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Water Replenishment Director Lillian Kawasaki Succumbs to Cancer

 

kawasakiBy Brian Hews

Lillian Kawasaki, who represented the greater Cerritos area as an elected Director on the Water Replenishment District Board of Directors passed away on Thursday of complications from cancer.

Kawasaki he was elected to the WRD Board of Directors in November 2006 to represent Division Three, which includes the cities of Artesia, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Lakewood, Long Beach and Signal Hill. She is the Chair of the Groundwater Quality Committee and member of the Administrative Committee.

Friends and co-workers took to Facebook and other social media sites on Thursday afternoon to remember the popular local elected official.

In January 2003, Ms Kawasaki was appointed as the Assistant General Manager of Environmental Affairs and Economic Development Organization for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). At LADWP, Kawasaki had oversight responsibilities for Green LA and other environmental public benefits programs, environmental compliance for the Power System, and economic development programs, managing more than $70 million annually. The major environmental programs included solar, energy efficiency, trees, and recycling.

According to her bio , since July 2006, Ms. Kawasaki managed a new consolidated organization in LADWP that is responsible for department-wide environmental issues, CEQA review and environmental regulatory oversight for both the water and power systems. She is actively involved in the development of the LA River Revitalization Master Plan, habitat restoration projects, preparation of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan and wastewater quality compliance.

Prior to her tenure at LADWP, Ms. Kawasaki served as the General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Community Development Department (CDD) for three years. Ms. Kawasaki managed 500 employees and over $300 million annually in federal block grant and other public funds earmarked to promote economic/community revitalization, neighborhood improvements, human services, and workforce development programs for low-income and disadvantaged members of the community.

In 1990, Ms. Kawasaki was appointed to head the then newly created Los Angeles City Environmental Affairs Department. She also became the first Asian American woman to become a General Manager for the City of Los Angeles . The Environmental Affairs Department (EAD) advises the City of Los Angeles on environmental policies and programs. Major environmental initiatives spearheaded during her years at EAD included: Los Angeles City Brownfields Revitalization and Job Training Initiative; City\’s Clean Air Plan; City CEQA Thresholds Guidelines and Environmental Justice program.

Kawasaki also worked at the Port of Los Angeles for 12 years in the Environmental Management Division, responsible for managing the water quality, air quality and other port environmental issues. Prior to that, Lillian worked as a researcher at UCLA on a wastewater nutrient recycling project for nearly four years.

Kawasaki was also the co-chair for the Friends of Manzanar, a National Historic Site, where Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II. She was also a member of the Women’s Foundation Donor Circle, which provides grants to foster financial literacy for women and girls; and the Enterprise Foundation Leadership Council, which promotes sustainable affordable housing.

In addition, Ms. Kawasaki served on the California State University LA Foundation Board for more than 5 years. She Ms Kawasaki recently joined the California Small Business Development Center Network Advisory Board.

Lillian held a BS in Zoology and MS in Biology from California State University, Los Angeles.

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4 Responses to Water Replenishment Director Lillian Kawasaki Succumbs to Cancer

  1. Smitty Reply

    July 19, 2013 at 11:00 am

    So the director’s been MIA, with the political union hacks running things.

  2. grace Reply

    July 19, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Omg, so sad to hear the bad news.
    Rest in peace Lilian.

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