Pete Peterson was the first executive director of Common Sense California, an organization that promotes and supports citizen engagement as a way of producing more creative policy decisions and better citizens. He developed the organization’s annual Citizen Engagement Grant Program, which has provided over $200,000.00 in grants over the last two years to municipalities and school districts across California. Peterson has also consulted on several of these “participatory planning” and “participatory budgeting” projects in cities ranging from Salinas to Palmdale. Peterson has co-created and currently co-facilitates the training seminar, “Leadership through Civic Engagement” – a program offered to California leaders from city planners to regional officials. To date over 350 city, county, school district, and nonprofit officials have attended these seminars. He has written extensively on public engagement for an array of print and online journals. Peterson earned his BA in history from George Washington University, and an MPP from Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy. He was also a public affairs fellow at The Hoover Institution in 2006.
Steven Frates is the author of numerous studies and reports on state and local government finance and public policy issues. His research has addressed areas ranging from public education system finances to municipal government expenditure patterns. He is often quoted in the media and has written columns for the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, and other newspapers. Frates has served on the California State Constitutional Revision Commission, the Technical Advisory Commission of the State Solid Waste Management Board, and the Technical Advisory Group of the State Storm Water Runoff Program. In June 2004, Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar appointed Frates to the California Performance Review Commission. Frates received his B.A. from Claremont McKenna College, and his MPA and PhD from the University of Southern California. He has taught graduate level courses in government finance, public policy and public administration at the University of Colorado, the University of Southern California, California State University Fullerton, and San Diego State University. He currently teaches graduate courses in public policy analysis and government finance at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. Prior to his current appointment as director of research at the Davenport Institute, Frates was a Senior Fellow at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College. He has also been an assistant to the city manager for the City of Fullerton, California, executive director of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, and a high school teacher instructing students in civics, economics, mathematics, and history. In addition to his responsibilities at Pepperdine University, Frates is president of the Center for Government Analysis.
Ed Everett has been co-chair of Common Sense California's City/Regional Task Force since 2008. He helped develop and co-facilitate the organization's training programs in public participation, which will now continue and expand at the Davenport Institute. Everett is a nationally-known speaker on issues related to public participation and community-building. He is the recently-retired city manager of Redwood City, where he held the position since 1992. Prior to that, he served as city manager of Belmont, assistant county manager for Washoe County, Nevada, and program analyst/fire chief for the City of Palo Alto. After obtaining a degree in economics from the University of California, Davis, and a graduate degree in urban affairs from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, Everett gained valuable experience during several years as a VISTA volunteer. While overseeing what some call the renaissance of Redwood City, he focused a great deal of research and study on the concept of "community building" - what makes a real community.
Michael Warder is a vice chancellor at Pepperdine University. Prior to coming to Pepperdine, Warder was executive director of the Southern California Children’s Scholarship Fund (2001-05); vice president for development at The Claremont Institute based in California (1995-01); executive vice president of The Rockford Institute in Illinois (1985-95); executive vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington DC (1983-84); and director of administration at the Heritage Foundation (1980-83). He has written newspaper columns on a variety of topics for hundreds of newspapers including: Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, San Diego Union Tribune, and many others. While in Illinois, Warder was a weekly commentator for WNIJ, the NPR affiliate for Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. He won four Silver Dome Awards for his commentaries. He has appeared as a guest on a wide variety of television and radio programs including: O’Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes on Fox, Politically Incorrect on ABC, Fox News, Chicago Tonight on WTTW, Life & Times and Frontline on KCET, CBS Network news, and many others. Warder created, produced, and hosted a weekly public affairs television program, Stateline Newsmakers. He has traveled broadly and led delegations to the former Soviet Union, the Baltic States, London, Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Rome, and China. Listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World, Warder is a member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Council for National Policy, Philadelphia Society, and the Board of Directors of the Americanism Educational League. He is a graduate of Stanford University with a degree in political science.