This page is in development. It includes selected historical information and materials requested for research or reference purposes. I’m also adding some personal observations for context.
Please let me know if there are additional items you would like to see here. As ever, thank you for your interest and support.
Citizen Service. Citizen service is one of my longstanding passions. Policy Review published an article outlining a national service proposal for Citizen Service in 1989, with an eye toward the new George H. W. Bush presidential administration. It attempted to link citizenship benefits with obligations. I also served on the board of Youth Service America at that time, which was and is a tremendous resource for innovation in this field. Subsequently, at the beginning of the second Bush administration, New Year’s 2001, William F. Buckley generously referred to the Policy Review piece in a column recommending a presidential voluntary service initiative.
California Environmental Protection Agency. Consistent with his longstanding commitment to environmental improvement as U.S. senator and San Diego mayor, Governor Pete Wilson fulfilled a 1990 campaign commitment, creating Cal/EPA in 1991. In March 1991, he appointed me, subject to Senate confirmation, to serve as the founding secretary. There was widespread support for the agency’s creation, ranging from environmental advocate Senator Tom Hayden to Republican conservatives. There were also concerns expressed by some, such as the Wall Street Journal editorial board, who feared strict law enforcement, and by some in the Central Valley who were apprehensive about pesticide regulation moving away from the Food and Agriculture Department. In the midst of the public discussion, a terrible toxic spill at Dunsmuir prompted widespread recognition of the benefits of formalizing procedures among diverse agencies. Cal/EPA was subsequently approved by the legislature as part of the budget process in July 1991.
As reflected in this discussion with Molly Selvin of the Los Angeles Times, the environmental and economic issues were intertwined, front and center during the Wilson years. In addition to ongoing regulatory and management issues, there was a welcome opportunity to re-frame the public debate, demonstrating how environment and economy could advance together under a smart, disciplined approach. Reform was the order of the day, and many individuals inside and outside the government contributed great service.
For an overview of California’s environmental accomplishments under the Wilson administration, please see Governor Wilson’s Environmental Report 1997-98. I also provided a survey of the agency’s service, including my take on priorities, in my resignation letter to Governor Wilson in 1997. It’s a tremendous honor to have played a part in California’s national and international environmental and energy leadership at that vital time.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I am privileged to have served twice at the EPA in Washington. The first was as a special assistant to Administrator William Ruckelshaus and Deputy Administrator Al Alm in 1983-84. This was a tremendous opportunity to be part of a team that worked to restore the agency’s footing after missteps early in the Reagan Administration. I learned a great deal about management and leadership from the these two outstanding individuals. I also gained detailed knowledge about the operations of large, complex organizations with multiple stakeholders.
That experience was invaluable when I returned to the agency in 1989-91, in the sub-cabinet of President George H.W. Bush, as the chief law enforcement officer. reporting to Administrator William K. Reilly. As referred to in the review essay on Joel Mintz’ authoritative book, this was a time of vigorous EPA enforcement. This included not only a full use of EPA statutes, but coordination with other agencies, such as OSHA. It was also a time of notable executive-legislative cooperation, exemplified in the enactment of a major statute, the Pollution Prosecution Act of 1990, and in key provisions of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.
The ramp-up of traditional enforcement was accompanied with far-reaching reforms. An example is the issuance of “Supplemental Environmental Projects” guidance, 25 Environmental Law Reporter (Environmental Law Institute.) 35,607, at 35,607 (Feb. 12, 1991). This policy, controversial at the time of its issuance, has proved enduring, and continues to evolve. The Enforcement in the 1990s Project laid the groundwork for a number of short- and long-term innovations. Among them was expanded cross-media enforcement, both for its own sake and as a driver of ongoing internal and external improvement.
For additional information on this period, please see an excerpt from Enforcement at the EPA by Professor Mintz, as well as an interview with Seth Borenstein of the Society of Environmental Journalists from 2004.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management. I moved from private law practice to serve as general counsel of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in 1988-89. I reported to two outstanding individuals: Director Constance Horner and Deputy Director Hugh Hewitt. Management is a lifelong passion, and OPM provided many ways to serve. It was especially challenging and interesting, because the election of President George H.W. Bush marked the first transition to a president of the same party after two consecutive terms since 1928. The general counsel’s office included numerous talented attorneys, such as James Green and Wade Plunkett. This service proved valuable in many ways, including my subsequent service as a public member of the California State Personnel Board in 1988-90. I also maintained participation in environmental and energy issues during this time, including writing about opportunities and challenges awaiting the next presidential administration.
U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. I was honored to serve as a counsel to the committee during the 99th Congress (1985-86). It was a memorable time in terms of high legislative productivity and the high caliber of committee members then serving. Though my assignments ranged into several areas for several members, my primary work was for a legendary senator: Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming. His leadership, skill and kindness are enduring sources of inspiration and instruction. It is for good reason that the nation has turned to him, along with Erskine Bowles, to co-chair the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. It was also a privilege to work alongside tremendous staff, including Brent Erickson, Bob Hurley, Lee Fuller, and Linda Findlay.
Ross Essay Prize, American Bar Association. “Coming to Terms with the Compensation Conundrum” was originally published in the American Bar Association Journal in 1985. At that time, the prize was $10,000, with no provision for second- or third-place. I’m honored to have won it, and pleased that the issues remain relevant (if also disappointed that much-needed reform has not occurred). The American Bar Association convention that year included a discussion of the article. I passed on it to attend the wedding of my wonderful friends Brooks and Lucy Newmark at historic Sandhurst in England. Though I was disappointed to miss the ABA panel, that was the right decision.
American Candidate. I’m occasionally asked if I was a participant on this 2004 reality television program on the Showtime network. The answer is yes. Though a brilliant concept—an experiment of having non-politicians run in a mock presidential campaign—it was poorly executed. It did not succeed among television critics or at the box office. Nonetheless, I met some wonderful individuals and learned about aspects of documentary film production.
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