With a new federal tax plan recently passed and budget cuts looming, the Governor and other state policymakers will face a tall task in order to fund the programs that provide the opportunities California values. To help finance tax reductions for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, Congress voted to make cuts totaling $5.8 trillion in key federal programs over the next ten years.
Faced with prospect of substantial cuts to safety net programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and food assistance, state and local lawmakers have the challenge of protecting the well-being of California households while preserving the fiscal health of the state.
In this two-part program, we’ll dive into the Governor’s recently released Proposed Budget for 2018-2019 and discuss how to have your say in the process. Led by experts from the California Budget & Policy Center, we’ll find out what’s made the cut, what hasn’t, and what it all means for California’s most vulnerable communities.
We’ll also explore the implications of the Governor’s budget on Bay Area cities and counties. With our panel of experts, we’ll discuss how the Governor’s budget and federal policy choices will have an impact on the everyday lives of Bay Area residents.
Fred Blackwell, CEO, The San Francisco Foundation
Fred Blackwell is the CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country. The San Francisco Foundation works hand-in-hand with donors, community leaders, and both public and private partners to create thriving communities throughout the Bay Area. Since joining the foundation in 2014, Mr. Blackwell has led the Foundation in a renewed commitment to social justice through an equity agenda focused on racial and economic inclusion.
Mr. Blackwell, an Oakland native, is a nationally recognized community leader with a longstanding career in the Bay Area. Prior to joining the foundation, he served as Interim City Administrator for the City of Oakland where he previously served as the Assistant City Administrator. He was the Executive Director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco; he served as the Director of the Making Connections Initiative for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Lower San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland; he was a Multicultural Fellow in Neighborhood and Community Development at The San Francisco Foundation; and he subsequently managed a multi-year comprehensive community initiative for The San Francisco Foundation in West Oakland.
Mr. Blackwell currently serves on the board of the Independent Sector, Northern California Grantmakers, SPUR, the Bridgespan Group, the dean’s advisory council for Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and the community advisory council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. He previously served on the boards of the California Redevelopment Association, Urban Habitat Program, LeaderSpring, and Leadership Excellence. He is a visiting professor in the department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and the Co-Chair of CASA. He holds a master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College.
Chris Hoene, Executive Director, California Budget & Policy Center
Chris Hoene joined the California Budget & Policy Center as Executive Director in 2012. Prior to joining the California Budget & Policy Center, he was director of the Center for Research & Innovation at the National League of Cities in Washington, DC, leading efforts to analyze trends in local and state government and promote constructive policy action on issues including public finance, economic development, governance, housing, sustainability, and infrastructure. Chris previously worked for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Public Policy Institute of California. In 2010, he was inducted as a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration for his service and expertise in the areas of public policy and government. Chris holds a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Idaho.
Liz Guillen, Director of Legislative & Community Affairs, Public Advocates
Liz Guillen is the Director of Legislative and Community Affairs at Public Advocates. She has extensive experience advocating for the education rights of traditionally disenfranchised students in California’s K-12 public schools and in higher education. Working from Public Advocates’ Sacramento office since 2002, she focuses her policy advocacy on improving “opportunities to learn” across the state, collaborating closely with a statewide coalition of community and grassroots organizations representing low-income and immigrant communities of color. Liz came to Public Advocates from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund after a decade of work culminating in AB 540 (Firebaugh), California’s original Dream Act opening the door to postsecondary education for immigrant students a little wider. She was a Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Social Justice Fellow in 2003 and a recipient of the California State Bar Legal Services Award for litigation challenging Proposition 187 on behalf of immigrant college students. She is a graduate of the University of Denver College of Law and Metropolitan State College in Denver.
Trent Rhorer, Executive Director, San Francisco Human Services Agency
Trent has served as the Executive Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA) since 2000. HSA is an umbrella agency that comprises the Departments of Human Services, Aging and Adult Services, and the Office of Early Care and Education. HSA, through its $850 million dollar annual operating budget and 2,200 employees, administers the City’s public human services programs for low-income families, children, seniors, disabled adults, and victims of abuse or neglect. HSA serves more than 250,000 people annually. Under Trent’s leadership, the Agency managed local implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act, enrolling nearly one in four San Franciscans into high quality health care. For more than a decade, he has played an instrumental role in the development of citywide programs and policies to address poverty, homelessness, and child abuse. These include HSA’s JobsNOW! initiative, a nationally recognized subsidized employment model that has provided job placements for over 20,000 low-income parents and single adults; and Care Not Cash, which reformed the welfare system for homeless single adults and provided housing for more than 4,700 homeless individuals. Mr. Rhorer holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Lee Wilcox, Chief of Staff, City of San Jose City Manager's Office
For the last decade Lee has served in a variety of roles in the California State Capitol, including lead political strategist for several state initiatives and San Jose City Hall, including Chief of Staff to Councilmember Nancy Pyle and Budget Director for Mayor Liccardo.
In 2008, Lee joined the City of San Jose City Manager’s Office as the Downtown Manager and Assistant to the City Manager. Lee led the City's economic development team for Downtown and oversaw communications and public relations for the Office of Economic Development. Lee was specifically focused on Downtown's management and operations, placemaking and business development by serving as liaison between the City and downtown businesses. In addition, Lee managed the City’s oversight team and a budget of roughly $26 million for the Convention Center and Cultural Facilities and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, operated by Team San Jose. Lee also oversaw the City’s contract with the San Jose Sharks to operate the SAP Arena.
In 2015, Lee was appointed to lead the Mayor’s Budget Office focusing on strategic development of priority initiatives on budget and fiscal matters. In this role, Lee was instrumental in helping negotiate pension reform, increases to the sales tax and modernization of the business tax. In 2018, Lee was appointed Chief of Staff of the City Manager’s Office—leading the Office of Administration, Policy and Intergovernmental Relations. Lee’s political and public policy background lends especially well to working with the Mayor and Council, City Officials, and downtown stakeholders on the direction of downtown San Jose.
This program is co-sponsored by the Asset Funders Network.