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California's Most Powerful Non-Elected Officials? L.A. is Home to Many

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Photos: smartee_martee via Flickr

Photos: smartee_martee via Flickr
Every year Capitol Weekly releases a list of the 100 most powerful people that are not politicians. These include reporters, state employees and business people. The Weekly has released half the list with the other half coming next week. Here are some local notables:George Skelton of the LA Times: "... virtually everybody who watches California politics reads him regularly."

Joe Edmiston: When you hike in the mountains where the brown signs say Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy or Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority, these are the two agencies Edmiston runs. He is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful people in the Los Angeles area, and also can be one of the most controversial if you live in Malibu or the Pacific Palisades.

Rick Caruso: He's built The Grove and The Americana and once thought about running for mayor. And who knows, he may run the next time around.

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Bill Burke: He's the chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which has the goal of monitoring air in the region. "Burke remains a clandestine but unmistakable force in the Capitol. Whether it’s getting a bill jammed through the Legislature to extend his term on the air board or orchestrating an 11th-hour deal involving air emission credits, Burke may not be a visible presence in Sacramento, but his fingerprints are all over the place."

Jeff Kightlinger: He heads up the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which sells water to the LADWP and various other agencies around. And that means he's "at the center of power over California’s single most important commodity."