PCL Board of Directors
Fundamental to PCL is the Board of Directors, currently led by Graham Brownstein.
Graham Brownstein – Chair
Graham has been a community organizer and policy advocate for 23 years, with experience on campaigns and issues relating to the environment, housing and community development, labor, public health, and infrastructure. He is also an attorney admitted to the California Bar. Graham majored in Environmental Studies and American Studies, and worked as a labor organizer, while an undergrad at Yale University. He received his BA in 1996.
After moving to the Bay Area, Graham worked for nearly six years as Director of Community Organizing and Outreach for The Utility Reform Network (TURN), a statewide utility consumer advocacy organization based in San Francisco. During those years, Graham helped communities and individuals across the state navigate the California energy crisis, spearheaded endorsement efforts for a statewide initiative to stop the deregulation of California’s electric system, and organized a successful campaign to stop a major increase in telephone rates for rural customers.
Graham left TURN in 2002 to pursue a JD at the University of California at Davis School of Law (King Hall), with particular focus on administrative, regulatory and environmental law and policy. Upon completing his law degree in 2005, Graham became Executive Director at ECOS, the Environmental Council of Sacramento, where he spent nearly five years augmenting the organization’s internal and political resources and guiding ECOS efforts across the Sacramento region on land use and smart growth, transportation and air quality, habitat and agricultural conservation, and climate change.
In 2010, Graham left ECOS and became State Policy Director at TransForm, a statewide organization headquartered in Oakland that promotes healthy, equitable communities and good transportation options for all Californians. During his nearly three years at TransForm, Graham managed TransForm’s Sacramento office and spearheaded numerous state policy efforts, including: co-founding the Sustainable Communities for All coalition, which secured a major share of Cap-and-Trade revenues for affordable housing and transit; developing legislation to address the funding shortfalls and other problems created by the elimination of redevelopment agencies; and working on major funding reforms for transportation and affordable housing. He also initiated TransForm’s annual Advocacy Day, held every spring in Sacramento.
After leaving TransForm in late 2012, Graham co-founded and became the Chief Operating Officer for a California corporation working to bring an environmentally friendly and cost-effective water treatment technology to market. He has also continued to stay engaged on numerous state and regional policy issues.
Graham is honored to serve on the PCL board and looks forward to helping the organization advance major policy reforms, particularly in the areas of land use and climate.
Bill Center – Secretary-Treasurer
A native Californian, I was born in Berkeley and grew up through high school in Fort Bragg. I spent a year as an AFS student in New Zealand before attending, but never quite graduating from, Stanford University, Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State. I became a river guide, and then operations manager, for the American River Touring Association in the early seventies. I moved to El Dorado County in 1976, and married Robin Magneson on our property overlooking the South Fork of the American River in 1977. We started the river companies ARTA California and California River Trips in 1978, bought Camp Lotus, had a daughter and then entered into a successful multi-year battle to protect the South Fork from four dams proposed by El Dorado County. In the meantime our son was born, and in 1990 I was elected to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors for one term. We still own and operate Camp Lotus, but are no longer professional river outfitters. We run rivers, sea kayak and backpack for fun. I continue to be involved with a variety of non-profit environmental organizations, having been a founding Board member on Friends of the River, American River Recreation Association, the American River Conservancy and the Great Valley Center, past president of the Sierra Nevada Alliance and Planning and Conservation League, whose Board I am still on. I am partly retired, meaning that about half my time I do what I want to do and don’t get paid for it. The rest of the time I’m a simple campground owner.
Jan Chatten-Brown – Past Chair
Jan has twice been named by the Daily Journal, the State’s Legal Daily newspaper, as one of the Top 100 Women Litigators in California. Since 2005, she has consistently been identified as a Super-Lawyer, selected by peers as being in the top 5% of lawyers in Southern California. Jan has practiced environmental law since she graduated from UCLA Law School in 1971.
For the first twenty-one years of her practice, Jan worked in various public law offices. In 1995, Jan opened her own public interest oriented environmental law practice, known as Chatten-Brown & Carstens. Along with four other attorneys, Jan primarily represents environmental and community groups. Much of the practice involves litigation under CEQA, and Jan has appeared on many panels on CEQA. She has also taught environmental law at UCLA and USC law school. In addition to being the current President of PCL, Jan has served as the President of California Common Cause, the Sierra Nevada Alliance, and been extensively involved in a number of other environmental and public interest organizations and boards.
Sage Sweetwood – Vice Chair, Chair Emeritus
Sage Sweetwood is a retired Healthcare entrepreneur who founded one of the nation’s first PPO’s and was a key executive in a five-person health care start-up that grew into a BusinessWeek Top 1000 company. Earlier in his career, he was a management consultant and a medical researcher with several published journal articles.
Sage has been active in community affairs for over 40 years. He has served as a mayor, a California Coastal Commissioner, and a regional council of governments board member. Sage also chaired a California Assembly Blue Ribbon Task force on Regional Government. He founded COOL, a business and community alliance, that stopped attempts to drill near shore oil wells off the coast of San Diego. Sage has been a long time board member of the Planning and Conservation League.
Sage received his BA degree in Engineering from University of California at San Diego and his MS degree in Management from MIT.
David Mogavera – Vice Chair, Chair Emeritus
David Mogavero is one of the most experienced practitioners and advocates of ecological building, planning, and infill development, and land use/ transportation policy.
His commitment to human-based architecture, the revitalization of existing neighborhoods, economic and ecological sustainability of communities, and participation in the planning and design process by end-users is well-known and recognized within professional and citizen communities.
Mr. Mogavero has actively lectured, written and advocated for environmentally sound urban development, including infill and higher density, transit and pedestrian-oriented development. Through his professional practice and tenure as a board member and President of the Environmental Council of Sacramento and The Planning and Conservation League, he has facilitated the widespread adoption of these principles in many projects and communities throughout California.
Judy Corbett – Vice Chair
Judith Corbett is the co-developer of Village Homes, a model for sustainable development created in the late seventies. She went on to found the Local Government Commission, and served as its Executive Director — for 35 years helping local elected officials implement forward-thinking transportation, land use, water, air quality, solid waste, public health, economic, and equity programs and policies in their communities. She has authored or co-authored three books on sustainable development and written or edited multiple guidebooks and fact sheets for local governments on sustainability issues. Her leadership toward the creation of the nationally-recognized Ahwahnee Principles forsaw the development of the Smart Growth movement.
Caroline Farrell – Vice Chair
Caroline Farrell is the Executive Director of the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment based out of CRPE’s Delano office. For over 14 years she has assisted low income communities and communities of color in the south San Joaquin Valley and throughout the country in their struggle for environmental justice. She quickly established a reputation as one of the Valley’s foremost environmental justice advocates, going toe-to-toe with agricultural polluters from Fresno to Bakersfield. Caroline has represented low income communities and communities of color on issues related to dairy development in the Central Valley, hazardous waste facilities, land application of biosolids, and land use planning issues.
Caroline serves on the Steering Committee for the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, the Steering Committee for the California Environmental Justice Alliance, on the Impact Fund’s Grant Advisory Committee and on the Board of Directors for Communities for a Better Environment, the Planning and Conservation League, and Act for Women and Girls in Visalia.
Kevin Johnson – Vice Chair
Kevin Johnson is a CEQA Attorney and civil litigator with law offices in Carlsbad, California. He has been a member of the PCL Board of Directors since 1987 and serves on a number of PCL Board Committees. He is a 1980 graduate of the University of California, Davis Law School and holds the coveted “AV” Professional Rating from Martindale Hubbell. Mr. Johnson’s law practice emphasizes representation of national, state, regional and local environmental organizations and citizens groups.
Elisabeth M. Brown, PhD is a biologist and science writer who joined the Greenbelt board in 1980. An embryologist by training, her thesis topic at UCI explored coordinated hatching behavior in California Quail. Elisabeth created the public access program in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and still teaches the Naturalist Training course at Saddleback College for would-be park docents. She has written trail guides, an OC field guide, and educational brochures for wilderness-adjacent neighborhoods. Her monthly nature columns ran in local newspapers for 20 years. Elisabeth’s involvement in managing local wildlands has included founding roles in the Nature Reserve of OC and the Coastal Greenbelt Authority.
Joe is Principal and Co-Founder of Calthorpe Analytics. He leverages 20 years of experience in land use and transportation planning in leading the development and deployment of the RapidFire and UrbanFootprint modeling platforms, new models and software tools that bring critical information to land use planning decisions, energy and water resource choices, and the environmental, public health, and social equity challenges of our times.
Specialties: Land use and transportation planning, open source software development, land use impacts on climate change and energy use, land use and transport policy, regional planning, transit and corridor planning, energy and water analytics.
Veteran environmental activist, writer, editor, publisher, educator, and coastal wetlands scientist Phyllis Faber has made countless contributions to the Bay Area environmental movement. With the late Ellen Straus, she cofounded the nation’s first agricultural land trust, Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT). She was a leader in the campaign for the California Coastal Commission in 1972 and subsequently served on the North Central Regional Commission, including as chair for two years.
Faber was born in New York City, graduated with a B.S. in zoology from Mount Holyoke College, and received her M.S. in microbiology at Yale. She first moved to the Bay Area for a few years in the early 1960s, then moved back to stay in 1971, settling in Marin with her husband and three children. She combined duties as a mother, a consulting coastal wetland biologist, a teacher of biology and natural history at the College of Marin, and an environmental advocate. She was also one of the founding instructors at the Environmental Forum of Marin.
She began her publishing career in 1982 when she wrote and published Common Wetland Plants of Coastal California. She has since worked on numerous books about California flora and ecosystems and served as editor of Fremontia, the journal of the California Native Plant Society, from 1984 to 1999. At age 87, she remains active in publishing as the coeditor of the Natural History series for University of California Press.
After beginning her legal career in Washington, D.C., Fran M. Layton returned to the Bay Area in 1982 and joined Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger the following year. Ms. Layton is a partner in the firm and her practice focuses on constitutional issues relating to regulatory action, such as takings and preemption, and on land use and planning, conservation of natural areas and farmland, the Clean Air Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, and eminent domain law.
Ms. Layton has extensive litigation experience at the trial court and appellate level in both federal and state courts, including authoring merits and amici briefs in both the California and United States Supreme Courts. She was a member of the firm’s successful defense teams in the U.S. Supreme Court in Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, a takings challenge to TRPA’s comprehensive land use plan for the Lake Tahoe Basin, and in the Ninth Circuit in Engine Manufacturers Assoc. v. South Coast Air Quality Management District, a preemption challenge under the Clean Air Act to the District’s innovative Fleet Rules. Most recently, Ms. Layton served as lead counsel to the County of Santa Cruz in Big Creek Lumber Company v. County of Santa Cruz, a preemption challenge to County regulations governing the location of timber harvesting, in which the County ultimately prevailed before the California Supreme Court.
Ms. Layton’s land preservation work includes serving as special counsel to the City of Sacramento in a complex, multi-party lawsuit over development in the Natomas Basin. The parties negotiated a settlement that mandates preservation of land for state and federally protected species. Ms. Layton also represented the County of Santa Cruz, together with County Counsel, in longstanding litigation over future mining at a sand quarry. The mediated settlement included acquisition of a portion of the quarry containing an association of plants found nowhere else in the world.
Edward Thompson, Jr.
Now responsible for the California programs of American Farmland Trust, Ed Thompson has served in multiple positions and helped initiate a wide variety of projects since joining the staff in 1981. Innovations he has advanced include American Farmland Trust’s first strategic plan, the Farmland Information Center, the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, the Farming on the Edge report and the concept of Agricultural Conservation Easements.
He was instrumental in establishing Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements programs in Pennsylvania and Montgomery County, Maryland, and in publishing key reports such as Alternatives for Future Urban Growth in California’s Central Valley; The Future Is Now: Central Valley Farmland at the Tipping Point; and Think Globally, Eat Locally: San Francisco Foodshed Assessment.
Thompson’s career before joining American Farmland Trust includes serving as Washington counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund and director of the Agricultural Lands Project for the National Association of Counties. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University and a J.D. from George Washington University, and has published extensively on farmland preservation issues.
Terry Watt brings a wealth of experience in planning and implementation efforts focused on projects that promote resource conservation and sustainable development patterns and practices. Prior to forming her own consulting firm, she was the staff planning expert with the environmental and land use law firm Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger. Terry is an expert in general and specific planning and zoning, open space and agricultural land conservation strategies and environmental compliance.
Facilitation, public outreach, project management and negotiation are among the skills Terry offers to a wide variety of California clients including non-profit organizations, government agencies and foundations.
Recent clients include the Marin Countywide Plan Update and its Environmental Impact Report; the California Attorney General’s Office on a project related to climate change, CEQA and general plans; an environmental coalition that secured an Agreement with the Tejon Ranch Company for the permanent protection of 240,000 acres of the ranch; and several coalitions and organizations studying infill methodology dedicated to sustainable development patterns as a key strategy to achieving California’s emissions reduction targets.
Denny created Move LA in 2007 to bring together business, labor and environmental leaders and organizations with the goal of raising significant new funding for LA County’s transit system. This coalition helped lead the campaign for the Measure R sales tax, and proved to be a powerful force in getting Measure R on the 2008 ballot and winning its passage, with the result that LA has embarked on an ambitious build-out of its transportation system. Previously Denny served on the Santa Monica City Council, including one term as mayor, during which time he initiated the revitalization of the Third Street Promenade. He wrote much of the land use policy for Santa Monica’s downtown, emphasizing pedestrian amenities, mixed-use development, and effective transit access — before these policies became known as “smart growth.” Denny was also executive director of the Coalition for Clean Air, and began his career by founding Santa Monicans for Renters Rights in the late ’70s, a progressive community coalition that has held a city council majority in Santa Monica for 24 of the last 30 years.