Managing the Disaster – a COVID-19 Virtual Forum for Los Angeles Nonprofits

On April 13, at 1pm, the Dr. Lucy Jones Center, Center for Nonprofit Management, Southern California Leadership Network, Valley Nonprofit Resources, and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a special virtual forum for nonprofit leaders in Los Angeles: Managing the Disaster – a COVID-19 Virtual Forum for Los Angeles Nonprofits featuring Dr. Lucy Jones on managing our current pandemic disaster. You can view the virtual forum session recording here.

Dr. Jones provided “the big picture” overview of what’s been happening with the virus in LA County followed by what we’ve learned from previous disasters that will help us get through this. Nonprofits are essential during this response phase and especially during the recovery, and this virtual forum explored those opportunities, as well as how we can support each other.

Through digital breakout group discussions, this interactive virtual forum revealed the role of nonprofits in the response and recovery and how we can support each other. Here is a summary of the Nonprofit Virtual Forum Small Group Responses, which includes more than 40 of the tools and resources nonprofits are turning to in answering two key questions:

  1. What activities or tools are helping your nonprofit to be resilient in this disaster?
  2. As we look to the future, what opportunities are emerging that could be leveraged so that we can work in new ways and better serve our communities?

Thanks to Wells Fargo for their support of this virtual forum.

For more about other Dr. Jones Center  Virtual Forums, please visit this page.

Future of Resilience 2018

« of 41 »

On January 17, 2018, the Dr. Lucy Jones Center and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti co-hosted the “Future of Resilience,” an event that brought together leaders from across the country representing a cross-section of community and civic leadership: government, business, healthcare, philanthropy, utilities, engineers, scientists, and more. The group gathered at Gensler’s Downtown Los Angeles offices to exchange ideas and talk about the future of cities across the US in the face of inevitable natural hazards. The program featured remarks from Dr. Lucy Jones and Mayor Garcetti, followed by a panel discussion.

What follows is a transcript (edited for clarity) of the program that looks at the role of resilience in the future of our communities…

John Bwarie:

Good evening. My name’s John Bwarie, I’m going to escort us through this evening’s discussion. It’s my pleasure to introduce — to offer you a welcome — Rob Jernigan, who is the leader here of the Gensler office of hundreds of designers and architects, who are shaping cities around the region. So with that, ladies and gentlemen, Rob Jernigan.

Rob Jernigan:

Thank you, John. We really do appreciate each and every one of you tonight coming to our office and spending this really critical time with us. This is clearly a topic that, if it’s not, it needs to be important to each and every one of us.

But first I want to thank you Dr. Jones, and Mayor Garcetti, for bringing us together about this critical topic for us. And it’s becoming more and more critical every day. I know we’re here to talk about resiliency of natural hazards, and how our firm is committed to support cities, and communities about this issue. In fact, we’re both honored and excited to be leading one of the teams selected to participate in the Rockefeller funded Resilient by Design, up in northern California. We’re collaborating with some guests here tonight. HR&A. ERAP. Margie Ruddick Landscape. Statesman design. UCLA’s Department of Architecture, and their Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and Stanford’s Sustainable Urban Systems Initiative.

So again, we in LA need to do what we’re doing up in northern California. Because southern California has the same issues. They may be different, but we need a plan. Resilient by Design has challenged our team to think about how to design, and help prepare our communities in advance. That’s the issue. Not after the catastrophe. Rather than dealing with things afterwards. So it makes us think more comprehensively, of what defines resiliency, besides raising sea level. Including other threats, such as fire and subsequent storm water runoff. Liquefaction, earthquake prone areas. Clearly recent events in Montecito, we’re all seeing the impact of that. And frankly what it’s doing to our communities. So, we really look forward to building stronger communities and better environments. And let’s really all think about resiliency, and how it affects us. So, thank you for attending tonight. Thank you.

John Bwarie:

So as Rob indicated, we’re here with the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, and to give us an insight of why we’re here tonight, I’d like to invite Dr. Lucy Jones to come to the stage.

Lucy Jones:

Everybody here, thank you so much for coming to listen to this. First, I want to thank Gensler for having us here. We really appreciate the opportunity and this lovely space, and to help facilitate this discussion. I see us as here to talk about choices. Resilience is a choice that you make to think about issues that might not be happening today, that maybe are not going to happen for a long time. And we have to make an active positive choice to do something about them.

Life is choices. I was thinking about this, especially on the anniversary of the Northridge earthquake. I didn’t have a lot of choices that morning. I made a big choice earlier when I decided to go to MIT and major in geophysics. I actually was debating between music, being a classical musician, and geophysics, and I decided that a professional seismologist and amateur musician was a better choice than the alternative, right? So, there’s a choice that’s pretty obvious to make when you really look at the skillset.

12 years ago, I made a pretty different choice when in the USGS I was asked if I would be willing to lead what was called the multi hazards demonstration project. We didn’t know if we’d get funded. I had created this project on request, saying our goal was to demonstrate how hazard science can improve a community’s resilience. And it was a choice to give up on the scientific game, give up on going for the last accolade of an award, and decide to try and get the science used. That was a much less obvious choice. It went against what most of the scientific research endeavor says is the right thing to do. I couldn’t have guessed when I made the choice that we would submit the proposal and hurricane Katrina would happen a week after we sent it to OMB. So, we got funded a lot more quickly than we might have thought at the beginning. And I could never have imagined where it went. We got to create this program that really got the science used, that led to the first ShakeOut, that led to me going to city hall. Led to places that I could never have imagined when I went into that.

And then I made the choice to retire from the US Geological Survey. I couldn’t have imagined what would happen to the federal government after I left. So that actually wasn’t the reason I made the choice. It was a choice that, once I had worked with Mayor Garcetti, and discovered what it was to get science used, it was really hard to go back into the pure research corner. And I wanted to find the opportunity to do something more. And especially for California. This is home, I’m a fourth generation Californian. I want us to keep on functioning. I hope it expands beyond California, because I think there’s more than that.

And so I left, I created the Center, and we are trying to facilitate the use of science to improve resilience, to improve that communication. To bridge the gap between that research endeavor and all of you who could use the information and get that communication to happen. So, the second thank you I want to give is to our founding supporters. We have several, Simpson Strong-Tie, and then Southern California Gas. The Annenberg Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation have all given us you know, beginning grants to get going and start this process. So here we are.  It’s completely different from working for the government with what the Chinese call an iron rice bowl. You know, you’re sure you’re getting a salary but you’re not very fancy or very innovative. To walk away from that, try to do this, I really want to thank those of you who are helping make this happen.

Mayor Garcetti made a choice four years ago. That when I came to talk with him and we said, look at what’s in front of us, it’d be really easy to say let’s not think about that, it’s really a long ways out. And making that choice to work together was a big one. I couldn’t have imagined what would happen. The end result, Resilience by Design, is the biggest improvement in seismic safety we’ve ever had. And it’s moving forward now. You know, since I left the government, we entered into a partnership with the Southern California Association of Governments. And we are now working with 40 cities, who are in our cohorts, working towards doing seismic legislation. So what began in Los Angeles, is spreading on forward.

now, I’m making a choice, this is probably the scariest one I have ever made in my career, to move to the edge of the scientific domain. Because you know, as scientists, we’re supposed to be saying what’s true. You didn’t elect me to create policy, you elected Eric for that one, right? Some of you, well, 81%’s doing pretty well, Eric. What my job is is to make sure that you have the information to make those decisions. If I want to be really catty, I can say, if you let scientists start making policy, you’re inviting the politicians to start making science, and neither one is good for any of us, right? But I have to go to the very edge of what it means to be a scientist to make sure it’s understood. And that’s a scary place to be, I don’t really want to do it alone, I want to be bringing the other scientists with me. And I want to be reaching out to the people who can use the information.

One of the next steps that we’re taking is we have been talking with Mr. Nazarian at the Assembly, and looking at moving forward with some of the big issues that can be dealt with at the state level. I’m really proud that we’ve been able to have this conversation and see the bills start to move forward. So that brings us to tonight, we’ve got this partnership, Mayor Garcetti and I have continued to talk and work and that brings us to co-hosting this event. So let me now ask my co-host to come on up and take on the discussion.

Mayor Garcetti:

Thank you. Dr. Lucy Jones, ladies and gentlemen. I think we’d be fine if you made policy. I think we’d be just fine. We don’t have to have separation of church and state. Science and policy do go together, and it is important for us to have informed decisions. It’s also important for people who deal with science to think about the political aspects of this, because science is interesting to study, truth is interesting by itself. But it doesn’t have much meaning until we apply it to ourselves. And so, it is such a joy to be here tonight with you, Lucy, again. Reunited and it feels so good. It has been too long. And it brought back a lot of memories listening to you, because it was true, I was a very new Mayor, when you came in with John. And talked about what could happen. And I think as an elected official, June knows this and others, that you suddenly realize that one moment, wait a second, you put me in charge of this?

And when you laid out what could happen. I’ve always believed in life, and certainly in political life, we are defined not by the things we set out to do, but how we react to the things we don’t expect to happen. And this kind of skates between that. Because people kind of say well, nobody knows when the earthquake’s going to come. So how you react to that earthquake will be a test of us, the leadership of an entire city, an entire group at city hall. But we actually do know this will happen. So, this is a combination of what we plan to do but we hope we never have to. And what we know is coming, we just don’t know when.

I’m so excited that Dr. Lucy Jones has decided to start this center. Because at the end of it, while we can say this is interesting, the architects and the engineers in the room, the policy makers. This doesn’t come down to policy or planning. This comes down to people. And this comes down to lives. This really comes down to the savings of lives and of the way of life, that has defined what the California dream is. And we live in the most beautiful place. A space that here, downtown, where this strange place Los Angeles. A coastal city who’s downtown is inland. A place where we’re talking about green building but who’s downtown isn’t on the cardinal points, but from the northwest to the southeast, or sorry, the northeast to the southwest, because the original inhabitants who settled here knew that you could capture sunlight and wind better if you were off at a 45-degree angle. And used adobe long before we talked about the insulation of buildings.

This is a place where dreamers have always come from. Have always moved to. And yet we have had threats to that, which we saw in such stark relief this fire season. That we do live in — how many threats are there under the federal government, 15 categories? Yeah, all but two, I think we’re 13 out of 15 or something. No volcanoes? Yet. That we know of. Though I did see this movie, and right near the La Brea tar pits, I don’t know, it’s a little sulfuric if you drive on Sixth Street at Fairfax, it always stinks. People look at each other in the car, it’s like no, it’s just that.

So, when I met with Lucy I knew that there was a meeting of minds. That she offered the brains and the government had the brawn. That if we trusted each other, and we trusted the brains of a great scientist. And if she would trust the scalability of a city government that controls things like how buildings get build, and retrofitted, and how communications networks can work, and how water policy can get done. That we might be able to do something we’d look back on, long after anybody even remembers who we are, and say this city survived a little bit longer, thrived for another generation because of the work that we did. As Lucy mentioned, today is the 24th anniversary of the Northridge earthquake. I had left Los Angeles the day before the earthquake. I left also the day before the riots interestingly, at some point my parents said stop leaving Los Angeles, bad things happen.

But I was born and raised in the San Fernando valley, and I watched on the television from abroad, as I saw the devastating impact of that earthquake on a city that I loved. A city I knew I’d return to, a city that I wanted to raise my family in, and of which I’m a fourth-generation resident. And I saw that Los Angeles is a resilient city, I saw that Angelenos are a resilient people. But it also planted a seed in my head that if I was ever in the position to do something about it, that we should, for this generation, go the next mile forward. To see what we could do to make sure that natural disasters would not stop our progress.

Now in government it’s difficult to trust other levels of government. This one isn’t just a significant relationship because it was science and government mixing, this was the feds and local government. And it was probably the first time in the history of the Department of the Interior that this kind of level of trust of yes, you can be a science advisor and you can be detailed to city hall for four out of five days a week. We provided the real estate, we said you still had to buy your own lunch, though you know, occasionally we’d supply that as well. And Dr. Jones was very clear. She said I can’t make policy, but let’s be honest, now that you’re out of USGS, her recommendations were what we listened to. Because she wasn’t just brilliant at the science, I’ve got to say this as a political scientist. This is somebody who understands people.

Anybody who’s listened to her be interviewed, on KNX, is like no, no, no, that’s not what it is, she’s happy to correct the reporters, to succinctly, quickly and beautifully in prose say what the science is in a way that we can understand. So that we don’t act the wrong way, that we don’t do the wrong thing. But she also understands how to listen to people. And trust me, having been at city hall now for nearly 17 years, the old man of city hall, which should scare you as much as it scares me to say, we know that there’s a lot of people that bust through there and never know how to listen. And because of that they can never bring a coalition together, and can never have something so unanimously done as the plan that we put together. Because the fear of landlords, or of engineers, or of tenants, or of all these interest groups, were put aside for that rare moment where we say this is in the common interest. And while Lucy might give city hall credit, I’d like to throw that right back at her, because she is the one who stitched that together. Absolutely.

We adjust our most vulnerable infrastructure, our most vulnerable buildings, our most vulnerable water resources. You’ll be happy to know this morning, we were out in north Hollywood, in your district [Mr. Nazarian], breaking ground on the first of almost $600 million of water projects to clean up the second largest reservoir in California, natural or manmade. It just happens to be the San Fernando Valley. To clean up the ground water. So, whether it’s people saying we need a double-barreled tunnel, to steal more water from the north, or folks saying there’s no way life will go on here, we can just do something cheaper, more simple, and recommended. Resilience by Design to move what we now and I see Matt Peterson back there who helped me write that. To get 50% of our water locally by 2035, instead of 15% today. It’s a second Mullholland moment.

Because we learned in that report, or she already knew, but we learned, so many of us, that the LA aqueduct crosses the San Andreas fault. The California aqueduct crosses it many times. We knew what it was like to have bottled water from the Anheuser-Busch plant as Nury Martinez said during the 1994 quake, because the water supply was cut off. We know what that does to hospitals. We know what that means for DWP, we know what it means post Sandy, when they were scrambling to share bandwidth, to set that up ahead of time and to get all the four major phone companies to already agree for a first time in the nation, to have that in place. And all that was exciting not only because what it does for us, but we didn’t just then say great. LA’s fine, good luck everybody else. We then took it, to 87 other mayors in this county, and said adopt that. And just as we had kind of leapfrogged over San Francisco’s good work, we saw Santa Monica do that, something that now LA is playing catch up. The best of competitions, who can be the safest. Who can do the best by their buildings.

All sorts of new vocabulary words we learned. I’m not going to do the rhyme that I’ve been writing about you Lucy, it’s kind of like a rap rhyme, because it was very difficult to find something that rhymes with non-ductile. But I will share that with you privately. And it’s been just over two years since our most recent retrofit ordnance past, that was really a combination of great public-sector work, great private sector work, great journalistic work, I know, from the LA Times and others. And great attention from leaders throughout southern California. And more than 600 soft story buildings have already been retrofitted with 4000 in process. We will never know the ones that would have fallen, but they won’t because of this work. Go ahead yeah, give yourselves a round of applause.

Our efforts to pilot seismic resilient pipe have created a new marketplace for domestic companies. And every day we’re communicating the importance of preparedness for Angelenos, something you need to hear again, something, thank you for the cameras that are here. Ask yourself, do you have a plan. Does Gensler have a plan? All right. Do you know what it is? No shame in that. And that’s, don’t worry, that’s probably 90 something percent of us. So, take a moment and learn it, not just during the great shake up, but no, what happens when it all shuts down. Where are you all going to meet. Have that plan with your family. Have that plan with your community. And every single neighborhood council in this city is now writing its resilience plans, which will build on the ones that we’ve done for every city department as well. And through our partnership with USGS, we’re moving forward with something that Dr. Jones and I started with, which is an early warning app. That we hope, thanks to the work of the Annenberg foundation which has given us some money, Marissa Aho, our great chief resilience officer who’s here. But by the end of this year I’m told, we will have the app available, that will tell people ahead of time.

Somebody said oh, they already have that on iPhones, I said no, that’s like an alert after it happens app. This is an alert before it happens app. Time that will save lives, allow us to duck, cover and hold on in the future. Stop trains, bring elevators to a floor for people to get off. And you know, in these days when everything seems like it’s a political issue, or a partisan issue, resilience just is not. I was reminded of that during the fires, when we had you know, fire crews that came in from Idaho, from Montana, from Nevada. From Oregon. And we sent ours up north during the northern fires, when ours were still out there, urban search and rescue teams in Ventura. There’s a moment when we actually do put all that BS down, and we remember who we are, as human beings who need each other. And who can help each other, and who can protect each other. And who can ensure that life goes on.

So our ability to withstand all that mother nature throws at us is a shared challenge that requires a shared solution. Whether through global partnerships such as the 100 Resilient Cities, which LA is so proud to be a part of. Or whether by working with at risk communities here at home. Resilience is a value that we’re going to continue to grow and lead on from here, and there’s nobody that we can thank more for that than Dr. Jones. And even in those moments when there’s absence of leadership, Los Angeles, the biggest city in the biggest state in this nation is proud to try to set that resilience standard. To shine for the rest of the country to follow. So, Resilience by Design was chapter one, we can’t wait to have a lot of other places write their first chapters with us, and even better than we did. I couldn’t be more excited to begin a new chapter with Lucy’s help and the help of everybody that is here in this room today. Thank you for all you do to make Los Angeles more resilient and to keep that California dream alive. Thank you all so much. Back to John!

John Bwarie:   

Thank you Mayor. We have a theme here this evening, and that is that we have so far only fourth-generation — besides myself — fourth-generation Angelenos, and we have another one with us this evening. Our moderator this evening for our panel discussion is a fourth-generation Angeleno, a writer and editor and a three-time National Magazine Award winner, during her very long tenure as editor in chief of Los Angeles magazine. It’s my pleasure to introduce Mary Melton who’s going to lead our panel conversation this evening.

Mary Melton:      

Thank you so much, John, for the introduction; and thank you Dr. Jones for inviting me here tonight; and as always, Mr. Mayor, beautiful comments, and so significant, perfectly contextualizing this evening. Our goal here tonight is to talk about the future of resiliency in cities. And we’re going to do that in three parts this evening. We’re going to kind of start off, of course, introducing our panel, and there is so much intellect and so many degrees on this panel, it’s a little intimidating. So, for a liberal arts major, I’m in awe of all of you.

And we’re going to look at this in three ways. We’re going to talk about what we need to be resilient for. What do we need resiliency for, what do we need to be anticipating? We’re going to talk about what our vulnerabilities are, drawing on your experience. And we’re going to talk about how communities can respond to these demands, looking at the public and the private sector. And one thing that I feel is really important when you come away from a discussion like this evening is feeling like you can take some action.  You know, there’s that feeling that okay, how can I apply this to where I work, to where I live. How can we continue to look for ways to encourage science to lead the discussion? And what can be my part in that.

So, let’s get into this conversation, because as John said we don’t have a ton of time and we have just a great panel here. So first up, Dr. Pedro Pizarro. As president and CEO of Edison International, which is the parent company to a company you might all know, Southern California Edison. One of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving 15 million residents throughout 50,000 square miles in central, coastal, and southern California. Under his leadership the company has undertaken a major evaluation of risks and vulnerabilities, and developed resilience strategies across their operations. Dr. Pizarro earned his PhD in chemistry from Caltech, and held National Science Foundation and Department of Defense graduate fellowships. He also has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Harvard, and serves on the boards of Argon National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the Edison Electric Institute, so welcome this evening.

Let me skip over Lucy for a second, go to Jamie Torres Springer. Jamie is a partner at HR&A Advisors, which is an economic development and planning firm, where he oversees the resilience practice. Resilience comes up a lot in Jamie’s CV, it’s kind of, as a word, it’s a common denominator. Jamie’s work supports projects like HUD’s national disaster resilience competition, Climate Ready Boston, and the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program. Jamie’s served as deputy director of New York’s special initiative for rebuilding and resiliency, where he helped to create a comprehensive $20 billion climate adaptation plan for New York, after the devastation of hurricane Sandy. He continues to support implementation of a range of resilience projects in the Northeast post-Sandy, including an adaptation strategy for lower Manhattan. So, thank you so much for being here tonight.

Chris Terzich is here today as chair of the Regional Consortium Coordinating Council, also known as RC3, that seems like a little bit easier way to refer to that. Which is a Department of Homeland Security partnership, established in the national infrastructure protection plan. So, what does that translate into; what does that mean? In this role, he works to understand, connect, enable, and build partnerships for the protection of the critical infrastructure of the United States and the resilience of our communities. In his day job, he serves as Wells Fargo’s senior vice president, enterprise incident manager, where he oversees enterprise response to natural disasters, and connections to community critical infrastructure protection efforts, for 280,000 team members, in 11,000 locations in 37 countries. So, we thought Gensler was big, but that’s really big. That’s a lot of responsibility, Chris.

And finally, Dr. Lucy Jones, who is, to quote the new David Letterman show on Netflix, doesn’t really need an introduction, but I’m going to give you one anyways. We’ve all already met Dr. Jones, and she’s spent over three decades at the US Geological Survey, most recently serving as science advisor for risk reduction, where she led the development of the long-term science plan for natural hazards. She’s also the author of more than 100 research papers, multi-hazard scenarios including the ShakeOut earthquake scenario, and ARkStorm flooding scenario. Doubleday will be releasing her book, The Big Ones, natural disasters that have shaped us and what we can do about them, this April. And as the Mayor alluded to, she’s also really super fantastic on Twitter. And if you don’t follow her you need to start immediately, because when I even feel a tremble, I immediately go right to her feed, and like she’s going to have an analysis of this. But not just for tremors, but for everything. As he put it so eloquently, I love and really respect the way that you’re such a voice of calm, but also just a voice of reason and just cut right to it. Which is, in the storm of what we hear online is so vital and important, so thank you. That’s not easy to do, so, I deeply appreciate it.

Okay. So, Dr. Pizarro, we’re going to start with you. We know that utilities and energy are critical components to keep an urban life going. And a short aside, I was in Atlanta a few years ago, I flew into Atlanta. They said a storm was coming, I go okay, I was only going to be there for a couple of days. It was snowpocalypse in Atlanta, you might remember this. I have incredible timing for being in the wrong place at the wrong time for weather situations. And that entire city shut down. It was terrifying. And The Walking Dead is appropriately filmed in Atlanta, and that night it was The Walking Dead, I really felt like I was in a zombie apocalypse, walking through Atlanta.

So, we know that we need life support systems in time, in moments of crisis, and it’s all about the utilities at that point. So, what type: what are the challenges for maintaining that? How do we ensure against that for cities, and what role does resilience, this word resilience which we’re going to be using continually tonight, play in your planning when you’re thinking of that?

Pedro Pizarro:    

Thanks Mary. Let me just start by saying it is so fun to be here with Lucy. I don’t think I really had a choice, she happens to be my neighbor, she knows where I live so, you know. But other than that. No, I appreciate the question on utilities, because we, along with other forms of infrastructure, gas, water, telecom, are really such a part of the fabric of society. So, there’s a number of things that we do, and frankly, I think some we’ve done pretty well over the years, and some we’ve learned a lot about more recently. It starts with the design of the system, and when you think about our system we have 50,000 square miles of territory that we cover. Everything from deserts to you know, snow covered mountains throughout California. A million and a half poles, 4600 circuits. That’s a lot of infrastructure. And so, it starts with design, and frankly, reaching out to the science and technology community, folks like Lucy who’s been very helpful over the years, as we think about how we build resilience into that design of the system.

Next is operations. And not only how we run under blue sky conditions, but how we prepare ourselves for when we don’t have blue sky, and something happens. And how do we you know, think ahead to the kinds of measures that we need to take to try to maintain power, but when power does go out, how do we focus on restoring that power, what are the practices we have for prioritizing, and for triaging, and getting service out to as many customers as soon as possible. So, a lot that we’ve done, particularly– and this is where it gets to the learnings – a big part of this is we learn. And some of you may live in the San Gabriel Valley, you might remember we had those windstorms back in 2011. Where just to be really honest about it as a company, it was not our finest moment. And there was a lot that we learned from that. I want to single out Don Daigler, who’s our director of business resiliency, and he frankly was part of the wave of helping us learn. And so, since then, we have adopted the Incidence Command System so that we can work with first responders and use the same language that they do. Have the same sort of operating practices and integrate into their teams.

We’ve learned a lot also about how we communicate with our customers and the community. Whether it’s our customers directly, whether it’s working with local governments, that’s an area where we continue to seek ways to improve. Because quite frankly how we do that is changing as the technology is changing, as social media and you know, how we all stay connected and involved. And the final thing I’d say is we adapt as frankly we all need to adapt, as our climate is changing. And so, whereas I think a lot of our early work with Lucy had to do with earthquakes, which are also personal since my wife is a seismologist and you know, a friend of Lucy’s. But it’s about more than earthquakes, it’s about all sorts of hazards, we have an all hazards plan. Whether that is earthquake, it’s storms, it’s cyber security, it’s physical security. And I think the last couple of months have shown us the impacts of climate change and also the changing population density in California, on wildfires as one of the risks that we’re still managing right now, and it’s frankly a societal issue that maybe we can get back to later in the discussion.

I feel like we’ve progressed a lot as a society, and thinking about seismic preparedness, there’s now a lot more that we need to do as Californians, and thinking about wildfire preparedness, it’s been good to see the Governor come out and make statements about the impacts of climate change and I think there’s a next wave as we think about resilience.

Mary Melton: 

And I will come back to the society question, and also to the design question, which I think is really important when we’re thinking about our infrastructure here at a design firm. So, you bring up and reference the recent kind of spate of disasters, it seems like it’s been an exceptional run, the last ten years even, and then just looking back at this last year, you know, three devastating hurricanes, the earthquake in Mexico City, and then as the Mayor also referred to, the worst fire in California history, which led to fatal mudslides.

Pedro Pizarro:

Eight of the largest 20 fires have been in the last three years.

Mary Melton:                       

Okay. And one part of you will think, oh is that just because we know more now, and we just all are getting more information. And the reality is, the science of it is, which is why my next question is for you Dr. Jones, what role does science play in building resilience, when you’ve got that coming at you all the time?

Lucy Jones:    

Okay, there’s a couple of things. One I’ll do generally, and connected to earthquakes, and one coming back to the climate change and those changes. But science inherently is making predictions. We try to, you know, we make observations, we try to create a model and we predict what’s going to happen in some future situation. Most seismologists avoid the P word, because we can’t predict the time. But we can predict everything else about the earthquake. And what does it really matter, I mean, it obviously matters whether it happens today or tomorrow, but we don’t change the damage by having it happen on a particular day. And that’s something we really can get at. And so, I think there’s a core issue, that I’ve been pushing at for a while, that science is creating information that tells you what will happen. And how can we use that.

And one of the important places where that comes in is that all of the disasters have a size distribution. You know, little rainstorms are really common. The bigger ones are rare. When it lasts for four weeks and inundates the state, that’s only ever 100 or 200 years. I mean, not a lot of Californians know that the greatest disaster in the history of the state, is a flood, in 1861, that destroyed one third of the taxable land, and killed more than 1% of the population. Devastating event, that most Californians don’t even know happened.

The fact is that the really bad ones are rare enough, we have to turn to science to understand what they’re going to be. So that’s a really important role. The second one is the fact that we can no longer use our history to say what’s coming. The future in climate change without question is an increase in the intensity of events. Now you can argue that it’s not changing the frequency, but if all of them become more intense, then the rate at which the big ones are happening is going up, just because you’ve added the energy. And you know, heat is energy. There is more energy in the atmosphere when it gets warmer. And it’s warmer. And we are seeing more intense events. Understanding what we should be planning for in that realm, really does need the science, because you can’t use the past to tell you what the future is going to be anymore.

We can use science and look at this and say a couple of things. The storms will be more intense, and the damage is not linear. If your storm gets 50% worse, you don’t get 50% more damage, you might get 500% more damage. But also, we are creating ecosystems that are no longer evolved for their climate. We have a certain set of plants. It’s now warmer. They are getting stressed. And they can manage for a while but they are no longer well-adjusted to the natural ecosystem, and then when a fire does come through, they are more susceptible to it. When they’re burned out, they’re also probably not going to come back. We’re going to come back with different plants that can grow in this hotter situation. And so, the disasters, the natural hazards, become the mechanisms of climate change. So, we handle a little bit of sea level rise, but the storm comes through, and now you’ve wiped out the city.

So, the natural hazards are going to be more frequent, and they are going to have larger impacts, because they are changing the ecology. And then the last piece of it, all of our hazards have more impact because the complexity of our urban life is changing. And with a more complex system to sustain an urban environment, we are more vulnerable to the disasters that come in. So, we have a lot more risk for a variety of reasons. And the role of science, I feel very strongly, is to help you understand what it is you should be planning for. And support you in making those decisions.

Mary Melton: 

Yeah. Jamie, you are someone who has recently seen the other side of a big disaster, and worked to support cities across the country, but especially in regards to the New York recovery post-Sandy. How do you use science, or how do you use recovery as a way to increase resilience? Like there’s a great point you made about, you can’t really look at the past and anticipate it, but how can we actually look at past events to shape the future in terms of recovery?

Jamie Springer:   

I’m happy to bring that perspective in, and you know there hasn’t been — there’s been this wildfire season, and a number of other disasters, but not the sort of disaster that has led to significant federal appropriations in southern California. Yet. I think it will. And I’m happy to bring that perspective. What I try to do in the work that I do is really take the science and the ideas about what to do, and figure out how to actually get it done between public and private actors and entities. And so, I think I’ll start by putting recovery in kind of an economic context.

The way that recovery works in the United States, really all over the world but particularly in the United States, is a disaster occurs, there’s an enormous amount of damage. And we can’t overlook the damage and the risk to human life, but the other thing that happens is significant amounts of money flow through appropriations from the federal government. And what that essentially is is a set of capital events that are occurring. Where large investments are getting made in new assets. So you know, just for example, after Sandy occurred in 2012, the federal government appropriated 50 billion dollars, which all has to get spent by 2022. So far this year in response largely to Harvey, Irma, Maria, the wildfire incidents, some other incidents that have occurred, Congress has appropriated 15 billion dollars. The house has passed an appropriation of 85 billion dollars. I think no one expects that to actually get passed by the senate, but there will be some very significant number that gets appropriated in response to a disaster.

And that’s money there for people to rebuild, but has to get spent right away. And so, the sort of movement that’s occurred in the Northeast, in particular since Sandy, has been around how you bring resilience thinking into spending that money. And I do just want to pause for a second, just because no-one’s done it, and postulate a definition here. Just in case that’s useful. We generally think about resilience as the ability of some entity or set of entities to adapt and in fact to thrive in the face of increasing and increasingly complex shocks, acute shocks. Like major climate events, and also stresses. It could be you know, poverty, aging infrastructure, whatever it is we’re talking about, that exacerbates the impacts of those shocks.

But resilience thinking, in order to get that adaptation done, it’s multi-hazard, and clearly Dr. Jones has been thinking this way. It thinks about all kinds of different risks at the same time. It’s got to be multi benefit, which means you have to be able to accomplish many things with the kind of investment that you’re making. And one of the things that’s happened in the Northeast is a lot of people have thought about economic leverage. Meaning that by investing dollars from the federal government, a resilience project is one that brings in a lot of other resources. So, in New York after Sandy, you mentioned that I was part of the Mayor’s long-term planning process. We took what will probably end up being somewhere in the order of six or seven billion dollars of federal money, flowing directly to New York City. And we figured out how to leverage that into a $20 billion plan. And that plan is a direct investment of public resources, but in fact the plan is going well beyond that.

We’ve modified the zoning texts in the city 22 times, to ensure that developers build more resilient buildings, where those who are making improvements to older buildings are doing so in a way that is resilient. We created a coastal protection plan, which is leveraging a lot of different resources. So, recovery in the post Sandy environment has been really about resilience in a lot of ways. Another example, I think a couple of things have come up but, you have Resilience by Design, you have Rebuild by Design in San Francisco. There was a rebuild by design process that the Obama administration undertook in the Northeast in response to Sandy, where we came up with these massive infrastructure projects. But brought design into them, to make sure that you were able to create multiple benefits.

And this is where we got, for example, the now $700 million Big U, that’s being designed around lower Manhattan. Which is essentially a flood levy, that also doubles as an open space and an amenity. So those are the kinds of projects that are getting done, and I think, where I want to end this part is to say, it’s true that that’s all in response to recovery, but it’s really just in response to a lot of dollars getting spent. And there are so many other dollars that get spent in Los Angeles, everywhere else, that you can harness and leverage to make sure that you build resilience out of them. I’m happy to talk more about that.

Mary Melton:  

Great. Chris, where you sit as the head of RC3, you see the work that’s being done to understand interactions between business and communities. So how do you see businesses dealing with this increased intensity, as Dr. Jones was saying, in natural hazards?

Chris Terzich:

Business deal with the increased intensity that everybody else does. It’s usually reactionary. This past year saw incredible disasters, and in my day job at Wells Fargo, I get a very unique view. We had several thousand team members sitting in Texas when hurricane Harvey came in. Many thousand team members sitting in Florida when Irma came in. And we didn’t talk about Nate. But when hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, we have 400 team members there. Even though for us it was a much smaller presence, we spent most of the summer and into the fall working to help our team members in Puerto Rico recover. Because of the infrastructure challenges that are on the island, the resilience wasn’t there, the ability to take the shock wasn’t there. It was a massive shock indeed, but in business we get a very unique view across communities.

And so I think mostly reactionary. I do want to echo something the Mayor said, that resilience is a value. It’s kind of interesting. It’s a value to hold, I believe. It’s something you believe in, you want to be resilient and ready for any shock. But it’s also a value in terms of return on investment, and that’s like you were just talking about. So, I think that businesses are starting to get that. They’re still reacting just like the rest of the community, but they’re starting to understand that we need to be ready for events, because they’re going to happen and they’re going to be severe.

Mary Melton:   

So, what, or where are we vulnerable. Like you bring up infrastructure, I’ve heard that word a couple of times. What are our greatest vulnerabilities?

Lucy Jones: 

I think that our greatest vulnerability is in our communities, especially here in California. We don’t do community really well really in southern California. I mean, we get on the freeway and we drive to somewhere else. And sometimes we know our neighbors, but not always. And yet after the event what’s going to be key is getting people willing to stay. And you stay because you have people you care about. And so, I think that’s the core issue. At the same time, if we could get the physical environment in place so it didn’t collapse under this, we wouldn’t be stressed and we wouldn’t need to leave, right? So, I think we’ve got to find the balance between those two.

But when I think it over, my greatest concern is life is going to be miserable enough after the earthquake, that we’re just going to go “Ugh, why bother? My parents are back there in Chicago, I can go stay with them for a while, and my Google job or whatever I can do from wherever.” And we’ll lose a lot of people.

That’s probably my biggest concern.

Mary Melton:

Dr. Pizarro, one of my concerns would be the building up of what Dr. Jones just said, that it also depends on where you live and how your building sustains the quake. And what happened. And some of that is about income inequity and building resilience. How do leaders address that?

Pedro Pizarro: 

Well I think this is where it comes to the importance of partnership across all these stakeholders. You have the role of business leaders, the role of government, the role of communities. We have interesting examples here in California, look at the context of earthquake, and the creation of the California Earthquake Authority, to frankly deal with some of those income inequities by providing a product that would help to insure more of the population.

When we look at it from our sector’s perspective, going back to the themes of making sure when we think about the design and operations, we are thinking about the needs of specific local communities, having that partnership with local government, understanding what those needs might be, understanding where there’s critical infrastructure, not just from our perspective, but critical infrastructure in terms of the community. You mentioned the Puerto Rico example, and I thought that was very poignant. I happen to be Puerto Rican, lived there till age 14, and we have a team from Edison that’s been helping out on the island, we’re on our second team now, that’s helping to manage the restoration efforts on the southern part of the island. In partnership with a number of teams from utilities from across the mainland.

I think when you look at the issue of not having had that level of preparedness and resiliency built in, now in the aftermath of this, there’s still triaging going on to understand the needs of those communities. There’s been a whole effort to prioritize how service gets restored, community by community, but with an emphasis interestingly on getting businesses up first. Getting the economy back going. Getting some of the tourist areas up first, so that can start bringing in dollars. That actually goes to your point of inequity, because it recognizes that, to Lucy’s point, you have to get the economy back and going. So, the lesson from that is, as we think about how we deal with the next disaster, whether it be an earthquake or a wildfire, or a storm or what have you. Having a good sense of what those priority needs are, having had that discussion up front with our partners across government, business, the community.

You’ve got to have clear priorities up front, because when you get into the thick of it, it’s too late to be doing that plan.

Mary Melton:

Right, exactly. Chris, bringing it back to Puerto Rico one more time, because your company had really first-hand experience with that. What can we learn from an event like that?

Chris Terzich: 

Sure. First off resilience is a long process, and is different everywhere. You know, we have a large presence in northern California, and I have to tell you, working with folks in the Bay Area is very different from working with y’all. So everywhere you go you know, you have to adjust to a different community, and the norms and the values in that community are different.

What I saw in response to hurricane Maria was, as a company, we got into the business of sending of food and water to our team members. That’s something that I spent 20 years saying was not our job, that was not something that we would do. But when you’re seeing people who don’t have food and water, they can get into office and the office is running, but they don’t have food and water and diapers. You start asking yourself can we send some. And we did that for a couple of months. So, the important and difficult, and time-consuming work of this is community, is connection, is getting to know each other and getting to a level of trust. And fortunately, Lucy, you do have Twitter, because there have been two or three calls for sure, that I would have made to you, but I just checked your Twitter account first.

So that’s, it’s the connection takes time, and the trust takes time. And the resilience doesn’t always look the same, community to community.

Mary Melton: 

Jamie do you have thoughts, as you’ve worked across the country, about what needs to be done to increase resilience in cities? We’ve talked here about the need to build up communities and is that one of the things that’s different between northern California and southern California, Chris?

Chris Terzich:

I’m being quiet here.

Mary Melton: 

Okay, he’s not going to take sides.

Jamie Springer:

You got yourself in trouble.

Mary Melton: 


Jamie Springer:  

So, what needs to be done to build up resilience in cities. You know, I think there are some basic core things. We’re hearing a lot of it, which is around the capacity and the amount of knowledge, about what people need to do. And we have our own experience in Puerto Rico. We’re helping a group of philanthropies to set up a program to provide technical assistance to all of the municipalities, the leaders in the municipalities across the island, because, look. They really don’t have a lot of capacity to take care of folks, they can’t deal with the major infrastructure stuff, but when the power gets back on and the supply chains are starting to work, the municipalities have to start sorting out how they collect taxes again, how they provide people with different forms of social assistance, how they maintain local infrastructure and roads, and they just don’t have the capacity to do that in this post-event environment.

So really, we tend to neglect the importance of municipal leadership in having the capacity to be able to deal with these major problems, and making sure that that capacity is there is really critical. The other thing is just the need to have a plan that there is a consensus around, and I’m more familiar with the sort of long term strategic plan, so I can talk about that, but it’s clearly the emergency management plan that’s critical as well. But the places where I’ve worked where I’ve felt like they’re going to make the most progress, regardless of what kinds of events occur in the next few years, are the places that brought people together, said what do we think our future hazards are, I mean really effectively what Dr. Jones has done for LA.

What is vulnerable to those future hazards in our city, what is most important to us based on economic value, asset criticality, and also the number and groups of vulnerable populations that are at risk. And then what do we do about that? How do we start, what are the strategies that we should start to deploy, in order to begin dealing with these things? And I think the cities that are finding ways to get everybody to come together, and build a consensus around that, are the ones that are going to be most successful.

And just a quick example, we’ve done this work in Boston over the last couple of years. Boston hasn’t been hit directly by a hurricane, but it has had many, many near misses. And so, a group of private sector and philanthropic folks got together and funded the work to say, what are our risks, what’s vulnerable, and the amazing thing was, we got city government, state government, county government, all of the regulated private utilities, couple of federal government folks. This was you know, a year and a half ago, so they were allowed to come. Major private owners, and everybody got in a room, and just started looking at maps of the city of Boston. And we overlaid the risks, and began to circle their assets, and talk to each other about interdependencies, and how they would address those issues.

And it’s led to a real sense of what Boston needs to do. The last point, back to the recovery point is, while they don’t have the federal funds flowing, they will eventually. Eventually there will be the conversation here. Eventually something will happen, and they will have the projects in a drawer, that they’ve developed, that they can pull out and get done when the money starts to flow. And I think that’s the most important thing that cities need to do.

Mary Melton:

How important is, talking about design, to hit on this a little harder. I’ll come back to you, Dr. Pizarro, are systems aging? Are our power poles really old? They look old often, but, do you have support from the city in terms of being able to build and strengthen just the foundations that we need?

Pedro Pizarro:  

That’s a great question so, just for context on our system. Much of our system was developed right after World War II, when the community, not just the city, but really the 50,000 square miles across southern California that we serve, grew and boomed. And so, a lot of that infrastructure is in need of reinvestment. Our main funding source for that are our customers. We guide the process to the California Public Utilities Commission, and they have been generally supportive over the last several years, in securing funding for you know, capital investment in that infrastructure.

Some of that has been, I’d say very generic. Reinvestment in the system, it’s aging you’ve got to replace it. Some of it has been more targeted, and again using the example of the 2011 windstorms, we learned there that, we needed to re-look at our design standards for how much loading can you have on a pole, and what kind of assumptions should you have about wind speeds in different areas. We’ve had a program where we are nearing the completion of inspection of all million and a half poles. I think we have replaced something like 100,000 poles in the last several years, with stronger poles. That’s something that I think was very focused on that specific risk that was identified.

You know, we’ve been through a program actually beginning in 2016, and I believe Lucy helped us with this, but looking at the seismic risk for a number of our facilities, and identifying specific ones that we wanted to target and upgrade. I think the next big wave, and this is not just for the utilities, but for the state as a whole, is this wildfire issue. And as we all come to terms with the fact that, with the combination of climate change, increasing the intensity and the frequency of these major fires. But it’s not just that, it’s also the fact that we’ve developed a lot more homes and businesses in areas that are higher risk. So, you have this confluence of risk increasing and more stuff in the risky areas. And it’s leading to events like what we’ve seen here, or the massive fires over the last several months.

It’s something that, it’s a risk that’s so large that no one company, or I would even say no one city, even the city of LA being the largest, can manage that risk alone. And so it really requires a statewide effort to look at first, how do you manage the fire exposure itself. Prevention. Having better zoning, better fire maps. We’re looking at zoning, we’re looking at how we do forest management as a society, to reduce the amount of fuel out there. Second pieces, how do we harden the infrastructure, you know, getting back to your question. Not just our infrastructure but you know, building codes. In higher risk areas.

And then the third part is, how do we think about, once you’ve done all that and you’ve tried to minimize the exposure to the risk, when the risk does materialize and you do have that fire. How do we think about equitable sharing of the financial burden of that risk? And whether it’s looking at structures like an analog of the California earthquake authority, something like that for wildfire you know risk insurance pooling, or looking at who bears responsibility and how that’s shared across society., I think that’s the next big wave that we’ll need to think of as we think about making the California economy with large resilience to this much more intense risk.

Mary Melton:  

You had a very receptive audience with Mayor Garcetti, it sounds like. What happens when you don’t have a receptive audience, if you have a developer, who could hear the great point you make of you know, this isn’t the right hillside to be building on, and what happens when you hit that wall?

Lucy Jones:

At one level, we have 23 million people in southern California. If somebody doesn’t want to listen there’s somebody else who does. And there’s not enough people handling the discussion at this point. But, at some point you can’t just walk away and deal with someone else. But the other answer, and actually, one of the things I learned when I was at city hall is that one of the critical issues is getting enough people behind a project.

If you’ve only got a few percent of the people doing it, they’re going to get ignored. And there’s always going to be some percent of people that aren’t going to listen no matter what. And the critical part is getting enough people on board that you’ve then got the momentum to keep on going. In the early stages, you find the people who are going to listen. With the project, we’ve got with the Southern California Association of Governments, we gave seminars to a lot of elected officials, probably more than 100 cities. We have 40 cities that said we want to work with you. And that’s more than enough to keep us busy for a while.

And that’s going to be huge. If there’s 40 cities that have passed retrofitting ordinances, we’re going to start seeing a lot more coming on board soon after. So, I think it’s a matter of targeting. But also, it goes back to that messaging. It’s a very hard idea for scientists, we like to believe there’s truth.  There’s absolute reality and how you say it shouldn’t make a difference. Of course, the reality is how you say it makes a huge difference. And so figuring out how we put the pieces together.

I think one of our issues with climate change is that we said here’s the problem. As scientists we said, the solution’s somebody else’s job, so here’s the problem. But if you give only the problem without a solution, you increase anxiety. And especially, we’re leaving it to others to say what the solution is, and people have looked at it and said, “I must have to give up my car, I’ve got to give up my long showers, I’ve got to give up modern life. I don’t want that to be true, therefore I won’t believe it. “

Whereas instead, if we’d been able to put the message, here’s the problem and the solution’s moving to renewable energy. And we have got to get there somehow. Let’s figure out the path. That might have been a more empowering message. Where you could think about what to do about it. You know we are getting close to time so I’m going to use the opportunity to say my one last thing on the economic issues that we’re all hearing about. I think that as idealists, we say it’s all about people, it shouldn’t be about the money. But the money is what allows people to be here. And financial resilience tends to be the part that we haven’t embraced well enough. And this is a couple of things, I’m looking at the people in the room, and what Mr. Nazarian is undertaking talking about, how do we move our buildings to be usable after the earthquake, and not just not killing you.

That’s an important step. We need to stop saying, that not collapsing is an adequate standard. Because a financial decision to have a bad building isn’t just your own financial decision, it hurts everybody around you. There’s also the work that’s going on with the [California] Earthquake Authority, and how do we get better insurance coverage? Because with the really low level of earthquake insurance coverage, we won’t have money coming in afterwards. So, I think that being able to see that more integrated picture, where the economic piece, which is the role of corporation and government and people, all of us working together. We’ve got to do that to get the society to work.

Mary Melton: 

Are people more willing to listen, maybe this is a question for you a bit, Jamie. You know, it’s like a new year’s resolution, like after something bad happens, you’re more willing to be okay, I get it. But so many things have been happening lately, do you feel like it’s not just you have to have a hurricane, or to have experienced it first hand to actually know that, I need to effect change before this actually happens?

Jamie Springer: 

It’s my sense that there’s a growing public awareness. I think we’ll look back 30 years from now and say, hopefully we’ll all be here to look back and say we’re living through a very strange time. It feels like there’s a real sort of pivot point, and I hope we pivot in the right direction, and all recognize and acknowledge that big things have to be done. The one thing I’d say is that, I think it’s the right question, because I talked a little bit about federal dollars flowing. We also know that insurance dollars flow after these events.

But we can’t afford to keep adapting to climate change by funding recovery, right? It’s just, even though I describe it as an opportunity because there’s money flowing, it’s the worst possible time.

Mary Melton: 

Right, exactly.

Jamie Springer:

What we need to do, is to put a lot of the measures that you’re describing in place. These kinds of regulatory, and policy measures that are incremental, that incentivize people to adapt over time. Best example nationally is the notion of land use, and buy outs. And I know, I think with the wildfire events, this’ll be an important topic of discussion in southern California too. The way buyouts tend to work is, somebody gets whacked by a big storm or a fire, and the state has to go and pay everybody their pre-event market value to leave their home and relocate them. And it costs just enormous amounts of money to get that done, and nobody can get it done.

In Houston, we probably will see no change in land use, despite the fact that they have stuff that’s built in all the wrong places, but it’s because buy outs are too expensive. So, in that case, what we need is to put a system in place that regulates land use, keeps it away from places that are at risk, and over time, incentivizes people who ae in places they shouldn’t be, to get out of there over time. So that’s a perfect example of how we just can’t let all of this stuff wait until after disasters, we really have to get moving on that.

Mary Melton: 

For our last five minutes or so here, we’re going to do a lightning round, where we’re going to hit you with some questions. And maybe the first one to start with, following your point, Jamie, is, what’s the role of local government? And any of you can take this.

Lucy Jones: 

In one sentence?

Mary Melton:

It’s a lightning round, so it’s supposed to be fast, but one sentence might be challenging.

Lucy Jones: 

All disasters are local, so all resilience is local. In the end, they have to make the decisions for what the land use is.

Mary Melton:

Okay. Any of you want to follow up that one?

Jamie Springer: 

What she said.

Mary Melton: 

Okay, so that’s the local government. Then what’s the role of the state and federal government, how’s that different?

Pedro Pizarro:

I would say said policy, big policy. Some of it is short term policy, or more near-term focus like resilience, some of it is longer term. Like what California’s doing in terms of addressing climate change through greenhouse gas reduction. So, policy, ensure that there’s some funding mechanisms there, and ensure that that funding is coming through a mix of public and private funding. Some of it is regulated, some of it is creating market incentives, like capital flow.

Mary Melton:

When you, Jamie when you were talking about the challenge, you know, of waiting for something to happen until we react to something. Are you concerned about the federal government’s role with that? And we’re talking about the federal government actually providing money for the preventative part of this?

Jamie Springer:  

Yes. Actually, I will say, did someone say this earlier?  Maybe the Mayor said it. This is one of those odd places where in fact we’ve seen this administration do some pretty reasonable things. There’s, and sorry, goodbye lightning round right. The-

Mary Melton: 

I’ll pick it up again real quick.

Jamie Springer:

Okay I’ll be fast. The previous FEMA administrator started talking about the need to fix this equation, started talking about a disaster deductible, where federal funds just, states have to act, and federal funds won’t flow. And we’ve heard noises out of the new FEMA administrator, who’s a good guy, that they may explore this. The administration asked congress to appropriate 12 billion dollars for a national disaster resilience competition, which builds on the competition that the Obama administration held, and I shouldn’t say that too loud, because then it’ll be gone. But you know, that would create an enormous change, and so I think, just working across the country there are ways of respecting that people have different opinions about things, but everyone can get behind the fact that you have to build your infrastructure better and prepare your communities for events that occur. And so, I think there is some opportunity there.

Lucy Jones: 

So, lightning: policy and money.

Mary Melton:

Okay, lightning: what’s the role of the private sector here?

Chris Terzich:   

To be at the table, number one, but I think I’m hearing a theme here. You know, we always talk about building codes, and regulations. And those aren’t the only means to incentivize behavior. And so it may be different in different areas, and that’s something I keep stressing. But it’s about incentive. So that we’re not building into the urban wildland interface.  So, we’re not putting that out there. And I think the private sector has historically been seen to just follow the rules. I think the private sector needs to be at the discussion to figure out which rules work best. And it’s not just about regulation.

Pedro Pizarro: 

Yeah, my reaction to the lightning version is, invest thoughtfully, engage with regulators and policy makers, communicate, educate. Because sometimes you need different rules.

Mary Melton: 

That’s great. And ending on a positive note, Jamie you brought up the Boston example. What are models that you know of that should be followed to get there, are there other cities that we could all look into and learn from? To any of you.

Jamie Springer:

Well, is this still lightning round?

Mary Melton:                       

Yes. Last question, so yeah.

Jamie Springer:                   

First of all, I’ll say LA is a model, and I know Marissa [Aho, Los Angeles Chief Resilience Officer] who is here, and there’s a resilience office, and there’s great work that’s getting done, and there’s lots of good stuff getting done here in LA.  I just alluded to it, but there has been a national competitive process to allocate some dollars. Tuolumne County in California has developed a wildfire resilience project.  It has been funded for a $71 million project, to address wildfire risk, but to do so, thinning forests and reducing material, but also creating a biomass production plant that creates local jobs. So really a resilience solution to that problem. And we haven’t seen many resilience-based solutions to wildfire problems yet. And then that lightning round, so lots of others.

Mary Melton:                       

Great, well thank you all so much for being here, this is a fascinating conversation, thanks all of you.

John Bwarie:    

Yes, let’s give also a round of applause to Mary and her moderating leadership here. Thank you again to our panelists for traveling here from faraway places and close by places; we appreciate you sharing your insight with us this evening.

I want to acknowledge that Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society is a project of Community Partners here in LA, which is a nimble, civic intermediary organization that appreciates the challenge and power of cross-sector collaboration, and provides operating infrastructure for over 150 groups in the southern California region that are doing these kinds of activities that we are doing here at the Dr. Lucy Jones Center. So, we wouldn’t be here without Community Partners.

When you leave, we’ve created the Pocket Guide to Hazard Science, for all of you this evening. So, make sure you get it; it talks about all of your favorite hazards, and what you need to know about them, authored by the Center. And I’ll just quote the back page before turning it to Lucy: “Natural hazards are inevitable, natural disasters are not.” So with that, here’s Dr Jones.

Lucy Jones:                            

Just thank you all, thank Gensler again for having us here, and our founding supporters for helping us get started. And we hope this is the beginning of a conversation; we want to have this discussion again next year. In between, we’re going to be hosting some Intersection luncheons, time to get together, just have a conversation going on with some interesting guests that can talk about the topics around science and society. Because we need each other. Thank you all for being here.