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
Mr. Norby took state office after winning a special election to fill former Assemblyman Mike Duvall’s seat in January 2010. Prior to serving in the Assembly, he 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 serves as State Chair of Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform (MORR) and moderates regional meetings seeking to curb abuses.
Larry Gilbert, Director
Gilbert is a retired business executive and the Orange County Co-director of Californians United for Redevelopment Education. He has also served as the Orange County representative of the Proposition 98 property rights initiative. Having testified in Sacramento and San Diego on property rights legislation and as an active member of the Castle Coalition, Gilbert is on the front lines fighting against eminent domain abuse.
Cruz Baca Sembello, Director
Sembello was born and raised in Baldwin Park, CA. 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. 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 was named executive director of Family Water Alliance in February 2006. Family Water Alliance is an organization concerned about the future of agriculture, private property rights and rural communities in California. Indrieri serves as a grassroots voice for the protection of agriculture and is involved in many farming, ranching and community organizations.
Timothy Sandefur, Director
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. 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.