yosemite policymakers conference

California mayors, city council members, county supervisors, city managers and other high level department heads will all come together in the middle of the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite National Park at the 26th Annual Yosemite Policymakers Conference in March 2017.
This popular conference always features a timely and inspirational agenda designed to assist California’s policymakers in finding the tools and support they need to implement innovative solutions to address society’s most pressing challenges. This year’s conference will be no different with its focus on Sustaining our Progress and Protecting the American Dream.

Follow the Yosemite Conference: #leaders4livability



The Road Ahead: Sustaining Our Progress, Protecting the American Dream

Yosemite Policymakers Conference Participants

The American Dream has been getting harder for the average person to achieve… and November’s national election results have raised serious questions about the potential effects of changes in legislative and budgetary support for social services and environmental action.

With the status of new EPA leadership, the Paris Agreement, the Clean Power Plan, the Clean Water Act and a slew of social protections in question, California’s role as a beacon for progress, innovation and environmental leadership is ever more critical.

The 2017 Yosemite Conference will focus on protecting and advancing critical elements of the American Dream, ranging from affordable housing and reliable transportation options to sustainable natural resources (including clean air and water) and equitable opportunities for our diverse communities.


The average price tag to own or rent a home in California is more than double the national mark. To keep pace with nationwide housing costs, California would have needed to build millions more new homes over the last three decades. Our panelists will explore potential decisions by the new federal administration, and discuss state and local strategies to increase housing supply and affordability.


Transportation is the second-largest expense for most households, with those in auto-dependent regions spending 25% of their income. Cities with good transit systems can also save riders up to $10,230 annually if they switch from owning a car to taking transit. Unfortunately, the state is struggling with a big infrastructure-funding shortfall, much less finding new dollars to increase transit.

If there is a silver lining, cities and counties have increasingly realized that they can’t depend on state and federal government to meet their needs, and have been putting measures on the ballot to fund their own regional transportation priorities. The voters concurred, approving 75% of local transportation measures on the November ballot – proving once again that Americans want better transportation options. Our panelists will explore potential consequences for transportation under the new federal administration (including privatization of infrastructure), discuss the local advantages of emerging advancements in autonomous vehicles, and share local strategies to increase transportation funding.

Sustainable Natural Resources

The president-elect has worried smart-growth practitioners with his campaign-season denouncement of climate-change– threatening to eliminate the EPA and the Clean Power Plan and pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreements. Those early fears have been heightened by the recent appointment of climate contrarian Myron Ebell to lead the EPA transition.

yosemite2016-speaker2That said, climate-change leadership and innovative responses continue to been driven at the state and local level – from the bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2005 to California’s landmark AB 32 (signed by a Republican governor). Governor Brown signed a first-of-its-kind agreement, the “Under 2 MOU,” with international leaders from 11 other states and provinces, collectively representing more than $25.7 trillion in GDP and over a billion people, to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius. Our panelists will explore the new climate for climate-change initiatives within the new federal administration, and share how state and local governments can continue momentum to increase clean energy and fight climate change.

Equitable Opportunities

Underlying everything we do to improve housing and transportation and protect our environment is the imperative to continue to defend each other’s rights (particularly the rights of the poor, people of color, immigrants, women and LGBTQ). As public servants, we have a professional responsibility and a moral obligation to ensure that the decisions we make today uphold – and are grounded in – the expressed needs of our most vulnerable residents. In doing so, we can also help make the whole of our communities stronger and more resilient.

Americans are resilient, and we’re accustomed to triumphing under adversity. Our nation needs bold, steadfast leadership from states like California now more than ever to maintain and extend hard-won social and environmental protections.

We’re all in this together, rich or poor, north or south, red or blue. Together, we have a responsibility to protect our communities, natural resources and the industries that energize our Golden State.




The conference often sells out because attendees say the format is uniquely structured to address today’s most pressing problems and showcase fresh ideas with hands-on discussion of how to implement them. The main conference program began at 7:30pm on Thursday, March 16, and continued through noon on Sunday.

We encouraged attendees to bring their 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. All conference sessions were held at the Yosemite Lodge.

Download the Agenda


Thursday, March 16
Kick Off Plenary – Driving Growth, Innovation and Equity Within California’s Economy
Friday, March 17
Addressing the Gap: Housing Supply and Affordability in California
Protecting and Advancing California’s Climate Leadership and the American Dream for ALL Californians
Saturday, March 18
The Future of Water in California
California’s Transportation System in a New Political Eras
Driving Forward: Society, Economy and Our Transportation System in the Era of Autonomous Vehicles
Sunday, March 19
Fighting Food Waste – Innovative Food Recovery Programs
Finding the Inspiration We Need


2017 Conference Speakers

Kevin de León, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Honorable Kevin de León
President pro Tempore & Representative of the Twenty Fourth Senate District, State of California

David Hochschild, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

David Hochschild
Commissioner, California Energy Commission

Ken Alex, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Ken Alex
Director, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

Carl Guardino, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Carl Guardino
CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Leticia Perez, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Leticia Perez
Supervisor, Kern County

Hasan Ikhrata, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Hasan Ikhrata
Executive Director, Southern California Association of Governments

Micah Weinberg, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Micah Weinberg
President, Bay Area Council Economic Institute

Richard Corey, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Richard Corey
Executive Officer, California Air Resources Board

Louis Stewart, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Louis Stewart
Deputy Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development

Ryan Snyder, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Ryan Snyder
Principal, Transpo Group

Eric Mar, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Eric Mar
Supervisor, City and County of San Francisco

Chris Ganson, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Chris Ganson
Senior Planner, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

Komal Ahmad, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Komal Ahmad
Founder & CEO, COPIA

Paul Davis, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Paul Davis
Transportation Partnerships Manager, Lyft

Colin Bailey, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Colin Bailey
Executive Director, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

Shamus Roller, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Shamus Roller
Executive Director, National Housing Law Project

Shannon Peloquin, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Shannon Peloquin
Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company

Mindy Romero, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Mindy Romero
Founder and Director, UC Davis California Civic Engagement Project

James Workman, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

James Workman
Co-Founder, AquaShares

Trish Kelly, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Trish Kelly
Senior Vice President, Valley Vision

Jeff Bellisario, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Jeff Bellisario
Vice President, Bay Area Council Economic Institute

Chris Ward, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Chris Ward
Councilmember, City of San Diego

Keith Bergthold, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Keith Bergthold
Executive Director, Fresno Metro Ministry

Alf Brandt, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Alf Brandt
Senior Counsel, CA State Assembly Speaker Rendon

Jennifer Harder, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Jennifer Harder
Professor of Water Resources Law, McGeorge School of Law

Kome Ajise, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Kome Ajise
Chief Deputy Director, Caltrans

Ben Metcalf, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Ben Metcalf
Director, California Department of Housing and Community Development

Curt Johansen, speaker at the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Curt Johansen
President, Council of Infill Builders


Rates and Policies

Registration Details | Membership Discount | Refund Policies
Full Conference (Four Days)
Before March 2nd
w/ Late Fee
After March 3rd
LGC Member Policymaker



Non-LGC Member Policymaker



Adult Guest


Child Guest


Dinner Guest (Saturday, March 18)


Speaker Registration Fees (Access Code Required)
Speaker Full Conference Complimentary

Your payment, in full, must accompany your registration. If paying by check or purchase order, you must mail us the check after completing your registration to:

Attn: Carissa Gutierrez
Local Government Commission
980 9th Street, Suite 1700
Sacramento, CA 95816

Please note: Speakers, scholarship recipients, and sponsors, will each receive an email directly from the Local Government Commission (LGC) explaining how to register using a customized link (you may also choose the appropriate ticket type below) and use the access code provided to you by LGC.

Participant Registration Deadlines

Regular registration rates will apply from December 8th through the March 2nd registration deadline. Registrations will still be accepted after March 2nd if space is available, a $75 late fee will apply (included in the late registration rates indicated above).

Speaker Registration Details

All speakers will receive a complimentary registration. The LGC will provide the necessary registration access codes directly to each confirmed speaker. Speakers must use the information that we provide them to register for the conference through the online registration system.

  • Speakers will also be required to provide a brief biography and sign a media release through the online registration system.
  • Speakers and moderators must register by March 2, 2017.
Sponsor Registration Details

Sponsoring organizations, agencies and companies may receive complimentary conference registration as part of their sponsorship benefits, depending on their sponsorship level. If applicable, the LGC’s main point of contact with each sponsor will receive a unique access code from the LGC, for using their complimentary sponsor registration. The LGC’s point of contact with each sponsor will be responsible for deciding who will be able to use the complimentary registrations.

Those using complimentary sponsor registrations will need to use the online registration system. The access codes provided to each eligible sponsor are unique and registrations per sponsor are limited, and should not be shared with others.

Scholarship Recipient Registration Details

Scholarship recipients who have received an official award confirmation email from the LGC confirming their scholarship will be required to register using the online registration system. Each scholarship recipient will be provided a unique link and access code to use to facilitate their registration. This code should not be shared with others. If you have received a scholarship and determine that you are no longer able to attend, please contact the scholarship administrator indicated in your award letter immediately. Scholarships are not transferable.

TAX Identification Number

The LGC’s federal tax ID number is 94-2791699.

The full (4-day) conference registration fee includes
  • Access to all workshops, presentations, and trainings in the main conference program (March 16-19, 2017)
  • Conference meals and refreshment breaks
  • Name badge, conference attendees list, and printed agenda
Meals and breaks provided during the conference
  • Thursday (3/16) — Evening coffee/tea
  • Friday (3/17) — Coffee breaks
  • Saturday (3/18) — Continental breakfast, boxed lunch, coffee break & dinner
  • Sunday (3/19) —  Continental breakfast and coffee break

As a local elected official, you are invited to join the LGC now and receive a discount on registration for this conference! More details on LGC Membership benefits. LGC Members receive $50 off the regular four-day conference registration fees.


Refund requests will be honored if received in writing by the March 2, 2017 registration deadline. All refunds are subject to a $100 processing fee. Participants may cancel their registration themselves in the online registration system, though their cancellation will be pending until approved by the LGC. Refunds will be issued via the original payment method used at time of registration.

After March 2, NO REFUNDS will be offered. Should a participant need to cancel their registration after the March 2nd registration deadline (for whatever reason), they may replace themselves in the online registration system so long as this is done by March 9th.

After March 9th, should you need to cancel and replace yourself (send a substitute if you can no longer attend), you must contact the conference organizers via email with the replacement contact information: Carissa Gutierrez (cgutierrez@lgc.org).


The 2017 Yosemite Policymakers Conference was held in Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite Valley Lodge

Yosemite Lodge

Yosemite National Park, 9006 Yosemite Lodge Dr.
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Majestic Yosemite Hotel

Ahwahnee Hotel

Yosemite National Park, 1 Ahwahnee Dr.
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

The cut-off date for reservations was close of business on February 16, 2017. After this date, any remaining rooms in the group block were released for general sale.

To Book Your Lodging

By Phone: To make your reservation by phone, you may contact Central reservations by dialing 888-413-8869 (7am – 7pm, Arizona Time, MST/PST)

Online: To book your reservation online, you may visit www.travelyosemite.com

  1. Select “Check Rates”
  2. Select “Plan Your Trip Now”
  3. Using the pull down menu either select Majestic or Yosemite Valley Lodge
  4. Select the number of rooms, adults and children
  5. Important: when selecting “check-in” and “check-out” dates DO NOT select dates from the calendar, instead type the date directly into the field in this format: March 16, 2017
  6. Select “Have a promo code?” option and insert 104829 into the “Group Code” box
  7. Select “Check Availability”
  8. Select the option you would like to “Add to Cart”
Reservation Policies
  • All individual guest rooms must be cancelled 7 days prior to arrival to receive a full refund.
  • No-shows are considered late cancellations and are invoiced at first night’s stay (room, tax & fee)
  • All guests will be required to check-in and provide a credit card or cash deposit for incidentals.
  • Group check in is 5:00 PM and check out is 11:00 AM.
  • Pets are not allowed in any room.
  • Quiet hours are 10:00 PM – 7:00 AM.

Roommate Assistance: In order to help reduce costs, we can work with you to try and find a roommate for the conference. If you are interested, please contact Carissa Gutierrez at cgutierrez@lgc.org. We will do our best to assist you although we cannot guarantee we will find you a match.


Getting To and Around Yosemite

Please note: There is a $30.00 entrance fee per vehicle collected by the National Park Service at park entrance stations.

Driving directions are available at:  http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/driving.htm
Unfortunately, bicycle rentals in the valley are not available during this time of the year.

For a map of Yosemite National Park, go to: https://www.nationalparkreservations.com/park/yosemite-national-park/map
Once you are in the park, we highly recommend that you leave your vehicle in the parking lot and take advantage of the Yosemite Valley Shuttle bus. The buses are free and operate daily at 20-30 minute intervals from 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM.

Additional Information
The weather in Yosemite Valley during March is very unpredictable; we recommend that you phone (209) 372-0200 (press 1, then 1) for road and weather information prior to your arrival. It is recommended that you carry tire chains in your vehicle.

Gasoline and diesel fuels are no longer available in Yosemite Valley. Fuels are available at service stations near park entrances, and in Yosemite National Park at El Portal, Crane Flat and Big Trees Gas Stations.

Please never leave food or scented items in your vehicle after dark. Bears are attracted to food and scented items. Food can be stored in hotel rooms and hard-sided cabins, providing windows are closed when room is unoccupied by guests.


Thank you to our 2017 Conference Sponsors!


Bay Area Air Quality Management District, sponsor of the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.Metropolitan Transportation Commission, sponsor of the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, sponsor of the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.


Sutter Health, sponsor of the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.TerraVerde Renewable Partners, sponsor of the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Scholarship Funders

Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, sponsor of the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.Merced County, sponsor of the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.Lewis Group of Companies, sponsor of the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.Townsend Public Affairs, sponsor of the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Wesley Chesbro
Jake and Barbara Mackenzie

Thank you to our 2017 Conference Promotional Partners!

The conference’s promotional partners play a vital role in the overall success of this event. Through their non-monetary support, agencies, organizations and associations get the word out about this conference to policymakers throughout the state.

Stay In the Loop!

Keep up to date with the latest information about the Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Newsletter Sign-up Form

Contact Info

For questions on the conference program:

Jenny Welch

Project Manager
916.448.1198 x324

Check out last year’s Yosemite Policymakers Conference.

Download a Conference-Flyer!


The Yosemite Policymakers Conference is presented by the Local Government Commission.

Local Government Commission