Villaraigosa names 11 commissioners

Still on the point of Mayor Villaraigosa rebooting for the second term, his office has released the info on 11 newly named commissioners. Armand Arabian, the former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court and superior Court judge, is one of them. Lawyer Yolanda Orozco ­takes the seat on the city planning commission. Release after the jump.


LOS ANGELES - Mayor Villaraigosa announced the appointment of eleven new commissioners: Justice Armand Arabian to the Industrial Development Authority Board of Commissioners; Yolanda Orozco to the City Planning Commission; Kei Karen Nagao to the East Los Angeles Area Planning Commission; Phillip Trigas to the Harbor Area Planning Commission; Noelle Guzman and Lydia Mather to the South Valley Area Planning Commission; Gabriel Esparza to the Board of Civil Service Commission, Keisha Whitaker and Ari Ruiz to the Commission on Children, Youth and Their Families; Crystal Dominick to the Disabled Access Appeals Commission; and Juliana Serrano to the Relocation Appeals Board.

Justice Armand Arabian ­ Industrial Development Authority Board

Justice Armand Arabian received his J.D from Boston University in 1961, beginning his distinguished legal career. He has spent the last thirteen years as an attorney for Alternative Dispute Resolution Services, Inc. conducting arbitration and mediation in complex legal cases.

Prior to his work with ADR, he spent six years as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court where he authored 104 majority opinions, 17 concurring opinions, 6 concurring and dissenting opinions and 16 dissents. He has also worked as a Superior Court Judge for Los Angeles County and an adjunct Professor of Law at Pepperdine University.

Arabian is nationally recognized for his work reforming rape laws and credited for creating the sexual assault counselor-victim privilege adopted into the Evidence Code of California and eighteen other states. In 2006 he received the Fernando Award, given annually to a Valley resident in recognition of service on behalf of the community.

Yolanda Orozco ­ City Planning Commission

Yolando Orozco is currently a partner with the Jones Day law firm and has over 25 years of experience litigating complex business and commercial litigation matters, with an emphasis on federal court practice involving a diversity of legal issues. She is a co-chair of the Los Angeles Office's Diversity Committee. Throughout her career, Orozco has significant experience in representing high-profile clients, most recently the Los Angeles Unified School District in a massive school construction dispute.

Since 2005, Yolanda has been voted by the Southern California Super Lawyers as a "Super Lawyer." In 2009, she was also recognized as one of the "Top Women Litigators in California" by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. Orozco also serves as president of the Federal Bar Association, Los Angeles Chapter. She was also appointed by Senator Dianne Feinstein to the Judicial Advisory Committee to screen applicants to the federal court and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Orozco received her J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1979. She received her B.A. from the University of California, San Diego in 1976.

Kei Karen Nagao - East Los Angeles Area Planning

Kei Karen Nagao holds a Masters degree in Urban Planning from UCLA and has over seven years of experience working on community development in the non profit sector, most recently serving as a project manager for the Little Tokyo Service Center Community Development Corporation where she managed affordable housing developments. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Little Tokyo Community Council and was a member of the California Planning Foundation.

Throughout her career, Nagao has devoted her time and talent to community service, spending three years as the Executive Director of Southern Californians for Youth. There she directed a network of social justice youth organizations to develop policy to assist low-income youth throughout Los Angeles.

Phillip Trigas - Harbor Area Planning

Phillip Trigas is a nationally acclaimed architect with over eighteen years of experience in a range of design projects. He received his B.A in Architecture from the University of Arizona and his Masters degree from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles.

In 2006 he received Architect Magazine's Home of the Year Award and has also recently completed work on the eco-friendly Malibu Lumber Yard Retail Center designed around sustainable building principals. His publications include news sources such as the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, as well as magazines and architectural publications.

Trigas is also actively engaged in the local community, serving as a Neighborhood Council Member and on the board of the Community Redevelopment Agency.

Noelle Guzman ­ South Valley Area Planning Commission

A lifelong resident of Reseda, Noelle Guzman is currently a Residential Board Member on the Reseda Neighborhood Council. Since 2005, she has also served as a consultant at Bain & Company, Inc., a top tier business consulting firm, where she manages projects focused on producing sustainable results for a variety of clients across the globe. In recent projects, she partnered with clients to analyze new market opportunities and perform detailed cost diagnostics highlighting opportunities for improvement.

Guzman graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California in 2005, receiving her B.S. in Business Administration with Honors and as a Presidential Scholar.

Lydia Mather ­ South Valley Area Planning Commission

Lydia Mather has a long record of active leadership within her community. In 2002, she became an original founding member of the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, where she currently serves as President and Chair of the Planning, Land Use and Management Committee. Mather has previously worked with developers to organize projects beneficial to the Van Nuys committee. In 2006, she founded the Van Nuys Historic Preservation Overlay Zone and has since served as the Historic Preservation Overlay Zones board Vice-Chair. She has also been involved with the Targeted Neighborhood Initiative and the Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, where she helped implement the first Planning Seminar for the Valley Neighborhood Councils.

In addition, Mather currently works as an art director, graphic artist and illustrator, primarily focusing on corporate and political communications. Trained in the Los Angeles Art Center College of Design, she has utilized her talents in communications to make complex issues easily understood by targeted audiences.

Gabriel Esparza - Board of Civil Service Commissioners

Gabriel Esparza received his B.A. from Stanford University in International Relations and Psychology and went on to get his MBA from Harvard. Since then, he has worked for the Rothenberg Systems International, the Walt Disney Company, Diamond Consulting and American Express, where she is currently the Director of Business Development, Global Corporate Services.

Esparza has been with American Express for the past six years in both Los Angeles and New York City. As Director of Business Development in Global Corporate Services, he negotiated complex commercial contracts with high-profile companies. He previously served as Director of Industry Development, where he led a team of managers in assessing industry opportunities and driving business development efforts.

Esparza has consistently been active within the Latino community. In 2006, he was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, one year after being elected to the Corporate Advisory Board of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. In 2004, he co-founded the Harvard Latino Alumni Association, where he currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Board.

Keisha Whitaker ­ Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families

Keisha Whitaker is a fervent community activist who has touched countless lives through her work in journalism, film and philanthropy. A former broadcast journalist, Whitaker has traveled the globe with her family to promote charities such as Hope North, an orphanage in Northern Uganda, and Malaria No More, an organization seeking to prevent the dangers of the disease.

After graduating from Endicott College in her native Massachusetts, Whitaker began a modeling career in Boston and New York City. Upon moving to Los Angeles, Whitaker transitioned to her original career in journalism as a host on TV Guide programs and as a correspondent on Extra. She has also been featured on Oprah and Rachel Ray. In 2006, she co-founded Kissable Couture, a makeup and beauty product brand that has since seen enormous success.

In 2008, Whitaker served as executive producer of the award-winning documentary "Kassim the Dream," a film about a former Ugandan child soldier. As an active advocate for human rights, Whitaker and her husband Forest assisted Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in announcing the
Nelson Mandela Day campaign in Los Angeles in May.

Ari Ruiz ­ Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families

Ari Ruiz is a young and highly active Angeleno who has devoted countless hours to volunteering throughout his community. Ruiz currently serves as the Outreach Coordinator for Barrio Action Youth & Family Center in El Sereno, where he helps community members get involved in beneficial programs. He also coordinates and organizes free events aimed to help feed low-income families.

In 2008, Ruiz was appointed to the Los Angeles City Youth Council by City Councilmember Jose Huizar. He also serves as a Board Member of the LA-32 Neighborhood Council, where he chairs the Public Safety Committee. In addition, Ruiz was recently elected as the Political Vice-President for Stonewall Young Democrats and as a planning committee member for Models of Pride, Southern California's biggest LGBT conference.

In 2006, as a volunteer with United Students, Ruiz joined InnerCity Struggle, an organization aimed at promoting safe and healthy communities in East Los Angeles. As a volunteer activist, he led Wilson High School students in advocating improvement of public education, ultimately resulting in an updated curriculum and the hiring of more counselors.

Crystal Dominick ­ Disabled Access Appeals Commission

Crystal Dominick, currently a real estate owned specialist for Coldwell Banker, has a proven record of leadership within disabled accessibility and real estate. As a specialist, she has effectively rendered excellent service in full cycle REO dispositions to the open market and has aggressively marketed REO properties. Throughout her career, she has compiled significant experience in reviewing construction plans to plan profitable alternatives for projects and sales. In previous positions, Dominick has also supervised local, state and federal compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Prior to joining Coldwell Banker, Dominick was a National Real Estate Site Locator for the MAACO Real Estate Division. She also previously served as a Senior Financial Analyst at Paramount Pictures, where she was responsible for analyzing financial reconciliations for the entire network television account base. In addition, she has been involved with the National Association of Realtors and the Hispanic Business Association.

Juliana Serrano ­ Relocation Appeals Board

Juliana Serrano currently serves as the Director of Operations and Co-founder of ENCOMPASS, a progressive organization in Monrovia educating youth about responsibility and diversity. At ENCOMPASS, she manages staff members, designs marketing strategies and effectively directs an annual budget of more than $500,000.

Prior to co-founding ENCOMPASS in 2004, Serrano worked as an advocacy organizer at the Alliance Against Racial Mascots in Los Angeles, where she partnered with Assemblymember Jackie Goldberg on the authorship of the California Racial Mascots Act. Serrano has also served as program coordinator and assistant for the National Conference for Community and Justice.

Serrano received her B.A. in Psychology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

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