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Saving the Dream: The Future of California

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Join the OC Forum on Friday, February 4th at 12 PM for our first virtual program of the year in a new series entitled “Saving the Dream.” Be a part of the conversation with our guest moderator, Ron Hasse, Publisher of the Orange County Register and President of the Southern California News Group, as he interviews our esteemed panel of experts on the future of California.

RSVP by clicking here! Meet our panelists for the program below!

Ron Hasse, Publisher, Orange County Register, President, Southern California News Group (moderator)

Ron Hasse was named publisher of The Orange County Register and president of Southern California News Group (SCNG) in March 2016. He oversees day-to-day strategy and development of SCNG’s daily newspapers and websites, weekly publications, magazines, digital products and social channels. They include the Register, The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Los Angeles Daily News, Daily Breeze in Torrance, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Long Beach Press-Telegram, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Pasadena Star-News, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts.

Throughout Hasse’s tenure as president and publisher, he has advanced the company’s commitment to local journalism and has grown digital audiences across SCNG’s eleven properties. In 2015, The Daily Breeze won a Pulitzer Prize for excellence in local and investigative reporting.

Ron is an Executive Board member for the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BIZFED) and the Orange County Business Council (OCBC), and has served as President of the California News Publisher’s Association (CNPA).

In 2015, Ron was the recipient of the Justus F. Craemer Newspaper Executive of the Year Award presented by the California Press Foundation.

Dr. Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner, Beacon Economics

Christopher Thornberg founded Beacon Economics LLC in 2006. Under his leadership the firm has become one of the most respected research organizations in California serving public and private sector clients across the United States. In 2015, Dr. Thornberg also became Director of the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development and an Adjunct Professor at the School.

An expert in economic and revenue forecasting, regional economics, economic policy, and labor and real estate markets, Dr. Thornberg has consulted for private industry, cities, counties, and public agencies. He became nationally known for forecasting the subprime mortgage market crash that began in 2007, and was one of the few economists on record to predict the global economic recession that followed. Dr. Thornberg holds a Ph.D in Business Economics from The Anderson School at UCLA, and a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Tracy Hernandez, CEO Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed)

Tracy Hernandez is the founding chief executive officer of the Los Angeles County business federation, also known as BizFed. This nonprofit, grassroots alliance of 180 top business networks counts among its more than 400,000 business members a diverse demographic, industry sector and geographic array of small and large employers of over 3.5 million people in Southern California. Ms. Hernandez also founded the BizFed Political Action Committee, which seeks to elect public officials with job creating focus and ability. In addition, she is president of IMPOWER Group, Inc., a business advisory company specializing in startups or strategic transition utilizing unlikely partnerships to achieve greater impact.

Prior to her work in the business community, Ms. Hernandez had a distinguished career in the newspaper business, including serving as the first female publisher of the Los Angeles Daily News in the paper’s nearly 100-year history. Ms. Hernandez has made the LA Business Journal’s 500 Most Influential Leaders list and made the list three times in the last five years. She has received the USC Dornsife/Lee Cerrell “Trailblazing Women” award, and the South Bay Assoc. of Chambers of Commerce’ “Shaun Lumachi” award for being a tireless advocate for business; she has received numerous other awards.

Michael Shellenberger, Founder & President, Environmental Progress

Michael Shellenberger is the founder and president of Environmental Progress. Author of the critically acclaimed books “San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities” and “Apocalpyse Never,” Shellenberger is also a recipient of the TIME Magazine “Hero of the Environment” Green Book Award. He advises policymakers around the world and has been a climate, environmental, and social justice activist for over 30 years. In the 1990s he helped save California's last unprotected ancient redwood forest, and inspire Nike to improve factory conditions in Asia. He writes on housing and homelessness, and has called for California to declare a state of emergency regarding its addiction, mental health, and housing crises. Visit the link below to learn more!

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