The Board's five members serve concurrent four-year terms as the nation's only elected tax commission. Their popular election ensures that the Board's tax program administration remains directly accountable to the people. Four members are elected by district. The fifth member, the State Controller, is elected at large and serves in an ex officio capacity.
Ted Gaines, First District – Counties of Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne, Tulare, Yuba, and portions of Los Angeles.
Elected in November 2018, Ted Gaines represents the Board of Equalization's First District. He is a leading taxpayer advocate and is committed to providing trustworthy and transparent representation for the nearly ten million constituents in 30 counties of northern and eastern California.
Prior to his election to the Board, Ted served 12 years in the State Legislature where he was a tireless voice for California’s taxpayers, ratepayers, businesses, and families. He also fought to protect citizens' privacy and led major efforts to bring thousands of new jobs to the state, as well as supporting critical legislation to strengthen and expand California's infrastructure.
Ted began his public service career in local government as a member of the City of Roseville's Planning Commission from 1997 to 1999. In 2000, he was elected to the Placer County Board of Supervisors and re-elected in 2004.
Ted is a devoted public servant who is dedicated to delivering excellent service to constituents and taxpayers as well as providing helpful information and outreach opportunities.
In addition to his life in public service, Ted is a successful small business owner, having owned Gaines Insurance for more than 30 years. He has been married to his beautiful wife Beth since 1985 and together they reside in El Dorado County and are blessed with six children and three grandchildren.
For more information, see Ted Gaines' Home Page.
Malia M. Cohen, Second District – Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Trinity, and Yolo.
Malia M. Cohen serves as a Member of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), California's elected tax commission. She was elected to the BOE in November 2018 and is the first African-American woman to serve on the Board.
As the BOE Board Member for District 2, she represents 10 million constituents living in all or parts of 23 counties extending from Del Norte County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south. In January 2019, her BOE Board Member colleagues unanimously selected her to serve as Chair of the Board.
A strong advocate for social justice and inclusion, Board Member Cohen pledges to ensure that the views of all who come before the Board of Equalization are considered carefully, with respect, civility, and courtesy. She further commits to collaborate with her colleagues to guarantee that all the actions of the BOE are open, transparent, and above reproach.
Prior to being elected to the Board of Equalization, Board Member Cohen served as President of the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco. She was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
As a Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, she served as the Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. As Finance Chair, she oversaw the adoption of an $11 billion budget, and measures concerning bond issues, taxes, fees, and redevelopment and real estate matters. She also served as a fiduciary member of the San Francisco Transportation Authority, which manages the proceeds of a half-cent sales tax that generates $100 million annually for transportation investments in the County.
Previously, she served as a Commissioner of the San Francisco Employee Retirement System (SFERS), which manages a $23 billion pension fund. As President of SFERS, she led efforts to divest from fossil fuels and thermal coal investments and moved $100 million into a fossil fuel-free index fund.
Throughout her life, Board Member Cohen has fought for diversity and inclusion. She has championed policies and programs that protect public health, foster economic development, promote new affordable housing, and that create good jobs through protecting and expanding our manufacturing base.
Board Member Cohen was born and raised in San Francisco. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Fisk University, a historically Black university in Nashville, Tennessee, and a Master's in Science in Public Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
For more information, see Malia Cohen's Home Page.
Antonio Vazquez, Third District – includes Counties of Los Angeles and Ventura and a portion of San Bernardino County.
Antonio Vazquez, Member of the Board of Equalization (BOE) representing the 3rd District, was elected to the Board in November 2018. His district includes most of Los Angeles County, all of Ventura County, and a portion of San Bernardino County. He is the first Latino ever elected to the BOE since its inception.
Vazquez brings to the board over 20 years of business and government experience involving strategic and long-term planning, business development, and municipal and legislative advocacy. He is known as a tireless advocate for responsible growth and development, fiscal responsibility, public safety, affordable housing, open and responsive government, and education to improve the quality of life for all Californians.
As District Director for former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, Vazquez was instrumental in revitalizing the poorest areas of the northeast San Fernando Valley and redeveloping the former General Motors plant. He served over ten years on the Santa Monica City Council, including terms as Mayor Pro Tempore in 2015 and Mayor in 2016. Vazquez was the first Latino ever to serve as Mayor since the city was incorporated in 1886.
As Mayor of Santa Monica, Vazquez advocated for streamlined business licensing and regulations, implemented innovative transportation projects, worked to obtain funding for affordable housing, promoted the passage of the city's Minimum Wage ordinance, supported the transitioning of the homeless into permanent housing, fought for local control of airport lands, and led the City Council in adopting a comprehensive Downtown Community Plan.
In the private sector, Vazquez served as the Southern California Regional Director for California Futures Network, where he promoted smart growth policy and legislation in the state of California, and as Community Planner for the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, where he facilitated funding for community programs throughout the San Fernando Valley. He has served his community on many boards - including as Treasurer of the Independent Cities Association (ICA) and Board Member of the Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO) - and has been a supporter of city youth programs throughout his career.
As a former schoolteacher and teacher trainer, Vazquez believes strongly in the importance of a quality education for all children. He was a member of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District's Strategic Planning Committee, served on the School District's Feasibility Committee, and has played an active role in every local school board campaign for over twenty years.
Vazquez graduated from Santa Monica City College and continued his education at the University of Southern California where he received his degree. A resident of Santa Monica since 1984, he and his wife, Maria, have two grown children and one grandchild.
For more information, see Antonio Vazquez's Home Page.
Mike Schaefer, Fourth District - Counties of Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Diego, and a portion of San Bernardino County.
Mike Schaefer made history on January 7, 2019 in Sacramento when he took his Oath of Office as a member of the California State Board of Equalization from Governor Gavin Newsom, becoming the oldest freshman constitutional officer in state history.
Mike Schaefer serves as Vice Chair of the California State Board of Equalization, the only publicly elected tax commission in the United States. He represents 10 million people in five Southern California counties including San Diego, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial.
In 1965, when he was 27 years old, Mike also made history as the youngest person ever elected to the San Diego City Council, where he served for two terms.
Mike was born and raised in San Diego and attended schools in Hillcrest and Pacific Beach. He did undergraduate work at San Diego State and Notre Dame University, ultimately receiving a business degree from U.C. Berkeley and a law degree from Georgetown University.
Mike Schaefer began his lifelong career in politics, government, and the law by volunteering as a driver for John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign during the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Since then Mike has served the public working in city, county, state, and federal government positions.
After graduation he worked as an investigator and financial analyst for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and as a staff assistant for California U.S. Senator Thomas Kuchel.
Mike served on the San Diego City Council for two terms, from 1965 to 1971, representing a district in southeast San Diego. His tenure was highlighted by many accomplishments including the creation of community identification markers, which are still seen everywhere today, and the establishment of free parking on Veterans Day.
Mike began his legal career as a prosecutor in the San Diego City Attorney's office assisting local law enforcement.
Following his tenure with the city attorney's office, Mike went into private practice and became a champion for fair and equitable election law.
In 1972, he sued the San Diego County Registrar of Voters over the practice of listing candidates' names on ballots in alphabetical order. In Sumner v. Sexton, the court ruled that this kind of listing was a denial of equal protection and mandated in its place the random system that is used today. This decision was later codified in California Elections Code section 13112.
In Canaan v. Abdelnour, Mike sued the City of San Diego, which had barred write-in candidates. The California Supreme Court ultimately ruled in his favor against the city, permitting write-ins in local and state elections. (The U.S. Supreme Court later determined that the ruling does not apply to federal elections.)
In Schaefer v. Townsend, a case that he brought in 2000, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals accepted his argument that a state may not enact residence requirements for federal candidates. In a decision applicable to all 50 states, the court found that only the U.S. Constitution may limit candidacies for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
Mike Schaefer's work as an attorney has also included cases before the State Board of Equalization, where he won substantial reductions in assessed valuation for homeowners. Mike supported the enactment of Proposition 13 and has pledged to protect its foundational principle of helping homeowners remain in their residences.
Mike has been a leader in his local Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs and is an active supporter of the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Animal Rescue Mission.
He has two sons, Derek, who helps produce the Coachella Music Festival as a VP /General Manager of LA Touring at AEG Presents, and Michael, who is a housing manager in Las Vegas.
Mike Schaefer resides in San Diego.
For more information, see Mike Schaefer's Home Page.
Betty T. Yee, California State Controller
State Controller Betty T. Yee was elected in November 2014, following two terms of service on the California Board of Equalization. As Controller, she continues to serve the Board as its fifth voting member.
Ms. Yee was first elected to the Board of Equalization in 2006 where she represented 21 counties in northern and central California. She was elected to her second four-year term in 2010.
Now serving as the state's chief fiscal officer, Ms. Yee also chairs the Franchise Tax Board and serves as a member of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) Boards. These two boards have a combined portfolio of nearly $500 billion. Ms. Yee also serves on the Ceres Board of Directors, a nonprofit organization working to mobilize many of the world's largest investors to advance global sustainability and take stronger action on climate change.
Ms. Yee serves on dozens of boards and commissions with authority ranging from land management to crime victim compensation. As a member of the State Lands Commission (and chairperson in even-numbered years), she helps provide stewardship of public-trust lands, waterways, industrial wharves, marine terminals, pipelines, and resources through economic development, protection, preservation, and restoration consistent with the state's environmental needs. The development and extraction of oil, gas, and geothermal resources are part of the Commission's purview, as well. Through other financing authorities, Ms. Yee is dedicated to creating incentives that will increase the number of affordable housing units in California, given that demand consistently outpaces supply.
Ms. Yee has over 30 years of experience in public service, specializing in state and local finance and tax policy. Ms. Yee previously served as Chief Deputy Director for Budget with the California Department of Finance where she led the development of the Governor's Budget, negotiations with the Legislature and key budget stakeholders, and fiscal analyses of legislation on behalf of the Administration. Prior to this, she served in senior staff positions for several fiscal and policy committees in both houses of the California State Legislature. She also cofounded the Asian Pacific Youth Leadership Project, which exposes California high school youth to the public service, public policy, and political arenas.
A native of San Francisco, Ms. Yee received her bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and she holds a master's degree in public administration.
For more information, visit the California State Controller's Office.