Kathryn Vernez, longtime City of Santa Monica government and community relations leader, has been named to the Board of the Directors of The Bay Foundation.
Vernez’ 35-plus years in urban planning and project management, first in New York City followed by 27 years in Santa Monica, required leading interdisciplinary teams, in collaboration with the public, and officials, through the complex landscape of solving urban issues. Her experiences include public transportation, water restoration and an array of public works improvements.
“Our Board and the Foundation’s Executive Director Tom Ford are honored and excited to welcome someone of Kate’s stature. “Her connections and accomplishments will be directly beneficial to TBF’s Board,” states Laurie Newman. “Her love for Santa Monica Bay, her understanding of public works projects, and her community engagement and education experience, tie in perfectly with The Bay Foundation’s mission and collaborative way of working to improve the health of the Bay and all life within it.”
Vernez last served as the City of Santa Monica’s Deputy City Manager, Special Projects. In this role, she was the point person on the city’s Expo Light Rail team managing complex real estate, design and operational issues to bring the line to the Westside.
She also oversaw citywide communication campaigns on issues ranging from public works construction projects, LA Marathon, and pedestrian safety issues. Prior as Assistant to the City Manager, she worked to secure landmark legislation; federal, state and regional involvement to resolve the MtBE contamination of Santa Monica’s drinking water wells.
She was responsible for the city’s federal and state advocacy program; worked on Santa Monica Airport issues; updating the Utility Tax on telecommunications; federal funding of public works projects; earthquake recovery efforts; and formation of the Westside Cities Council of Governments.
“I am truly impressed by the far-reaching work of The Bay Foundation to protect and restore the health of Santa Monica Bay and the entire Watershed,” says Vernez. “I am very honored to work with the board and staff to advance their mission.”
As science-based advocates for the Bay, which stretches from the LA-Ventura county line in the north to the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the south, TBF is involved in high-profile projects throughout the region, including (but not limited to) kelp forest restoration, scientific monitoring of the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, clean boating programs and education, monitoring of MPAs, multiple projects that address stormwater runoff, and climate change adaptation planning.
The State of the Bay Conference on Sept. 9, 2015, occurs once every five years and offers presentations on the progress of restoring and protecting Santa Monica Bay and its watershed. More information at www.santamonicabay.org.