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An elected public servant, environmental advocate, criminal prosecutor and dedicated community volunteer, Calabasas Mayor Barry Groveman has the energy, passion and demonstrated experience to represent the communities of the 41st Assembly District. Barry Groveman has a proven record of problem solving for over 25 years.
Elected to Calabasas City Council in 2003 and became Mayor on March 23, 2005. Key achievements include:
Barry Groveman introduced bold government reform initiatives to modernize accounting systems, cut waste and improve efficiency and accountability.
In October, 2005, as a result of the strong financial condition of the City, due in large part to the implementation of fiscal reforms introduced by Councilman Groveman in 2003, and an improved system of financial reporting, Calabasas' overall credit rating increased from a Aa3 to Aa2, resulting in significant interest savings to the City. Combined with improved business decisions and fiscal efficiency implemented by the City's new Chief Financial Officer, this has resulted in increased revenues and significant savings to the general fund. This all occurred at a time when the state's fiscal climate and financial condition of many public entities, are in decline.
- Immediately upon taking office, Councilmember Groveman brought forward a series of reforms that were approved and implemented by the City Council, including standards of professional conduct and protocols for council members, a waste reduction and efficiency initiative, and a full audit of the financial and contracting process. These reforms and other initiatives led to an overhaul of city government, a new city manager, city attorney and the appointment of the first Chief Financial Officer.
Reduced Traffic Congestion and Reckless Driving
Barry Groveman is tirelessly committed to improving road infrastructures and utilizing other strategic ideas for improving traffic flow within the City and adjoining areas. He has led aggressive efforts to improve traffic congestion and reduce reckless driving in and around the City and region.
Environmental Protection and Preservation of Open Space
- Helped establish the innovative Calabasas Vehicle Management Plan ("CVMP") to reduce vehicle trips and address specific traffic related problems in neighborhoods and highways. The plan has demonstrated tangible results.
- Fulfilled promise to restore safe and inexpensive public school bus service to alleviate drop-off and pick-up congestion at schools. School buses are now fully available, at a reduced cost of $99, and the number of student passengers is limited to 56 students per bus--significantly improving rider conduct and comfort.
- Successfully led aggressive efforts in Calabasas to tackle traffic congestion and crack down on reckless driving. Led the effort to add additional deputy sheriffs to help manage congestion and successfully crackdown on reckless driving offenses, and to appoint a "Traffic Coordinator" to focus resources and establish accountability.
As a Councilmember, and as Mayor, Barry Groveman has been at the forefront of environmental protection and protection of open space.
Schools and Education
- Was liaison to the City Council in the City's lawsuit and successful battle, along side other coalition members, to acquire Ahmanson Ranch for open space; As Mayor Pro Tem, helped support efforts to acquire Soka University as open space; As Mayor, strongly supported the placement of a successful initiative on the Calabasas ballot to preserve open space properties in perpetuity.
- Successfully sponsored a City Council resolution to prevent businesses that have poor environmental compliance records from receiving city contracts and advocated for environmental policies in the City that now assure that the award of contracts include an investigation and disclosure of the environmental practices of bidders for public contracts.
- Coordinated efforts to identify grants and funding to address storm water runoff and protect the local watersheds from contamination threatening local streams, groundwater and downstream beaches.
Barry Groveman works closely with the administrators at the Las Virgenes Unified School District as well as private schools to ensure that Calabasas maintains its reputation as a community with outstanding schools.
Senior Housing Conditions, Rent Stabilization
- Co-founder and past-President of the Calabasas Education Fund which provided critical funds for (1) public school class-size reduction; (2) school counselors; (3) library books; and (4) educational programs during the recent state budget crisis.
- Successfully negotiated the relocation of a proposed elementary school, solving a longstanding controversy.
- Initiated the process to ensure that our city's pre-school teachers (categorized as part-time at 35 hours a week and receiving only 75% benefits) were re-categorized at full-time and given 100% benefits.
- Strong advocate for overhauling the system of funding for public schools to assure adequate financing and restore California as a leader in per pupil spending.
- Created the Traffic Plan for Mulholland Highway, in the school zones, as part of the Viewpoint Modernization Project, forging a consensus among stakeholders. Built consensus among stakeholders in support of Viewpoint School's building modernization plan which included a condition to reduce employee and student vehicle traffic.
Established a program to provide an immediate housing subsidy for elderly and disabled residents and advocated for affordable housing for teachers, peace officers and the local workforce. Supported a request to the California Public Utilities Commission to adopt a requirement for individual metering of apartment units.
Universally Accessible Playground
Participated in a task force that successfully found a private donor to underwrite the $1 million cost of a new universally accessible playground that will enable children with special needs to play side-by-side with typical children.
Helped bring the salary range for individual City employees up to par with the surrounding cities.
Secondhand Smoke Ordinance
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- As Calabasas Mayor, Barry Groveman lead the most innovative and comprehensive effort to protect public health against the dangers of secondhand smoke. Supported by the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American Lung Association, this groundbreaking ordinance does not ban smoking, but requires individuals to smoke in designated areas, away from where others are present. The ordinance represented a collaborative effort aimed at striking a balance between those that wished to smoke and the need to limit the public's exposure to secondhand smoke. The result led to the support of the Restaurant Association and the Chamber of Commerce.
- As a councilman, Barry Groveman successfully advocated to significantly increase the number of deputy sheriffs serving the City.
- He helped oversee and improve the Calabasas Emergency Response Program, working with volunteers and emergency response professionals.
- As Mayor, coordinated the City's activities, response and efforts to keep the public informed in the recent Topanga Canyon Fire Emergency, inspecting neighborhoods throughout the City and remained at the Emergency Command Center, along with other city officials.
- 1979--81 Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney, Central Trials; prosecuted a wide variety of violent street crimes, including weapons, drugs, domestic violence and abuse cases. He conducted well over 50 jury trials and was an early advocate for the rights of victims.
- 1981 Oversaw the execution of a warrant to search and locate dangerous materials buried at a dumpsite in East Los Angeles and along a major freeway. Helped obtain emergency funds and resources from the Governor's Office and worked with local officials and community leaders to evacuate nearby residents and coordinate the response.
- 1984 Received a Certificate of Commendation for Outstanding Service from the District Attorney's Association.
Santa Monica Bay Pollution
- 1980--1983 Assistant City Attorney, head of Environmental Protection for the City of Los Angeles, served as counsel to Mayor Tom Bradley, the Los Angeles City Council and city commissions.
Controversial Toxic Waste Site
- Led the successful battle to shut down "Capri Pumping," a controversial dumpsite in East Los Angeles, and prosecute the owners for endangering the surrounding community, largely a low income community. The site was the most serious hazardous waste site in Los Angeles, and became the first State Superfund site in Los Angeles. There were several public health threats leading to evacuations, and with assistance from Governor Jerry Brown, the site received emergency funds from the new state superfund law that had just been enacted in California.
- Barry Groveman also exposed serious inaction by city and county government, particularly the City's Public Works Board. These efforts led to an overhaul of the way Los Angeles handles environmental protection and the health and safety of citizens. Barry Groveman worked closely with Mayor Tom Bradley, Governor Jerry Brown, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (then LA City Councilman), Deputy Attorney General Don Robinson, and Father Pedro Villaroya and Loretta Hernandez, leaders of the United Neighborhood Organization ("UNO").
Air Pollution Prosecutions
- In 1983, based upon information provided by Dorothy Green (founder of Heal the Bay), Barry Groveman and lead investigator Dan Fresquez identified improper devices maintained by the City of Los Angeles, Public Works Department, which allowed "untreated" sewage to flow into Ballona Creek and the Santa Monica Bay. Exposure of these devices led to state legislative hearings by Assemblyman Tom Hayden resulting in fines against the City and an overhaul of the City's Public Works Department.
- In 1985, Barry Groveman was asked to serve as counsel to the Santa Monica Bay Legislative Oversight Committee. These events contributed to Dorothy Green's successful efforts to launch "Heal the Bay", one of the most successful watershed and bay protection organizations in California.
Infectious Waste Prosecutions
- Additional prosecutions included leading efforts to crack down on air pollution violations, involving entities such as Paramount Pictures Corporation, the Federal Reserve Bank, bus companies and others who chose not to take air quality rules and regulations seriously. Barry Groveman also challenged regulatory agencies, such as the South Coast Air Quality Management District, to be more aggressive in efforts to deter air pollution violators.
Los Angeles Toxic Waste Strike Force
- Barry Groveman was among the first to investigate and prosecute major hospitals for the illegal transport and disposal of infectious waste and human body parts, successfully prosecuting Kaiser and Cedar Sinai Hospitals and, in addition to other penalties, requiring the hospital violators to advertise their wrong doing in trade magazines as a deterrent to others.
Protection of Endangered Species and Wildlife
- Most notable were Barry Groveman's groundbreaking prosecutions of individuals and businesses engaged in the trade of endangered species and wildlife. His Prosecutions for the illegal sale of elephant ivory, elephant parts, bobcats, bears and other endangered species were considered the most aggressive and effective in the United States. In addition to other serious penalties, he led the way in innovative sentencing, including advertising wrongdoing as a deterrent to others. Groveman's prosecution of Stanley Galleries in Los Angeles was the largest seizure and prosecution for the sale of elephant ivory in US history and led to the development of an endangered species and wildlife exhibit at the International Terminal at LAX, in an effort to warn the traveling public of endangered species and wildlife laws prior to the 1984 L.A. Olympics. In 1984, Mr. Groveman was awarded the "International Monitor Award" for outstanding achievement in the enforcement of environmental laws protecting wildlife and endangered species.
AUTHOR OF LEGISLATION
- 1981 Led the nationally acclaimed Toxic Waste Strike Force, which obtained the first jail sentences for dozens of white collar corporate polluters--the first in California history.
- 1983--87 Special Assistant District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Head of the Environmental Crimes/OSHA Division; Led an expanded countywide Toxic Waste Strike Force, prosecuting the first felonies for Environmental Crimes in California, under the new law enacted In 1984.
- 1986 Principal co-author of the landmark environmental law, Prop 65, the "Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act."
- 1982--2005 Co-Author, drafter of sections of laws in the Health & Safety Code, Water Code and Education Code.
- Health & Safety Code: portions of Section 25189.5--elevated the range of penalties for illegal disposal of hazardous materials from misdemeanors to felonies; Water Code: Section 13304, SB 1004-Soto--gave authority to Regional Water Quality Control Boards to issue water replacement orders to parties responsible for polluting drinking water, to alleviate these costs from being passed on to the public; and Education Code: Sections 17213, 17213.1, 17213.2--toughened building and safety requirements for schools to protect students and employees.
- AB 945 (Koretz) (2 year Bill) would require prospective bidders for public contracts with the State to disclose any violations or convictions of environmental laws.
PRIVATE PRACTICE 1987--Present
- 1981--1988 Served on the faculty of Southwestern University School of Law as an adjunct professor of environmental law.
Present: Chair, Public Law and Environment Practice, Musick, Peeler & Garrett, LLP. Handles cases on behalf of public entities, businesses (particularly small businesses), and business associations in an effort to assist them in complying with environmental or other laws or correcting mistakes and assuring proper remediation. Advocates the advantage to businesses and business associations that advance good environmental policy.
Notable private practice experience includes:
Los Angeles School Safety Team
- 1999 Appointed to head an independent "School Safety Team" looking into environmental problems concerning several school sites within the Los Angeles Unified School District. Along with other members of the Safety Team, helped expose the $200 million Belmont Learning Center fiasco, successfully recommended halting construction of the school and played a significant role in the shake up and removal of those responsible. The Safety Team also identified serious asbestos problems in several schools leading to temporary closure of Roosevelt High and Palisades High to assure proper asbestos remediation was achieved and procedures were in place.
- 1998-2000 Lawyer for the Cities of Santa Monica and Morro Bay in the successful battles to recover interim costs and begin restoration of their water supplies which were contaminated with MtBE from oil companies. Negotiated a unique agreement with oil companies to provide interim replacement water to the citizens of Santa Monica during restoration.
- 2003 One of the California's leading authorities on perchlorate contamination in water supplies; Appointed by a member of the California State Senate to head the "Inland Empire Perchlorate Task Force", a multi-agency effort charged with pursuing polluters and restoring the water supply, contaminated with perchlorate, a "cold war" pollutant affecting hundreds of thousands of people in San Bernardino County.
2004 Special Counsel to the City of South Pasadena on matters involving the Gold Line Rail Project.
BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS
Member, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Advisory Board
Former Founding Chair, Los Angeles County Bar, Environmental Law Section
Past President, Co-Founder, Calabasas Education Fund
Member, Board of Directors, Economic Alliance of San Fernando Valley
Member, Board of Directors, Pacific Boys Lodge
AWARDS AND COMMENDATIONS
Commendation from the Santa Monica City Council for "Extraordinary service to the citizens of Santa Monica and tremendous efforts to ensure the restoration of Santa Monica's precious water resources". Presented April 16th, 1998 by the Mayor and Members of the Santa Monica City Council.
Commendation for "Dedication to the Environmental Health and Safety of the Citizens of California" presented by California Secretary of State March Fong Eu, June 3, 1987.
Recipient of the "International Monitor Award" presented by a consortium of environmental groups based in Washington, D.C. for achievement in the enforcement of environmental laws.
Certificate of Commendation for "Outstanding Service" District Attorneys Association. 1984.
Named Southern California "Super Lawyer", 2004 by Los Angeles Magazine.
Selected by "Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine" to author the past "25 Years of Environmental Law" for the 25th Anniversary Addition, March, 2002.
Top 25 People of 2005, Acorn News Papers
Born in New York; resident of California for 31 years; married with one son.
Graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Southwestern University School of Law (S.C.A.L.E. Program)
Committed Runner and Hiker in the Santa Monica Mountains.