I want to thank you for taking the time to research my qualifications and reasons why I am asking for your vote.
Many of our local newspapers have described the City Attorney race as possibly the most important race of this election cycle, and for good reason. This job is no place for a newcomer, but demands an experienced leader who has the background and wherewithal to provide the type of municipal law expertise that the great City of Long Beach richly deserves.
My entire 19 year legal career has been spent practicing municipal law in Long Beach, which makes me uniquely qualified to be the City Attorney. I graduated cum laude from Pacific Coast University, School of Law and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from California State University, Long Beach.
I am admitted to practice in California and before the United States District Court for the Central District, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court. I am a member of the California State Bar Association (Public Law Section), Long Beach Bar Association (Elected to the Board of Governors for the terms of 2003-2004 and 2012-2013) and served as President of the Long Beach City Attorney's Association for the term of 2003-2004 and served as the Vice-President 2002-2003. I have served as an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Long Beach City Employees Federal Credit Union since 1998 and as Chairman since 2011, and I am a member of the City Attorney Association of Los Angeles County.
In August 2013, after a recruitment process, the City Council voted to appoint me City Attorney. Since the appointment, I have managed and supervised a talented staff of 64 employees, including 20 outstanding attorneys. My experience as City Attorney, as well as my long career as a Deputy and later as Principal Deputy and Assistant City Attorney, has provided me with the necessary skills to lead this very important office.
Breadth of Office
It is critical to realize how vast the City Attorney’s legal responsibilities are and why experienced legal leadership is absolutely mandatory for this elected position.
In addition to a vast portfolio of litigation matters, the City Attorney provides legal advice and support to all of the City's commissions and major enterprise activities including the Port of Long Beach, the Long Beach Airport, the Long Beach Health Department, the Long Beach Water Department, the Long Beach Gas and Oil Department, the Tidelands which includes the Queen Mary and the Long Beach Convention Center, one of the largest small boat marinas in the country, and our five and a half miles of beautiful shoreline.
The City Attorney also provides day to day advice and legal support to the Police, Fire, Public Works, Development Services (Planning and Building), Library and Refuse Departments, to name just a few.
What it Takes
Providing counsel to this wide range of City departments and services requires more than just a law degree. It requires seasoned experience in the specialized practice of municipal law, ideally from someone who has worked through the legal intricacies of this City. That has been my area of expertise for nearly 20 years. I have spent my entire legal career with the City of Long Beach and have earned the trust of our elected officials.
What's the Risk
In contrast, the very troubling record shows my opponent has no municipal law experience and under three years as a practicing attorney. The position of City Attorney is no place for on the job training. It is simply unthinkable to imagine someone running our 60-person City Attorney’s office, who has less experience than our most junior Deputy City Attorney.
This coming year will bring a great deal of change to the City. We are poised for a new mayor and five new councilmembers; all who deserve experienced municipal legal guidance as they put forth their vision for the future.
We face many legal challenges this year as well, including the drafting and implementation of a new medical marijuana regulatory ordinance and tax, as well as the potential relocation or re-build of the Civic Center. There is also the matter of the State’s failure to properly address overcrowding of the prison system which has resulted in the early release of inmates and many negative impacts on the City.
As City Attorney, I serve all residents of Long Beach, not just a single district or party. As a result of my decades of legal service and my ability to keep politics aside, I am proud to have been endorsed enthusiastically by local and state Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.
My endorsements span the spectrum from Mayor Beverly O'Neill, to former Speaker Willie Brown, to former Governor George Deukmejian.
I have been endorsed by every former Long Beach City Attorney dating to 1978, as well as current District Attorney Jackie Lacey, former District Attorney Steve Cooley, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe and former Mayor Ernie Kell.
Current Councilmembers supporting me include Dee Andrews, Al Austin, Gary DeLong, and Gerrie Schipske. All three coucilmembers-elect have endorsed: Suzie Price, Rex Richardson, and Roberto Uranga. Former Councilmembers include Rae Gabelich, Jan Hall, Jackie Kell, Jeff Kellogg, Val Lerch, Les Robbins, Tonia Reyes-Uranga, and Doris Topsy-Elvord. You can view a full side by side list here.
This election is vitally important. This isn't about me, or my opponent; this is about protecting Long Beach with the expertise that it takes to do it right. My sole interest in seeking the position of City Attorney is to continue to utilize my extensive background, training, and experience to insure that the City's legal course is well charted.
I humbly ask for your vote on June 3rd.