A seven-member Board of Airport Commissioners governs Los Angeles World Airports. By the Charter of the City of Los Angeles, the Board is responsible for the formulation of airport policy. The Board is comprised of public-spirited business and civic leaders who are appointed by the Mayor, approved by the City Council and serve staggered five-year terms.
The current members of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners are Sean O. Burton; Gabriel L. Eshaghian, Jackie Goldberg, Beatrice E. Hsu, Matthew M. Johnson, Cynthia Telles, and Valeria C. Velasco.
Six of the commissioners, Burton, Eshaghian, Goldberg, Hsu, Johnson and Telles were appointed to the Board on August 13, 2013. The remaining member, Commissioner Velasco, was first appointed to the Board on September 5, 2005 and has remained on since that time.
Commissioner Burton was elected president of the Board on September 17, 2013. Commissioner Velasco was re-elected vice president on that same day.
Following are biographies of each of the commissioners:
Sean O. Burton – President (appointed for term ending June 30, 2015)
Commissioner Burton is president of CityView and a member of CityView’s Board of Directors and Investment Committees. CityView is a real estate fund sponsor and operator that invests institutional capital in urban residential housing throughout the United States.
Prior to joining CityView, Commissioner Burton was a senior executive in the Corporate Business Development and Strategy Division at Warner Bros., where he was responsible for making strategic investments. His other professional experience includes serving as a transactional attorney at O’Melveny & Myers, LLP and serving in the White House and for the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton Administration.
Commissioner Burton previously served on the Los Angeles City Planning Commission where he chaired the subcommittee, overseeing approval of the proposed Farmers Field National Football League stadium. He also had a leading role in advocating structural changes in the state’s fiscal and budgetary process when he was appointed by the Governor in 2001 to the California Commission on Tax Policy and the New Economy. He is a trustee at John Thomas Dye School, a member of the Young Presidents Organization, and a member of the board of United Friends of the Children.
Commissioner Burton is a graduate of the New York University School of Law and the University of California, Irvine. He recently retired as a lieutenant (Intelligence) from the United States Navy Reserve.
Valeria C. Velasco – Vice President (appointed for term ending June 30, 2017)
Commissioner Velasco is a sole practitioner estate planning attorney in Playa del Rey and an independent Associate/Director for Legal Shield. As a civic leader, she has served as Lieutenant Governor for Rotary International District 5280 and currently serves as a Fee Dispute Arbitrator for the State Bar of California. She also served as chair of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce World Trade Week in 2012.
Commissioner Velasco has served as a City of Los Angeles Planning Commissioner, Staff Legal Counsel and Hispanic Liaison to former City Councilman Michael Woo, Assembly Aide/Hispanic Liaison to former Assemblyman Mike Roos and a bilingual elementary school teacher.
Commissioner Velasco earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of West Los Angeles School of Law, a Master of Arts degree in education from Claremont Graduate School, and Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach.
Commissioner Velasco has held the position of vice president of the Board of Airport Commissioners since September 14, 2005. She is a native Californian, born at California Hospital in Los Angeles, and has lived with her husband Frank and their son in Playa del Rey since 1988.
Gabriel L. Eshaghian (appointed for term ending June 30, 2014)
Commissioner Eshaghian is a Principal and Vice President of Acquisitions and Development with The Somerset Group, a New York-based real estate investment, development and management firm founded in 1979. He has been with the organization for more than eight years, since he opened its Los Angeles office in September 2005.
Before joining Somerset, Commissioner Eshaghian spent more than 10 years in various executive positions within the travel and transportation industries, most recently with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, one of the world’s largest professional services firms. He spent over three years as their U.S.-based Global Travel Manager, followed by two years as a director with its United Kingdom affiliate Nyras, focusing on turnaround, strategy consulting and investment banking transaction services in the global airline and transportation sector.
Commissioner Eshaghian has also held commercial management and business development positions in the airline industry, including positions with Swissair, and with Virgin Atlantic Airways as its US-based Global Key Accounts Manager.
He is a subject matter expert in the areas of real estate acquisitions and finance, global travel management and aviation strategy. He has traveled and worked extensively in more than 50 countries and is a classically trained concert-level pianist. He is an active member of the Urban Land Institute, Ipalpiti Young Artists International, The Maestro Foundation and the Children’ Music Fund Charity.
Commissioner Eshaghian holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion from the University of Southern California and a Master of Science degree in Real Estate Finance from New York University.
Jackie Goldberg (appointed for term ending June 30, 2015)
Commissioner Goldberg is a former member of the California State Assembly, the Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.
As a member of the Assembly representing the 45th District (2004-2006), Commissioner Goldberg served as chair of the Assembly Education Committee, reviewing hundreds of bills on virtually every aspect of pre-K-12 education in the state. Moreover, as a member of Budget Subcommittee she oversaw the K-12 and higher education budget.
As a member of the Assembly, her achievements included drafting and ensuring that two statewide school bonds issues included $4 billion in funds for critically overcrowded schools (2001-2002); and ensured that $1 billion for overcrowding was included on the November 2006 ballot. In all, she authored 12 pre-K-12 education-related bills that were signed into law.
Also, during that time, Commissioner Goldberg authored the Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act, which gave same gender couples in California the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as other married couples.
Term limits precluded Commissioner Goldberg from seeking a fourth term in the State Assembly.
During her tenure as a member of the Los Angeles City Council representing the 13th District (1993-2000), Commissioner Goldberg served as chair of the Personnel Committee, overseeing contracts and employment issues for the city’s entire workforce, Including her authoring of the City’s Living Wage Ordinance.
During 1991-1993, she was Children’s Services Deputy and Ethics Deputy for Los Angeles County First District Supervisor Gloria Molina. Her chief duties involved providing oversight of foster care, child support collections, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the Los Angeles County Board of Education and Office of Education.
She was elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in 1982 and served until 1991. She was its president during 1989 and 1991.
Commissioner Goldberg, an educator for almost 20 years, taught at Dominguez and Centennial high schools in the Compton Unified School District, where also served as president of the Compton Federation of Teachers, Local 1413. She also taught at Grant High School in Los Angeles, and Thornton Township High School in Illinois.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Distinction in General Scholarship from the University of California, Berkeley. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science from that university and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in Education/History from the University of Chicago.
Beatrice C. Hsu (appointed for term ending June 30, 2016)
Commissioner Hsu is Senior Vice President for Development and Forward Planning at Related California, a full-service real estate firm specializing in urban infill development, including affordable housing, mixed-income housing and commercial mixed-use development. She has worked for the company since 2006, previously holding the position of Vice President for Development.
Before joining the firm, Commissioner Hsu served as a senior advisor to then-Councilmember Eric Garcetti. In that position she served as staff chair on the City Council’s Housing, Community and Economic Development Committee, which had oversight over the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency, Housing Department, Community Development Department, Homeless Services Authority and Housing Authority. Commissioner Hsu also served previously as a policy analyst for the California State Controller.
She is a graduate of Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history, and the University of Southern California’s Ross Minority Program in Real Estate.
She is a former Vice Chair of the City of Los Angeles Industrial Development Authority and currently serves on the advisory board for the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.
Matthew M. Johnson (appointed for term ending June 30, 2014)
Commissioner Johnson is the managing partner of Ziffren Brittenham LLP. Ziffren is considered the country’s premier entertainment law firm and a leader in structuring and negotiating cutting-edge transactions in the rapidly changing media and entertainment industries. Its practice includes strategic planning and consulting in all facets of the traditional and digital-media industries.
Commissioner Johnson has an extensive film and television practice and has structured and negotiated ground breaking transactions in all facets of the media and entertainment industries. He represents some of the most recognizable on-camera talent today as well as many renowned film and television producers, directors and writers. He also represents some of the biggest superstars in the world of sports.
Commissioner Johnson considers it a privilege to support charitable and civic organizations. He has been involved with The Boys and Girls Club since 1997 and is a past President of the Board of Challengers Boys and Girls Club in South-central Los Angeles and the Echo Park Boys and Girls Club. Commissioner Johnson is also a member of the board of the Los Angeles Urban League, the Foreign Policy Roundtable, The Next Generation and an At-Large Member of the Democratic National Committee where he serves on the Budget and Finance Committee.
Commissioner Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers University and his graduate degree from New York University School of Law.
Cynthia A. Telles (appointed for term ending June 30, 2018)
Commissioner Telles is director of the University of California, Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute Spanish-speaking Clinic and is responsible for managing the operations of the model psychiatric clinic, as well as its training and research. She has been on the faculty of UCLA School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry since 1986.
Commissioner Telles has held many governmental and public service appointments. She also currently serves on the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars to which she was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010. In addition, she serves on the White House Fellows Regional Selection Panel, a position she held during 1998 – 2001, and more recently since 2012. During the Clinton Administration she was appointed to the National Advisory Council of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Previously, she served on the advisory group to the Presidential Task Force on Health Care Reform.
Commissioner Telles has extensive experience serving on corporate boards as well as governmental commissions and civic/philanthropic organization boards. These include serving on the Board of Directors of General Motors since 2010 and for a decade as a member of the Board of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals (Kaiser Permanente). Previously, she served on the boards of Sanwa Bank and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation.
Commissioner Telles has also played a significant role in national and local philanthropic organizations. She is currently Chair of the California Community Foundation and has served on the Board since 2004. Between 2001 and 2010, she was on the Board of Directors of The California Endowment, the largest health foundation in California. She served as its Board Chair from 2004 through 2006 and as Vice Chair from 2002 through 2004. Moreover, she has served on the boards of numerous non-profit and civic organizations.
In Los Angeles, she has served for 13 years on various city commissions: as: vice president of the City of Los Angeles Ethics Commission, as president of the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women, as vice president of the Los Angeles Board of Library Commissioners and as a member of the Los Angeles Commission on Children, Youth and Families. Additionally, she served on the Los Angeles Police Department’s Board of Rights.
Commissioner Telles received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College and a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Boston University.