Lee Alpert has been named to the L.A. Department of Water and Power Board. The nomination by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Alpert, founding principal of Alpert, Barr & Grant in Encino, was unanimously confirmed by the L.A. City Council. This is not the first time he has been selected for a position in the public eye. Alpert served on the Airport Commission under Mayor Richard Riordan, He is also currently a board member of the Valley Economic Development Center and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, and a major client of his firm is Time Warner. The past Fernando Award winner was also a president of the Commission on Neighborhood Councils. Alpert lives in Northridge with his wife of 36 years, Arlene, where they raised two sons, Brett and Scott, and two dogs, Thunder and Kooper. Coby King, president of Coby King Communications in Encino, has overlapped for many years with Alpert’s work and his own public affairs consultancy efforts. “He’s a steady guy and tireless advocate for the causes he believes in who can listen to all sides; which is just what you want in a commissioner,” King said. “It’s great that another Valley guy is on the board,” he said, alluding to the fact that board president Nick Patsaouras is a Tarzana resident. “What Lee brings to the table is a long history in the Valley. He understands the needs that the city needs to pay attention to,” King said. Alpert said he believes he brings some things that will be positive for the board saying that he is “too new to know it all and smart enough to know I don’t,” he said. His first task was his personal education: “I asked for a copy of the city charter that applies to the department, and any resolution and ordinance” that covers the commission. “I have to know what my boundaries are,” Alpert said. “I’m looking forward to examining the issues,” he said, noting that “it’s the largest municipal water and power in the country and we cannot deflect or defer to others. We have to have answers. We’ve got to do it ourselves.” He said he’s been warned of “significant union issues.” But he spoke in awe of those workers, noting that during the massive Santa Ana wind-fueled outages on holidays, “They were called out on Christmas Day with winds whipping around live wires.” Alpert also said he intends to take a measure of revenues and finances, and look at rate increases using the filter, “if it makes sense. Are those dollars genuinely going into what they’re intended for? Are we doing the right thing with the dollars we’re receiving?” he said. Among his other accomplishments, Alpert is a long-time chair of the Governing Board of Directors of the Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Centers, and chair and founding board member of Genesis L.A., which raises private funds to assist in the development of blighted urban areas. Alpert is a past president of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association and recipient of the bar’s Stanley M. Lintz Community Service Award; past co-chair of the California State Assembly Business Advisory Commission; and winner of the Jewish National Fund’s Tree of Life award. Alpert attended Wayne State University before receiving his B.S. in Education from USC. He is a Loyola Law School graduate.
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