Robert M. Stern, California’s go-to expert on government ethics, will soon teach a UCLA extension class on the November election.

Stern, Vice President of Californians Aware, notified us of the event recently.

UCLA Extension asked me to teach a course this fall so I suggested “The November Election.”  They have reserved a room that holds 150 people so this will be the biggest group I have ever taught; fortunately no tests, no papers and no grades.  The class will be Thursday mornings from 10 to 12, starting September 22 and ending November 10, the week of the election.

I will be joined by guest speakers including California State Senator Ben Allen; Mickey Kantor, former Bill Clinton campaign manager and former Secretary of Commerce; and Joel Fox, former President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, as well as other friends who are experts in elections.

Should be a fun class.  If you know anyone in LA who would be interested in attending, they should contact UCLA Extension or go on line for the brochure at

Stern has been active in the political reform movement for nearly 40 years. Peter Schrag in the Sacramento Bee called him “the godfather of modern political reform in California.” He began drafting and analyzing political reform laws as a staff attorney for the California Legislature’s Assembly Elections Committee in 1971; he then served as the Elections Counsel to the California Secretary of State’s office.

He was the principal co-author of California’s 1974 Political Reform Act, adopted by 70 percent of California’s voters, and was a principal drafter of the City of Los Angeles’ Ethics and Public Campaign Financing laws approved by voters in 1990.

Stern was the first general counsel of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, the state agency charged with administering and enforcing California’s campaign finance, ethics and conflicts of interest laws. He was President of the Center for Governmental Studies from 1983 until 2011, when the Center closed its offices. CGS was a Los Angeles based non-profit, nonpartisan research organization that studied a wide variety of governance issues, including campaign financing, the initiative process, term limits, redistricting and voter information.