Brain Trust

CO$T’s Brain Trust

Ronald M. Arlas, Esq. has been a Marin civic leader for many years. He served on Larkspur’s City Council for two decades, including four one-year terms as mayor; previously he was on Larkspur’s Planning Commission. Ron was a Marin Civil Grand Juror and chaired its committee that produced a key report recommending the formation of the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority. Subsequently he was a founding member of Citizens for Wildfire Preparedness. Ron graduated from Cornell University and received his law degree from the University of Michigan. Admitted to the bar in D.C., California, and various Federal Courts, Ron practiced as a civil litigation attorney. He is a member of the Marin Rowing Association Masters program and has been scuba diving for over 20 years. Ron is married and has two adult children.

Mike Arnold PhD’s economics career, which has spanned several decades, focuses on the measurement of financial risk in the banking industry. In 2004, he formed ALCO Partners, a firm specializing on measurement of financial risk at US banks. Mike has taught economics at UC Berkeley and Dominican University’s Life Long Learning Program. Mike co-chaired two campaigns to prevent funding SMART with sales taxes. Over 100 of his op-eds on local economic issues have been published in Marin newspapers. Mike provides valuable for CO$T valuable monitoring and financial analysis of local transit agencies and municipalities, including their pension and other retirement benefit obligations.

Ed Jameson, Larkspur Ed’s experience is in corporate planning, financial planning and analysis, and CFO work at the top levels of large corporations and a computer software startup. He got a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford (Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi), and a quantitatively-oriented MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He started at Ford Motor’s Finance Staff reviewing proposed forward car programs and overseas capital projects.  After 2 ½ years he left Detroit for (birthplace) San Francisco’s Bendix Forest Products (Director of Corporate Planning, and ran an expansion program) until Bendix sold the Company to KKR to be broken up.  After the wood products biz, he re-potted himself into Banking with Wells Fargo (CFO of Corporate and International Banking Groups), then CFO of all lending at First Nationwide Bank (second largest S&L), and finished up as CFO of a computer software startup.

Susan Kirsch brings a long history of community activism to CO$T, with a focus on housing policy and legislation. She is the founder of Catalysts for Local Control, a statewide organization focusing on housing policy and legislation. Of particular interest is the impact of unfunded, state housing mandates on the capacity for locally elected officials to plan and act on behalf of their constituents.  Her career included research at the NW Regional Educational Laboratory, Executive Director of the American Sports Institute, and professor at Golden Gate University. Her volunteer service includes advisor, Community Venture Partners and candidacy for the Marin County Board of Supervisors.

Steve Lang brings 35+ years of institutional municipal bond experience to CO$T. Beginning in Institutional Sales at Bankers Trust in 1985, he then spent a decade+ at Merrill Lynch, a few years each at ABN Amro & Wachovia, and another decade+ at Wells Fargo before retiring in 2017 as MD & Head of Tax Exempt Investor Funding – to found Pacific Muni LLC – a private municipal bond fund manager. He and his wife have lived in Mill Valley since 1995 and have raised four children there. He is a current Board Member of the Mill Valley Library Foundation and former President of the Southern Marin Lacrosse Club. He holds a Bachelors degree in Economics from Princeton University.

Alan Shaevitz is a retired independent computer communications consultant. Prior to being a consultant, he was Bank of America’s VP of Global Communications Planning and a staff member at Bell Labs. He holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas, Austin. He has lived in the Bay Area since 1972 and in Marin County since 1991. Alan is on the boards of the Pt. San Pedro Road Coalition (SPRC), the Marin Coalition (MC) and the Bayside Acres Neighborhood Association (BANA). He is also the volunteer webmaster for SPRC, MC, and BANA and provides technical support for the Marin Chapter of the California Grand Jurors’ Association and CO$T; he serves as technical administrator for CO$T’s local candidate and policy webinars.

James Schmidt has multiple decades of experience in transportation matters, including public transportation, rail, road and highway systems planning and evaluations, and traffic systems management.  He is Treasurer for the Bay Area Transportation Working Group, a non-profit dedicated to creating a balanced transportation system for the Bay Area and frequent contributor to newsletter articles published by the group.  He has led engineering consulting engagements throughout the USA and Canada as well as Brazil and Australia.  Mr. Schmidt graduated in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington as well as Northwestern University with a Masters in Transportation Engineering.  He resides in the Gerstle Park area of San Rafael.

Tyler Will is a Director of Sales Strategy & Operations at LinkedIn. Prior to LinkedIn, he worked at Bain & Company in San Francisco and Bates White Economic Consulting in Washington, D.C. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Studies and History from Duke University, and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has lived in the Bay Area since 2009 and in Marin County since 2020. Tyler is serving on the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for Mill Valley School District’s Measure G.

See CO$T’s Advisory Group here: