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    Mayor O'Neill's Latest Choice For Harbor Commission Is...

    (June 13, 2005) -- has learned that LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill's latest choice for LB's Board of Harbor Commissioners is C.J. "Mike" Wallter, Ph.D, a former board chair of the LB Area Chamber of Commerce (1999-2000) and Dean Emeritus of CSULB's College of Business Administration.

    He is a current member of LB's Board of Water Commissioners, appointed by Mayor O'Neill in 2003.

    The Mayor's choice of Dr. Walter for LB's Harbor Commission is subject to voted approval by the LB City Council...which is expected to receive the nomination in about a week after it is heard by the Council's Civil Service and Personnel Commission (chair, Baker; members Colonna and Richardson) on Tuesday, June 14 at 2:00 p.m. in the City Council chamber.

    Dr. Walter, a former Chamber board chair, endorsed the 2004 Chamber-backed run for Assembly by Steve Kuykendall who opposed AB 2042 by then-Assemblyman, now State Senator Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV) which sought to limit Port-related toxic air emissions to current levels. The legislation was backed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the LB City Council...but opposed by the Port of LB and the Chamber....and was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

    State Senator Lowenthal has reintroduced his "no net increase" legislation as part of a new package of Port-related clean air bills...and the LB City Council -- which will ultimately decide the fate of Dr. Walter's nomination -- voted in April to endorse Lowenthal's legislation again.

    On April 12, Councilmembers Dan Baker, Bonnie Lowenthal, Tonia Reyes Uranga and Rae Gabelich agendized an item to support three bills by Senator Lowenthal, including SB 764, basically a reincarnation of AB 2042.

    Councilman Baker chairs the Council's Civil Service and Personnel Committee which is scheduled to hear Dr. Walter's nomination on Tuesday June 14.

    The Port's opposition to Lowenthal's AB 2042 last year so angered some Councilmembers that they began exploring ways -- using their Charter authority to approve the Port's annual budget -- to make Port legislative advocacy consistent with Council declared policies. LB's incumbent Harbor Commissioners responded by indicating that if Councilmembers sought to modify the Port budget, the Harbor Commission would have no choice but to reexamine its previously declared multi-million dollar budget surplus slated for transfer to LB's cash-strapped Tidelands fund (and Councilmembers backed down for the moment).

    If confirmed by the Council, Dr. Walter would be among the five non-elected Harbor Commissioners who'd decide the ultimate fate of an 80+ million gallon Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility proposed by a private firm in the Port, roughly two miles from downtown LB.

    In a June 7 Council vote, only Councilmember Reyes Uranga voiced audible support for the LNG project, although a slim Council majority voted 5-4 not to end a Council Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the project awaiting the project's EIR.

    A vacancy on LB's Board of Harbor Commissioners results from a decision by Harbor Commission president (and retired LB City Attorney) John Calhoun not to seek another six year term.

    Dr. Wallter's bio on the LB Water Dept. web site indicates he is a Phi Beta Delta International Scholar and also taught graduate level course at the University of Michigan and UCLA. It says Dr. Walter was also Senior VP for Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco, where he was responsible for the company's operations in 22 countries and served as chairman of the American Apparel Manufacturers Association.

    Dr. Walter earned his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, where he also completed undergraduate work. He is an Honorary Alumnus of Saint Mary's College.

    Dr. Walter and his wife recently donated $2.1 million to CSULB to support Athletics and the Edge of Excellence Endowment for Teaching and Learning. CSULB responded by naming its Pyramid the "Mike and Arline Walter Pyramid."

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