A nationally-recognized expert on California and Los Angeles politics and government, Dr. Raphael Sonenshein is a highly sought-after speaker. He frequently appears as an expert commentator in the media on the U.S. political landscape, including urban and racial ethnic politics.
A Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at California State University, Los Angeles, Dr. Sonenshein received his B.A. in public policy from Princeton, and his M.A. and doctorate degree in political science from Yale.
Author of three books on Los Angeles politics and government, his first book, Politics in Black and White: Race and Power in Los Angeles (Princeton U Press, 1993), won the American Political Science Association’s 1994 award as the best political science book of the year on racial and cultural pluralism. Between 1997 and 1999, Dr. Sonenshein served as Executive Director of the Los Angeles (Appointed) Charter Reform Commission that led to the city’s first comprehensive charter reform in 75 years.
His second book The City at Stake: Secession, Reform, and the Battle for Los Angeles (Princeton U Press, 2004), tells the story of the city’s dramatic charter reform. The new charter created an innovative system of neighborhood councils and in 2007, he was appointed as Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Council Review Commission. Dr. Sonenshein has guided successful charter reform commissions in a half dozen cities, and he is often consulted by state and local public officials.
Dr. Sonenshein has won numerous teaching and research awards including a Wang Family Excellence Award as one of the four most outstanding faculty members in the Cal State system. He was the fall 2008 Fulbright Tocqueville Distinguished Chair in American Studies at the University of Paris VIII.