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THE POWER ISSUE

The West 100

Our list of the most powerful people in Southern California

August 13, 2006

1. Donald Bren

Chairman, Irvine Co. // 74, Newport Beach

Simply put, Orange County looks like Orange County--much of it uniformly manicured and catering to the high life and high tech--because of the influence of one man. UC Irvine, Fashion Island, the Irvine Spectrum, University Research Park, Newport Coast, Orange County's thousands of acres of wilderness and parkland and its enviable public school systems all bear Bren's imprint. So does the New Majority, a growing coalition of wealthy, socially moderate Republicans who helped vault Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, an old skiing buddy of Bren, into office. He's the richest man in Orange County--worth an estimated $7.5 billion, according to the O.C. Business Journal--and has been snapping up property in Century City, San Diego and the Silicon Valley as well. He is publicity-shy and enigmatic but don't let his style fool you: Bren's involvement can mean life or death for a voter initiative, political campaign or philanthropic cause. His priorities are education, conservation (penance for a guy who has paved over a good chunk of the county?) and continuing to lift the O.C. out of L.A.'s long, but ever-shortening, shadow.

2. Eli Broad

Civic Leader // 73, Brentwood

It's one thing to be rich. It's another to use your money--in Broad's case, $5.6 billion, according to the L.A. Business Journal--to insert yourself into virtually every major decision affecting the civic life of a city. Broad's zeal for a renaissance in downtown L.A. saved Disney Hall when lagging donations threatened to turn it into an expensive underground garage. He has given us a serious high school for the arts while shaping the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Grand Avenue project. He's also expressed an interest in buying The Times. Broad has heaped a fortune on Caltech, UCLA, Pitzer and USC, which this year received $25 million to create a stem-cell research institute named for him. His foundation trains public school superintendents, he recruited Roy Romer to head the Los Angeles Unified School District and he now supports mayoral control of LAUSD--so strongly that he recently spanked Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for ceding too much power to the teachers unions. Before all this, Broad made his mark in other ways: His homebuilding company, Kaufman & Broad, sowed Greater L.A. with middle-class ranch houses--what some would call the region's signature sprawl.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday August 17, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 90 words Type of Material: Correction
Southland's most powerful: The listing of Southern California's 100 most powerful people in Sunday's West magazine incorrectly stated that real estate heir Stephen L. Bing had been "socked by actress-model Elizabeth Hurley with a successful paternity suit." It was Bing who initiated legal proceedings to establish his paternity and successfully confirmed his legal right to provide financial support for his son, despite Hurley's opposition. The article also gave the incorrect city of residence for Richard "Wooly" Woolcott, CEO and president of Volcom. He lives in Laguna Beach, not Laguna Hills.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday August 27, 2006 Home Edition West Magazine Part I Page 5 Lat Magazine Desk 2 inches; 89 words Type of Material: Correction
The Power Issue: The listing of Southern California's 100 most powerful people (Aug. 13) incorrectly stated that real estate heir Stephen L. Bing had been "socked by actress-model Elizabeth Hurley with a successful paternity suit." It was Bing who initiated legal proceedings to establish his paternity and successfully confirmed his legal right to provide financial support for his son, despite Hurley's opposition. In addition, the listing gave the incorrect city of residence for Richard "Wooly" Woolcott, CEO and president of Volcom. He lives in Laguna Beach, not Laguna Hills.

3. Barbara E. Kerr

President, California Teachers Assn. // 59, Riverside

It's not clear if Kerr has ever gotten her first-grade class in Riverside to listen. But she sure has the attention of the mayor and governor. No issue is more critical to the future of the region than education, and nobody wields more influence in this arena than does Kerr, president of the 335,000-member union. With United Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy stepping back and letting her do most of the talking, Kerr engineered the deal in June with Villaraigosa that would, among other things, strip power from the LAUSD board and give individual teachers much more sway over classroom instruction. Critics say the mayor caved in to the unions, but it's no surprise that Kerr has Villaraigosa's ear. Under her direction, the CTA helped defeat Villaraigosa's opponent, incumbent James Hahn, with a TV attack ad in 2005. The LAUSD deal must next pass muster in Sacramento, where Kerr knows how to mix it up. Just look what she did to Gov. Schwarzenegger last year after he reneged on an education-funding agreement. Kerr and her troops went to war, helping defeat a slate of special election ballot measures that Schwarzenegger was pushing. Who's the Terminator now?

4. Antonio Villaraigosa

Los Angeles Mayor // 53, Windsor Square

Much of his power is derived simply from his position as head of the region's biggest city. But it's far more than that. With seemingly boundless energy, Villaraigosa is bent on putting his stamp on all of the local hot-button issues of the day--crime, transportation and education--in a way that his predecessors never managed. He has forged close ties with the City Council, winning easy passage of his first budget and an increase in trash collection fees to pay for more cops. Although he is L.A.'s first Latino mayor in more than 130 years--making him an important symbol locally and nationally--Villaraigosa has worked hard to embrace different communities throughout the city. His detractors say he is perpetually in campaign mode and can be weak on policy details. And he has taken plenty of lumps on the LAUSD deal. But Villaraigosa still has the benefit of the doubt from all the players who really count, be they in the union halls; the Legislature, where he once called the shots as Assembly speaker; or the governor's office.

5. Roger Mahony

Archbishop, Archdiocese of L.A. // 70, Los Angeles

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