Thursday, April 20
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao is one of the Bay Area’s strongest and most effective progressive leaders. Her family story escaping genocide, poverty, and abuse has made her into a determined, empathetic leader. Her commitment to racial justice, building affordable housing, advocat ing for lowwage workers, and protecting tenants can be seen in her many accomplishments as a City Council member and will drive her work to improve the lives of Oakland residents as Oakland’s 51st Mayor. Born and raised in Stockton, CA, Mayor Thao grew up in poverty as the daughter of Hmong refugees. Her family used social services and lived in public housing. She left home at 17, and in her early 20s found herself in an abusive relationship, isolated from her family, and pregnant. She escaped this domesti c violence, but soon had a baby and no permanent housing. For months, she and her son Ben slept on couches or in her car. When Ben was 10 months old, she got a job at a local community college and started taking classes. With the help of welfare and a Head Start program for her son, she put herself through school. She became class valedictorian, then transferred to UC Berkeley, where she co founded a food access program for low income students and graduated with a degree in legal studies.
Title Sponsor Remarks
Sarah LaRock has a long-standing passion for resource recovery, and holds a Masters of Public Administration specializing in Solid Waste Management. After several years of working for municipal governments, Ms. LaRock has joined Waste Management offering her expertise in contract management, regulatory compliance, program development, and civic engagement. Sarah is driven to fight pollution by making waste diversion practices such as recycling and composting accessible to everyone and by leading a team of educators who work to inspire participation in these closed loop circular economies. While she appreciates all aspects of her work, Ms. LaRock most values building relationships with individuals and communities to make a positive impact on our shared environment.
Talia Wise brings over 25 years of marketing communication team building to her role as Director of Communications, WM, Northern California/Nevada. New to the industry, Talia joined WM in August 2021, she reports directly to the Area Executive Vice President, and works with all Area directors. Talia communicates and works regularly with West Coast Director of Government Affairs. Most of her time is spent managing the internal communications team for the Area, which focuses on Public Education outreach programs contracted through Public Sector Specialists relationships.
The Importance of Partnerships
Erin Armstrong has a successful track record of tackling the most complex and challenging problems facing the Bay Area, with experience in addressing illegal dumping, police oversight, housing, homelessness and more. She has an MBA/MPP from Mills College in Oakland and is the Senior Policy Advisor to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley. In 2019 she helped to launch the Alameda County Illegal Dumping (ACID) Pilot; a crosssector collaborative aimed at identifying and implementing best practices to address illegal dumping. Erin leads the Illegal Dumping Task Force, a State-wide coalition dedicated to elevating and disseminating best practices for addressing illegal dumping, on behalf of Supervisor Miley. Erin lives and works in Oakland California with her wife Morgan, daughter Matilda, and two very senior cats, Galileo and Guinevere.
Mary Jo McGuire
Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire was elected NACo 2nd Vice President this past July (2021). She has been a Ramsey County Commissioner in Minnesota since 2012. Prior to the County Board, Mary Jo served 16 years in the Minnesota State Legislature, serving in both the House and Senate. Commissioner McGuire is a member of NACo’s Executive Board and serves on its Financial Services Corporation and the Audit and Finance Committee. She also serves on NACo’s Health Policy Steering Committee, Healthy Counties Advisory Board, Programs and Services Committee, and Arts and Culture Commission. She is also active in her state, serving in leadership at the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC), and is a member of its Public Safety Policy Committee and Education and Research Committee. In her own County, Commissioner McGuire chairs the County’s Legislative Committee, Active Living Ramsey Communities, Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative, and serves on a number of Boards and Commissions including as a member of the Extension Committee, Ramsey County League of Local Governments, the Transportation Advisory Board, and the Recycling and Energy Board. Mary Jo is a lifelong resident of Ramsey County, currently residing in Roseville. She has a BA in Business Administration from the College of St. Catherine, a JD from Hamline University School of Law, and an MA in Public Administration from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Mary Jo is trained as a “qualified neutral” in dispute resolution cases. She is an adjunct professor in the Master of Organizational Leadership (MAOL) Dept. at St. Catherine University, has been an adjunct professor at Hamline University, and a guest lecturer at West Point Military Academy.
Iranzu Morras joined PaintCare in 2018, she is based in Los Angeles and oversees the program’s operations across several counties in Southern California. She is passionate about conservation and advancing product stewardship.
Humberto Quinonez joined San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) in 2007 as a Senior Environmental Health Inspector one of my many job duties is to help city agencies to manage and dispose hazardous waste. I respond to many inquiries from Department of Public Works to pick up illegally dumped hazardous waste. My chemistry background helps me analyze and identify unknown chemical waste. I’m really passionate about removing chemicals from San Francisco street that potentially can represent a danger to human life and health.
City of Palmdale Illegal Dumping Action Plan
Ben started with the City of Palmdale in May of 2007. Ben has a Bachelors of Science degree from the University of California, Riverside in Environmental Sciences. Prior to arriving to the City of Palmdale, he worked for the City of Santa Clarita for over six years, first as an Environmental Analyst and later as an Environmental Projects Development Coordinator working primarily on Solid Waste related issues. Ben has almost twenty-five years of experience in the environmental field, with approximately twenty-three years working in the public sector.
As part of his duties as Innovation and Environmental Manager for the City of Palmdale, Ben is involved with a variety of topics. The Innovation and Environmental Division oversees solid waste compliance issues, such as SB 1383 implementation, household hazardous waste programs, and illegal dumping programs; energy efficiency projects; wireless communication facilities and 5G deployment; and the City of Palmdale’s citywide fiber deployment project.
Ben is currently Vice Chair on the Utilities and Public Right of Way Technical Committee for the American Public Works Association and is also on Alternative Technology Advisory Subcommittee for the Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Task Force. He is also certified in Sustainable Behavior Change and as an Envision Sustainability Planner.
CA Product Stewardship Council Legislative Update
Doug has been “talking trash” for over 30 years. He is currently the Executive Director for the California Product Stewardship Council (CPSC). Previously he spent over 18 years with Sacramento County managing contracts, procurement, new recycling programs development, household hazardous waste (HHW), and pending legislation and/or regulations. He also spent nearly 3 years with Edgar & Associates providing solid waste consulting services throughout California and over 5 years with Yolo County managing the County’s landfill. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering with a minor in Planning from California State University, Chico.
Doug is currently the Vice President and a board member of the California Resource Recovery Association (CRRA), the past Chair and a voting member of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) California Chapters Legislative Task Force and has served as President of the SWANA Gold Rush Chapter. Additionally, he has served as the Vice Chair of the CalRecycle Illegal Dumping Technical Advisory Committee (IDTAC) and he was the Chair of CPSC, the Founder and President of National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC), Chair of the California Mattress Advisory Committee, and a member of the California Carpet Recycling Advisory Committee.
A Grassroots Perspective
Ken Houston, a subject matter expert on illegal dumping, graffiti vandalism, and homeless encampments is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Beautification Council a 501 (c)3 organization. The Beautification Council disrupts the cycle of blight and homelessness, through an innovative duplicable proven process collaborating with private-public partners and governmental agencies.
In 2012, Ken Houston declared homelessness and blight a state of emergency before it became an epidemic. As a life-long community advocate, he immersed himself amongst the homeless/unhoused population for 30 days to understand the cause, effects, and impacts. The lived experience became the platform for efficacious programming and cross-sector collaborative partnerships.
Passion, People, Projects are the driving force behind Ken Houston and the Beautification Council’s initiatives. The initiatives have a positive impact on blight and the unhoused along with the justice-involved through employment, economic stability, and housing.
One of Ken Houston’s strongest beliefs is that we must invest in our youth and children to create positive leaders of tomorrow. His fundamental approach is to take them back to the basics by engaging them with nature and early community involvement.
Ending Litter from Smoking
Jordan Wells, joined the National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC) at its formation in 2015 and currently serves as the organization’s Director of Advocacy and Communications. NSAC is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that will advocate for an equitable, circular economy anywhere in the U.S. Jordan is NSAC’s registered lobbyist in California and has navigated numerous bills from inception to passage including in 2021 the first-in-the-nation Truth in Recycling Labeling law (SB 343, Allen) and helped California to get the highest bounty in the country for thermostat recycling.
Barbara Bella is a long-time Bay Area resident, small business-owner, mother and activist residing in Russian Hill, San Francisco. Barbara spent 40 years in media strategy and sales, served a Board Member and Chair for Golden Gate Philharmonic youth orchestra, and as a Trustee for San Francisco University High School. Upon retirement in 2017, Barbara has been active in the San Francisco volunteer community involved as a CASA, (Court Appointed Special Advocate for a Child in Foster Care), Chef for Home Away from Homelessness, the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and as co-organizer of Russian Hill Clean Up and Smile events. In this capacity, Barbara has become aware of the serious toxic waste implications of cigarette litter, not just in her neighborhood or city, but to the environment-globally-and has led efforts by RHN to seek legislation to mitigate and rid our environment of this toxic scourge.
Lori Wilson is the first Black female Mayor to serve in all of Solano County. First elected to the Suisun City Council in 2012, she served as ViceMayor for six years before winning the Mayor’s race in 2018. During her tenure, she has worked tirelessly to make Suisun City a welcoming and safe place to call home. Lori has a track record of fiscal responsibility while leading efforts to bring more housing, jobs and diversity to Suisun City. She is committed to fighting for the residents of California’s 11th Assembly District with a track record of creating good jobs, keeping the community safe and improving the quality of life for all her constituents. Lori successfully implemented a number of public health and safety initiatives to ensure that residents were able to stay safe and healthy through the pandemic. As part of the pandemic response, Lori worked with Suisun City Fire Department (SCFD) in coordination with Solano County Public Health and Office of Emergency Services to bring in free COVID-19 testing to Suisun City. Under her leadership, her city worked with the Community Action Partnership of Solano County to house the homeless against exposure to COVID.
Daily Detection of Illegal Dumping
Brian Johnson is a father of two, husband, and a San Francisco resident. He has spent his career solving problems with software. So, when he was confronted with enormous amounts of illegal dumping in his neighborhood, he set out to use software to automate locating, identifying, and reporting it. Brian built the Trash drone, using artificial intelligence and an image processing pipeline to find all the illegal dumping in Bayview from thousands of daily drone photos from his neighborhood.
Overcoming the Urban & Rural Challenges of Illegal Dumping
Marr A. Christian has been a dedicated civil servant for more than 34 years working successfully in a multitude of capacities, from Code Enforcement to Firefighter/Paramedic. r. Christian began his distinguished career as a first responder in the private industry in an Diego, then quickly transitioning to San Bernardino and Riverside Counties with his aramedic license, ultimately obtaining his firefighter certificate and being hired on at mall and medium municipalities. He is currently the Division Manager over the Code nforcement Unit for the City of San Bernardino. Marr worked for over 24 years as a Supervising Code nforcement Officer for the County of Riverside leading dozens of diverse teams, training/coaching 100+ fficers and working with an abundance of organizations, task forces, departments, and communities.
Case Study: Multi-Family Mitigation
Cory Bytoff is the Sustainability Program Manager for the City of San Rafael. He co-authored and is responsible for implementing the City’s Climate Action Plan, now being used as a model by the other cities in Marin. Cory approaches sustainability from an interdisciplinary lens with a focus on community + collaboration.
Walter Gonzalez Valdez is a Management Analyst at the City of San Rafael’s City Manager’s Office. Walter is passionate about ensuring that all communities, regardless of background and makeup, obtain equitable access to all public services. This has led Walter to co-design projects and services that tackle inequity in the distribution of resources. Walter graduated from the University of California San Diego in 2021 and hopes to continue his education to further his mission.
Anna Oliva currently serves as the Climate Corps Zero Waste – Business and Community Outreach Fellow placed with the City of San Rafael Sustainability department. Her primary contributions have been to the City’s Equitable Low Carbon Economy Strategy, Illegal Dumping Program, and SB 1383 education, implementation, and outreach. Anna graduated from the University of Oregon in 2022 and is looking forward to applying her experience with local government, sustainable business, and environmental behavioral change as she continues her career in sustainability.
Closing Keynote: CalTrans Clean Update
Walter currently serves as the Clean California Program Director and has 20 years of civil and transportation engineering experience. During his 17-year Caltrans career, he has worked on a variety of new initiatives including the District 4 Construction Stormwater Inspection Program, Caltrans Statewide Trash Implementation Plan for the State Water Resources Control Board and Enterprise Data Governance Task Force. In his free time, Walter enjoys volunteering with Code for America as cochair of the Sacramento and Fresno chapters and was recently admitted into the Master of Science in Transportation Management Program at San José State University for the Spring 2023 semester.
Renee is currently working as a liaison with the Caltrans Headquarters Clean California Team. She provides support for activities related to the Clean California Program and Clean California Community Days. As part of the statewide team, Renee assists with the implementation of Clean California activities, priorities, procedures, and guidelines. Renee has worked in various capacities throughout her Caltrans career, including managing District 4’s Executive Staff Support Team, working as a District Strategic Planning Coordinator, implementing the inclusion of alternative fuel and electric vehicles into the D4 Automotive Management Fleet Program, and participating in various community engagement campaigns. In her spare time, Renee enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and taking jazz, tap, and hip-hop dance classes.
Friday, April 21
Terrill Haigleris the Founder and President of the “Ya Fav Trashman” Brand, and a father of three amazing children. He is an author, business coach and a verified social media influencer with over 31.7K followers. He is the Founder and Executive Director for YaFav Hauling Service, a company he developed to supplement the city’s sanitation department and to deter illegal dumping. He is also the founder and president of “Trash 2 Treasure” a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental justice. Terrill organized 84 clean-up events, mobilized 5,608 volunteers, obtained sponsorship from 32 businesses, and removed 415 tons of trash over the last two years. He has been recognized by the Waste Management Industry for his advocacy and influence, by being honored with the rising leader and change maker awards as well as being recognized as one of the 40 under 40 people you should know in the waste industry. His span of influence has reached beyond the city of Philadelphia including receiving an invitation to the white house by President Biden as a special guest for the white house July 4 th celebration the Kelly Clarkson Show and Good Morning America.
Statewide Illegal Dumping Efforts
Larry Sweetser specializes in trying to bridge the gap between California’s strict regulatory requirements and reality for solid waste and household hazardous waste programs for over 30 years. He has been assisting the 24-member county Rural Counties’ Environmental Services Joint Powers Authority (ESJPA) since 2000 and also serves on the Solid Waste Association of North America’s California Chapter’s Legislative Task Force. Representing the ESJPA, Larry has been a member of the statewide Illegal Dumping Technical Advisory Committee since 2004 and Chair since 2017. Larry can often be seen monitoring regulatory agency meetings.
Mary Forte is an Oakland native and lifelong resident of East Oakland. She has been active in her community for more than 25 years of volunteer leadership, organizing and activism towards a cleaner Oakland. As a member of Block By Block Organizing Network (BBBON – Volunteers Working Together for One Oakland) District 6 & 7, she has helped coordinate many MLK Days of Service with local businesses, residents and organizations to clean up several hot spots in East Oakland. Mary actively participates on the Illegal Dumping Local Organizing Committee (LOC). She is also an active member of the Regional Illegal Dumping Task Force, participated in the planning of IDCon23 and served on the Keep Oakland Beautiful Board for six years. Mary leads bi-monthly Litter Walks at the Elmhurst library to keep the library’s neighboring block clean and litter free and has organized Earth Day cleanups for her neighbors.
Lesbhia Maria Fonseca Morones
Lesbhia Maria Fonseca Morones was born in Nicaragua and immigrated to the USA at age six to reunite with her parents. She was raised in San Francisco where she learned to speak English quickly, but never lost her mother tongue. Her parents encouraged her and her siblings to continue speaking Spanish and to retain their Nicaraguan culture. At the young age of nine, she b egan interpreting for her aunties and her mother. Les was solicited by relatives and neighbors whenever they needed clear and genuine language representation. After college, Les married and in 1983 moved to Oakland with her husband and three toddlers. The high cost of rent in the Mission District where she grew up, forced them to relocate. After being a full Oakland Unified.time mother for five years, Les returned to work for a state agency and seven years later was hired as a bilingual employee at the district offices of As a dedicated interpreter, Les had the opportunity to develop language and parent advocacy skills in a variety of school settings as well as in communitySpanish/English translation and interpretation. Th based organizations to support rough her work across Oakland, she quickly won high regard for her interpretive skills. mmittee. During the past twentyplus years, Les has been a member of Faith in Action East Bay (FIAEB). She is a founding member of the FIAEB Illegal Dumping Local Organizing Co Honorary duties include serving on the Board of Directors of Faith in Action East Bay and Community School for Creative Education (CSCE), the country’s first intercultural public Waldorf school located in Oakland. A mother of five, wife, and grand mother, Les dedicates her time to service to her family and her community; if you ask Les, her services span Oakland, the state, and the nation.
CalRecycle and Fresno County
Stephanie Becker officially joined illegal dumping efforts in 2018 as CalRecycle Grant Manager for one of their cleanup programs. Continuing efforts, she has since transitioned positions into a role that facilitates the statewide Illegal Dumping Technical Advisory Committee (IDTAC). Stephanie has worked on a wide range of environmental, public health, and social change campaigns, including the FlexAlert energy conservation program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Marketing from CSU Sacramento. She joins community cleanups and is passionate about materials management.
Steve Santa Croce
Steve Santa Croce is a registered Civil Engineer with over 30 years’ experience. His career includes solid waste and public works projects for local and State government and running his own Civil Engineering and Surveying firm. For the past 13 years, Steve has worked for the state at CalRecycle and is currently the Solid Waste and Tire Cleanup Program Manager which entails various remediation projects, grants, and direct assistance to local entities through State contractors and consultants. Steve also served as CalRecycle Disaster Debris Program lead staff for emergency response projects. Steve has a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona and a Master’s Degree from Loyola Marymount University.
Salvador Espino is an Administrative Analyst in Fresno County that joined their County Administrative Office in May of 2022. Prior to that Salvador was with the County’s Department of Human Resources for almost 6 years and had the pleasure of working alongside many of the different County Departments and conducted County recruitments, classification surveys/creation, and compensation surveys/adjustments.
Working in the CAO’s Office has increased Sal’s exposure to Department specific programs and responsibilities and have helped him obtain a better understanding of the various programs that the County of Fresno implements to help the County function.
Salvador received a Political Science degree from California State University, Fresno and has been enjoying his career in the Public Sector.
Programs & Partnerships
Ed Ramirez is the Supervising Environmental Service Specialist for the City of San Jose PRNS/BeautifySJ. He has over 24 years’ experience with the City of San Jose and he currently manages the program’s Neighborhood Blight Reduction efforts. Ed enjoys the opportunity to keep the city in which he was born and raised clean and beautiful. He believes great effort and determination come with great rewards!
Olympia Williams works for the City of San Jose as Division Manager for BeautifySJ the City of San Jose’s Blight reduction and Beautification strategy. Olympia has spent several years with the City of San Jose working as a division analyst and then managing neighborhood services programs as part of the City’s, Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force. The lessons learned from this work has informed her approach o how to quickly implement programs, work with priority neighborhoods and set and meet program performance metrics. In her current role as the BeautifySJ Division Manager, she works with residents, businesses, as well as internal stakeholders and interjurisdictional partners to beautify the city and reduce blight. The BeautifySJ Program works with neighborhoods and organizations to address litter/trash, removes illegal dumping and graffiti, and [Williams, Olympia] addresses waste from lived-in vehicles and manages trash at homeless encampments throughout our City. Additionally, our City takes a data informed approach to address issues while using an equity lens to ensure that communities most in need are receiving services. What she loves most about her role, is that she has the opportunity to work with residents across the City to improve neighborhood livability in a City that she calls home. She is inspired each day by residents who volunteer their time to make San Jose a beautiful place to call home!
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez represents close to a half million residents in District 2. This district includes the area of Centra East and South San Jose. She was sworn into office in August 2013 following a special election and has been reelected twice to full terms.
Regionally, Supervisor Chavez serves as Chair of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and is a member of the CalTrain Board of Directors, playing a leadership role in the electrification of CalTrain and planning for highspeed rail. She is also a commissioner representing Santa Clara County on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and serves on the Vall ey Transportation Authority Board of Directors. Most recently, Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Supervisor Chavez to the Board of State and Community Corrections. That will require Senate confirmation. On the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Chavez chairs t he Board’s Children, Families and Seniors Committee and serves on the Finance and Government Operations Committee.
In collaboration with her Board of Supervisors colleagues, Chavez has led Santa Clara County’s response to COVID19 to raise funding for the hospitals needing protective gear and other medical supplies. She also worked with colleagues, cities, community groups, professional sports teams and schools to get more coronavirus testing sites in neighborhoods and communities of color hard hit by COVIDwith food and shelter to families who lost jobs and homes. Inequities, including access to Wi19 along Fi for distance learning, health care, and other issues, exposed during COVID write and have the Board approve an Equity Pled19 prompted Chavez to help ge to ensure that all Santa Clara County programs and initiatives are undertaken through an equity lens.
Fiona Ma is California’s 34th State Treasurer. She was elected on November 6, 2018, with more votes (7,825,587) than any other candidate for treasurer in the state’s history. She is the first woman of color and the first woman Certified Public Accountant (CPA) elected to the position. The State Treasurer’s Office was created in the California Constitution in 1849. It provides financing for schools, roads, housing, recycling and waste management, hospitals, public facilities, and other crucial infrastructure projects that better the lives of residents. California is the world’s fifth-largest economy and Treasurer Ma is the state’s primary banker. Her office processes more than $2 trillion in transactions, within a typical year. She provides transparency and oversight for the government’s investment portfolio and accounts, as well as for the state’s surplus funds. Treasurer Ma oversees an investment portfolio that has averaged well over $100 billion during her administration—a significant portion of which is beneficially owned by more than 2,200 local governments in California. She serves as agent of sale for all State bonds and is trustee of billions of dollars of state indebtedness.
Thank you to our sponsors.
Supervisor Miley would like to thank all of the conference panelists, the incredible sponsors without whom this event would not have happened and every viewer who took the time to learn more about how we can end illegal dumping once and for all!
For the most updated information coming out of Supervisor Miley's office including progress and news about the ACID pilot and illegal dumping, please subscribe to our newsletter here. To join the Illegal Dumping Taskforce please email Erin Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.