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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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City of San DiegoCandidate for City Attorney

Photo of Mara Elliott

Mara Elliott

Chief Deputy City Attorney
267,122 votes (57.34%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Protect Seniors and Kids from abuse.
  • Protect Our Environment from corporate polluters.
  • Protect Taxpayers by stopping waste and fraud at City Hall.



Profession:Chief Deputy City Attorney
Chief Deputy City Attorney, City of San Diego (2009–current)
Vice President, San Diego Law Library Board of Trustees — Appointed position (2015–current)
Senior Deputy County Counsel, County of San Diego (2002–2007)
Deputy General Counsel, San Diego Metropolitan Transit Development Board (2000–2002)
Associate, Lozano Smith (1998–2000)


McGeorge School of Law Juris Doctor (J.D.), Law (1994)
UC Santa Barbara Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), English, Philosophy (1990)

Community Activities

Government Relations Committee, National Multiple Sclerosis Society (2000–current)
School Site Council, San Diego Unified School District (2014–current)


Mara Elliott has fought to protect San Diego taxpayers and neighborhoods her entire career.


The first in her family to graduate from college, Mara Elliott worked her way through UCSB and law school.  Instead of going to work for a corporate law firm, Mara committed her career to public service.


As Chief Deputy City Attorney, Mara Elliott has taken on polluters, fraud and crime.  She’s held polluters accountable and is working to implement the City’s plan to achieve 100% clean renewable energy.  Mara wrote the city law to crack down on crooked city contractors and has cut wasteful spending at City Hall, saving taxpayers millions. 


Mara’s mother was born in Mexico and became a secretary here.  Her father was a longshoreman.  Mara understands the struggles of working families and will fight for us as City Attorney.


Mara Elliott lives in Scripps Ranch with her husband Greg, their two kids and a rescue puppy, Lily Mae.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • San Diego City Firefighters
  • Deputy City Attorneys Association
  • San Diego County Democratic Party

Organizations (7)

  • Save San Diego Neighborhoods
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Sierra Club
  • Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence
  • National Latino Peace Officers Association
  • Planned Parenthood Action Fund
  • Run Women Run

Elected Officials (30)

  • United States Senator Barbara Boxer
  • Kamala Harris, Attorney General
  • Betty Yee, California State Controller
  • Susan Davis, Congresswoman
  • Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner
  • Fiona Ma, CPA, California State Board of Equalization member
  • Donna Frye, San Diego City Councilmember, former
  • Jim Madaffer, San Diego City Councilmember, former
  • John Hartley, San Diego City Councilmember, former
  • William Jones, San Diego City Councilmember, former
  • Nathan Fletcher, California State Assemblymember, former
  • Christine Kehoe, California State Senator, former
  • Lucy Killea, California State Senator, former
  • Dede Alpert, California State Senator, former
  • Rafael Castellanos, Esq. Port Commissioner, former primary opponent
  • Mary Salas, Mayor, Chula Vista
  • Kevin Beiser, San Diego Unified School District Board Trustee
  • Scott Peters, Congressman
  • Juan Vargas, Congressman
  • Ben Hueso, California State Senator
  • Former City Attorney John W. Witt
  • Sherri Lightner, San Diego City Councilmember
  • Todd Gloria, San Diego City Councilmember
  • David Alvarez, San Diego City Councilmember
  • Toni Atkins, California State Assembly Speaker Emeritus
  • Dr. Shirley Weber, California State Assemblywoman
  • Lorena Gonzalez, California State Assemblywoman
  • Marty Block, California State Senator
  • Former Senator Christine Kehoe

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

As Chief Deputy City Attorney, my job really is to protect us.

In the City Attorney’s office, we forced corporate polluters to pay millions to clean up San Diego Bay.

I’ve protected taxpayers by taking on fraud and rooting out millions of dollars in waste at City Hall.

I wrote the law to crack down on city contractors ripping off taxpayers.

I’ve spent my legal career fighting for our neighborhoods, standing up for ordinary people and taking on fraud, corruption and polluters.

As City Attorney, I’ll put my proven record to work protecting all of San Diego:

·       Protect Seniors and Kids by cracking down on the fraud and abuse that targets our most vulnerable citizens.
·       Protect Our Environment by holding corporate polluters accountable.
·       Protect Taxpayers by stopping waste at City Hall and enforcing competitive bidding on all city contracts.
·       Enforce The Law. No special deals for special interests. No favors.

It has been a privilege to serve San Diego as Chief Deputy City Attorney and as Senior Deputy County Counsel, where I advised the Sheriff and District Attorney and fought to track down perpetrators of elder abuse.

It would be my honor to put my experience and proven record to work as San Diego’s next City Attorney.

Position Papers

First 100 Days Plan



My ‘First 100 Days Plan’ is focused on action.  It’s about hitting the ground running to support working families, protect our environment, and strengthen public safety in all our neighborhoods.  It’s about bringing transparency and reform to City Hall.  It’s about getting things done for ordinary folks in all of San Diego’s diverse communities.





·        A Neighborhood Prosecutor In Every Community.  My top priority for public safety is expanding San Diego’s Neighborhood Prosecutor Program to prevent crime, protect our most vulnerable citizens from abuse, and build much needed trust with local communities.  I will immediately assign a Neighborhood Prosecutor to work directly from each of the City’s nine police divisions so all neighborhoods get the resources they need to reduce crime.


·        Expanding Transparency In Law Enforcement. I will immediately issue a legal memo to the Mayor and our Police Department recommending expanded public access to police body camera footage in cases where lethal force is used or when serious misconduct has occurred.  The public has a right to know what’s happening on its streets and how its tax dollars are being spent. I will fight for increased transparency and public access.


·        Tackling Domestic Violence, Child and Elder Abuse.  In my first three months in office, I will work directly with the courts to expedite the issuance of temporary restraining orders to keep predators away from women, children, and elders.  I will also assign additional Deputy City Attorneys to the Domestic Violence Unit and work with local law schools and pro bono legal counsel to provide the resources needed to more aggressively prosecute abusers and provide victims with the help and protection they need.




·       Fighting For Equal Pay for Equal Work.  Despite years of progress, women still earn just .77 for every dollar earned by men, making it hard for working families to make ends meet.  I will prosecute City contractors who violate fair pay laws.  I will work with women’s advocates and the legal community to ramp up a comprehensive public education effort to ensure women understand their rights to equal pay for equal work and have the tools to fight discrimination at work.


·       Enforcing San Diego’s Fair Wage Laws.  I will create a specialized unit within the City Attorney’s office focusing on prosecuting unscrupulous employers and City contractors who falsify payroll records, do not pay all wages earned, and who fail to comply with San Diego’s minimum wage, prevailing wage, and living wage laws.  In her First 100 Days, I will create a bilingual Wage Theft Hotline and work with the District Attorney’s Office and US Department of Labor to ensure San Diego workers get an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.


·       Expanding the City’s Consumer Protection Efforts.  The City Attorney’s Office will reassign more Deputy City Attorneys and Investigators to an expanded Consumer Protection Unit focused on protecting working families from financial fraud and other abuses.  This will include cracking down on telephone scams that target our seniors, holding slumlords accountable when they fail to maintain habitable rental units, and taking a more proactive approach in consumer fraud cases on behalf of homebuyers and taxpayers.



·      Holding Polluters Accountable.  San Diego’s beautiful environment is at the core of local residents’ quality of life.  Under my leadership, the City Attorney’s Office will redouble its efforts to prosecute illegal pollution of waterways and open space.  In my first six months in office, I will form an Environmental Health Working Group to tackle the pollution, lead paint, and other environmental hazards that harm families’ and children’s health.


·       Tackling Climate Change Through Clean Energy.  As shown by my record as Chief Deputy City Attorney and as legal counsel to the Committee on the Environment, I understand how to implement San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for 100% renewable energy by 2050.  As City Attorney, I will ensure clean energy projects get approved quickly and efficiently to tackle climate change and create jobs.  That means cutting through City Hall’s red tape and assigning more Deputy City Attorneys to climate change related projects.




·       Prioritizing Neighborhood Services, Not Costly Litigation.  The City Attorney’s Office can deliver better services that make a difference in people’s lives without raising taxes.  I will reallocate resources at the City Attorney’s office to spend less on costly, and often wasteful, litigation, and focus on making a difference in ordinary folks’ lives.


·       Fiscal Audits and Competitive Bidding To Save Tax Dollars.  On day one, I will demand an independent fiscal audit of the City Attorney’s office to determine areas where wasteful spending can be eliminated and cost savings implemented.  One of my immediate reforms will be instituting competitive bidding for all city contracts, many of which are currently awarded without a competitive process.


·       An Accessible, Transparent City Attorney’s Office.  I have pledged to hold quarterly town halls throughout San Diego to ensure that the public has a say in City Hall decisions.  In addition, I will ensure that Deputy City Attorneys attend community planning group and town council meetings so the City Attorney’s Office hears the concerns of local residents first hand. 


Videos (2)

— September 15, 2016 Mara Elliott for San Diego City Attorney 2016

A description of Mara Elliott's experience and issues.

— October 22, 2016 Mara Elliott for San Diego City Attorney 2016

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