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Leadership | Politics
Whether as a lawyer, businessman or community leader, Robert M. Hertzberg has demonstrated a commitment to bringing people together and solving complex problems. As Speaker of the California State Assembly, twice Democrats and Republicans unanimously elected him from 2000-2002. In a recent editorial, the Los Angeles Times said this about Robert Hertzberg: "He is a high-velocity wonk; he loves BIG ideas, and will flesh out every one of them for you if you give him the time." The Daily News has said: Hertzberg "has relentless dedication and indefatigable energy...he has a reputation for integrity and perseverance."
Mr. Hertzberg's most avid passion has been to fight for education. As a Regent of the University of California, he was critical in expanding admission opportunities for all students. As Speaker, he made California community colleges one of his top priorities. Terming them the "Classrooms for the New Economy," he expanded funding and capital programs for community colleges. To this day, he continues to raise private funds to support community colleges, including a library in his name at Los Angeles Valley College, because he wants to attract private funds to support community colleges. With respect to K-12 education, he led a bipartisan coalition that broke a decade-long deadlock on school funding and resulted in the approval of a $9.2 billion construction bond by California voters. He also authored two other funding bonds that provided an additional $35.5 billion dollars, which made it the largest school construction program in the United States.
Appearing on Nightline, CNN and other national news shows, Robert Hertzberg took tough positions on the California energy crisis, transportation, government infrastructure, and public safety, among other issues. In fact, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley called one of his public safety programs "the most successful gang prevention program in California history." For these efforts and others, Mr. Hertzberg was honored by the California Journal as a legislator representing, "a pattern of conduct, an outlook and demeanor that exemplifies the best kind of public service."
In the most recent mayoral election for the city of Los Angeles, Robert Hertzberg came within a few thousand votes of edging incumbent James Hahn out of the run off election. As a testament to his public spirit and civic commitment, he served as chairman of the transition team for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. He also served as a member of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's transition team and continues to serve as an informal advisor to Governor Schwarzenegger on matters important to the state. Prior to his legislative career, Mr. Hertzberg was a successful lawyer and businessman. He returned to his practice after his years of public service, joining the 6th largest law firm in the United States. The office of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP and with offices worldwide. He also was the founding Chairman of the Board of Solar Integrated Technologies, a company that recently won The Wall Street Journal's 2005 Innovative Technology Company of the year award. The Company is listed on London's Alternative Investment Exchange. He now is a principal in Renewable Capital, an investment firm focusing on all aspects of renewable energy, including wind power, wave technology and electric vehicles, as well as the next generation of solar technology.
Robert Hertzberg still devotes a tremendous effort to civic affairs. He is a member of the Counsel on Foreign Affairs; co-chaired the Pre-School Initiative in Los Angeles County with Nancy Daley Riordan; chaired the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, and is a member of the Southern California Leadership Council. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Historical Society, as well as a member of the Boards of MALDEF, Town Hall Los Angeles, Century Housing, as well as other civic engagements.
Finally, Mr. Hertzberg remains keenly interested in public policy, serving on the Board of Counselors for the USC School of Public Policy, and a Keston Fellow at the Keston Institute for Infrastructure at USC; the Board of Visitors for Pepperdine School of Public Policy; and as an advisor to the Robert M. Hertzberg Capitol Institute in the California State Assembly, an institute he created to train Assembly staff and new members.
Robert Hertzberg was born in Los Angeles, received his J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1979, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Redlands in 1976. He lives in Sherman Oaks with his wife, Dr. Cynthia Telles, a faculty member at the UCLA School of Medicine. Together they have three children.