Kathryn Vernez, longtime City of Santa Monica government and community relations leader, has been named to the Board of Directors of The Bay Foundation.
Vernez’ 35-plus years in urban planning and project management, first in New York City followed by 27 years in Santa Monica, required leading interdisciplinary teams in collaboration with the public and officials through the complex landscape of solving urban issues. Her experiences include public transportation, water restoration and an array of public works improvements.
“Our board and the foundation’s executive director, Tom Ford, are honored and excited to welcome someone of Kate’s stature … Her connections and accomplishments will be directly beneficial to TBF’s Board,” stated Laurie Newman. “Her love for Santa Monica Bay, her understanding of public works projects and her community engagement and education experience tie in perfectly with The Bay Foundation’s mission and collaborative way of working to improve the health of the Bay and all life within it.”
Vernez last served as the City of Santa Monica’s deputy city manager, special projects. In this role, she was the point person on the city’s Expo Light Rail team managing complex real estate, design and operational issues to bring the line to the Westside. She also oversaw citywide communication campaigns on issues ranging from public works construction projects, the LA Marathon and pedestrian safety issues. Prior to that, as assistant to the city manager, she worked to secure landmark legislation; federal, state and regional involvement to resolve the MtBE contamination of Santa Monica’s drinking water wells. She was responsible for the city’s federal and state advocacy program, worked on Santa Monica Airport issues, updated the Utility Tax on telecommunications, worked on federal funding of public works projects, earthquake recovery efforts and the formation of the Westside Cities Council of Governments.
“I am truly impressed by the far-reaching work of The Bay Foundation to protect and restore the health of Santa Monica Bay and the entire Watershed,” says Vernez. “I am very honored to work with the board and staff to advance their mission.”
As science-based advocates for the Bay, which stretches from the LA-Ventura county line in the north to the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the south, TBF is involved in high-profile projects throughout the region, including (but not limited to) kelp forest restoration, scientific monitoring of the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, clean boating programs and education, monitoring of MPAs, multiple projects that address stormwater runoff and climate change adaptation planning.
The State of the Bay Conference on September 9, occurs once every five years and offers presentations on the progress of restoring and protecting Santa Monica Bay and its watershed. More information at www.santamonicabay.org.
The Bay Foundation (TBF) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit environmental group founded in 1991 to contribute to the restoration and enhancement of the Santa Monica Bay (LA-Ventura county line to the Palos Verdes Peninsula) and local coastal waters. TBF and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission are partners in the Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program (SMBNEP), one of 28 entities that comprise the National Estuary Program established pursuant to Section 320 of the Clean Water Act. TBF raises and expends funds for research, education, planning, cleanup efforts and other priorities identified in the SMBNEP’s Bay Restoration Plan. As advocates for the Bay, TBF works collaboratively with a broad group of stakeholders, including government agencies, industry, environmental groups, and scientists, to implement innovative policies and projects that clean up the waterways, create green spaces and natural habitats in the Los Angeles region. TBF conducts research and mentors student interns and volunteers through its Center for Santa Monica Bay Studies at Loyola Marymount University. (www.santamonicabay.org)