Larry and his wife Ann are co-founders of TOLA. Larry is recognized as one of the country’s top strategists in grassroots organizing, political strategy, and passing difficult tax measures, including the City of Berkeley’s historic victory against Big Soda in the November 2014 election. He currently is coordinating activities throughout California on soda tax initiatives.
Over the past 28 years, Larry has helped clients win over 500 local elections, including 300 tax elections producing over $35 billion in new revenue for communities throughout the State. He’s the author of Sidewalk Strategies – A practical guide for candidates, causes and communities, and Now What? A practical guide for newly elected officials.
Larry worked for eleven years as an organizer with Cesar Chavez and the UFW. He directed the Field Operations in California in two Presidential elections and was chosen to help train community leaders in South Africa in electoral organizing prior to the country’s first free elections. He graduated with distinction from Stanford University.
As TOLA director, Christian serves on the TOLA executive board and is responsible for the development of curriculum. He also is a political strategist with the Tramutola consulting team.
A graduate of the inaugural TOLA class (Fall 2010), Christian honed his organizing skills by leading the grassroots effort for Don Perata’s Mayoral Campaign (Perata was former President Pro-Tempore of the California State Senate).
Applying the skills he developed through the TOLA program, Christian became the Youth Service Coordinator at the Unity Council in East Oakland, where he managed the daily operations of the after-school programs in the Fruitvale area, and trained a team of AmeriCorps volunteers to deliver an enriching curriculum to its participants. In addition, Christian worked with low-income high school students and their parents to understand the process of planning and getting admitted into college. Finally, in 2012, Christian helped lead the training of organizers in the statewide campaign for Proposition 29, the Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act.
Christian is the son of immigrant farm-working parents. He believes strongly in improving opportunities for our state’s under-served communities. Christian is a graduate of CSU Chico where he double majored in Political Science and Latin American Studies.
Lolis Ramirez is a member of the TOLA executive board, responsible for increasing TOLA alumni participation and communication. She plans and coordinates community service events, speaker series, and workshops in order to continue engaging TOLA alumni following their program experience. She also is a political strategist with the Tramutola consulting team.
Lolis was a graduate of the third TOLA class in the Fall of 2011. Since graduating, she has led volunteer training efforts in the statewide Proposition 29 campaign and served as campaign manager for two Oakland candidate campaigns.
As a young child, Lolis immigrated with her family to pursue a better life in the United States. Lolis attended Bay Area schools and graduated from CSU Chico with a major in Nutrition and minor in Spanish. She continues to advocate for the well-being of individuals who share her immigrant experience, and believes in the engagement of minority groups in the Democratic process.