Mary Nichols Elected President of the Water and Power Board of Commissioners
Nahai, Patsaouras and Ramirez Confirmed by City Council
Mary Nichols, director of the UCLA Institute of the Environment and a former state and federal environmental official, was elected president of the City of Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners during a special meeting of the new Board on Friday, Sept. 23. The Board also elected Commissioner H. David Nahai as vice president.
The first meeting of the new Board followed confirmation of three of its members by the City Council that same morning. They included Nahai, Nick Patsaouras and Edith Ramirez. The council had previously confirmed Nichols, while William A. Burke withdrew his nomination.
A long-time environmental lawyer and policymaker, Nichols has held numerous environmental leadership positions in local, state and federal government. She served as Secretary for California's Resources Agency, where she set policy for 27 departments, boards, commissions and conservancies, including forestry and fire protection, water resources, fish & game and state parks, and led efforts to gain voter approval for four successful bond acts that raised over $10 billion for land and water programs.
Nichols has worked as a senior staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Law in the Public Interest and headed the Environment Now Foundation as Executive Director. She also co-founded the first environmental justice working group, a multi-ethnic forum for leaders from traditional environmental and community-based organizations to address issues of environmental equity. She served as Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Clinton Administration and was appointed Chair of the California Air Resources Board by Gov. Edmund G. Brown, Jr.
In addition to heading the UCLA Institute of the Environment, Nichols holds a faculty appointment at UCLA as Professor in Residence at the Law School and an appointment in the School of Public Affairs. She graduated from Cornell University before receiving her Juris Doctorate from Yale University.
Nahai is the President of Nahai Law Corporation, a Century City law firm, specializing in real estate, corporate, environmental and commercial law. Nahai has practiced law in Los Angeles since 1979 and holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in law from the London School of Economics and the University of California, Berkeley and was a Visiting Scholar at Berkeley.
Since 1997, Nahai has served as a member of the Regional Water Quality Control Board. He has served three terms on the board since his appointment in 1997 and was elected as Chairman in 1999, 2000 and 2001. Nahai also serves on the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, and is currently its Vice-Chairman. He has served on the Environmental Task Force for Governor Schwarzenegger and is a member of the Environmental Advisory Committee for Assemblymember Paul Koretz. Additionally, Nahai is a member of the Board of the California League of Conservation Voters, serving as the Chairman of its Development Committee and a member of its Executive Committee.
A California State University Northridge graduate, Patsaouras has been the President of Patsaouras and Associates Inc. for 30 years. He is also President of Polis Builders, which develops mixed-use projects.
Patsaouras is a past member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and of the Los Angeles City Board of Zoning Appeals. Fluent in both Spanish and Greek, Patsaouras is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Los Angeles-Athens Sister City affiliation. He is currently the chair of the Project Advisory Committee for the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and a member of the American Society of Engineers and Architects.
A partner with the law firm of Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, Oliver & Hedges, LLP, Ramirez specializes in intellectual property and complex business litigation matters. She received her A.B. from Harvard-Radcliffe College in 1989. Ramirez obtained her law degree from Harvard Law School in 1992, where she served as a member of the Harvard Law Review. After graduation she served as an associate at the firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher for four years.
Ramirez has participated in a variety of other professional and community activities, including serving as a member of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Volunteers of America. Ramirez is former President of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice. She is also a member of the Los Angeles Police Permit Review Panel.