Harvey Rosenfield, Founder
As Consumer Watchdog's founder, Harvey Rosenfield is one of the nation's foremost consumer advocates. Trained as a public interest lawyer, Rosenfield authored Proposition 103 and organized the campaign that led to its passage by California voters in 1988 despite over $80 million spent in opposition (still a record).
He has co-authored groundbreaking initiatives on HMO reform and utility rate deregulation (Proposition 9, 1998). Rosenfield is the author of the book, Silent Violence, Silent Death: The Hidden Epidemic of Medical Malpractice.
Rosenfield, who established Consumer Watchdog in 1985, has worked for the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Congress, in private practice, as a staff attorney for Ralph Nader's Public Citizen Congress Watch and as the Program Director for the California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG).
Rosenfield graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College and obtained a joint Law and Masters degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.
Jamie Court, President
Consumer Watchdog's President and Chairman of the Board is an award-winning and nationally recognized consumer advocate. "Court has made a career of battling all comers in the interest of the public, and his take-no-prisoners approach has earned him plenty of enemies," Capitol Weekly wrote of Jamie in naming him to its "Top 100" list of movers and shakers in Sacramento.
Jamie’s latest book is The Progressive's Guide To Raising Hell: How To Win Grassroots Campaigns, Pass Ballot Box Laws And Get The Change You Voted For (Chelsea Green, 2010). "Americans angry about the state of their government might find in Court's persuasive manifesto a cause for action," Publishers Weekly writes. "With great accessibility and a fired-up attitude, Court brings his lessons in empowerment to the people." He is also the author of Corporateering: How Corporate Power Steals Your Freedom And What You Can Do About It (Tarcher Putnam, 2003) and co-author of Making A Killing: HMOs and the Threat To Your Health (Common Courage Press, 1999).
Jamie has led dozens of major corporate and political campaigns to reform insurers, banks, technology companies, oil companies, utilities and political practices. He helped to pioneer the HMO patients' rights movement in the United States, sponsoring successful laws in California and aiding them elsewhere, and was an early champion of many of the most important consumer protections in the federal Affordable Care Act years before they were enacted. He authored the health insurance rate regulation reform Proposition 45 on the November 2014 California ballot.
A frequent media commentator and op-ed contributor, Jamie is a high-profile and stalwart defender of consumers’ rights. The Los Angeles Times calls him "a tireless consumer advocate." The Wall Street Journal writes, "He's notorious for his dramatic, sharp-tongued attacks on the health- and auto-insurance industries, and on any politician who takes their campaign cash."
His public interest career began as an advocate for the homeless and as a community organizer. Jamie’s alma mater is Pomona College, where he graduated with a BA in History in 1989.
Carmen Balber, Executive Director
Carmen Balber is Consumer Watchdog’s executive director. She leads Consumer Watchdog’s health reform and patient safety projects, and is recognized as a leading expert on a wide range of insurance issues. Carmen returned to California in 2013 after four years directing the group’s Washington, D.C. office, where she advocated for key health insurance market reforms that were ultimately enacted into law as part of Obamacare.
In 2012, she managed the coalition effort in California to defeat a $17 million insurance industry initiative that would have raised rates on good drivers, as well as the campaign to successfully qualify Proposition 45 for the 2014 ballot that would have required health insurance companies to justify and get prior approval for rate hikes. She has authored or co-authored numerous reports on the auto, health and medical malpractice insurance industries, and insurance rate regulation, and her commentaries have appeared in papers across the state and nation, including the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe and Sacramento Bee.
Balber also ran campaigns to pass the nation’s strongest conflict of interest protections in five cities across California. Before joining Consumer Watchdog, Balber served as Assistant Canvass Director for the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (COPIRG). She holds a B.A. in Politics from Pomona College and attended the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, one of 17 secondary schools across the globe dedicated to fostering international understanding by bringing together youth from a diversity of countries and cultures to live and learn.
Jerry Flanagan, Litigation Director
Jerry Flanagan is Consumer Watchdog's Litigation Director. Flanagan leads Consumer Watchdog’s litigation efforts in the areas of health insurance coverage and access to treatments. He has over 20 years experience working in public interest and health care policy, legislation and litigation. Flanagan was admitted to the California Bar in 2010.
Flanagan has spearheaded efforts to address discrimination against those with HIV and other serious illnesses in the era of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Flanagan leads Consumer Watchdog's efforts to ameliorate the damaging effects of the "narrow" doctor network epidemic and loss of access to providers.
Flanagan is an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School of Los Angeles and currently teaches the class "Health Insurance Regulation: Law, Policy & Politics." Flanagan exposed the illegal practice of health insurers retroactively canceling coverage and authored a law journal article underscoring the need for reform in health insurance rescission law, Healthy State of Mind: The Role of Intent in Health Plan Rescissions, 43 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 291 (2009). An “intentional misrepresentation” standard for coverage rescissions, advocated by the article, was adopted in the ACA.
Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog, Flanagan drafted and won passage of one of the nation’s strongest HMO accountability measure, which was signed into law in New Jersey in 2001. Flanagan received a B.A. in Social/Cultural Anthropology and Rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley and his law degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. At Loyola Flanagan was a Note and Comment Editor on the Loyola Law Review, and he graduated magna cum laude and is a member of the Order of the Coif, Sayre Macneil Scholars Program, St. Thomas More Law Honor Society, and Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society.
Pamela Pressley, Senior Staff Attorney
Consumer Watchdog's Senior Staff Attorney, Pamela Pressley has led Consumer Watchdog's efforts to enforce Proposition 103's mandates in court to protect California insurance policyholders against discriminatory practices and premium overcharges. Pam has authored appellate briefs and presented oral argument in cases successfully upholding the insurance initiative and other California consumer protection laws, resulting in numerous precedential published opinions, including The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights v. Garamendi (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 1354; Association of California Insurance Companies v. Poizner (2009) 180 Cal.App.4th 1029, and Mercury Casualty Company v. Jones (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 561.
Pam has also served as lead counsel in challenges before the Department of Insurance to insurance industry rate hike proposals resulting in savings to California policyholders of $3.3 billion.
In May 2010, Pam was named as one of the top women litigators in California by the Daily Journal. At the time, she had served “as litigation director of this small but dogged consumer group for more than a decade” and “gone head-to-head with state regulators for not cracking down on  autism denials.” (Daily Journal Supplement, May 12, 2010, p. 34.) Her efforts, working together with Jerry Flanagan and co-counsel Strumwasser & Woocher LLP, led to a Los Angeles Superior Court decision declaring that the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) illegally adopted rules that delayed and denied decisions regarding coverage for autism treatments and improperly withheld public documents that revealed how they handled consumer complaints, and a Court of Appeal decision ordering the DMHC to stop upholding such illegal denials of coverage for autism treatments.
Pam received her B.A. in Sociology from UCLA and her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law. She was admitted to the California State Bar in 1995. Before joining Consumer Watchdog and serving as the organization’s Litigation Director for 15 years, Pam worked as Consumer Attorney for the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) and as a staff attorney for the Center for Law in the Public Interest (CLIPI).
Liza Tucker, Consumer Advocate, Energy Project
Liza Tucker is a consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog, following everything from oil and gas to the regulation of toxic substances in the state of California. She comes to us from Marketplace, the largest U.S. broadcast show on business and economics heard by ten million listeners each week on 400 radio stations. Liza worked at this public radio show for a decade, first as Commentary Editor and then as Senior Editor for both Washington and Sustainability News. At Marketplace, Liza produced and edited several special feature series from who funds Washington think tanks to the BP oil spill. Liza has worked as a journalist, consultant, teacher, and translator.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Liza spent a few years in Bologna, Italy. She covered business at The Washington Post and later free-lanced her way through the Soviet Union, covering its collapse for Time, Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal. Liza is fluent in Russian and speaks Italian. She taught journalism at Allegheny College. She also served as a consultant to the MacArthur Foundation awarding individual grants in the areas of independent media, women’s rights, and legal reform, and to US AID on how to support independent media in Ukraine. She translated Alexandra’s letters to Nicholas for The Fall of the Romanovs, published by Yale University Press, and the memoirs of Anatoly S. Chernyayev, a top Gorbachev aide on foreign affairs, My Six Years with Gorbachev. She travelled through Europe in 2009 as a German Marshall Fund Fellow studying German, French, Danish, and British approaches to sustainability. She holds a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in poetry from Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
Adam Scow, Consumer Advocate, Privacy Project
Adam Scow is a Senior Consumer Advocate for Consumer Watchdog, where he covers a variety of issues including privacy and energy.
Adam was previously the California Director at Food & Water Watch, where he oversaw many successful local and legislative campaigns to ban fracking, promote clean energy, and champion the human right to water. In 2016 Adam helped pass Measure Z, making Monterey County the 1st major oil-producing county in the nation to ban fracking and new oil wells, despite record spending by the oil industry. Adam has been a regular contributor to major media publications as an often cited expert and op-ed author. Adam is a three-time ultimate frisbee national champion and is in search of a reliable golf swing.
Michael Mattoch J.D. MBA, Counsel and Capitol Advocate
Michael Mattoch has spent his career crafting and influencing public policy in California. Currently, Michael Mattoch is Counsel & Advocate for Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing an effective voice for consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Consumer Watchdog deploys an in-house team of public interest lawyers, policy experts, strategists, and investigative reporters to expose, confront, and change corporate and political injustice.
As vice-president and senior counsel for USAA, Mr. Mattoch managed the regulation, legislation, government relations, and political interests of USAA in 10 western states for 12 years. Mr. Mattoch has provided counsel in the administrations of two Republican Governors, three Democratic Speakers of the California Assembly and as chief counsel to the Assembly Insurance Committee, advised members of the Assembly and Senate on issues related to financial institutions, financial services, privacy, tort reform, workers' compensation, unemployment, life, health and all areas of property and casualty insurance. He also managed legislative oversight of the Department of Insurance and the Department of Industrial Relations, the California Earthquake Authority, the State Compensation Insurance Fund and the California Insurance Guarantee Association. Mr. Mattoch also served as Corporations Counsel in the Office of Law & Legislation for the Department of Corporations in the administration of former Governor Pete Wilson. At the department, he was responsible for legal opinions, rulemaking, legislation and special investigative projects relating to all the laws under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Corporations, such as, securities brokers and dealers, investment advisers and financial planners, certain fiduciaries and lenders; and, the regulation of Health Care Service Plans (HMO's). In addition to his unique bi-partisan record of government service, Mr. Mattoch was vice-president and chief counsel for the California Hospital and Healthcare Association, where he represented over 450 hospitals and medical groups in California, Washington DC and the California appellate courts; served as associate director of government relations and legislative counsel for the California Medical Association; and, was a marketing representative for the IBM Corporation. As vice-president and counsel for D.C. Navigators, and Partner in the Firm of Norwood & Mattoch, Mr. Mattoch provided legislative advocacy and counsel in California for their national and international corporate clients and participated in a number of political and initiative campaigns.
Mr. Mattoch was appointed by Nevada Governor, Jim Gibbons, to the Nevada Insurance Fraud Task Force; and sits on the Board of Directors of the Nevada Insurance Guarantee Association. Mr. Mattoch currently serves as Vice Chair of the Cal VetFund Board, as well as, a member of the executive board and Chair of the legislative committee for the National Guard Association of California (NGAC). Mr. Mattoch attained the rank of Major, Judge Advocate General (JAG), in the 49th Combat Support Command and 40th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, California Army National Guard/California State Military Reserve and is the recipient of the United States Army Achievement Medal for service during the global war on terrorism, Medals of Merit, and the Operation Gulf Coast Relief Service Commendation. Mr. Mattoch was a Legislative Fellow at The McGeorge Institute for Government Law and Policy and read for an LLM in Government Law and Policy at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law; studied at Oxford; received an MBA from the University of Liverpool; attended The Judge Advocate General School and Ranger School of the U.S. Army; played intercollegiate golf and soccer at Saint Mary's College and the University of Arizona; is a former private pilot; and, lives in the Sacramento area with his children Morgan, Haley and Ethan.
Evan King, Technical Director
Evan King came to Consumer Watchdog after spending years as a production director and designer in the television and film worlds. He has worked for industries such as entertainment, finance, animation, computer technology, and design. Prior to that, Evan spent several years working in the programming and IT fields for software companies all over the world. He has various accreditation and certifications in design, production and technology.
Evan has volunteered his time and skills to various issues, including fundraising efforts for victims of child abuse, the Anne Frank foundation, and human rights issues. Evan attended Portland State University for Theatrical Direction, and continues that practice in a range of digital mediums including producing and directing plays and productions aimed for children and adults.
Mark Reback, Operations Manager / Consumer Advocate / Researcher
Mark Reback has been with Consumer Watchdog since 2001, providing research for the advocacy and legal departments, following money trails from special interests to politicians, as well as being the primary contact with members of the press and media.
Now, as Operations Manager, Reback also oversees the organization's accounting, development and human resources programs, as well as maintaining the organization's various websites, and is responsible for supervising Consumer Watchdog's consumer complaint program, which assists members of the public looking for consumer assistance.
In his life outside Consumer Watchdog, Reback has been a long-time volunteer with TreePeople, an environmental non-profit based in Los Angeles, and was honored in 2009 with TreePeople's Volunteer Leader Award at their annual gala. Mark is also an accomplished drummer/musician, who has recorded/performed/toured with a variety of bands & artists, such as the seminal British band Slaughter And The Dogs, and Los Angeles band VAST ASTEROID. Additionally, his music has been featured in films and TV shows. Reback holds a B.A. in Business - Marketing from Colorado State University.
John Ennis, Creative Director
John Ennis is a filmmaker and author. His feature films are PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes, exploring the role of money in politics, FREE FOR ALL! One Dude’s Quest to Save Our Elections, chronicling widespread voter disenfranchisement, and the Upright Citizens Brigade‘s Wild Girls Gone starring Amy Poehler and Matt Walsh. Ennis has written for The Huffington Post, The Onion, and Melrose & Fairfax. He is a co-founder of Video the Vote, a citizen journalism project exposing election problems, and served as executive director and board member for Public Interest Pictures. He attended the film schools at New York University and University of Southern California and has taught documentary filmmaking at UCLA Extension. His book, Where Else But The Streets: A Street Art Dossier, chronicles political street art in Los Angeles.
Benjamin Powell, Staff Attorney
Benjamin Powell is a staff attorney on Consumer Watchdog’s Litigation Team. While his primary focus is in the area of health insurance litigation, he also provides litigation support in other areas.
During law school, Powell was a member of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, writing articles for the journal’s specialized “Developments in the Law” issue. His scholarship included an analysis of the shifting employment status of California Uber drivers and a discussion of the fate of class action waivers under California contract law. He also served as a Coordinator for Loyola’s Young Lawyers Program, providing students from local high schools with mentorship as well as training for a mock trial experience in front of actual Los Angeles Superior Court judges.
Powell received a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and a J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
Daniel Sternberg, Staff Attorney
Danny is a staff attorney at Consumer Watchdog, where he works on healthcare access issues and consumer protection impact litigation, as well as enforcement of Proposition 103 which protects California insurance policyholders against discriminatory practices and overcharges.
Prior to joining Consumer Watchdog, Danny was an Excelsior Service Fellow at New York State Homes and Community Renewal, where he focused on affordable housing policy related to civil rights and housing discrimination. Danny was also an associate at Bantle & Levy LLP, where he litigated cases of employment discrimination and non-payment of wages.
During law school, he represented clients in Section 1983 actions in federal court with the Cardozo Civil Rights Clinic, helped secure unpaid wages for low-income workers with the Regional Solicitor of the U.S. Department of Labor, and served as the managing editor of the Cardozo Public Law, Policy, and Ethics Journal.
Danny graduated from the University of Arizona and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he was a Public Service Scholar and a New York State Pro Bono Scholar.
Kaitlyn Gentile, Paralegal
Kaitlyn Gentile is Consumer Watchdog’s paralegal. She supports the litigation team in all state and federal court filings and provides administrative and research assistance.
Before joining Consumer Watchdog, Gentile worked at Lambda Legal, where she supported some of the nation’s top litigators fighting to achieve the full civil rights of LGBT people and those living with HIV. In this capacity she assisted in preparing and filing impact litigation cases across the country, including 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges before the Supreme Court, which achieved marriage equality at the national level. She served as the project coordinator for the organization’s work on issues affecting LGBT youth in foster care, juvenile justice, and homeless systems, co-authoring a 50-state policy analysis of out-of-home care systems and advocating for comprehensive nondiscrimination policies at the state and federal level. She also helped two undocumented young people from West Africa obtain Green Cards after they faced rejection and violence by family and community in their countries of origin due to their sexual orientations.
Gentile is a certified English Language Teacher and spent a year teaching in elementary school in Mallorca, Spain. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Connor Finney, Kathy Olsen Patient Safety Advocate
Connor Finney started with Consumer Watchdog in January 2017 as a research and advocacy assistant. Finney, in addition to his responsibilities researching campaign donations and editing press releases, is Consumer Watchdog’s new medical malpractice reform advocate, reaching out to victims of medical malpractice in order to challenge California’s existing laws on patient safety and patients’ legal rights.
Prior to his work at Consumer Watchdog, Connor was a field organizer for NARAL fighting TRAP laws in the state of Colorado before being brought on as an organizer for Hillary Clinton’s general election campaign in the state. Finney graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder in December of 2015.
John M. Simpson, Privacy Project Director (Retired)
John M. Simpson is a consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog and is the director of the organization’s Privacy Project. He also directed the nonprofit public interest group’s Stem Cell Oversight Project, which was intended to ensure that the people paying for California’s $6 billion stem cell research program – the taxpayers of the state – receive direct benefit from the research they are funding. Simpson is a leading voice on technological privacy and stem cell research issues. His investigations of Google’s online privacy practices and book publishing agreements helped trigger intense media scrutiny and federal interest in the Internet giant’s business practices.
A frequent contributor to op-ed pages across the country, Simpson is a veteran journalist who held top editing positions at international, national and community newspapers. Most recently he was executive editor of Tribune Media Services International, a syndication company. He was previously deputy editor of USA Today and editor of its international edition.
Simpson taught journalism at Dublin City University in Ireland, and consulted for The Irish Times and The Gleaner in Jamaica. He served as president of the World Editors Forum; was Treasurer, Inter American Press Association; is a former Executive Board member, World Press Freedom Committee; and former Board member, American Committee of the International Press Institute. He is also a former director of The Gleaner Company (NA) Ltd., New York, (Overseas subsidiary of The Gleaner Company, Kingston, Jamaica).
Simpson has a B.A. in philosophy from Harpur College of SUNY Binghamton and holds a Graduate Certificate as a Gannett Fellow from the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Hawaii. He also has a certificate from the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute. In 2006 he was awarded an M.A. in Communication Management from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.
Our Board of Directors
Retiring after 32 years with the California Nurses Association, RoseAnn DeMoro was executive director of National Nurses United, as well as the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee - the largest professional and labor organization of registered nurses in the U.S. She is one of the nation’s preeminent advocates for genuine healthcare reform and working people.
Under her stewardship as executive director, National Nurses United:
- Formed in 2009 as the first national union of, by, and for the nation’s registered nurses and the fastest-growing U.S. union, now with more than 150,000 members.
- Inspired the founding of the first international organization of unions of directcare RNs and other healthcare workers from six continents, Global Nurses United.
- Won enactment of the nation’s first safe RN–to-patient ratios law in California, which has now been proposed in states across the nation.
- Won many of the best collective bargaining agreements for RNs in the United States in compensation, retirement security, and improved patient care conditions.
RoseAnn brought RNs across the nation together to lead the campaign to extend and improve Medicare to cover all patients and create a system of guaranteed health care. Senator Bernie Sanders marked RoseAnn’s seminal contribution to the fight for single payer healthcare for all Americans, saying: “When that vote in Congress takes place which guarantees healthcare to all…history will look back, and I mean this with all sincerity, look at the National Nurses United, look at RoseAnn DeMoro, and say thank you very much for making sure that all of us have the healthcare that we need.”
Featured in prominent profiles in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Business Week, and the Chicago Tribune, RoseAnn has also appeared on a number of national and California news programs, including Bill Moyers Journal, CBS’s 60 Minutes, PBS’s Now, and the Lehrer News Hour.
RoseAnn has been named “America’s Best & Brightest” by Esquire magazine, dubbed “The Most Influential Woman You’ve Never Heard Of” by More magazine, honored as among “America’s Most Influential Women” by MSN, and is one of only five people to be cited among the “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare” for the past 15 consecutive years by Modern Healthcare magazine. RoseAnn also serves as National Vice President and Executive Boardmember of the AFL-CIO.
RoseAnn lives in Napa County and has been evacuated twice due to recent wildfires, watching neighbors lose their homes. She was the 2006 recipient of the Phillip Burton Public Service Award at Consumer Watchdog’s Rage for Justice Awards.
Consumer Watchdog Director Scott Olsen has traveled the state and the nation advocating for increased patient protections and fighting efforts to limit the rights of people and families harmed by medical malpractice. His late wife, Kathy Olsen, was a Consumer Watchdog Director until 2015. Scott stepped in to carry on her legacy and the fight for patient rights. Scott and Kathy founded the Steven Andrew Olsen Coalition for Patients’ Rights, after their wonderful son Steven was injured as a result of medical negligence. The Olsen’s story has been told in television and newspaper stories around the nation. Scott was a Senior Editor for a software company before he left his job to care for his son after his wife’s untimely death. He is a graduate of San Diego State University, and presently lives with his son Steven in Chula Vista, California.
Tammy Smick and her husband Tim were thrust into the fight for patient safety after the tragic and needless death of their 20-year-old son, Alex, due to a doctor’s negligence and reckless opioid overprescribing. She has traveled the state of California fighting for patient safety and physician accountability.
The Smicks’ journey began when their son, Alex, became dependent on prescription pain medications following a serious back injury. He was prescribed Vicodin, Oxycontin, and eventually morphine, an increasing regimen of powerful drugs with no treatment plan to make him well.
Alex was just 20 years old when he sought help from the medical profession, and checked into the hospital to detox safely from those drugs. Within two hours of arriving, Alex was back on a new regimen of medications. By the next morning, he was dead.
Tammy and her husband spent months unearthing the multiple layers of negligence that needlessly led to Alex’s death. Answers were slow to come. Ultimately they learned that Alex had died of a poisonous mix of prescription drugs administered in the very hospital he entered to get off such medications.
The Smicks’ first act of protest was a massive gathering of family and friends outside the hospital where Alex died, to warn other patients and put the doctor, and hospital, on notice that they were not going away quietly.
When they sought accountability in the courts they learned about a California law, MICRA, that has frozen the value of a human life taken by medical error at the same level for over 40 years. That cap on damages in malpractice cases makes it difficult, if not impossible, to hold negligent doctors in cases like theirs accountable.
Tammy and Tim reached out to friends, lawmakers, the media, and organizations like Consumer Watchdog, hoping to bring about the reform necessary to prevent other families from going through the tragedy they did. They have campaigned with Consumer Watchdog to restore patients’ rights by indexing the cap on malpractice damages for four decades of inflation. Tammy was a citizen leader of the successful effort in 2016 to require doctors to check the state’s prescription database to ensure the safe prescribing of opioids. Her advocacy has helped expose the culture of secrecy around physician misconduct and the failures of the Medical Board of California to investigate and discipline doctors who harm their patients.
Tammy is a special education teacher for the Downey Unified School District. The Smicks were inducted into the Consumer Advocate Hall of Fame at Consumer Watchdog’s 2015 Rage for Justice Awards.
Ellen Snortland is many things: a writing coach who works with both individuals and groups, an author, columnist, empowerment self-defense advocate, actor, lawyer, radio and TV personality and more. She is a true Renaissance Woman. She just completed her next book, Biting the Hands That Squeeze Us, a hybrid “biting” social commentary/memoir about her career in Media and Entertainment. Her groundbreaking book on women's self-defense, Beauty Bites Beast with a foreword by Gavin de Becker, is considered a classic in the violence prevention field and was featured on Dateline NBC. The documentary film of the same name was released in 2016. You may view the trailer here. Ellen was a presenter at the 2016 Islamic University Islamabad and the Punjabi Ministry in Lahore, in association with the US State Department with Beauty Bites Beast, the documentary and book.
Snortland’s 2011 TEDx Pasadena talk, "The Personal Safety Paradox," is now available; in 18 minutes it neatly sums up everything Ellen has speaking about the subject for the past 20 years.
A regular columnist for the Pasadena Weekly, she is an advocate for women and girls and physical safety for all obviously including men and boys.
"There's a saying: 'Think Globally, Act Locally' — and adds Ellen, “your body is as local as it gets." As a president for UNA Pasadena/Foothills Chapter, she has attended United Nations world conferences in Beijing and Durban, South Africa, and annual UN meetings in NYC as an NGO delegate and journalist.
Ellen performs her acclaimed one-woman show, Now That She's Gone, a comic memoir about growing up Norwegian American to SRO audiences in New York, Edinburgh and Los Angeles. Ellen also serves on the board of Impact Personal Safety. She also presents personal safety talks and workshops for corporations, CLE and educational institutions as "The Safety Godmother," the name of her book co-authored with Lisa Gaeta.
In 1988, Chic Wolk was the first person to call Harvey Rosenfield and say “I am glad you are fighting for consumers and I’d like to give you some money to help the cause.”
In addition to being a Director of Consumer Watchdog, Chic is the Treasurer of the Board of the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. He is Honorary Counsel General for the Kyrgyz Republic, Chairman of the Friends of Vilnius Yiddish Institute, the Founder of the Survivor Mitzvah Project, and he has served as President of the Board of the Inner City Law Center.
Chic was the CEO and Founder of Five Star Parking, a nationwide service company. He attended Loyola School of Law in Chicago. Chic lives with his partner Kristin Zethren in Los Angeles.