Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
Martha Guzman-Aceves has over 15 years of policy experience in Sacramento. She is currently the Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary for Governor Jerry Brown. Her portfolio includes natural resources, environmental protection, energy and food and agriculture.
California Air Resources Board
Dean Florez is a proven leader in the air quality arena having served as the past Chairman of the California Senate Select Committee on Air Quality. While in the Senate, he authored a series of ground- breaking anti-pollution laws focused on the San Joaquin Valley's dirty air and repealed the agriculture industry's historic exemption from air operating permits that had lasted for 63 years.
Sen. Florez served in the California Assembly from 1998 to 2002 and in the Senate from 2002 to 2010, representing the Central Valley including Bakersfield, Fresno and 18 other cities. Sen. Florez is now President and CEO of Balance Public Relations which specializes in education and technology.
Senator Florez also served as the Senate's appointee to the Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education and served as President of the Twenty Million Minds Foundation. Florez is a thought leader on higher education issues and has been a featured speaker at the New York Times and White House.
A former investment banker, Sen. Florez received his MBA from Harvard in 1993. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from UCLA, where he also served as Student Body President.
California's 56th Assemblymember
Eduardo Garcia was elected in November 2014 to represent California's 56th Assembly District, which includes cities and unincorporated communities in eastern Riverside County and Imperial County, including Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland. Garcia was first elected to the Coachella City Council in November 2004. In 2006, at the age of 29, he became Coachella's first elected Mayor. Under his leadership, the City of Coachella has transformed into an emerging social, economic, political and cultural center. Garcia's administration set a strong foundation for the city's growth by directing large city-wide park renovation, expanding green space, building, repairing and resurfacing streets, and a major overhaul of the city's Downtown District. As Mayor, Garcia worked with leaders and agencies to procure outside grants and regional funding for several high profile capital improvement projects for the city. In fact, the city of Coachella invested over $200 million in public works projects during Garcia's tenure. Garcia worked to expand health and wellness programs in his community. His work to build a healthier Coachella through a partnership with the Flying Doctors and the Clinton Foundation earned recognition from the California Endowment for its exemplary model. A graduate of local public schools, Garcia attended Coachella Valley High School and the University of California, Riverside. He also completed the "Senior Executives in State and Local Government" Public Administration program from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and recently earned his Masters Degree from the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development. He is a proud father, husband and life-long resident of the Coachella Valley.
Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs
Arsenio Mataka was appointed by Governor Edmund G Brown Jr. in December 2011 to serve as Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs at the California Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to joining CalEPA, Arsenio served as directing attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. from 2010-2012, were he fought for justice alongside some of the most exploited communities in our society. Arsenio's involvement with environmental justice issues began at home with his parents and later with the Great Valley Center, where he provided extensive outreach and capacity building services to rural and underserved communities. In 2008 he served as an American Bar Association diversity fellow in environmental law in the office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Arsenio graduated from Sacramento State University with a Bachelor's degree in History, and went on to receive his Juris Doctor from Humphreys College Laurence Drivon School of Law. Arsenio lives in the Oak Park community of Sacramento with his wife Jessie.
Industrial Strategies Division California Air Resources Board
Floyd Vergara is Chief of the Industrial Strategies Division at the California Air Resources Board (ARB). He oversees several of ARB’s key climate change and air quality regulatory programs, including Cap-and-Trade, the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, conventional fuels regulations, energy sector programs, and oil and gas production measures. Floyd has been at ARB for over 27 years developing regulations on transportation fuels, advanced clean cars, oceangoing vessels, and other mobile or stationary sources. He received his B.S. in chemical engineering from U.C. Berkeley, his Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, and is licensed to practice in California as a professional engineer and lawyer
Assistant Director for Environmental Justice
Department of Toxic
Ana Mascareñas was appointed as the department's first Assistant Director for Environmental Justice in May 2015. Prior to joining DTSC, Mascareñas was a membership coordinator, then policy and communications director at Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles, where she promoted environmental health protections and fought for social and environmental justice in local, state, and national policy efforts. From 2006-2008, Mascareñas served in the Los Angeles and Washington D.C. offices of Congressman Xavier Becerra, directly assisting constituents in their claims and applications with federal agencies. She was a member of the East Los Angeles Residents Association board of directors from 2007 to 2015, where she organized alongside community, youth, and business leaders to improve East Los Angeles' social, educational, economic and structural resources through advocacy and civic engagement. Mascareñas graduated from Brown University with bachelor degrees in Human Biology and Sociology, and received a Master of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences from the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a 2010 graduate of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute. Mascareñas was born in northern California, raised in New Mexico, and proudly comes from a three-generation California farmworker family
City of Brawley
George A. Nava was raised in the City of Brawley. Following his studies at Imperial Valley College, he earned his Bachelors degree from San Jose State University in Business Administration, in addition to his Masters in Business Administration from National University. Mr. Nava is an advocate for a healthy local business climate. Having been self-employed for over a decade, he appreciates the challenges of getting a business off of the ground. When Mr. Nava first ran for a seat on the City Council, his motivation was to see changes in the way the City administration worked with business owners and residents. Today, his focus continues to be championing positive change in the City of Brawley. While serving on the Brawley City Council, Mr. Nava has spearheaded the formation of the Brawley Business Advisory Committee and the National Beef Ad Hoc Committee. He is a tireless advocate for downtown as a special events venue and has played a key role in the celebration of “Taking Back Main Street” once it was relinquished by Caltrans. As a Council Member, Mr. Nava is currently representing the City of Brawley on the Imperial County Transportation Commission, the Imperial County Film Commission and Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation. Mr. Nava is active in many community organizations and efforts including the Brawley Elks, Hidalgo Society and Main Street Committee. Mr. Nava is a licensed real estate and mortgage broker. He and his wife, Adriana, have a son, George Anthony.
City of Brawley
Donald “Donnie” L. Wharton was born in Lowell, Massachusetts and raised in the San Gabriel Valley community of San Dimas, California. He studied Organizational Management and Healthcare Administration, earning Bachelors and Masters degrees, in addition to a Masters in Business Administration from Ashford University. His hobbies include opportunities for outdoor adventure, travel and reading. Mr. Wharton has served as a member of the Imperial County Sheriff's Reserve Unit for nearly two decades, in addition to participation in the Brawley Rotary Club, Brawley Elks, Pioneers Memorial Healthcare Foundation, El Centro Regional Medical Center Foundation, and several Chambers of Commerce in Imperial Valley. Mr. Wharton’s service on the Brawley City Council began with a 2012 appointment to a vacancy created by the election of Ryan E. Kelley to the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. In 2015, he was elected to the City Council for a four-year term. Mr. Wharton was drawn to the work of the City Council as a result of his own small business experience, seeing small business success as the cornerstone of the local economy. Mr. Wharton views economic development and job creation as paramount to Brawley’s future. As part of his City Council duties, he currently serves on the Brawley Airport Advisory Commission where he advocates for strategic planning, forward thinking, and responsible governance. Mr. Wharton is currently employed by REACH Air Medical Services as the Director of Business Development. With a passion for flying that began in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, he also serves as the Chief Pilot for the Imperial County Narcotics Task Force. Mr. Wharton and his wife, Suzy, are the parents of two adult sons, Hunter and Donald.
City of El Centro
Cheryl was born and raised in Seattle and is a graduate of the University of Washington. Cheryl moved to El Centro in 1987 with her husband and Imperial Valley native, Steve Walker. She joined Rabobank, an international agribusiness bank, where she worked as the Corporate Administrative Officer, Director of Human Resources, and finally as the Director of Vendor Management before retiring in 2015. Cheryl was elected to the El Centro City Council in 1997 and has served as Mayor four times. She was re-elected to a fifth term in 2013. Cheryl is the immediate past-president of the Southern California Association of Governments [SCAG], the largest Metropolitan Planning Organization in the nation, and also serves on the Imperial County Transportation Commission, the League of California Cities Board of Directors, the California Council of Governments [CALCOG] Board of Directors, and on the El Centro Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees. Cheryl has a passion for community service that is focused on a better future for our region – improved healthcare, quality education, job training, work opportunities, transportation, housing, and civic engagement. Cheryl has been active with the Juvenile Justice Commission; the Imperial Valley Food Bank; Imperial Valley [Breakfast] Rotary; Center of Family Solutions (WomanHaven); Imperial County Workforce Development Board; Imperial Valley Soccer Association/El Centro Soccer Club; and most recently the San Diego State University Dean’s Advisory Board [Imperial Valley Campus].
Comite Civico del Valle
Executive Director of Comite Civico del Valle, an organization located in Imperial Valley whose mission focuses on addressing environmental health related problems in the Imperial and Coachella Valleys. A community activist who advises local, regional, and state programs on environmental health issues affecting Imperial County and Eastern Coachella Valley, Mr. Olmedo is a member of various state and national networks that focus on environmental policy and regulation. His organization has partnered with academic and research institutions to expand environmental research in Imperial County who published studies on Border Asthma and Allergies, Perchlorate Biomonitoring, and Agricultural Burning. He is currently partnering with San Diego State Univeristy and California Department of Public Health on air monitoring and asthma.
Salton Sea Policy
California’s Natural Resources Agency
Wilcox is the Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy, where he will act as the state liaison and coordinator for Salton Sea programs. In that role he works closely with the Salton Sea Authority and other Salton Sea stakeholders to develop a management strategy for the Salton Sea. Wilcox has a Bachelor's of Science degree in reclamation ecology and has worked on numerous large scale mitigation or restoration programs. He managed the development of IID and Imperial County's Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative framework program and is a member of the Salton Sea Authority's Ad Hoc Project development Committee. Previously he was the Manager of Environmental and Salton Sea programs for the Imperial Irrigation District. There he managed the development and implementation of the QSA water transfer mitigation program and managed the development of Salton Sea programs.
Brawley Union High School
Jose Flores Brawley Union Civics Teacher, Social Studies Head, Ca. K-12 Civic Learning Task Force Advisor, Ca. Dept. of Ed. Instructional Quality Commissioner. 24 years in education.
Government Affairs & Communications Officer, Imperial Irrigation District
Antonio Ortega is the government affairs & communications officer at the Imperial Irrigation District. He is responsible for coordinating the district’s government affairs programs and activities to deliver maximum value from IID’s water and energy resource portfolio. To this end, he promotes IID policies, programs and initiatives through liaison, communication, coordination and interaction with federal, state and regional governmental and legislative agencies. Prior to joining the district, he served as senior field representative for Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez and has also worked in the State Capitol as a legislative aide for Assemblyman Hector De La Torre and Sen. Abel Maldonado. Mr. Ortega is a graduate of the University of California at Riverside, having earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2006.
Climate Reporter, ThinkProgress
Alejandro Dávila Fragoso grew up in Peru, and the Imperial Valley. In the past six years he’s been a newspaper reporter and editor, a fiction writer, a photographer, and a documentary filmmaker. He holds a B.A. in political science and international relations from the University of California San Diego, and is a graduate from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, where he focused on environmental reporting, narrative writing, and visual story telling. His articles have appeared in the Miami Herald, the Sacramento Bee, and the Imperial Valley Press, to name a few. In 2013 the California Newspaper Publisher Association awarded him an Honorable Mention for his piece “Slab City, The Last Free Place in America.” He also wrote and produced “El Field,” a documentary film that achieved national theatrical release in Mexico in 2011, and was an official selection at the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico, MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight in New York, and many other film festivals in Europe and the Americas. He is now an environmental reporter for ThinkProgress and lives in Washington D.C.
Chief of Community Participation and Education in the Environmental Health Investigation Branch at the CDPH
Lori Copan is the Chief of Community Participation and Education in the Environmental Health Investigations Branch (EHIB) at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). She has worked for more than 25 years in public and environmental health for non-profit and governmental agencies in the United States and Chile. She grew up in a coal-mining town in Eastern Canada where she experienced first-hand the challenges of living in a low-income, contaminated environment where the community relies on the polluter for employment. This experience has fomented a lifetime commitment to health literacy, and social and environmental justice. Lori strives to integrate community capacity building, community-based participatory approaches, and responsible science into all aspects of her work.
Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine
University of Southern California
Shohreh F. Farzan, PhD joined the Department of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California as an Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine in 2016. Dr. Farzan is an environmental epidemiologist with a strong laboratory background in molecular biology. She earned her PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from Dartmouth Medical School in 2010, where her work focused on cellular signaling mechanisms that pattern the developing embryo. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Farzan trained in pediatric infectious disease at Weill Cornell Medical College, before joining the Institute for Quantitative Biomedical Sciences at Dartmouth. At Dartmouth, she cross-trained in epidemiology with Dr. Margaret Karagas and worked closely with the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study to examine the effects of prenatal and early life arsenic exposure on a range of immune and cardiovascular health effects in infants and mothers. She has worked to explore these health effects across environmental exposure levels through complementary research projects with the EPA/NIEHS-funded Children’s Center for Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research at Dartmouth and the Columbia Superfund Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS), with the goal of advancing our understanding the contribution of toxic metals to chronic disease initiation and progression. Dr. Farzan is the recipient of a NIEHS K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award and the USC Provost's Assistant Professor Fellowship. Dr. Farzan’s current research interests include 1) examining effects of prenatal and early life environmental exposures on maternal and child health, 2) investigating how toxic metals, such as arsenic, may impact cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk and 3) identifying preclinical indicators of chronic disease risk across life stages.
Climate Investments Implementation
California Air Resources Board
Dr. Charanya Varadarajan is the manager of the Climate Investments Implementation Section at the California Air Resources Board (ARB). In her current role, Charanya is responsible for managing the disadvantaged community aspects and the accountability and transparency provisions of ARB’s climate investments program. Charanya has Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in civil and environmental engineering, and over 14 years of experience in the environmental profession with contributions to the development of numerous State Implementation Plans, environmental impact analyses, and health risk assessments to meet local, state, and federal regulations.
Office of Environmental
Health Hazard Assessment
Lauren Zeise, Ph.D., became acting director of OEHHA in May 2015. Dr. Zeise has been with OEHHA since its inception in 1991. She spent 3 years as Deputy Director for Scientific Affairs and 21 years as Chief of the Reproductive and Cancer Hazard Assessment Branch, which included managing the Proposition 65 program. Prior to OEHHA’s creation, she was chief of the cancer unit at the California Department of Health Services and spent several years at the California Public Health Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She played a leading role in OEHHA’s development of CalEnviroScreen, the nation’s first comprehensive statewide environmental health screening tool, which is used to identify the California communities most burdened by pollution from multiple sources and most vulnerable to its effects. She also co-led the team that developed the hazard trait regulation for California’s Safer Consumer Products program, and she has conducted hundreds of health risk assessments. Dr. Zeise earned her doctorate from Harvard University with a thesis on “Surrogate Measures of Human Cancer Risk.” She has served on numerous national and international science advisory committees and boards focusing on environmental public health and improving the way chemicals are tested or evaluated for health risk. These include more than 20 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committees, numerous U.S. Environmental Protection Agency panels, and advisory committees for the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. She is a member, fellow, former editor, and former councilor of the Society for Risk Analysis and was the 2008 recipient of the Society’s Outstanding Risk Practitioner Award. She is also a member of the Society of Toxicology and an honorary lifetime NAS National Associate.
SDSU Imperial Valley Professor
Dr. Gregorio A. Ponce is Interim Dean for the Imperial Valley Campus of San Diego State University. In this capacity, Dr. Ponce is charged to support the work of faculty, staff, and administrators to enhance the learning of experience of SDSU-IV students. Prior to this appointment, he was a faculty member of the Division of Education teaching a variety of courses varying from mathematics methods to educational leadership. His research agenda focuses on the teaching and learning of mathematics, which has resulted in multiple publications in prestigious peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Ponce is a native of Imperial County with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and a Master's of Arts in Applied Mathematics. He joined SDSU in 2003.
San Diego State University
Penelope J.E. Quintana is a Professor of Environmental Health at the Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University. She obtained her Ph.D. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.P.H in Occupational and Environmental Health from San Diego State University. She has a research focus on exposures to children and vulnerable populations at the US-Mexico border. She has assessed children’s exposure to toxicants in house dust and on surfaces, including residual tobacco toxicants remaining after smoking has taken place, known as third-hand smoke. In conjunction with researchers at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Tijuana, she has studied exposures to pedestrians waiting in lines to cross the US-Mexico border. She is the author of a White Paper drawing attention to the long northbound wait times and lines of idling vehicles at US-Mexico Ports of Entry as an environmental justice issue for border crossers and surrounding communities. She is a Scientific Guidance Panel member for the California Environmental Contaminant Biomonitoring Program.
Climate Investment Implementation
California Air Resources Board
Ryan has over 15 years of experience working within the California Environmental Protection Agency at engineering, scientist, and supervisory positions. He is currently an engineer with the Air Resources Board’s Emissions Compliance, Automotive Regulations and Science Division. Previous to his current appointment, at ARB, he worked on Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund investments, SB 535 implementation, and disadvantaged community outreach. Ryan was also with the Department of Toxic Substances Control for 11 years as a staff, senior, and ultimately, supervising scientist where he oversaw professional engineers, geologists and scientists at brownfields (cleanup) sites. Ryan holds degrees in both Environmental Engineering and Geography, and has published several papers in peer-reviewed journals on environmental exposure and risk assessment. His environmental justice work involves engaging and negotiating with governmental and external stakeholders, community based organizations, academic institutions, and industry to solve environmental problems. Ryan was a co-founder of ‘Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods’, or IVAN (www.ivanonline.org), a unique and award winning, public-private partnership, which seeks to solve problems. The IVAN model was recognized as a Harvard Kennedy School Bright Idea in Government for 2010.
Air Pollution Specialist
California Air Resources Board
Trish Johnson has worked for the Air Resources Board since 2001. She has led several rulemakings and programs, and is currently involved in the development of the 2030 Target Scoping Plan Update as the lead for the AB 32 Environmental Justice Advisory Committee. Trish earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from California State University, Sacramento.
Environmental Justice Program Manager
María Salinas has more than 15 years of experience in community relations, and her first career involved starting and coordinating a literacy program for farmworker families in Woodland, California. She worked as a Coordinator of Community Partnerships in the Service Learning Institute, CSU Monterey Bay, at its inception and through implementation from 1996-2000. María’s work as CalRecycle’s Environmental Justice (EJ) Program Manager includes the responsibility for environmental justice education, information, and consultation with and for internal and external stakeholders. María serves as a liaison between the department and communities on EJ matters of mutual interest and approaches her work by learning and engaging individuals and groups while providing outreach, input, analysis, policy guidance, and recommendations to the department. María is a UC Davis graduate with a BA in Psychology; she holds certificates in Communications and Urban Planning and Design. Maria enjoys building programs and working in community relations to meet shared goals. She is an environmentalist at heart.
Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9
Francisco Donez works in the Air Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9, and is based in EPA's Southern California Field Office in Los Angeles. He leads the ports, marine, and locomotive sector workgroups for the West Coast Collaborative (westcoastcollaborative.org), a public-private partnership to reduce air pollution from heavy duty diesel engines. He has also focused agency outreach on environmental justice communities affected by diesel pollution, especially in southern California. A native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Francisco completed his Ph.D. in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley in 2010.
Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP)
Department of Community Services and Development
Glen Baird joined the Department of Community Services and Development in September 2015 and serves as the Disadvantaged Communities Liaison and Outreach Coordinator for the Low-Income Weatherization Program, part of California Climate Investments funded by Cap-and-Trade auction proceeds. His prior experience includes working in the California Department of Public Health and the nonprofit sector.
Disadvantaged Communities Liaison for Low Carbon Transportation Investments
California Air Resources Board
Ambreen Afshan is with the Air Resources Board’s Mobile Source Control Division. She is the Disadvantaged Communities Liaison for Low Carbon Transportation Investments. Her work involves reaching out to citizens, community based organizations, and governmental agencies to inform them about ARB’s funding programs and opportunities to benefit disadvantaged communities. Ambreen has over nine years of experience with the Air Resources Board, much of it with projects involving Health Risk Assessment and Mitigation plans for the railyards. In that capacity, she worked with impacted communities to understand their issues and also explore availability of incentive funding. Ambreen Afshan has a Masters and an M.Phil in Applied Chemistry.
Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo
Leticia Ibarra is the Program Intervention Specialist. She completed her academic training at Harvard University where she obtained her BA in Psychology (1995) and her MPH from University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health (1998). Leticia has completed several peer-reviewed publications, received numerous service and academic honors, and has 14 years of professional experience in research, project management, working with clinicas and consulting in areas related to Latino and immigrant communities using community-based, collaborative health communication and promotora interventions for improving the health and well-being of the community. Ibarra provides invaluable contributions with her skills and expertise.
Pediatrician & Associate Medical Director
Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo
Dr. Saima Khan is a board certified pediatrician with nearly 20 years of experience working in pediatric medicine in both in-patient and out-patient settings. She completed her medical education in 1997 at the J.W. Goethe University Hospital in Frankfurt Germany. In the same year, she started participating in a pediatric asthma research project at the Pediatric Pulmonology Department at the J.W. Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, where she continued working as a Junior House Officer till 1999. She worked in Neurological Inpatient Pediatric Rehabilitation in Germany and Neonatology in Great Britain from 1999 – 2002. Dr. Khan completed her Pediatric Residency Training at the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital from July 2002 till January 2006. Since July 2006, she started providing outpatient care at Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo, a federally qualified community health center in July 2006 as well as inpatient care at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, CA. At Clinicas, Dr. Khan has been able to provide high quality medical services to many pediatric patients presenting numerous health problems, like asthma, that are preventable and/or controllable with the proper diagnosis and guidance. As Associate Medical Director, she has been able to work with the Chief Medical Officer and the clinic’s pediatric staff to implement a patient-centered medical home model of care for pediatric patients in Clinicas’ twelve primary care clinics, seven of which are in Imperial County. She has actively participated in the Vesper Society funded Pediatric asthma improvement project at the Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo since 2012.
Imperial County Transportation Commission
Since June 2010 Mr. Baza has served as the Executive Director of the Imperial County Transportation Commission (ICTC). ICTC is responsible for managing the following programs for the Imperial Valley region:
Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board
Mr. Angel is responsible for development and implementation of water quality control policy for the Water Board, and represents his water Board at the Policy level also. He is currently the Lead for the Board’s Advisory Team and has also served Lead for the Water Board’s Prosecution Team for adjudicatory matter, including enforcement. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from California State University-Fresno. He is also a California Registered Civil Engineer and Hazardous Materials Specialist. He represents the State at the policy level in various committees including the Citizens Congressional Task Force on New River and the Good Neighbor Environmental Board. Since 1997, he has also been involved in dealing with policy to address binational water quality problems. He has been an engineering and water policy guest lecturer at Fresno State and San Diego State University, respectively. He has authored and co-authored numerous reports on water quality and several publications on impacts associated with discharges of wastes. For the last 25 years, his emphasis has been on development and implementation of policy to protect, restore, and enhance water quality.
Enforcement Division Field Operations Branch
California Air Resources Board
Central California Environmental Justice Network
Nayamin is the director of the Central California Environmental Justice Network (CCEJN). Prior to joining CCEJN, Nayamin worked for the Madera County Public Health Department as a Health Education Coordinator. Previous to that she worked for four years as a Program Manager with the Alliance for California Traditional Arts as the lead in various innovative projects that researched and analyzed the impact of arts interventions in the promotion of community health. Fort ten years Nayamin served as the advocacy and health education coordinator for the Binational Center for the Development of the Oaxacan Indigenous Communities. Nayamin has coordinated projects in Fresno, Madera and Tulare counties that provided health education, access to health and social services, and opportunities for civic engagement and leadership development. Nayamin has vast experience in working with immigrant and indigenous communities, managing health promotion programs, conducting participatory research and providing technical assistance to small nonprofit organizations. She holds a Master’s Degree in both Sociology and Public Health.
Comite Civico del Valle
Humberto Lugo is programs manager at Comite Civico del Valle and actively involved in environmental and climate justice policies at the California Rural Border Region and throughout California , also the lead Project Coordinator on IVAN Air Monitoring , member of the California Environmental Justice Coalition and other Networks focused on environmental justice. Coordinator for the IVAN Statewide Network and co-Chair of the Environmental Justice Task Force in Imperial and Eastern Coachella Valley , he is also involved in diesel emissions reduction efforts sustainable freight strategies and zero emissions campaign. Co-Author of “Democratizing Public Health: Community participation through citizen science and crowdsourcing”
Coalition Coordinator Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Rev. Ford is based in Sacramento, California. In addition to being an ordained Interfaith minister and indigenous spiritual practitioner, she has her Master’s Degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University with an emphasis in Environmental Peacebuilding and Project Management. Amanda leads the development, coordination, and implementation of EJCW's coalition efforts, programs and advocacy campaigns at a statewide level, including Human Right to Water (AB 685) implementation, pollution prevention, democratic water governance, and climate adaptation. She has worked on environmental peacebuilding and peace and education projects in 20+ countries and still actively advises projects around the world.
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice
mark! Lopez comes from a family with a long history of activism. He was raised in the Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of East LA Santa Isabel – MELASI), an organization co-founded by his grandparents, Juana Beatriz Gutierrez and Ricardo Gutierrez. mark! earned his M.A. from the Chican@ Studies Department at Cal State Northridge, where he completed his Masters thesis titled The Fire: Decolonizing “Environmental Justice.” After serving as Lead Organizer for East Yard Communities and Co-Director with EYCEJ Co-Founder Angelo Logan, mark! is now the Executive Director. He organizes in the area where he was born, raised and continues to live.
Greenaction Health and Environmental Justice
Bradley Angel is the Executive Director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. In 1997, Bradley joined with grassroots urban, rural and indigenous community leaders from Calfornia and Arizona to form Greenaction.
For 30 years, Bradley has been a local and national leader in the environmental health and justice movement and has helped communities win some of the most significant victories in the history of the environmental justice movement.
Prior to co-founding Greenaction, Bradley was the Southwest Toxics Campaigner for Greenpeace USA from 1986 through 1997. Bradley was Co-Director of the San Francisco Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign in 1985, and has been active in many social justice issues since a teenager.
Bradley was one of five people from around the world chosen as a recipient of the 2008 Lannan Foundation’s Cultural Freedom Award. He received this prestigious award in recognition of his decades of work with hundreds of diverse low-income and working class communities and Native Nations impacted and threatened by pollution and injustice. In 2014 Bradley was the recipient of the 2014 “Environmental Justice Angel Award” from the East Los Angeles Community Youth Center for his environmental justice work empowering and supporting youth and Latino communities.
Bradley co-founded and helps coordinate the Bayview Hunters Point Environmental Justice Response Task Force, part of the statewide IVAN network (Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods). Bradley serves on the steering committees of the California Environmental Justice Coalition, Resilient Communities Initiative, Bay Area Environmental Health Collaborative and the California Clean Freight Coalition.
Bradley played a lead role in the landmark settlement in 2016 of the Title VI Civil Rights complaint filed by Greenaction and El Pueblo of Kettleman City that successfully challenged racially discriminatory actions by state agencies in environmental decision-making. This precedent-setting civil rights victory has brought about systemic changes in government policies and practices to require compliance with civil rights laws including providing language access for non-English speaking residents, and provides for more thorough environmental reviews to protect vulnerable communities.
Planning and Policy Dept
Researcher and Lecturer
Victoria is currently researcher and lecturer at UC Irvine. She received her PhD from UC Irvine’s department of Planning, Policy and Design in the School of Social Ecology in December 2015 and Masters of Public Health from Columbia University in New York City. Victoria is interested in issues of community engagement and collaboration in public policy, planning, and research. Specifically she is interested in practices of inclusion and exclusion in pursuit of equity. Originally from the east coast of United States, she has lived and traveled abroad as well as across the United States and currently resides with her family in Orange County, California. Her current engagement in research and activism is located locally in Santa Ana, California, regionally in Orange County, and statewide with the issues facing the Salton Sea.
Health Programs and Promotores de Salud Manager
Comite Civico Del Valle
Ms. Bejarano has extensive experience working as a lead promotora in Imperial County. She is bilingual and bicultural and possesses over 13 years of experience working as a promotora on asthma health-related studies. Ms. Bejarano’s current assignments include managing community health workers (CHW’s) for the Respira Sano Asthma Intervention funded by a 4 million dollar grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Ms. Bejarano has experience working with schools, health care providers, Imperial County Air Quality District and in the area of public health and education.
Director of Our Roots Multi-Cultural Center, Inc. based in El Centro, California. He is also a member of Colorado River Citizens Forum IBWC US Section 2014-2016. John is a Senior Assembly Member, California Senior Legislature 2015-2018. John is member of the IID Energy Consumer Advisory Committee. He serves in the Imperial County Area Agency on Aging. John is an active participant of the Imperial County Environmental Justice Task Force. In addition, John is the current City of Brawley Parks & Recreation Commissioner. John is one of the main supporters of the Imperial County Community Air Monitoring Project. John participates in the Imperial County Asthma CER Project Stakeholder, Advisory Group Brawley Elementary School District, Bond Oversight Committee, and he is the Brawley Veterans Memorial Wall Committee President.
Environmental Scientist Department of Toxics Substance Environmental Justice
Abraham Zhan currently works for The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) in the Office of Environmental Justice and Tribal Affairs and serves as DTSC’s Supplemental Environmental Projects Lead. Abraham graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Environmental Earth Science, and has served communities across California for over 12 years, focusing on leadership development and youth engagement primarily in disadvantaged communities.
Health Communications Director
California Environmental Health Tracking Program
Michelle Wong is the Health Communications Director for the California Environmental Health Tracking Program, a collaboration between the Public Health Institute and the California Department of Public Health. In this role, Michelle helps the program to improve public health by providing environmental health data and information that is accessible, understandable, and relevant to communities, CBOs and NGOs, government programs, and others. Michelle also works to ensure community engagement, capacity-building, and sustainability in research and public health projects. She has been fortunate to take part in several projects in Imperial County, most recently the Imperial County Community Air Monitoring Project. Michelle received a bachelor's degree in molecular biology and a master's degree in public health from the University of California at Berkeley. She was born in San Diego and currently lives with her husband and two daughters in Oakland, CA.
Comite Civico Del Valle
Israel Cruz currently works for Comite Civico del Valle as Communications Coordinator in the Respira Sano Project. Israel graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in Journalism with an emphasis in Advertising; he also holds minor degrees in Sociology and Social Sciences. Israel has been working in environmental justice and community advocacy since May 2015.
Humboldt State Graduate
Kristian Salgado is an Imperial Valley native, a southern California county known for its agriculture and growing renewable energy production. Currently, she is a graduate student at Humboldt State University, where she is earning her Master’s of Arts in Social Science as part of their interdisciplinary Environment and the Community Master’s Program. Her present research is focused on collaborating with Comite Civico de Valle and Imperial Valley residents to develop capacity building tools for the Identifying Violations Affecting Neighbors (IVAN) Network, such as a community guide and user manual. Her research methodology is grounded in Participatory Action Research (PAR) and community science. She feels passionate about the proper dissemination and development of knowledge that can help support communities like the Imperial Valley.
As an undergraduate at San Diego State University she double majoring in both her passions: Psychology and Environmental Studies. She is a recipient of AASHE Student Sustainability Leadership Award, 2014, and the CHESC Best Practice Award- Student Energy Efficiency, 2013. She hopes to continue to use her interdisciplinary background to conduct research that tackles the big social justice issues involving human-environmental interaction. She is fascinated by how humans interact with the environment and how nature influences human behavior and vice-versa. It’s important to her to be a part of organizations that are not only interested in the well being of humans, but the well being of the environment as well.
Center for Collaborative Policy
Ms. Lucero has a Juris Doctor and LL.M. focusing on Indigenous Law and Policy analysis as it relates to natural resource planning and economic development. She has over nine years of experience in policy development, legal analysis and litigation, and over 17 years of experience in community development, facilitating and mediating among diverse groups. Ms. Lucero is a highly organized and capable project manager focusing on accomplishing objectives using cross-cultural communication processes and the law to ensure respect for all interests and points of view in an accountable and transparent process
San Diego State University
Luis Miquirray has worked with San Diego State Research Foundation for 8 years. He has been a Research Assistant in 4 different projects, which 3 have been in collaboration with Clinicas de Salud Del Pueblo. Currently he's working in Respira Sano Project, an asthma research study in Imperial Valley. His main focus is on data collection, including direct contact with participants as well as developing databases for storing and preparing data for future analysis.
Community Health Worker
Respira Sano Project
Cassandra Castro is determined young professional passionate for helping and supporting her community. In 2012, Cassandra graduated with an Associated Degree in Psychology from Imperial Valley College. In 2014, she graduated from San Diego State University attained a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. During her period at college, Cassandra had the opportunity of volunteering in CalWORKs Program in which she had the opportunity of assisting people with job trainings, employment seeking assistance and English classes. Following her pattern of serving the community, Cassandra worked for the Work Studies Program at Enrique Camarena Library. In this program, she assisted students with tutoring, prepared after-school classes, planned workshop and activities and offered administrative support. Currently Cassandra works for the Respira Sano Project at Comite Civico del Valle, a non-profit organization advocating for change and addressing environmental issues in the community. In this program, Cassandra works as Community Health Worker providing support, guidance and education about asthma to Imperial County's families in need. Cassandra believes that "small steps can accomplish big changes," and that is exactly what this program brings to the community.
Community Health Worker
Respira Sano Project
Onyx was born and raised in Los Angeles and moved into the Imperial Valley about nine years ago. In 2009, she graduated from Brawley Union High School. In 2012, she completed her Associate's Degree in Administration of Justice from Imperial Valley College. Thereafter she successfully completed her Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice at San Diego State University Imperial Valley Campus (2015). For the past six years, Onyx has been eagerly working with her community sharing her knowledge, compassion, and can do attitude by volunteering in several programs. While in high school, she was a mentor for both junior and high school students in the Gear Up and Mentor Mentee Programs. During her senior year in high school she hosted a presentation on, "How to Achieve Success" at Westmorland Union Elementary School to a panel of junior high school parents. She also was an Imperial Valley College Ambassador, assisting college developmental events and campus tours. Her most recent activities were as Court Appointed Special Advocate, advocating for children's best interest in court by establishing rapport and learning about every child's special situation and needs and making sure the children assigned to her found or remained in a permanent, safe, and loving home. Onyx's current role as a community health worker of the Respira Sano Program allows her to work one on one with families addressing asthma prevention and education, encouraging community involvement, and awareness of environmental issues. Without a doubt knows she is fortunate to be apart of a strong and willing team devoted to making Respira Sano's goal come true; "To improve the quality of life of children with asthma and potentially reduce family's economic and social burdens of uncontrolled asthma".
Community Health Worker
Respira Sano Project
Alejandro Vazquez is part of Comite Civico del Valle, Inc. He received his Associate's Degree in Administration of Justice at Imperial Valley College in 2007, Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice at San Diego State University - Imperial Valley Campus in 2009 and numerous Phycology, Technology and Business Administration Courses at Imperial Valley College. He currently serves as a Community Health Worker for Respira Sano Project - Home Education. Apart from the Respira Sano Project, Mr. Vazquez has been a community activist for other programs in the past. He was a Small Business Educator for internet sales and finance management in Calexico. He also became a Certified Enrollment Counselor for the Covered California first year of enrollment to inform and enroll local residents to a health insurance plan. Furthermore, Mr. Vazquez was able to inform the Calexico Community about their new SoCalGas Advanced Gas Meters installation. Currently, Mr. Vazquez has the responsibility to inform and educate families under the Respira Sano Project about asthma management, asthma triggers, healthy homes, air quality and community resources available in Imperial Valley
Brawley Union High School
Civics Class Student and currently involved in civic and environmental curriculum to understand how our government and communities work, the roles of citizens and leaders, the impacts of policies and decisions, and able to further civic and environmental literacy.
Southwest High School
Brenda is currently involved in the Leaders in Environment Awareness and Protection Club (LEAP). LEAP is developing leadership skills in environmental education, in collaboration with fellow organizations and groups that strive towards the same goals.