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Press Release · September 8, 2009

Robert Hertzberg, David Mas Masumoto, and Steven Merksamer Join PPIC Board of Directors

SAN FRANCISCO, California, September 8, 2009 — The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) announced today that Robert Hertzberg, David Mas Masumoto, and Steven Merksamer have been elected to its board of directors.

“At this important moment in California’s history, we welcome to our board three dedicated civic leaders with exceptional talents, diverse backgrounds, and relevant experiences,” says Mark Baldassare, PPIC’s president and CEO. “Their wisdom, knowledge, and energy will enrich PPIC’s efforts to provide state policymakers with the research and information needed to shape a better future for California.”

Robert Hertzberg is a partner with the global law firm Mayer Brown LLP. He specializes in governmental affairs, providing advice to companies with business interests in California and the rest of the nation. Before joining Mayer Brown in 2002, he served as speaker of the California State Assembly. He is co-chairman of California Forward, a bipartisan group that focuses on state government reform. Hertzberg is also chairman of the board of the Robert M. Hertzberg Library and Learning Center at Los Angeles Valley College and a board member of numerous other organizations and institutions, including the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, the Center for Governmental Studies, Town Hall Los Angeles, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, and the California Center for Regional Leadership. He holds a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of Law.

David Mas Masumoto is an author and third-generation California organic farmer. His books include Epitaph for a Peach, which won the 1995 Julia Child Cookbook Award for literary food writing, and his latest, Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land. He is a regular columnist at the Fresno Bee and has written for the New York Times Magazine, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. A founding member of the California Association of Family Farmers, Masumoto has served on the research boards of the California Tree Fruit Agreement and the Raisin Advisory Committee. He is on the board of The James Irvine Foundation and has been a board member of the California Council for the Humanities and the Campaign for College Opportunity. He holds a master’s degree in community development from the University of California, Davis.

Steven Merksamer is the senior government law partner in the Northern California law firm of Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor LLP. He is an expert in government and administrative law and the initiative and referendum process. Merksamer was chief of staff to Governor George Deukmejian from 1982 to 1987. His career in public service also includes serving as California special assistant attorney general and deputy attorney general and on the President’s Administration of Justice Task Force, the President’s Export Council, and the National Commission on Presidential Scholars. He is currently on the board of the California Chamber of Commerce and has been a board member of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University and the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. He received his law degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

Each of the new board members has been elected to an initial three-year term and is eligible for a maximum of three three-year terms.

In addition to Baldassare, the current board members are Walter B. Hewlett, PPIC board chairman and director of the Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities; Ruben Barrales, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce; John Bryson, retired chairman and CEO of Edison International; Gary K. Hart, former state senator and state secretary of education; Donna Lucas, CEO of Lucas Public Affairs; Ki Suh Park, design and managing partner of Gruen Associates; Constance L. Rice, co-director of The Advancement Project; Thomas Sutton, retired chairman and CEO of Pacific Life Insurance Company; Raymond L. Watson, vice chairman of the board emeritus of The Irvine Company; and Carol Whiteside, president emeritus of the Great Valley Center.

More information about the PPIC board is available at

The Public Policy Institute of California is dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research. The institute was established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. As a private operating foundation, PPIC does not take or support positions on any ballot measure or on any local, state, or federal legislation, nor does it endorse, support, or oppose any political parties or candidates for public office.