SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports

July 25, 2005 15:23 ET

Mayor Villaraigosa Continues Fresh Start at City Hall With Appointments to Airport Commission

Leadership Team Will Oversee LAX, Ontario International, Van Nuys and Palmdale Airports

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 25, 2005 -- Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa continued his efforts to create a more accountable and ethical government today by appointing candidates with outstanding qualifications to the City's Board of Airport Commissioners. The seven-member Board will get a fresh start with the addition of six new members.

The six new members named by the Mayor include: Sylvia Patsaouras, an experienced urban and environmental planner; labor leader Joe Aredas; Allen Rothenberg, a highly successful executive and business leader; Fernando Torres-Gil, acting Dean at the UCLA school of Public Affairs; Michael Lawson, a successful attorney; and, Valeria Velasco, an attorney, small business owner and president of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion. Velasco is also a resident of the LAX-adjacent community of Playa del Rey. Villaraigosa also reappointed Walter Zifkin, a current commission member, community leader and accomplished executive with the William Morris Agency.

"In selecting my team, I looked for people who brought with them a passion for public service, the highest ethical standards, a commitment to aviation security and safety and a shared view that we must expand our regional aviation system rather than relying on LAX alone," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "I am pleased that the best and the brightest have agreed to serve our city and captain one of our region's most important economic engines."

Villaraigosa also discussed his priorities for Los Angeles World Airports, which includes LAX, Ontario International, Van Nuys and Palmdale Regional, and which the Board of Airport Commissioners will oversee.

They include: Safety, specifically increasing the safety of air operations and strengthening efforts to protect our airports from potential terrorist attacks; Developing a regional approach to aviation so that one community alone does not have to shoulder the impact of the region's aviation needs; developing and operating the City's airports in an environmentally sensitive manner; and, maintaining the highest ethical standards possible.

Biographies of the appointees follow:

Joseph Aredas

A native of Los Angeles, Mr. Aredas began his career in the entertainment industry in 1967 at the MGM machine shop as a member of the former Cinetechnicians Union Local No. 789 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States and Canada (I.A.T.S.E.).

In 1980, Mr. Aredas was appointed Assistant Business Representative of I.A.T.S.E. Local No. 695, a position he held for seven years. Soon after, he accepted a position at Consolidated Film Industries (CFI), a Hollywood motion picture film processing laboratory, as Vice President of Labor Relations. In December of 1997 he left CFI to assume the position of Chief Administrative Officer at the industry's Contract Services Administration Trust Fund which is jointly administered by Producers and the I.A.T.S.E.

In November 1998, Mr. Aredas was appointed by I.A.T.S.E. President Thomas C. Short to serve as the International Representative-in-Charge of the I.A.'s West Coast Office, located in the Los Angeles area.

Mr. Aredas is Vice President of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, as well as a member of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union (H.E.R.E.); International Association of Machinists (I.A.M.); United Aerospace Workers (U.A.W.); and since 1967 the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes (I.A.T.S.E.).

Mr. Aredas serves on the Board of Directors of the Entertainment Industry Development Corporation (EIDC); Motion Picture and Television Fund; Entertainment Industry Foundation; and the California Film Commission.

Michael Lawson

A graduate of Loyola University in Los Angeles and Harvard Law School, Mr. Lawson heads the Employee Benefits Group at the Los Angeles office of Skadden Arps LLP. Mr. Lawson works on all facets of executive compensation and employee benefits matters for firm clients, including stock options and other equity-based compensation plans; tax-qualified and non-qualified pension plans; fiduciary responsibility/prohibited transactions; single and multi-employer plan liability matters; severance agreements and ERISA-related issues in structured finance transactions; bankruptcy proceedings; and proxy contests. Mr. Lawson regularly advises boards of trustees of pension and other employee benefits funds, and boards of directors of financial institutions and of companies sponsoring pension plans concerning their duty of care, fiduciary responsibilities, conflicts of interest and other statutory duties under state and federal laws. He provides advice in the context of financings, private investment company matters, and merger and acquisition transactions. He also counsels investment advisors. His experience includes advising clients with respect to the structuring and offering of investment vehicles to pension plans and other institutional investors, and the fiduciary obligations of investment managers, trustees and other fiduciaries, including matters involving ERISA litigation, U.S. Department of Labor exemption requests and matters involving the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and other government agencies.

Sylvia Patsaouras

Sylvia Patsaouras is a regional planner at the Southern California Association of Governments. A graduate of the UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Planning with an M.A. degree in Urban Planning, Sylvia was honored by UCLA Latino Alumni Association as the 2002 Alumna of the Year. Sylvia received two Bachelor degrees, Cum Laude, from the California State University at Northridge (Urban Studies and Political Science).

Sylvia has worked with various civic and community groups and has been appointed to city, county, and state boards. She has served on the State of California Speaker's Commission on Regions and on the State of California World Trade Commission. Sylvia also served as a commissioner in the Quality and Productivity Commission for the City of Los Angeles and was on the Founding Board of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI), a community-based effort which became a national prototype in neighborhood revitalization. Sylvia served as Commissioner in the Los Angeles Services Authority Commission for the Homeless, a joint city/county commission.

Since 1992, Sylvia has worked as a regional planner at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), and she is presently the Manager of Environmental Planning at SCAG. Sylvia and her husband Nick have two children and are long-time residents of Tarzana.

Alan Rothenberg

In 1999, Mr. Rothenberg was Chairman, President and CEO of the most successful World Cup in history, the largest single sports event ever. In that capacity, Mr. Rothenberg built an organization from scratch that grew at its peak to 350 full time employees and almost 20,000 volunteers, operating out of 9 venues, plus a headquarters office and a marketing office.

As CEO of the 1994 World Cup, Mr. Rothenberg directed all activities including ticket sales, TV contract negotiations, sponsorship and licensing contract negotiations, stadium negotiations, government relations, international relations, and press relations. In addition, he oversaw major entertainment programs created by the 1994 World Cup including the 3 Tenors concert at Dodger Stadium, a week of separate performances at the Hollywood Bowl, Opening and Closing Ceremonies featuring, among others, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Jon Secada, and World Cups Legacy Tour and SoccerFest.

Mr. Rothenberg also served as President of the United States Soccer Federation from 1990-1998, leading the growth of that organization from an annual budget of less than $5 million and with less than 20 employees to an annual budget of over $30 million and over 75 employees. In the process, he negotiated major sponsorship agreements, national television agreements and collective bargaining agreements with mens and womens national teams.

Mr. Rothenberg served as Chairman of the Board of the 1999 FIFA Womens World Cup, which was the largest and most successful women's sports event ever. Other past business experience of Mr. Rothenberg has included work in an executive capacity, for sports teams, cable TV, live theater and feature film. He has also served on Boards of Directors for many not-for-profit and for-profit companies.

Fernando Torres-Gil

Fernando Torres-Gil is currently serving as Acting Dean at the UCLA School of Public Affairs. He is also the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, serves as Professor of Social Welfare and Public Policy, and is the Director of the Center for Policy Research on Aging. Previously, he was a Professor of Gerontology and Public Administration at the University of Southern California and continues as an Adjunct Professor of Gerontology at USC.

His academic accomplishments parallel his extensive government and public policy experience. He served as the first-ever Assistant Secretary for Aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). He also served as Staff Director of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Aging (1985-1987), where he administered the legislative and oversight activities of the largest committee in the U.S. Congress; Special Assistant to then-Secretary of Health and Human Services Patricia Roberts Harris (1979-1980); and White House Fellow and Special Assistant to Joseph Califano, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (1978-1979). President Carter appointed Dr. Torres-Gil to the Federal Council on Aging (1978).

At the local level, Dr. Torres-Gil was the Vice President of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission (1989-1993) and served as a member of the Harbor Commission (1997-2001) and the Taxi Commission (1996-1997) for the city of Los Angeles.

Dr. Torres-Gil was born and raised in Salinas, California, and is the son of migrant farm workers. He earned his B.A. in Political Science (1970), graduating with honors from San Jose State University, an M.S.W. (1972) and a Ph.D. in Social Policy, Planning and Research (1976) from the Heller Graduate School in Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

Valeria Velasco

Valeria is a native Californian, born at California Hospital in Los Angeles. She has lived with her husband Frank and their son Frank in Playa del Rey since 1988.

Val is a sole practitioner estate planning attorney in Playa del Rey.

Valeria is presently the Vice President of the Westchester Rotary Club, President of the Alliance for a Regional Solution to Airport Congestion (ARSAC), a member of the Westchester/MDR/LAX Chamber of Commerce and is currently serving on the Los Angeles Superior Court Probate Volunteer Panel. She has served as a Los Angeles Planning Commissioner, Staff Legal Counsel and Hispanic Liaison to former Los Angeles City Councilman Michael Woo, Assembly Aid/Hispanic Liaison to former Assembly Speaker Mike Roos, a bilingual elementary school teacher, and a Fee Dispute Arbitrator for the State Bar of California.

Valeria earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law and a Masters Degree in education from the Claremont Graduate School, and Bachelor of Arts from California State University of Long Beach.

Walter Zifkin

Walter Zifkin, a UCLA graduate, began his career as William Morris in 1963 after working in the CBS legal department. He shifted into management as the William Morris Agency in 1966. Mr. Zifkin was named corporate vice president in 1975, then executive vice president in 1980, when he joined the board of directors. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 1989.

In 1992, Mr. Zifkin was the chief architect of William Morris' acquisition of Triad Artists, the largest merger of the two talent agencies in entertainment history. In April of 1997, he was named the firm's CEO; and in 2003, Mr. Zifkin was named CEO Emeritus upon his 40th anniversary with the company.

Mr. Zifkin has additional perspective and experience from his community involvement, which includes service on the Executive Committee of the Board of Cedars-Sinai Health System, the Board of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services and the Board of the Los Angeles Police Foundation. He has been a member of the Mayor's Economic Advisory Council for the City of Beverly Hills, the Board of Overseers of The University of Pennsylvania's Center for the Advanced Judaic Studies and, more recently, he joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic Board of Overseers. In May 2004, Mr. Zifkin was appointed by Mayor James Hahn to the Board of Airport Commissioners, which is the governing body for LAX, Ontario, Van Nuys and Palmdale airports.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Joe Ramallo
    (818) 415-3134

    Janelle Erickson