Ueberroth Picked to Lead Business Panel : Council: He joins four others from O.C. on a 17-member team to improve California’s competitiveness.


Peter Ueberroth, former baseball commissioner and chief of the financially successful Los Angeles Olympic Games, Wednesday was named by Gov. Pete Wilson to head a blue-ribbon panel of business and labor leaders charged with improving California’s business climate.

The Republican governor, in introducing Ueberroth as the volunteer head of his Council on California Competitiveness, said he hopes the group will come up with proposals and possible legislation to stem the flight of businesses out of California. The panel will have 17 members, all non-salaried.

Five of the 17, including Ueberroth, are from Orange County.

Wilson said the council, dominated by Republicans, will be “loosely structured” and tackle “a broad agenda.” The council will look at the education system, workers’ compensation reform, state and local regulations hurting business and California’s tax structure, among other things, and make specific recommendations designed to help business.


The governor said during a Capitol news conference that in the last quarter of 1990 and the first quarter of 1991, California lost between 380,000 and 400,000 jobs. Wilson said recession layoffs are partly to blame. But he also said many businesses are leaving the state and relocating in Nevada, Arizona and other nearby states.

Ueberroth said, “In this day and age, with the world changing like it is, you have to flat out get out there and compete. That’s what this council’s about. It’s about jobs and how can California be a lot more effective in retaining the jobs it has, improving the quality of those jobs, and, also, bringing in new jobs.”

Ueberroth said he expects the council to work “on the fast track” and come up with proposals by March or April.

Ueberroth, a Laguna Beach investor, often has been mentioned as a potential political candidate since he rose to prominence during the 1984 Olympic Games. The Olympics that year were the first privately financed games, and, after Ueberroth earned a profit that provided millions of dollars for youth and various sports programs, he was named Time magazine’s 1984 man of the year. After the Olympics and until 1989, Ueberroth served as baseball commissioner.


When Ueberroth, a Republican, was asked Wednesday about a possible candidacy for the U.S. Senate, he said, “I have no intention to run for political office.”

Members of the council, all volunteers, include Sam Ginn of San Francisco, a Republican and chairman and chief executive officer of Pacific Telesis; David Lee of Los Altos Hills, a Republican and president of Qume Corp., a computer parts manufacturing company; Donna Tuttle of Los Angeles, a Republican and chief executive officer of Ayer Tuttle, an advertising and public relations firm, and Walter Gerken of Corona del Mar, a Democrat and former chairman and chief of Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Also on the panel are Jack Henning of San Francisco, a Democrat and the executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO; Mervin Morris of Atherton, a Republican and the founder of Mervyn’s department stores; Elizabeth Rogers of Los Angeles, a Republican and managing general partner of Pacific Earth Resources, a horticulture firm, and president of Pacific Ranch Co., a Hawaii-based real estate holding company; Nathan Shapell of Beverly Hills, a Democrat and land developer and member of the state’s Little Hoover Commission; Wilford (Woody) Godbold Jr., a Republican and president and chief executive officer of Zero Corp., a computer products firm, and David Hale of Rancho Bernardo, a Republican and head of Gensia Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company.

Rounding out the commission are Laura Balverde-Sanchez of Los Angeles, a Democrat and co-owner of the Los Angeles-based New El Rey Sausage Co.; Jane Netherton of Long Beach, a Republican and president and chief executive officer of International City Bank; Ward Connerly, a Republican and president of a Sacramento-based housing and community development consulting firm; David Moore of Irvine, a Republican and president and chief executive officer of the Western Growers Assn.; Ron Cedillos of Huntington Beach, a Republican and president of Cedillos Testing Co., an aerospace parts firm, and a karate expert who has appeared in action-adventure movies, and Bruce Lee of Fullerton, a Democrat and a regional director of the United Auto Workers union.