Board of Directors
Senator Jim Nielsen, Chairman
Senator Nielsen was elected in January, 2013 to represent the 4th Senate District in the State Senate. He previously served in the State Senate from 1978-1990, where he held the position of Republican Leader for several years and the State Assembly. His interest in private property rights issues dates back to his involvement with the Protect Private Property, “No on 14” campaign in the mid-70’s. Sen. Nielsen has continued his public service over the years as a member of several state Boards and Commissions. Senator Nielsen owns and operates a small cattle ranch in Sanger, CA and was a political columnist for the Woodland Daily Democrat.
Chris Norby, Director
Prior to serving in the Assembly, Mr. Norby spent 7 years on the Orange County Board of Supervisors and served on the Fullerton City Council from 1984-2002, including three years as Mayor. A longtime champion of private property rights, Assemblyman Norby wrote “Redevelopment: The Unknown Government,” analyzing the distortions caused by fiscalization of land use, sales tax competition and eminent domain abuse. Mr. Norby served as State Chair of Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform (MORR) prior to the dissolving of Redevelopment in 2012.
Council Member Cruz Baca Sembello, Director
Council Member Sembello was born and raised in Baldwin Park, CA, and elected to the City Council in 2013. She was instrumental in forming and leading the Community Alliance for Redevelopment Reform, which led the charge in combating Baldwin Park’s threat to seize over 300 homes and 100 businesses through eminent domain and allowing a developer to bulldoze them. Ms. Sembello served as a Los Angeles County chair for Proposition 98 and continues her fight in Southern California, as well as statewide with the Alliance.
Ashley Indrieri, Director
Ashley Indrieri is the Public Outreach Coordinator and Grant Writer for the Pacific Legal Foundation. Prior to joining Pacific Legal Foundation, Ms. Indrieri was the Chief Operations Officer for the Family Water Alliance, a grassroots organization dedicated to the protection of water rights, private property rights and agriculture.Her seven years at Family Water Alliance were spent working with many in the agricultural community and government in an effort to help government regulators understand what it takes to grow the food that feeds our nation.
Timothy Sandefur, Director
Mr. Sandefur is a Principal Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation. As part of his responsibilities, he works to prevent the abuse of eminent domain, having litigated important eminent domain cases in California, Missouri, and elsewhere, and having filed briefs in many significant eminent domain cases, including Kelo v. New London. Mr. Sandefur is the author of Corner Stone of Liberty: Property Rights of 21st Century America.
Jon Coupal, Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association
Mr. Coupal is the President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, an organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of homeowner and taxpayer rights. Coupal is a co-author of the proposed 2008 California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act ballot measure.
Ahmad Mesdaq, Gran Havana Cigars
In 2004, the City of San Diego condemned Mesdaq’s Gran Havana Cigar and Coffee Lounge, in the Gaslamp area, to build a luxury hotel on the property. The hotel project has since been abandoned and the property is being used as a parking lot. While Mr. Mesdaq lost his business to eminent domain, he successfully fought the city for fair compensation and is looking to relocate his business.