Los Angeles Times' West Magazine Names Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren as the Most Powerful Southern Californian

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 10, 2006 – West magazine, the Sunday magazine of the Los Angeles Times, today announced that Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren tops its list of the 100 most powerful people in Southern California.

The complete West 100 list will be available after 12 p.m. PDT today at and will be featured in the Aug. 13 print edition of West magazine.

The top 10 power players in the West 100 are:

1. Donald Bren, 74, chairman, Irvine Co., Newport Beach - Orange County looks like Orange County because of Bren's influence. Also bearing his imprint is the New Majority, a growing coalition of wealthy, socially moderate Republicans who helped vault Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger into office.

2. Eli Broad, 73, civic leader, Brentwood - Broad has used his money to insert himself into virtually every major decision affecting Los Angeles' civic life: Disney Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art, Grand Ave. Project - as well as major grants to Caltech, UCLA, Pitzer College and USC. His homebuilding company, Kaufman & Broad, sowed Greater Los Angeles with middle-class ranch houses and gave the region what some would call its signature sprawl.

3. Barbara E. Kerr, 59, president, California Teachers Assn. (CTA), Riverside - No issue is more critical to the future of the region than education, and nobody wields more influence in this arena than does Kerr, president of the 335,000-member union. In June, Kerr helped engineer a deal with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that would, among other things, strip power from the Los Angeles Unified School District board and give individual teachers much more sway over classroom instruction. It's no surprise that Kerr has Villaraigosa's ear: Under her direction, the CTA helped defeat Villaraigosa's opponent, incumbent James Hahn.

4. Antonio Villaraigosa, 53, Los Angeles mayor, Windsor Square - With seemingly boundless energy, Villaraigosa is bent on putting his stamp on all of the local hot-button issues of the day - crime, transportation and education - in a way that his predecessors never managed.

5. Roger Mahony, 70, archbishop, Archdiocese of Los Angeles - With five million Roman Catholics in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, Mahony boasts a huge flock, especially in the Latino community. Some say the church's sex abuse scandal has undermined his influence, but there's another way to look at it: Mahony's ability to keep secret the files of priests suspected of misconduct underscores just how powerful he is.

6. Philip Anschutz, 66, industrialist, Denver - Southern California has more than its share of absentee landlords. Few, however, have had as much impact as Anschutz. He owns Staples Center, the Home Depot Center in Carson, the Kings hockey team, the Galaxy soccer franchise and (with Ed Roski) nearly 30% of the Lakers. His entertainment company, AEG, plans to spend more than $1 billion in hotel and commercial development that will inject even more life into downtown Los Angeles.

7. Henry Samueli, 51, cofounder, Broadcom Corp., Corona del Mar - While he isn't your typical Orange County mogul, Samueli is a rising star in regional affairs. He has donated more than $160 million mostly to educational and healthcare institutions. He already owns the Anaheim Ducks hockey franchise and the company that manages the Arrowhead Pond, but he may become an even bigger household name if he brings an NBA franchise to Anaheim.

8. Jerry Bruckheimer, 61, TV and film producer, Los Angeles and Bloomfield, Ky. - Nobody in Hollywood has more clout these days than this master of screens big and small. It was Bruckheimer's move into prime-time television in 2000 that helped lift the stigma of working in the genre and signaled the start of L.A.'s shift from Tinseltown to TV town. With that has come a boom in TV shoots - and many thousands of jobs for actors, writers, craftspeople and others.

9. David Gelbaum, 57, conservationist, Newport Beach - Gelbaum has donated more to conservation causes than anyone in the state - anonymously. This hedge-fund multimillionaire has taken a leading role in safeguarding enough mountain and desert land to create another Yosemite National Park.

10. Haim Saban, 61, media mogul, Beverly Hills - His recent involvement in a deal to buy L.A.-based Univision Communications, by far the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster, catapulted him to the fore. With an extensive background in entertainment and media, Saban's vision for the company will be reflected in millions of TV sets throughout Southern California.

Behind The West 100

The 100 most powerful Southern Californians were selected from a list of more than 350 candidates by West magazine editors and staff writers over the last several months. That initial list was based on discussions with reporters and editors in every section of the Los Angeles Times and with sources throughout Southern California.

"We defined the powerful as those having influence over the way we live as Southern Californians," said Rick Wartzman, West magazine editor. "We tried to cast a wide net, considering candidates from the worlds of politics, the arts, media, sports, business, health, the environment and beyond. But we limited our geography to Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties."

"Being rich and philanthropic wasn't enough to snare a spot," he said. "The key, in the case of the affluent, was whether these people are purposefully directing their money to help shape the local landscape. Timeliness was a factor as well; some veteran power brokers have lately been less active than usual. We also nixed those without an established track record."

In explaining the decision between the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings, Wartzman said, "The areas in which Eli Broad has made a mark in L.A. - education, the arts, the revival of downtown - others also wield considerable influence. But Donald Bren's power in Orange County is essentially unrivaled. What's more, much of Broad's central city renaissance has yet to happen; Bren's Orange County is largely realized."

Related Features

Also featured in the Aug. 13 issue of West magazine:
  • Power Players – Everybody knows that the Lakers attract a slew of Hollywood stars: Jack Nicholson, Dyan Cannon and Denzel Washington, among others. But lots of other L.A. power brokers can be found courtside - where a ticket runs $2,200 per game - and in other choice seating at Staples Center. This 3-D seating chart shows where to find them.
  • "The Men Who Made The City" by D.J. Waldie. The equation used to be Empty Space + Desire = Power. Now, the formula isn't so clear.
  • "At Their Service" by Andy Meisler. Few people realize that your average chief executive, superagent or A-list actor or director is virtually crippled without an intelligent, infinitely flexible, utterly ego-free and usually career-capped gatekeeper by his or her side.
About West Magazine

Introduced Feb. 5, 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, West offers readers an eclectic, insightful and entertaining view of the many faces of California. West magazine replaced the weekly Los Angeles Times Magazine and resurrected the title used by The Times for its Sunday magazine from the mid-1960s through the early 1970s.

About the Los Angeles Times

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of nearly 2.2 million and about 3.3 million on Sunday. With its media businesses and affiliates – including,, Times Community Newspapers, Recycler Classifieds, Hoy, and California Community News – the Los Angeles Times reaches approximately 7.6 million or 58 percent of all adults in the Southern California marketplace every week.

The Los Angeles Times, which this year marks its 125th anniversary covering Southern California, is part of Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB), one of the country's leading media companies with businesses in publishing, the Internet and broadcasting. Additional information about the Los Angeles Times is available at

David Garcia