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Bohnett Foundation Executive Director named to City Commission

(Los Angeles, CA)- Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa recently completed his appointments to the South Valley and East Los Angeles Area Planning Commissions.

The South Valley and East Los Angeles Area Planning Commissions provide land use guidance and the highest level of technical service to achieve safe and healthy residential neighborhoods and a secure business climate that fosters sustained economic growth.

“My appointees have diverse backgrounds and professional experiences and will bring a balanced approach to our city's planning efforts while working with communities to protect the interests of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “I am expecting great energy and a spirit of collaboration from these commissioners, to tackle our planning and development issues.”

Commissioners hear and make determinations on quasi-judicial and legislative actions. In addition, members of the commission give advice and make recommendations to the mayor, city council, director of planning, municipal departments, and agencies with respect to city planning and related activities and legislation.

The five appointments to the East Los Angeles Area Planning Commission are:

— Michael Fleming – Executive Director of the David Bohnett Foundation;

— Sharon Lowe – Former Environmental Justice Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes;

— David Marquez – Executive Director for Central City Neighborhood Partners;

— Patricia Alvarez-Sahagun – Government and Community Affaiirs Manager for First 5 LA; and

— A. Fabiola Vilchez – District Director for Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg.

The five new appointments to the South Valley Area Planning Commission are:

— Dr. George Andros – Practitioner at Los Angeles Vascular Specialists;

— Steve Cochran – Partner at Katten, Muchin, Rosenman LLP;

— Matt Epstein – Founder of Team 2000;

— Gordon Murley – Former Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the Infix Corporation; and

— Barbara Romero – Director of Urban Projects for the Natural Resources and Planning Division of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

Biographies of the appointees follow:



Michael Fleming currently serves as the Executive Director of the David Bohnett Foundation. In the past, he served as the Media Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and as a Producer of Fox Morning News at WTTF-TV in Washington, D.C. He also served as an Associate Director of Hollywood Supports, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization which delivered seminars on sexual orientation and AIDS in the workplace to entertainment companies nationwide. Mr. Fleming also served as the Associate Producer of the public affairs program “One Norway Street” on the Monitor Channel, as Deputy Press Secretary to the Massachusetts Secretary of Environmental Affairs and an Associate Producer at Boston's WGBH-TV.

Mr. Fleming serves on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Southern California Foundation, KCRW Foundation, Funders for Lesbian and Gay Issues, the Cambirdge School of Weston and the Friends of the Communites of Nothern Ireland. He also serves as a Lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Sharon Lowe served as the Environmental Justice Deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Ed Reyes, where she oversaw the district's major works, economic development and transit projects. Prior to that, Ms. Lowe operated her own community law practice that emphasized family law litigation, children's rights, tenants' rights and relocation entitlements, community economic development and land use and redevelopment. She served as the Central Community Office Managing Attorney and South Los Angeles Staff Attorney in Charge of Community Economic Development Specialist for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

Ms. Lowe volunteers at East Wind Youth Foundation and also as a Legal Consultant for the Central City Action Committee.


David Marquez is currently a non-profit consultant in East Los Angeles. He previously served as the Executive Director for Central City Neighborhood Partners, a non-profit agency created to increase economic and social capital in Central Los Angeles through formal partnerships of public and private agencies and community-based organizations. Mr. Marquez also served as the Chief Deputy for Legislative and Policy, and the Chief Field Deputy for Councilmember Mike Hernandez.

Mr. Marquez is currently the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust. He sits as Chair of the Board of Directors for ArtsCorpLA and is a member of the Board of Directors for the 24th St. Theatre. Mr. Marquez is also a member of the Proposition K Oversight Committee for the Central Region.


Patricia Alvarez-Sahagun currently serves as the Government and Community Affairs Manager in the Public Affairs Department for First 5 LA, where she previously served as Communications Officer. Prior to that, Ms. Alvarez-Sahagun served as the Field Director and Regional Representative for the League of California Cities.

She holds an extensive background in the California State Legislature, having worked for Mayor Villaraigosa when he served as Speaker of the State Assembly, Assemblymember Lou Correa, Assemblymember Phil Isenberg and as a Consultant to both the Assembly Appropriations Committee and Assembly Budget Committee.


Fabiola Vilchez is currently the District Director for California State Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg. Ms. Vilchez previously served as the Legislative Deputy for Councilmember Martin Ludlow and Councilmember Eric Garcetti. She also served as the Senior Community Organizer for Councilmember Eric Garcetti, as well as a Community Organizer for Councilmember Jackie Goldberg. As Director of Living Wage Training and Organizing for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Ms. Vilchez developed, organized and led campaigns related to the living wage.

Ms. Vilchez is also an active member of the community. She has served as the director of Justice Through Action, where she fundraised, organized and distributed aid to countries in Central America.



Dr. George Andros is a full-time practitioner at the Los Angeles Vascular Specialists. He is also the Director of Vascular Services, the Vascular Laboratory and of the Diabetic Foot Center at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. He is a member of the Los Angeles Surgical Society. He is a member of the North American Chapter of the International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, the Western Surgical Association and as a Representative to the American Diabetes Association for the Society for Vascular Surgery. Dr. Andros serves on the editorial board for Vascular Surgery.


Steve Cochran is presently a partner at Katten, Muchin, Rosenman LLP. Previously, Mr. Cochran was a partner at Wyman, Bautzer, Kuchel & Silbert in Los Angeles. Prior to that, Mr. Cochran served as an attorney for four years for the Federal Public Defender's Office for the Central District of California. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as the Court Liaison for the Central District of California Pro Bono Civil rights Panel.


Matt Epstein is the Founder of Team 2000, a real estate company for which he personally brokered 335 real property transactions. In addition to founding Team 2000, Mr. Epstein co-founded 800 Direct, a full service telemarketing and fulfillment company that specialized in handling inbound calls and shipping products for national catalog companies.

Mr. Epstein is heavily involved in the community, serving as Vice President of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, on the Board of Directors for the Sherman Oaks Hospital and the Grossman Burn Center, and serving on the Board of Directors for the “We Spark” non-profit cancer support center. In addition, Mr. Epstein serves as President of the SOBC-Sherman Oaks Beautification Committee-Joint venture between Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association, Sherman Oaks Chamber, Sherman Oaks Bid and Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council. Mr. Epstein is also on the Board for the Sherman Oaks Schools, a charity to raise money for the 5 Sherman Oaks-based public elementary schools.


Gordon Murley has served as Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the Infix Corporation, where he was in charge of creating, designing and producing courses in medical imaging, community planning and education. Mr. Murley served as an Account Executive and as Acting Regional Manager for Trionix Research Laboratory, Inc. as well as the Regional Sales Manager for both Computer Design & Applications and Informatek States Inc. He also served in Nuclear Imaging Sales for Elscint Inc. and as a Technical Sales Representative for Medi+Physics, Mallinckrodt Chemical Works and the Union Carbide Corporation at Neisler Laboratories.


Barbara Romero serves as the Director of Urban Projects for the Natural Resources and Planning Division of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, responsible for identifying, developing and implementing multiple park development in urban areas. Ms. Romero previously served as Special Projects Manager for the Natural Resources and Planning Division of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority. Ms. Romero has also served as a Field Deputy for State Senator Richard Polanco.

As Cluster Supervisor, Trainer and Team Leader for Building Up Los Angeles-Americorps, Ms. Romero managed job employment program for high school/college students, out of school youth and seniors. Ms. Romero also served as a Community Organizer for the Roosevelt High School Healthy Start Programs. She is a former Advisory Board Member for Building Up Los Angeles, the Founder of Girls Today Women Tomorrow Leadership Mentoring Program, and a member of the Youth Service California Board.