As expected, new Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has put his stamp on the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, replacing six of seven members. The only holdover from former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is Val Valasco, a Playa Del Rey attorney.
The commissioners oversee operations — and the pursestrings — at Los Angeles International Airport, Van Nuys Airport and L.A./Ontario International Airport. Technically, they serve staggered five-year terms. But by tradition, new mayors are generally permitted to replace the entire board.
The new members are: Sean Burton, Gabriel Eshaghian, Jackie Goldberg, Bea Hsu, Matthew Johnson and Cynthia Telles.
Read on for a biography of each commissioner provided by the mayor’s office.
Sean has over 15 years of experience in real estate and equity investments and has been with CityView since 2003. Prior to CityView, Burton was Vice President of Corporate Business Development and Strategy at Warner Bros. His other professional experience includes working at O’Melveny & Myers, LLP as an attorney in the real estate and corporate groups and serving in the White House during the Clinton Administration. He is a graduate of University of California, Irvine and New York University School of Law.
Gabriel Eshaghian is currently a Principal and Vice-President of Acquisitions and Development with The Somerset Group, a New York based real estate investment company. Before joining Somerset, Eshaghian spent over 10 years in various executive positions within the travel and transportation industries including roles at Globaltravel Manager, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and Swissair.
Jackie Goldberg served as a California State Assemblymember from 2000 until 2006, Los Angeles City Councilmember representing Hollywood from 1993 until 2000, and on the Los Angeles Unified School Board from 1983 until 1991. Goldberg began her professional life as a classroom teacher at Centennial and then Dominguez High School in Compton and worked as a teacher, specializing in reading, for more than 18 years. Currently, Goldberg is working with Middle and High School teachers in Compton Unified School District in conjunction with UCLA.
Bea Hsu is Vice President of Development for Related California, responsible for development of affordable, market rate, and commercial mixed use developments throughout the Los Angeles area. Hsu previously served as a senior advisor to Los Angeles City Councilmember Eric Garcetti with a focus on affordable housing, development policy, and redevelopment. She also served as a policy advisor to California State Controller Kathleen Connell.
Matthew Johnson is the managing partner of Ziffren Brittenham LLP, a leading entertainment law firm. He is President of the Board of the Challenger’s Boys and Girls Club, a member of the board of the Los Angeles Urban League, the Foreign Policy Roundtable, and the Next Generation Council of The Motion Picture and Television Fund. Johnson is also an at-large member of the Democratic National Committee.
Cynthia Telles, PhD, has served on the boards of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. since April 2003. She is a founding board member of the Public Policy Institute of California and previously served on the boards of the California Endowment (as board chair from 2004 to 2006), Sanwa Bank, Americas United Bank, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. Telles was appointed by President Obama to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. She has served as Vice President of the City of Los Angeles Ethics Commission and the Los Angeles Board of Library Commissioners, as President of the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women, and as a member of the Los Angeles Commission on Children, Youth and Families.
Valeria Velasco is a sole practitioner estate planning attorney in Playa del Rey and an independent associate for Legal Shield. She is presently the Lieutenant Governor for Rotary International District 5280 and serves as a Fee Dispute Arbitrator for the State Bar of California. She is a member of the LAX/Coastal Chamber of Commerce. She has served as a City of Los Angeles Planning Commissioner, Staff Legal Counsel and Hispanic Liaison to former City Councilmember Michael Woo, Assembly Aide/Hispanic Liaison to former Assemblymember Mike Roos, and a bilingual elementary school teacher.