Lighthouse Public Affairs, LLC

Principled. Passionate. Responsive.

By any measure, Lighthouse is the preeminent public affairs consultancy in the San Francisco Bay Area. With offices in San Francisco, Oakland, Palo Alto and San Rafael, a team comprised of seasoned professionals from a multitude of disciplines, and a roster of industry-leading clients, Lighthouse is uniquely positioned to manage the most complex regulatory, community, governmental and communications challenges in the nation's most dynamic region.

About The Firm

Lighthouse Public Affairs, LLC was founded in 2016, the result of a merger between two leading Bay Area strategic consultancies.

In 2003, Alex Clemens founded Barbary Coast Consulting. In 2009, the San Francisco-based strategic communications shop had become the Bay Area’s largest independent full-service public affairs firm.

In 2010, Rich Peterson co-founded his own consultancy, and in collaboration with his partner Boe Hayward, steered Goodyear Peterson Hayward to become San Francisco’s top lobbying firm in 2015.

With the hard-earned mutual respect gained from a half-decade of fierce competition, and with a keen understanding of their similar business models of aggressive, ethical advocacy, the principals of the two firms agreed they’d better serve their clients as partners than as competitors.

On June 1, 2016, Goodyear Peterson Hayward and Barbary Coast Consulting
merged and became Lighthouse Public Affairs.

Our Team




Leads business/civic strategy

Well connected with business, non-profit, civic and elected leaders

San Francisco native

Rich is a trusted Bay Area regulatory strategist, with experience in a broad array of business, industry and government, and a broad set of meaningful relationships with local, state and federal elected officials, as well as business, community and non-profit leaders. Rich has also served in important oversight and fiduciary roles on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco.

Rich, his wife Tanya, and their twins reside in San Francisco.



Leads political strategy

Well connected with elected officials, staff, commissioners, community leaders

San Francisco native

Boe Hayward is a respected political strategist and a community outreach expert. Before co-founding Lighthouse, he served as Chief of Staff to a San Francisco Supervisor, leading legislative efforts, directing and negotiating land use policy and providing political, communications and budgetary guidance.

Boe lives in San Francisco with his wife Sophie and their three children.



Leads communication strategy

Well connected with media, community leaders, elected officials, staffers

Missed out on being a
San Francisco native by four years

Alex Clemens has earned a reputation as a creative policy wonk and diplomatic strategist. He has served four politicians in San Francisco and DC, worked as a municipal investigator rooting out fraud and corruption, helped his clients gain complex entitlements for transformative buildings across the Bay Area, and has had a hand in founding three companies.

Alex and his wife Priya are raising their two children in Alameda.

Veronica Bell May 2016

Veronica Bell


Veronica is a native San Franciscan with extensive experience in local policy, community engagement, branding, marketing, reputation management, crisis management and corporate communications. more

Ross Guehring 2015

Ross Guehring


With proven experience in a wide array of public affairs and political campaigns, Ross possesses a versatile background in the strategic communications industry. more




Matt is a seasoned communications professional who has worked as a spokesman, writer, and political consultant to campaign, corporate, and government clients in more than 25 states. more

Steve Emslie May 2016

Steve Emslie


Steve brings over three decades of experience in land use planning and urban development in Peninsula, South and East Bay cities. more

Taylor Jordan 2015

Taylor Jordan


A fourth generation Bay Area native, Taylor approaches advocacy mixing the left-brained, analytical eye of an attorney and the right-brained intuition of a professionally-trained musician. more

Jason Overman 2015

Jason Overman


Jason has over a dozen years of experience in professional politics, specializing in government affairs and communications. more

Moriarity - Final 4

Anne Moriarity


Anne Moriarity has worked for two Members of Congress on Capitol Hill and on a highly competitive congressional campaign. more


Richard Hackmann


Richard believes in a pragmatic approach to problem solving by utilizing his background in conflict resolution, public policy, strategic communication, and coalition building. more

James Walgren May 2016

James Walgren


James Walgren has over 28 years experience as a Silicon Valley Community Development Director and land use planning project manager. more

Rich Peterson May 2016

Rich Peterson


Rich Peterson is a trusted Bay Area regulatory strategist, with experience in a broad array of important business areas. more

Boe Hayward May 2016

Boe Hayward


Boe is a native San Franciscan and a trusted political strategist and neighborhood outreach professional. more

Alex Clemens May 2016

Alex Clemens


Alex Clemens is a veteran political operative and communications expert who has worked for four elected officials in San Francisco and Washington, DC. more

Alex Clemens, Founder email Alex

Alex Clemens is a veteran political operative and communications expert who has served four elected officials in San Francisco and Washington, DC. In 2003, Alex founded Barbary Coast Consulting, which the New York Times named an elite public affairs firm – and in 2016, he joined with Rich Peterson and Boe Hayward to combine their firms and co-found Lighthouse Public Affairs.

Alex has been involved in public issues his entire life: he volunteered on his first political campaign at age twelve. (His candidate won.) He is a lecturer at the University of San Francisco’s Leo McCarthy Center, where he teaches Masters candidates about advocacy, lobbying and ethics. He is a sought-after speaker at civic events, regularly breaking down and forecasting political trends and translating election results for Bay Area organizations including the Chamber of Commerce, SPUR, Leadership San Francisco, San Francisco Public Relations Roundtable, San Francisco Travel, the Battery, San Francisco Consular Corps, the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and others. Alex is also regularly quoted in local media, providing political analysis and commentary for the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner and Bay Area television and radio stations.

An accomplished lobbyist, Alex has been involved in two decades of negotiations surrounding San Francisco’s favorite political pastime: debating location, height and density. Alex has helped facilitate City Hall, community and stakeholder conversations that have shaped housing and development policy throughout the region. From the California Pacific Medical Center’s Cathedral Hill campus, to six Rincon Hill condo towers, to the Jewish Home of San Francisco in the Excelsior District, to the Market Street Place shopping center on Market Street at Fifth, to the 2015 expansion of the Moscone Center, to the transformation of 75 Howard from an antiquated parking garage to a sleek residential building, to the expansion of a dozen independent schools across San Francisco, Oakland, Marin and the Peninsula, Alex and his team have assisted their clients in moving the needle towards success.

Alex has served a broad range of well-known clients as a strategic advisor regarding surrounding political direction, relationship-building, media challenges and procurement efforts, including the San Francisco Giants, Dolby, Cisco, Google, the Millennium Towers Homeowners Association Pinterest, the San Francisco SPCA, Taser, Recology, the Kilroy Realty Corporation, the San Francisco 49ers, The Mills Corporation, the California Academy of Sciences, the Bank of San Francisco, CDM, the Koret Foundation, HNTB, Orchard Supply Hardware, the San Francisco Foundation, Umpqua Bank, Lemonade, Walgreens, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and the Association of Bay Area Governments, amongst others.

Alex has led crisis communications efforts for a variety of clients, almost all of whom would prefer not to be mentioned in this space – but he’s been tested by white-hot media spotlights again and again. Perhaps most famously, the day after Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger successfully ditched his crippled Airbus A-320 in the Hudson River in 2009, Alex became Sully’s advisor. Alex managed the media tsunami created by Sully’s work (along with his crew) to save 155 lives, and as he transitioned from his role as a highly competent pilot and safety trainer to that of an internationally-recognized hero. From negotiating the 60 Minutes multi-segment story that pulled back the curtain on the pilots and crew of US Airways Flight 1549, to creating and executing several national media tours, to assisting with negotiations for book and speaker deals, Alex assisted Sully and his family as they navigated their unexpected notoriety and fame. (And yes, if you were wondering, Sully is just like he appears in public – thoughtful, strong, disciplined, smart, wise, and quietly funny. Sometimes circumstantial fame is visited upon to the right person.)

Alex also has earned reputation as a seasoned political operative. In addition to his efforts as a campaign policy wonk, strategist and speechwriter, he worked as a Bay Area advance man for the Clinton/Gore ticket in 1992, serving as lead organizer for an eight-thousand person rally at 24th and Mission in the days leading up to the June primary. He co-wrote his boss Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg’s ceiling-shattering address to the Democratic Convention held the same year, marking the first time an out lesbian addressed a national political convention. In early 1993, when President Clinton named Achtenberg his designee to serve as Assistant HUD Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, she became the first out gay person to be placed before the United States Senate for a confirmation vote. On the day of the vote, the outcome of which was still unclear, Alex staffed Vice President Al Gore as he worked the phones and twisted arms from the Vice President’s office in the frantic, unsure hours leading up to the vote. The 58-31 result cemented Roberta Achtenberg’s place in civil rights history.

Alex is a proud graduate of UC Santa Cruz, holding a degree in International Politics. (He believes he may have minored in Ultimate Frisbee, as well, but the transcripts are somewhat hazy on that point.) Alex is a licensed private investigator in the state of California, the co-founder of the Gabriel Zimmerman Scholarship Fund at UC Santa Cruz, serves on the Board of the storied Sacramento Seminar civic discussion group, and is an enthusiastic racquetball player. He and his wife Priya, the communications director for the Golden Gate Bridge District, reside in Alameda with their two young children.

Anne Moriarity, Director email Anne

Anne Moriarity is a proven Bay Area political and communications strategist. She has a keen understanding of how to build coalitions, influence policy, and communicate effectively on behalf of clients. Anne has worked on a diverse portfolio of Bay Area-based projects, including managing local government affairs for Cisco Systems, overseeing the entitlements process for Kilroy’s legacy Flower Mart redevelopment project, and leading the nonprofit Francisco Park Conservancy through a highly complex approval process for a new park in Russian Hill.

Before joining Lighthouse, she worked for two members of Congress on Capitol Hill, most recently as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, and led community outreach on a highly competitive congressional campaign in San Diego.

Anne was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area and now lives in Hayes Valley. She holds a B.A. in history and political science from Duke University.

Boe Hayward, Founder email Boe

Boe is a native San Franciscan and a trusted political strategist and neighborhood outreach professional. Boe served as District Eight Supervisor Bevan Dufty’s Chief of Staff at San Francisco’s City Hall from 2005 through 2011. During this time, Boe led the Supervisor’s legislative efforts, directed and negotiated land use policy and provided the Supervisor with political, communications and budgetary guidance. Notable achievements include leading the Upper Market Design “Charette” to develop design guidelines for infill development – a process that led to streamlined approvals and community support for a number of prominent mixed-use projects, and representing the Board of Supervisors on the SFMTA’s Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP), the first comprehensive effort to overhaul the city’s multimodal public transportation system in decades.

Prior to joining Supervisor Dufty’s City Hall staff in 2005, Boe managed Supervisor Dufty’s grassroots campaign for office in 2002, which has been used as a model for district elections. Since 2002, Boe has provided strategic guidance to campaigns for issues and candidates, including multiple Supervisorial campaigns, as well Recreation and Parks bonds, Library bonds, and a variety of good government measures. In 2011, Boe served on the successful School Bond (Proposition A) steering committee that provides $531 million dollars to rebuild and modernize the San Francisco School District’s facilities. Boe has also worked in Washington D.C on transportation policy as well as federal and state campaigns in Washington State and Alabama.

Boe has provided strategic and political guidance to a variety of clients including AT&T, Au Energy (Shell Oil), Audi USA, Facebook, Uber Technologies, Hudson Pacific Properties, Red and White Fleet, LePort Schools, Republic Services, Integral Investment Management, Strada Investment Group, One Medical Group, California Pacific Medical Center and Zendesk.

In 2012, Boe helped write and led the negotiations with the City and County of San Francisco for the first community benefit agreement in the Mid-Market area on behalf of Zendesk so that the company could take advantage of the newly created Central Market/Tenderloin Payroll Tax Exclusion zone. Zendesk’s community benefit agreement has been used as a model for every technology company in San Francisco’s emerging Mid-Market technology hub seeking tax relief. Further, he spearheaded the creation of the San Francisco Auto Jobs Alliance (SFAJA) – an industry organization comprised of the City’s auto dealerships - and represented the SFAJA in negotiations with the Mayor’s office, the Board of Supervisors and the Controller’s office in advance of the ballot measure amending the payroll tax. Boe helped craft amendments to the measure that saved the auto dealers in San Francisco more than $250,000 a year in gross receipts taxes.

In 2013, Boe guided both the community outreach effort and the political strategy to secure the Planning Commission’s unanimous approval for Audi’s new 20,000 square feet dealership in San Francisco’s Mission District, which is planned to open in 2015. Additionally, he represented Strada Investment Group to the “Successor Agency” to the former Redevelopment Agency and secured the first amendment to the Mission Bay Redevelopment Plan which will allow for 350 additional housing units, a 250-room hotel, and $18 million in affordable housing funding for the Mission Bay neighborhood. In 2014, Boe led the effort to amend the Mission Bay North plan that allowed Integral Investment Management (Atlanta, GA) to develop the last site in Mission Bay North at 360 Berry Street. The Integral site provides 126 new units of housing with 20% of the units designated for moderate affordable housing. The project was entitled in 2014 and will break ground in the first quarter of 2015.

In 2014, Boe led all aspects of strategic planning and political outreach for Allied Waste (Republic Services) in Daly City during a contested procurement process. Despite the City Manager and staff’s recommendation that a competitor take over the contract, Allied won the 15-year contract in Daly City - a contract worth more than $250 million – by a 4 to 1 vote at the Daly City Council.

In addition, Boe worked closely with LePort Schools in 2014 enabling the popular pre-school to open its first San Francisco location. He managed the effort to gain necessary approvals for the Montessori pre-school at the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission and San Francisco Planning Department and worked closely with the San Francisco Building Department to ensure that the school opened on time.

Since 2014, Boe has developed the political strategy and community outreach plans for Facebook, establishing popular community partnerships in the Richmond District, Western Addition and Mission for the “Social Network.” In addition, Boe helped Facebook successfully navigate the 2014 environmental appeal of their shuttle bus program at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Boe is a member of the Stern Grove Festival’s Board of Directors and the Equality California Board of Directors (EQCA). He resides in San Francisco’s Richmond District with his wife, Sophie Middlebrook Hayward, and their three young children. Boe received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Psychology and a Bachelor of Sciences in Advertising from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2000.

Charles Washington, Executive Assistant email Charles

Born in Knoxville, TN and raised in St. Louis, MO, Charles’ diverse areas of expertise range from analyzing complicated Google algorithms to developing and maintaining relationships with people from all across the globe. Prior to joining Lighthouse Public Affairs, Charles achieved international success in administration, marketing, and sales positions. His extensive worldwide business experience includes serving as a liaison for clients in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and South Africa, and organizing events in major cities in Australia. In his previous position, Charles was the Marketing & Sales Coordinator at Premium Sports Inc., where he played a crucial role in the company achieving their most profitable year during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Charles is a former resident of Sydney, Australia. While living in Sydney, he was the Coach and Defensive Back for Sydney’s Northwestern Predators, leading the team to their most successful year on record. Before moving to Sydney, Charles graduated from St. Louis University with a double major in International Business and Marketing. Although Charles has been successful all over the world, he remains true to his Missouri roots and is a devoted fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and all things Nelly.

James Walgren, Director email James

James Walgren has over 28 years experience as a Silicon Valley Community Development Director and land use planning project manager.  In his most recent role as Assistant City Manager/Community Development Director for the City of Los Altos he was in charge of the Planning, Building and Engineering Divisions and oversaw the City’s capital improvement program.  As the Assistant City Manager, James oversaw the real estate negotiations and redevelopment of a prime City-owned downtown property as well as the successful completion of several complex-entitlements for projects ranging from a new downtown Packard Foundation office campus to new Safeway and Whole Foods markets and hotel and mixed-use projects.

James has significant affordable housing program and environmental impact evaluation expertise.  He has also managed community-driven General Plan and zoning ordinance updates.

From 1987 to 2000, James was a planning projects manager and then the Community Development Director for the City of Saratoga.  The Saratoga position involved complex grading and geotechnical evaluation and view-shed, environmental and neighbor-impact development issues.  This collaborative and solution-oriented environment prepared him for his role as a project manager and consensus builder in communities with high expectations.

James lives in Santa Cruz with his wife, Kerry, and two sons.  He has been active with the American Planning Association, the American Institute of Certified Planners, and the Santa Clara County Association of Planning Officials.

James graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in city planning and urban design.

Jason Overman, Director email Jason

Jason has over a dozen years of experience in professional politics, specializing in government affairs and communications. His practice areas include legislative analysis and advocacy, earned and paid media, and reputation management.

From 2004 to 2008, Jason served as a local elected official in the East Bay. He then served as a senior adviser, speechwriter, and spokesman to four state and local elected officials serving the Bay Area. A relationship-builder by trade, Jason is trusted by an array of prominent journalists, elected officials, and political change-makers. He sees every potential project as a fully-winnable campaign: from grassroots organizing to legislative advocacy to earned media, Jason goes to the mat for his clients every. single. time.

He’s a proud resident of Oakland, but hails originally from inside the beltway – Washington, D.C. – and began his career on Capitol Hill in the office of the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy before moving to California in 2003. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a member of the Alpha Kappa Delta Honor Society. He’s a loud-and-proud Golden Bear who enjoys watching Cal Football (well, most of the time) and preparing St. Louis-style ribs.

Rich Peterson, Founder email Rich

Rich Peterson is a respected Bay Area regulatory strategist and problem-solver, with a unique breadth of experience that spans business, government, nonprofit, philanthropic and political endeavors.

Over the last two decades, Rich has cultivated an expansive roster of meaningful relationships with local, state and federal elected leaders, appointed commissioners, senior staff, as well as business, community and nonprofit leaders. He has served in important public oversight and fiduciary roles for the City and County of San Francisco, and on behalf of numerous private nonprofits and philanthropies. His counsel is routinely sought by industry leading companies—including such clients as AT&T, CH2M, Genentech, Grocery Outlet, Hearst, LaSalle, Oceanwide Holdings, Prologis, Republic Services, Uniqlo, and Veritas Investments—who trust his expert guidance to navigate successfully through the Bay Area’s political and regulatory landscape.

Rich’s efforts in 2010 and 2011 on behalf of his firm’s client, bond insurer MBIA, Inc., were instrumental in brokering a successful financial compromise with City and the Asian Art Museum. His guidance helped to identify and ultimately achieve a “win-win” scenario that few initially thought possible, restructuring Museum finances to save it from bankruptcy, while avoiding the needless costs and PR headaches of a possible legal dispute.

In 2012, Rich facilitated key government approvals that ensured the successful, on-schedule opening of global retailer Uniqlo’s first West Coast store—which would be the largest store opening in San Francisco’s history. He similarly worked in 2012 to guide the new owners of Market Street Place through a variety of regulatory and political challenges facing their project. Today, the 250,000-square-foot retail complex is poised to figure as a key cornerstone in the revitalization of the City’s Mid-Market area.

In 2013, Rich helped secure key approvals at San Francisco’s Planning Commission on behalf of value grocer, Grocery Outlet, as it opened its first San Francisco store in the City’s Richmond district. In addition, Rich helped facilitate approvals at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Board of Supervisors on behalf of engineering leader CH2M related to engineering and design aspects of the City’s newest wastewater treatment facility. He provided ongoing regional political strategy to biotech leader, Genentech—an original firm client—most recently in connection with its private transportation system.

In 2014, Rich assisted Veritas Investments—San Francisco’s largest residential property owner—through a multitude of permit processes as well as community-engagement opportunities that reflect the fast-growing company’s values. He also worked on behalf of several neighborhood organizations to facilitate a series of successful votes (all unanimous) before the Recreation & Park Commission, SFPUC, and the Board of Supervisors to convert a long abandoned reservoir into a spectacular new five acre park on Russian Hill, overlooking the Bay. He continued to assist Grocery Outlet through its San Francisco expansion, with the opening of its newest location in Visitacion Valley. Rich also advised CPMC (Sutter Health) on political strategy and community development efforts as it considers the redevelopment of its 5-acre California Campus.

In 2015, Rich helped LaSalle Hotel Properties—one of the nation’s largest hotel companies—to maintain critical private automobile access to its Hotel Villa Florence on Powell Street. The move successfully carved out an exception for guests of the popular Union Square hotel within SFMTA’s planned closure of the street to private vehicles. Rich also began his engagement with Beijing-based developer Oceanwide Holdings, LTD in its highly complex entitlement process for its proposed 2.25 million square foot, twin-tower, mixed-use project. The Oceanwide Center development is the largest single project within San Francisco’s ambitious new Transbay Development District. Rich further continued to assist longtime firm client, the Hearst Corporation, on a variety of important regulatory and community matters. He served at the Mayor’s request as Chairman of the City Hall Centennial celebration, personally raising the funds necessary to support a series of events and improvement projects for the City’s most important building. The free public celebration of San Francisco City Hall’s 100-year milestone was attended by an estimated 30,000 residents and visitors.

In 2016, Rich continued to manage the firm’s entitlement work on behalf of the massive $1.5 billion Oceanwide Center project, securing successful and on-time approvals at the Recreation and Park Commission, Planning Commission, and full Board of Supervisors. The focus has now turned to facilitating its timely and on-budget construction. Additionally, Rich is leading the public affairs efforts for San Francisco-based Prologis, the world’s leading developer and operator of industrial and logistics space, on its proposed 1.2 million square foot, four-building, multi-story manufacturing and distribution facility, the San Francisco Industrial Center. He also facilitated the opening of two more Grocery Outlets, most recently in the City’s politically complicated Mission District.

From December 2007 to May 2010, Rich served as an appointed Trustee to the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System, also known as SFERS. Acting as the elected Board President in his final year, Rich’s leadership of SFERS oversaw the approximately $20 billion public pension fund for some 55,000 current and retired employees of the City and County of San Francisco.

From January 2004 through October 2007, Rich served as an appointed commissioner to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, or SFRA. He was elected to three consecutive terms as president by his fellow commissioners. From 1948 through 2011, the SFRA was the primary driver of economic renewal in the City, with its main function being the direct promotion of economic vitality through the removal of urban blight in certain, dedicated, redevelopment Plan areas. Key projects completed or significantly advanced during his term include: Mission Bay, Yerba Buena Center, the St. Regis Hotel, and the Hunters Point Shipyard.

Personally, Rich is also recognized as among the most active and productive political organizers in the Bay Area, having assisted a multitude of local, state and federal candidates, and local and state ballot measures over the last 15 years. Rich served as a Finance Committee Chair for both of former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s mayoral campaigns, and he also served as president of Mayor Newsom’s Inaugural Committee following his reelection in 2007. More recently, he has been acknowledged as one of Mayor Ed Lee’s largest fundraisers.

Rich has been an active volunteer over the last 20 years on behalf of an array of non-profit causes. Of particular note are his efforts on behalf of Town School for Boys, where he serves as a trustee; SPUR, San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, which he serves as a director; The Guardsmen, which he formerly served as a director; and UCSF’s Pediatric Epilepsy Center.

For the last decade Rich has also been an active investor in Silicon Valley multi-family real estate, and holds a current California real estate Broker license. He is married to Tanya Peterson, the President and Executive Director of the San Francisco Zoological Society (SF Zoo). They reside in The Presidio with their twin children.

A native San Franciscan, Rich has spent his entire life actively involved in the business, civic, philanthropic and social affairs of the Bay Area. Rich received his Bachelor of Sciences in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.

Ross Guehring, Partner email Ross

With proven experience in a wide array of public affairs and political campaigns, Ross possesses a versatile background in the strategic communications industry. On every project, Ross brings a relentless work ethic, calm nerves and the ability to deliver well-executed, multifaceted grassroots advocacy strategies. He’s worked with elected officials, candidates for public office, labor representatives and community leaders in their efforts to create coalitions and win hard fought campaigns within the court of public opinion and various levels of government.

Before joining Lighthouse Public Affairs, Ross served as Vice President at two public affairs firms in San Francisco and the North Bay, where he worked on major projects relating to real estate development, heavy industrial operations, transportation, public safety and other vital matters. In years prior, he was a Senior Account Executive at a national political communications firm in the Bay Area, where he helped manage national, statewide and local direct mail campaigns for candidates and various organizations.

Ross earned his degree from the University of Arizona with a Major in Political Science and Minor in Communications. Born and raised in the Bay Area, he holds deep insight into the region’s unique political landscape.

MATT DORSEY, Partner email Matt

Matt Dorsey is a veteran communications and political professional with expertise in research-driven strategies that inform, influence, and fully leverage fast-changing media technologies.

Before joining Lighthouse as a partner in 2016, Matt served for 14 years as press secretary in San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office. He functioned as the City’s primary spokesman on civil litigation and legal disputes, earning a strong reputation among journalists and city officials for his accessibility and principled, well-informed advocacy. He dramatically expanded the office’s web and social media presence, and applied content marketing principles to create online “case hubs” that were a popular resource for journalists. Matt significantly elevated the role of media relations in litigation strategy during his tenure with the office, regularly securing national, state, and regional news coverage for the office’s work on marriage equality, consumer protection, and land use cases.

Prior to his work for the City, Matt consulted to corporate, political and governmental clients in 25 states and the District of Colombia in a variety of writing, research, and communications roles. His public relations experience includes work for Oracle Corporation, Hewlett Packard,, and Quadramed Software. He developed content and award-winning websites for the California League of Conservation Voters and gubernatorial campaigns in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Matt honed his political and research skills beginning with his first job out of college, and went on to serve as research director for the Democratic National Committee’s healthcare campaign during President Bill Clinton’s first term. He co-founded a research consulting firm in 1994, and his high-profile political client list would eventually grow to include: Governors Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Jim Folsom (D-Ala.); U.S. Senator Chuck Robb (D-Va.); and U.S. Representatives David Bonior (D-Mich.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Peter Hoagland (D-Neb.), Gerald Kleczka (D-Wis.), Jill Long (D-Ind.), Frank McCloskey (D-Ind.), Lynn Rivers (D-Mich.), Karen Thurman (D-Fla.), and Alan Wheat (D-Mo.). He consulted to statewide campaigns that opposed anti-LGBT ballot measures in Maine and California.

In 2012, Matt was elected to a term on San Francisco’s influential Democratic County Central Committee—earning endorsements from across the city’s political spectrum, and finishing as the top vote-getter among first-time candidates. He served for four years as the DCCC’s Corresponding Secretary, again modernizing the local party’s web presence and successfully advocating for resolutions on transgender rights and HIV/AIDS issues. In 2013, he was awarded James C. Hormel Client Community Spirit Award by the Shanti Project for embodying the venerable AIDS/HIV services organization’s values in serving the community. Matt earned his Bachelor of Science in Speech (BSSp), cum laude, from Emerson College in Boston in 1989. He lives in San Francisco.

Steve Emslie, Partner email Steve

Steve brings over three decades of experience in land use planning and urban development in Peninsula, South and East Bay cities. Most recently, Steve served as Deputy City Manager for the City of Palo Alto which included the roles of Director of Planning and Community Environment, from 2002 to 2013. During Steve’s Palo Alto tenure, he represented the City in negotiations for the Stanford Hospital renewal project, the University’s four million square foot hospital re-construction including support services and the School of Medicine. The Development agreement, approved unanimously by the Palo Alto City Council, included over $50 million in community benefits for the City. The $4 billion project broke ground in 2013 with an expected completion date in 2017.

Steve’s experience in Palo Alto also included managing numerous corporate expansions including Facebook’s expansion in the Stanford Research Park, the renovation of the VMware campus, and Hewlett Packard’s consolidation of its Palo Alto headquarters.

Also in Palo Alto, Steve oversaw the modernization of the development review process which included an overhaul of the City’s development code and electronic permit tracking which improved customer service and reduced permit processing times. He also represented the City in negotiations with the California High Speed Rail Authority in Sacramento. The City of Palo Alto took a statewide leadership role in convincing the Authority to revise its plan to retain the at-grade track configuration within the existing Caltrain right-of-way, greatly reducing the impact on peninsula communities.

Prior to Steve’s Palo Alto experience, he was Deputy Planning Director for the City of San Jose from 1999 to 2002. Among other duties, Steve led the City’s code enforcement efforts for the Strong Neighborhood Initiative, a unique partnership between community leaders and the City’s service providers. By way of this program ten San Jose neighborhoods were selected to bring targeted services to the City’s most economically challenged neighborhoods.

From 1991 to 1999, Steve was Planning Manager and Community Development Director for the East Bay community of San Leandro. Notable projects included the development of the Marina Square Auto Mall, Bayfair Mall modernization, and E. 14th Street urban design improvements. Also in San Leandro, Steve managed the formation of the Joint San Leandro/Alameda County Redevelopment area, one of the largest joint project areas in the State at the time.

Steve’s early career from 1980 to 1991 involved leadership of local agencies in both Northern and Southern California. These experiences brought a solid understanding of both land use policy and environmental impacts.

Steve brings a strategic and collaborative approach to resolving land use conflicts. His many years at the local level bring a unique perspective that involves engaging communities in a productive dialogue to ensure that complex projects achieve their objectives and result in superior urban design.

Steve lives with his wife, Patricia, in Palo Alto. He has served on the American Planning Association Northern California Chapter board as well as currently serving on several non-profit boards, including the Palo Alto Family YMCA and the Lytton Gardens affordable senior housing community. Additionally, he is currently the Palo Alto Rotary Club President, and has been a member of the club for twelve years.

A native northern Californian, Steve graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 1980 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture.

Taylor Jordan, Director email Taylor

A fourth generation Bay Area native, Taylor’s approach to advocacy includes a healthy mix of structured analysis and experience-based intuition.

Since 2010, Taylor has served as a trusted adviser for some of the Bay Area’s most important land use projects. Representing a broad range of clients such as CVS, AT&T, Verizon, CorePower Yoga, Starbucks, Joe and The Juice, Umpqua Bank, Kilroy Realty, Oyster Development, and The Moscone Center, Taylor has successfully navigated dozens of projects through the murky waters of Bay Area politics. Prior to consulting, Taylor played a key role in organizing Gavin Newsom’s successful bid for Lieutenant Governor of California.

Taylor earned his Juris Doctorate as a Dean’s Scholar at Loyola Marymount University Law School, and his Bachelor’s degree as a Gluck Fellow at the UCLA School of Music. He proudly sits as the principal clarinetist of the San Francisco Wind Ensemble, which recently recorded its first album at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch.

Richard Hackmann, Director email Richard

Richard believes in a pragmatic approach to problem solving by utilizing his background in conflict resolution, public policy, strategic communication, and coalition building. Richard feels strongly that opportunities for success exist in even the most difficult situations when competing interests are able to identify common ground.

Since moving to the Bay Area in 2009, Richard has been actively involved in a variety of professional and volunteer pursuits, including important leadership roles for the City of Palo Alto. Richard was a Project Manager while with the City of Palo Alto on a variety of initiatives including the City’s state and federal legislative programs, the City’s $126 million infrastructure replacement plan, and the City’s policy interests in Caltrain and California High-Speed Rail. In the course of this work Richard engaged with a variety of stakeholders at the local, regional, state, and federal levels on everything from transportation safety improvements to fiscal policy.

Richard graduated from the University of Illinois in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication. While at the University of Illinois Richard assisted Professor Brian Quick with research on public health communication. Additionally, Richard spent six months abroad in the Czech Republic where he studied history, psychology, language, and art with an emphasis on the impact of the Soviet Union occupation of Central Europe during the Cold War. Richard is currently studying at Stanford University where he is working on a Master of Liberal Arts degree. As a part of this interdisciplinary program, Richard is hoping to expand his knowledge of the relationship between government and society in Western Civilization.

Since 2010, Richard has been a member of the Palo Alto University Rotary and the Friends of the Palo Alto Parks Board of Directors. He has also volunteered for the East Palo Alto Today newspaper and has served on the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors where he was Founder and Chair of EPIC Palo Alto, the Chamber’s young professionals program.

Richard lives in Palo Alto. In his free time, he enjoys running, soccer, baseball, and art.

Veronica Bell, Partner email Veronica

Veronica is a native San Franciscan with extensive experience in local policy, community engagement, branding, marketing, reputation management, crisis management and corporate communications.

Prior to joining Lighthouse Public Affairs, Veronica led Google’s Community and Public Policy efforts in the Bay Area from August 2009 to April 2014 through a period of enormous growth. In this role, Veronica worked with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, community groups, environmentalists, and elected officials on a variety of efforts, including public private partnerships, transportation planning, land use, and corporate philanthropy.

Notable achievements in San Francisco include Free Muni for Youth, a public private partnership between Google and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency that provided free MUNI passes for low and moderate income youths. Additionally, in partnership with Supervisor Mark Farrell, Veronica finalized a public-private partnership agreement that provided free wifi in San Francisco parks. This initiative helped to bridge the digital divide and provide access for San Francisco residents, particularly students, who did not have consistent access to the internet.

Notable achievements throughout the greater Bay Area include a public private partnership between Google and the city of Mountain View to provide dedicated wifi access in the downtown corridor and a technology grant to improve access to the internet for public spaces, including the library and community center. Veronica also worked on Google’s investment in affordable housing in the peninsula.

Before leading Google’s local Bay Area efforts, Veronica held a variety of roles in her nine year tenure there, including planning launch events for new office openings around the world, creating marketing and outreach programs for developer partners, and managing partnerships with nonprofits and educational organizations.

Prior to working for Google, Veronica was employed by Microsoft from 1999 to 2005, where she worked on a myriad of projects, including Xbox Developer Outreach, Technology Education, and Recruiting. Veronica managed Xbox’s presence at Game Developers Conferences around the world and managed the content development and marketing of developer training events.

While working in Xbox, Veronica founded a group for Women in Gaming to help increase opportunities for women within the gaming industry and to provide a community for those already involved.

In addition to Veronica’s 15+ years of experience in a broad array of business areas, she has also been involved in many philanthropic and civic projects. She was a board member with the Center for Early Intervention on Deafness (CEID) and has volunteered as a tutor and mentor with primary and middle school students. Veronica is currently a board member of SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research).

Veronica lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children. She graduated from Seattle University with a BA degree in Sociology.

Success Stories

What our clients say about Lighthouse Public Affairs, LLC

"...highly trusted and effective..."

Grocery Outlet


"Since we decided to enter the San Francisco market, Rich Peterson and his team have worked exceptionally closely with all areas of our company – management team, real estate, construction, operations and marketing – to ensure our business success. They are a highly trusted and effective resource for us, and have been fantastic to work with."

– MacGregor Read, Co-CEO, Grocery Outlet, Inc.

" outstanding colleague..."

Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger


"In the days and years following the emergency water landing in the Hudson River, Alex Clemens served as my advisor – on communications, media relations, and how to best handle the tsunami of remarkable requests sent my way. While under extraordinary time pressure and in a white-hot media spotlight, I relied on Alex’s excellent judgment and insight as I made critical decisions that would affect my family’s future. His advice was unerringly savvy, he always thought for the long term, and he demonstrated complete loyalty. Alex is an outstanding colleague."

– Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger

 " meaningful relationships..."



"With the help of Rich Peterson and Boe Hayward, Zendesk was able to develop a plan that is strongly supported by the City, the neighborhood and our employees. It lays the foundation for a very successful relationship between all parties. I would recommend their firm to any technology firm looking to grow in the City and build meaningful relationships with key City and neighborhood leaders.

– Tiffany Maleshefski, Director of Public Affairs, Zendesk

"...combination of political insight and local knowledge..."

Jones Day/MBIA


"Lighthouse’s combination of political insight and local knowledge, along with its focused emphasis on concrete results, were instrumental in the resolution of this matter. In the future, when I have clients in need of discreet, effective public affairs help, I will not hesitate to call Rich and his team."

– Tobias S. Keller, Partner, Jones Day

"...pulling rabbits out of the perilous hat that is land-use politics..."



"Even for the most righteous projects, the politics of real estate development in San Francisco can be frustrating and perilous. Alex and his firm have repeatedly shown that they can bring both hope and clarity to the process with their judgement, persistence, inside information, and access to the venues in which the case for those righteous projects can be made. Ultimately, his involvement has been a key factor in achieving the right outcome for our clients but also our city. Alex has a well-deserved reputation for pulling rabbits out of the perilous hat that is land-use politics in San Francisco. Time and time again he has enabled us to get the messages of some of our most important projects to those who need to hear them."

– Mark Schwettmann, AIA, SOM

"...outstanding public affairs and media relations services..."

Jewish Home of San Francisco


"Alex and his entire team played a pivotal role in the Jewish Home of San Francisco’s complex entitlement work that was associated with the organization’s transformative re-development of its Silver Avenue campus. Alex and his colleagues provided outstanding public affairs and media relations services over a multi-year period. They provided unparalleled advice and counsel in community relations and strategic planning with our key stakeholders. In particular, Alex was highly accessible, responsive and available on very short notice. I personally benefited from Alex’s thoughts and expertise, and I enjoyed working with and learning from him very much."

– Daniel Ruth, President/CEO, Jewish Home of San Francisco

"...led to strong support from our Mission neighbors..."



"Boe Hayward planned and directed all aspects of our community and political outreach strategy that led to strong support from our Mission neighbors as well as unanimous support at City Hall. I would recommend Lighthouse Public Affairs to anyone seeking community and planning expertise for an important real estate project in San Francisco."

– Andy Hansen, Chief Operating Officer, Audi of San Francisco/Royal Motors.

"...a critical component to our unanimous approval..."



"Tourism is San Francisco’s #1 industry. As the convention industry continues to evolve, improving and expanding Moscone Center was imperative to remaining competitive. The San Francisco Tourism Improvement District hired Alex and his team to assist with community outreach on this project. Through their efforts, a strategic advisory group was developed that served as a sounding board for the community. The respectful and fruitful dialogue with key community stakeholders was a critical component to our expansion project’s unanimous approval – an unusual result in highly political San Francisco."

– Jon Ballesteros, SVP, SF Travel


Current and Former Clients (PARTIAL LIST)

Independent School Expansion