas.

“We know that all communities are not created equal,” Bullard said. “There are some that are more equal than others.”

Without action, disparities are likely to grow as industrial pollution further degrades our planet, he said.

“Climate change will make it worse on the populations that are already suffering,” Bullard said. “Those who have contributed the least to the problem will suffer the most. That’s the inequity that we’re talking about. You can’t have your basic human rights if even the right to breathe has been taken away from you.”

Despite decades of experience documenting human nature at its worst, Bullard has not given in to despair.

“I’m hopeful and optimistic that we can get this right. I’ve been working on this for 40 years, but we don’t have another 40 years. We only have, maybe, a dozen to get this right,” Bullard said.

He cited California as a leader in environmental equity and climate change responses and noted the state’s history of finding out-of-the-box solutions in technology and government, as well as its highly regarded universities.

“Let California be California. That’s my answer. Push the envelope as far as you can,” Bullard said.

“And so, I’m looking to young people. I’m looking at your faces,” he told his audience of mostly young scholars. “You are the majority now. I’m a boomer and proud of it. But millennials, zoomers, Gen X, Y and Z — you outnumber my generation. Take the power.”

View photos from the event on Flickr.

Robert Bullard Luskin Lecture

Steinert-Threlkeld on Chinese Censorship of COVID Frustrations

Assistant Professor of Public Policy Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld spoke to Al Jazeera about the Chinese government’s censorship of Shanghai residents’ expressions of frustration over an extended COVID-19 lockdown. “Shanghainese must realize that other countries have adopted looser approaches to COVID, especially in 2022, and probably feel there are less severe policy options available,” Steinert-Threlkeld said. Millions of people were confined to their homes in April as part of China’s “zero COVID” strategy in response to the Omicron outbreak, an approach reminiscent of the Wuhan lockdown in 2020. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has clamped down on social media posts that challenged the harsh lockdown. “The primary goal of CCP censorship is to prevent large-scale collective action,” Steinert-Threlkeld explained. “The censoring is counterproductive if one thinks the goal is to prevent disgruntlement about the lockdown from spreading, but it is productive if it prevents upset individuals from coordinating action outside of their homes.”


Events

Conference: 2022 Berggruen Governance Index

In partnership with the Berggruen Institute. 

About this event

Two-day gathering focusing on scholarly implications of this landmark project, which analyzes the relationship between democratic accountability, state capacity and the provision of public goods to better understand why some countries fare better than others at providing a high quality of life.

Details will be announced closer to the event date.

Toward Understanding: The 2022 Berggruen Governance Index

In partnership with the Berggruen Institute. This event will be recorded and posted online.

About this event

Join us for lunch as we unveil a landmark project that analyzes the relationship between democratic accountability, state capacity and the provision of public goods to better understand why some countries fare better than others at providing a high quality of life.

10:30 a.m. Check-in and Continental Breakfast
11:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductory Addresses

  • Gary Segura, dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • Dawn Nakagawa, executive vice president of the Berggruen Institute

11:10 a.m. The 2022 Berggruen Governance Index

  • An overview by UCLA adjunct professor Helmut K. Anheier, former president of the Hertie School in Germany, and Markus Lang, a researcher for the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • Presentation of the visualization and analysis application by D. Vinay Dixit of Stamen, a San Francisco data visualization firm

11:30 a.m. Panel Discussion

  • A discussion of democracy, public policy and global challenges featuring an esteemed panel of UCLA experts, including:
  • Alexandra Lieben of UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations (chair)
  • Steve Zipperstein, an attorney and lecturer in global studies at UCLA
  • Veronica Herrera, an associate professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs who studies political development in the Global South
  • Cesi Cruz, an assistant professor whose research intersects political science and economics at UCLA
  • Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld, an assistant professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs focusing on subnational conflict, statistics and advanced data analysis

12:00 p.m. Q & A with the audience
12:10 p.m. Closing Comments

  • Michael Storper, a professor at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and an internationally recognized urban geographer
  • Andrew Apter, a professor of history and anthropology at UCLA whose research expertise includes Afrocentric cultural dynamics

12:30 p.m. Outdoor Lunch

Transportation

Public Transportation: Blue Bus and Metro

Ride-hailing Zones: Uber/Lyft designated locations available, for nearby locations and map visit bit.ly/uclaridehailing

Parking

Pay-by-space parking is available for $3.00 – $14.00 (1 hour – All Day) in Parking Structure 4: 221 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90095.

COVID Protocols

UCLA COVID protocols are in alignment with guidance from the California and Los Angeles County public health departments and in some cases surpass state and county requirements.

  • Masking is required for attendees, including UCLA affiliates and external guests. Guests may remove their mask to eat or drink.
  • Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, negative COVID-19 test, or UCLA Symptom Monitoring Survey (SMS) clearance certificate will not be required.
  • Speakers/panelists may remove their mask while on stage.

Meet the Mayoral Candidates Series: Mike Feuer

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs is a promotional partner with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall for a series of events relating to the upcoming election of a new mayor for Los Angeles.

The series will continue at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 15, with a session featuring candidate Mike Feuer, the Los Angeles city attorney.

This event and other sessions in the series will feature the major candidates live, in front of a public audience, to discuss why they are qualified to be Los Angeles’ next leader.

Feuer has been L.A.’s chief lawyer and prosecutor since July 2013. According to his bio on the city attorney’s website, he has brought an innovative, problem-solving focus that combines fair and effective prosecution with initiatives to improve public safety and the quality of life throughout the city. Feuer’s office also has been at the forefront of key national issues ranging from gun violence prevention and consumer protection to justice system reform and successful challenges to Trump Administration policies relating to public safety, and the fair allocation of federal funding and political representation.

Each session in the series features a live audience Q&A moderated by series host Dan Schnur, a professor of political science and former political consultant.

Sessions are free of charge with registration; proof of vaccination for COVID-19 is also required.

Free of charge with REGISTRATION


CORONAVIRUS SAFETY PROTOCOLS: The Ebell of Los Angeles has a visitor policy in accordance with the City of Los Angeles vaccination ordinance. In order to attend this event, all visitors ages 12 and up are required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination along with a valid ID.

PARKING: There is free parking for guests of The Ebell of Los Angeles at the lot located on Lucerne Boulevard, directly across from the venue. ADA parking is available in The Ebell of Los Angeles lot located on Fremont Place.


CO-SPONSORS FOR THE SERIES

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Luskin Lecture: Mary Nichols

Mary Nichols’ Bold Roadmap to Cleaner Transportation

Monday, April 4, 6:15 p.m. Pacific time
Charles E. Young Grand Salon — Kerckhoff Hall on the UCLA campus

Environmentalist Mary Nichols helped lead California’s internationally recognized efforts to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions during four terms as chair of the California Air Resources Board. Her legacy has encouraged policymakers to cut emissions from the transportation sector — the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state and nation. Learn from Nichols’ deep experience during this conversation about how government leaders should take bold, equity-focused action. Nichols will be joined by UCLA transportation equity scholar Tierra Bills and Colleen Callahan, the co-executive director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Nichols has held leadership roles with environmental agencies at the national level, and TIME magazine has included her among the world’s 100 most influential people. She is currently distinguished counsel at the UCLA School of Law and the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment. Nichols was inaugural director of UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability and is a former advisory board member at the Luskin Center for Innovation.

Bills holds a joint faculty appointment at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Samueli School of Engineering. Callahan earned her master’s in urban planning at UCLA.

COVID Protocols

UCLA COVID protocols are in alignment with guidance from the California and Los Angeles County public health departments and in some cases surpass state and county requirements.

  • Face masks are mandatory at all indoor events. Attendees should also wear masks while waiting in line to enter the venue.
  • UCLA students, faculty and staff attending an indoor event must show their Symptom Monitoring Survey clearance certificate for that day to gain entry.
  • Non-affiliates — those attendees who are not members of the UCLA community — must show proof of being fully vaccinated or proof of a negative antigen test within 1 day, or PCR test within 2 days.
  • Results of both PCR and antigen tests are acceptable as proof.
  • Attendees showing proof of a negative test must provide a photo ID and documentation from a test provider or lab (either printed or on a smartphone) that includes the test result, the person’s name, the date of the test and the type of test.
  • Eating and drinking are prohibited at indoor events.

Parking and Transit

Getting to UCLA

UCLA Visitor Parking

Meet the Mayoral Candidates Series: Karen Bass

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs is a promotional partner with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall for a series of events relating to the upcoming election of a new mayor for Los Angeles.

The series will continue at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 24, with a session featuring candidate U.S. Rep. Karen Bass.

This event and other sessions in the series feature the major candidates live, in front of a public audience, to discuss why they are qualified to be Los Angeles’ next leader.

The six-term congresswoman from Los Angeles represents the 37th Congressional District, serving on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs where she is the chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights. She also serves on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, where she is active in working to craft sound criminal justice reform policies. She was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in 2019 and 2020. Her political career also includes experience in Sacramento as a member of the California State Assembly. Bass made history in 2008 by becoming the first African-American woman in U.S. history to serve as speaker of any state legislature. Prior to elected office, she founded Community Coalition, a community-based social justice organization that empowers the African-American and Latino community across generations to address substance abuse, poverty and crime in South Los Angeles

Each session in the series features a live audience Q&A moderated by series host Dan Schnur, a professor of political science and former political consultant.

Sessions are free with registration; proof of vaccination for COVID-19 is also required.

Free of charge with REGISTRATION


CORONAVIRUS SAFETY PROTOCOLS: The Ebell of Los Angeles has a visitor policy in accordance with the City of Los Angeles vaccination ordinance. In order to attend this event, all visitors ages 12 and up are required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination along with a valid ID.

PARKING: There is free parking for guests of The Ebell of Los Angeles at the lot located on Lucerne Boulevard, directly across from the venue. ADA parking is available in The Ebell of Los Angeles lot located on Fremont Place.


CO-SPONSORS FOR THE SERIES

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Luskin Summit: Closing Sessions

Luskin Summit 2022 will wrap up at the Centennial Ballroom of the Luskin Conference Center on the UCLA campus.

QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX

Zev Yaroslavsky, a former elected official and current UCLA professor, will unveil the results of his seventh annual poll of Los Angeles County residents on their satisfaction with their lives across nine categories. ABC7 news anchor Phillip Palmer will moderate.


STATE OF CALIFORNIA

Luskin Summit 2022 will close with an in-person discussion featuring Gray Davis and Pete Wilson, former governors of California, led by UCLA’s Jim Newton. They will explore topics such as the economy and jobs, environmental issues, public safety and more.


Remote access: Those who cannot attend in person will be able to participate virtually at www.luskin.ucla.edu.

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED AND UCLA’S HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR CAMPUS EVENTS WILL BE ENFORCED.

AGENDA

9:15 a.m. | Event Check-in and Breakfast

9:45 a.m. | Session 1: Quality of Life Index

11:00 a.m. | Session 2: State of California

12:00 p.m. | Event concludes

TRANSPORTATION

Public Transportation: Blue Bus and Metro

Ride-hailing Zones: Uber/Lyft designated locations available, for nearby locations and map visit bit.ly/uclaridehailing

PARKING

Self-parking is available underneath the Luskin Conference Center and in UCLA Parking Structure 8, Level 4, directly across the street from the center. There is a convenient pedestrian walkway/bridge connecting Parking Structure 8 (on Level 3) to the Luskin Conference Center property. Please note that there is a fee to park in either location.

Meet the Mayoral Candidates Series: Joe Buscaino

The UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs is a promotional partner with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall for a series of events relating to the upcoming election of a new mayor for Los Angeles.

The series will kick off at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15, with a session featuring candidate Joe Buscaino, a member of the Los Angeles City Council.

This event and future sessions in the series will feature the major candidates live, in front of a public audience, to discuss why they are qualified to be Los Angeles’ next leader.

Councilman Buscaino represents the 15th District, which includes the communities of Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, San Pedro, Watts and Wilmington, as well as the Port of Los Angeles. He has served as the chair of the City’s Trade, Travel and Tourism Committee since 2017. The committee oversees the Port of Los Angeles — the busiest container port in the United States— as well as LAX, the second-busiest airport in the United States, plus the L.A. Tourism and Convention Board.

Each session will feature a live audience Q&A, moderated by series host Dan Schnur, a professor of political science and former political consultant.

Sessions are free of charge with registration; proof of vaccination for COVID-19 is also required.

Free of charge with REGISTRATION


CORONAVIRUS SAFETY PROTOCOLS: The Ebell of Los Angeles has a visitor policy in accordance with the City of Los Angeles vaccination ordinance. In order to attend this event, all visitors ages 12 and up are required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination along with a valid ID.

PARKING: There is free parking for guests of The Ebell of Los Angeles at the lot located on Lucerne Boulevard, directly across from the venue. ADA parking is available in The Ebell of Los Angeles lot located on Fremont Place.


CO-SPONSORS FOR THE SERIES

Register Now

Discussion of Qualified Immunity and Police Violence

A panel of guest speakers from UCLA and the field of criminal justice will discuss qualified immunity and police violence in America.

PANELISTS:

Emily Weisburst, assistant professor of public policy, criminal justice expert and researcher

Connie Rice, civil rights lawyer and co-director of Advancement Project of Los Angeles

Joanna Schwartz, law professor and a leading expert on police misconduct

Steven Zipperstein, public policy lecturer, and a lawyer on criminal justice policy

 

Analyzing the Latino Vote in the 2020 Elections

America’s largest and diverse non-white voting bloc has made it clear that they are important actors in American politics, from Pennsylvania to Arizona.

Effectively mobilizing the Latino electorate is critical to the success of any campaign, from the White House to down-ballot. As we continue to confront our nation’s intersecting crises on our path to economic recovery, understanding the electoral preferences of Latino voters is essential to highlighting the nation’s policy priorities in a new decade. This conversation will highlight how record levels of Latino turnout impacted the outcome of key races, including in this cycle’s marquee battleground states, and what it means for the coming year.

Join us virtually for a powerful conversation moderated by María Elena Salinas, award winning-journalist.

Panelists:

Matt Barreto, professor, Political Science & Chicana/o Studies, UCLA

Tom Perez, chairman, Democratic National Committee

Mercedes Schlapp, senior advisor, Trump-Pence 2020 Campaign

Rudy Soto, former Democratic nominee for Congress

RSVP today.

Presented by the Aspen Institute’s Latinos and Society Program and the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative based at UCLA Luskin.

Careers in Public Policy Panel

In collaboration with the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Southern California Chapter and UCLA’s Master of Public Policy program, this panel will showcase PPIA and UCLA MPP alumni who are now working as policy professionals in government agencies, non-profits/NGOs, research centers and/or think tanks. Participants will be able to hear about diverse experiences in policy career trajectories and receive valuable advice on how to prepare themselves for the career they want. The panel will include a Q&A section for participants to further engage with the panelists. RSVP to receive a link in the days prior to the event.