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Ron Davis: Proactive approach is important

October 17, 2002

RACE FOR THE CITY ATTORNEY

Name: Ron Davis

Age: 59

Occupation: Attorney at law

Family: Married to Karen; two adult children by prior marriage;

four grandchildren and one on the way

Community activities: Previously very involved with Downtown

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issues and the Downtown Subcommittee; drafted ordinances, licenses

agreements, enforcement memos to the police department, represented

four council members in AES litigation, all as a volunteer; member

Chamber of Commerce and American Legion.

Education: Bachelor's with high honors from Cal State Los Angeles;

doctorate from UCLA.

Favorite leader: Winston Churchill.

Contact information: (714) 969-1239; fax 960-8998

DAVIS ON:

* Saving money in the City Attorney's Office

Create and train a trial department so that the office does not

have to rely on costly outside attorneys. To the extent that outside

attorneys have to be employed, the office still needs to limit their

involvement to essential tasks -- i.e., there are basic court

appearances and fundamental motions and filings that can be done

through the City Attorney's Office to save fees while still employing

outside counsel. Further, outside counsel's billings and approach

needs to be supervised by an experienced litigator to determine the

appropriateness of their work and their billing.

Better legal advice, and at times proactive legal advice, can

prevent lawsuits. Better, appropriate research would have

demonstrated that the city would lose the Jarvis litigation, the

Brindle-Thomas lawsuit and countless others. A proactive approach

would have warned the council that they could not allow sewage to

leak into the ground in the Downtown.

Further, reviewing the city's energy contract would have disclosed

that the city could not get out of the contract for five years after

notice of termination was given. The council should have been warned

that they would probably only seek to terminate the contract once

they had been repeatedly interrupted and when there was a prospect of

future interruptions. Because of the five-year requirement, the city

would be exposed to five years of interruptions and penalties.

* Running the City Attorney's Office more efficiently

There must be accountability and performance standards set for the

deputies. While it is the rule in government attorney's offices that

lawyers do not keep timesheets, there still is an indirect method of

monitoring how long it takes a given lawyer to produce the work

product. I intend to have work assigned with a budget of hours. Thus,

10 assignments each with a budget of 4 hours, should take a lawyer 40

work hours to complete. I would expect a professional, competent work

product within the allotted hours, or some very, very good "why not"

reasons.

* The biggest challenge that faces the new city attorney

Overcoming the complacency and government work ethic that

permeates the office. Developing an effective trial department will

also take time.

* The most important lawsuits facing the city

Since City Atty. Gail Hutton does not readily disclose all

litigation pending against the city, that is difficult to answer. We

have been sued regarding the banner-towing ordinance, and because it

involves serious 1st Amendment issues, I consider the lawsuit

important.

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