2016 Yosemite Policymakers Conference

Think like a Startup: Private-Sector Solutions for Public-Benefit Projects

Thursday, March 10 – Sunday, March 13, 2016 • Yosemite National Park


Yosemite-ValleyCome Celebrate 25 Years With Us!

Join us this year for a lively and inspirational program that will look at how government and partners can stay ahead of the resource curve the way the private sector does. Invited speakers will talk about the role of entrepreneurs in meeting evolving housing, travel, and mobility needs, how local governments can do more to respond to market needs, and what they can do to work with the private sector to optimize community benefits. There will also be ample opportunities for insightful dialogue and valuable networking.

 Follow the Yosemite Conference: #LGCYosemite2016

Conference Theme

Twenty-five years ago, the first Yosemite conference was held to present the Ahwahnee Principles for Smart Growth, a guiding document developed by leading architects and the Local Government Commission to address a constellation of escalating impacts arising from car-dependent patterns of development — ranging from traffic congestion, poor air quality and the continuing loss of open space to mounting infrastructure costs, inequitable distribution of our economic resources and an eroding sense of community.

Conference ParticipantsFrom the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities to California’s Strategic Growth Council, government at all levels is increasingly recognizing the need to plan communities differently. Regions now have Sustainable Communities Strategies under SB 375, and hundreds of millions of dollars of cap-and-trade funding will now be invested in implementing smart-growth practices every year.

These are important milestones, but the Yosemite conference has always been about looking forward. As we celebrate 25 years of working together to successfully grow the smart-growth movement, our ever-vigilant question remains – “What’s next?”

Looking at how business strategies and sensibilities can be adapted for projects that create public benefits for our communities offers some intriguing models and guiding principles for the kind of innovation and investment that will be imperative to meet the challenges of the next 25 years. We can be optimistic that there is no shortage of capital available for the necessary mobility, energy and infrastructure projects that will shape our future – we just have to be creative to get it directed toward jump-starting public-sector initiatives.

This year’s Yosemite Conference will focus on a new era of sustainable community solutions – private-sector style strategies for public-benefit projects. From taking risks and failing fast to developing a portfolio of viable projects and effectively matching them with private and public sector funds – you will leave with entrepreneurial solutions for your sustainable community “start-ups”!


Conference Program

This conference sells out every year because attendees say the format is uniquely structured to combine fresh ideas with hands-on discussion of how to implement them. The main conference program begins at 7:30 pm on Thursday, March 10th, and continues through noon on Sunday. We encourage you to bring your family, attend the opening session on Thursday evening, and use the session breaks to ski, hike, skate or just enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite in the winter.

Note: All conference sessions will be held at the Yosemite Lodge in 2016. There is construction scheduled near the Ahwahnee Hotel meetings rooms. However, hotel rooms will still be available at the Ahwahnee Hotel.

Thursday, March 10 (Garden Terrace, Yosemite Lodge)
6:00 – 7:30 PM Conference Registration
7:30 – 9:00 PM Opening Evening Session
  • Opening Remarks: Kate Meis, Executive Director, Local Government Commission
    Video YouTube
  • Moderator: Councilmember Jake Mackenzie, City of Rohnert Park; Chari, Local Government Commission
Presenting a Business Case: Emerging Private Sector Solutions to Sustainability Challenges and Public Partnership Opportunities
9:00 PM Adjourn for the evening
Friday, March 11 (Garden Terrace, Yosemite Lodge)
8:30 AM Conference Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM A New Era in California Water Management – Groundwater Sustainability Session
  • Moderator: Danielle V. Dolan, Water Program Manager, Local Government Commission
    Video YouTube
9:15 AM Community Impact of New Groundwater Legislation
  • The Role of Local Policymakers
    • Judy Corbett, Leader, Founder, Local Government Commission, CA Economic Summit Working Landscapes Action Team – Groundwater Subcommittee, Executive Committee Member, Planning & Conservation League
      Presentation PDF
    • Elizabeth Patterson, Mayor of the City of Benicia
      Presentation PDF
  • Overview of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and New Groundwater Sustainability Agencies
    • Trevor Joseph, Supervising Engineering Geologist, Department of Water Resources, Sustainable Groundwater Management Program
      Presentation PDF
  • Facilitated Q&A
10:30 AM Break
10:45 AM Leading the (Re)Charge
Video YouTube

  • Sonoma County GSA Formation & Multi-Agency Collaboration
    • Grant Davis, General Manager, Sonoma County Water Agency
      Presentation PDF
  • Groundwater and Environmental Justice
    • Jennifer Clary, Water Program Manager, Clean Water Action | Clean Water Fund
      Presentation PDF
  • Recycling & Direct Aquifer Recharge
    • Paul Jones, General Manager, Eastern Municipal Water District
      Presentation PDF
  • Water and Agriculture, Regional One Water Approach
    • Gary Peterson, Salinas Public Works Director
      Presentation PDF
12:00 PM Break – Boxed lunches to go (Reconvene again at 7:15PM)
7:15 – 9:00 PM 21st Century Mobility Solutions
Video YouTube

  • Moderator: Councilmember Michele Martinez, City of Santa Ana
  • Walter Rosenkranz, Senior Business Development Manager, car2go
  • Steven Cliff, Assistant Director, Sustainability, California Department of Transportation
    Presentation PDF
9:00 PM Adjourn for the evening
Saturday, March 12 (Garden Terrace, Yosemite Lodge)
8:00 AM Continental Breakfast
8:45 AM Our Community Visions
9:30 AM Valuing Ecosystem Services, Paying for Natural Resource Projects
Video YouTube

  • Moderator: Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, Placer County
  • David Shabazian, Rural-Urban Connections Strategy Program Manager, Sacramento Area Council of Governments
  • Laurie Wayburn, Co-founder and President, Pacific Forest Trust
    Presentation PDF
  • Louis Blumberg, Director, California Climate Change Program, The Nature Conservancy
10:45 AM Break
11:00 AM The Power of Small – A Housing Revolution
Video YouTube

  • Moderator: Councilmember Abel Guillén, City of Oakland
  • Rachel Ginis, Executive Director, Lilypad Homes
    Presentation PDF
  • Patrick Kennedy, Executive Director, Panoramic Interests
    Presentation PDF
12:15 PM Lunch Break – Boxed lunches to go (Reconvene again at 4:15PM)
4:15 PM Growing the Impact Economy: New Partnerships for Livable Community Investments
Video YouTube

  • Moderator: Supervisor Leticia Perez, Kern County
  • Josh Brock, Community Development Director, HERO/Renovate America
    Presentation PDF
  • Ian Parker, Managing Director, Public Sector and Infrastructure Banking at Goldman Sachs
5:30 PM Reception
6:00 PM Dinner
6:45 PM Saturday Evening Activities and Keynote
Video YouTube

  • Evening Moderator: Councilmember Steve Hansen, City of Sacramento
6:45 PM California’s Vision for Transformational Community Investments
  • Randall Winston, Acting Executive Director, Strategic Growth Council
    Presentation PDF
7:15 PM Impact Economy at Work in Communities
  • Scott Syphax, CEO, The Nehemiah Companies
    Presentation PDF
7:45 PM The Time For Action Is Now: A reflection of smart growth achievements for the Yosemite conference 25-year commemoration and a vision for the next 25 years
  • Rick Cole, City Manager, City of Santa Monica
    Video YouTube
8:15 PM Panel Discussion
8:45 PM Adjourn for the evening
Sunday, March 13 (Garden Terrace, Yosemite Lodge)
8:30 AM Continental Breakfast
9:00 AM New Mechanisms for Financing Smart Growth Infrastructure
Video YouTube

  • Moderator: Councilmember Jake Mackenzie, City of Rohnert Park; LGC Board Chair
  • Funding Your Vision
    • Krista Sloniowski, President, Connective Issue
      Presentation PDF
  • Unshelving Your Plans
11:00 AM Conference Wrap Up
11:30 AM Conference Adjourns

Conference Sponsors

Become a Conference Sponsor

We are looking for Conference Sponsors – agencies, organizations, foundations and companies – that are leading the way in meeting evolving housing, travel, and mobility needs. By choosing to provide monetary support for this conference, you will have the opportunity to interact with local policymakers in the midst of the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite.

To understand partnership levels and their benefits, view the Yosemite Conference Sponsorship and Opportunities Brochure PDF 

Contact Tony Leonard, aleonard@lgc.org, for information on how to become a conference sponsor.

For questions on the conference program:

Tony Leonard

Phone: 916-448-1198 x315

Email: aleonard@lgc.org