(530) 432-7357 ~ (213) 542-5738
Michael has specialized in municipal law since 1989. He has expertise in a broad range of areas of concern to local governments in California, including constitutional law, land use regulation, open meetings law, elections law, municipal litigation, conflicts of interest, public utilities, LAFCO issues, and a wide range of public finance issues involving taxes, assessments, fees and charges, including post-redevelopment issues.
Michael is perhaps California’s leading expert on the law of local government revenues, handling five cases on that subject in the California Supreme Court since 2004 and has worked in every division of the California Court of Appeal. California Chief Justice Ronald M. George presented him with the 2010 Public Lawyer of the Year Award on behalf of the California State Bar. In August 2012, the Speaker of the State Assembly appointed Michael to a three-year term on the Board of Trustees of the California State Bar, the state agency which regulates the practice of law in our state. He was named to the Daily Journal’s “Top 25 Municipal Lawyers in California” in 2011 and 2012.
Michael currently serves as City Attorney for the Cities of Auburn and Grass Valley and as Agency or General Counsel for the Auburn Urban Development Agency, the North Yuba Water District, the Yuba County LAFCO, the First Five Yuba Commission and the Rough & Ready and Ophir Hill Fire Districts. He is General Counsel to the Calaveras and Yuba LAFCOs and special counsel to several other LAFCOs. He previously served as City Attorney of Barstow (1997–2004), Calabasas (2003–2012), Cudahy (1994–1999), La Habra Heights (1994–2004), Monrovia (1999–2002), and Sierra Madre (2004–2006), as General Counsel to the Barstow (1997–2004) and Sierra Madre (2004–2006) Redevelopment Agencies, and as General Counsel of the Big Bear City Community Services District (1994–2001).
As perhaps the foremost expert on Propositions 26 and 218, Michael assisted the Legislative Analyst’s Office in the impartial analysis of Proposition 218 and co-chaired the committee which drafted what became the Proposition 218 Omnibus Implementation Act of 1997. He also chaired the committees which drafted the League of California Cities’ Prop. 218 and 26 Implementation Guides.
Michael was elected by his peers to serve as President of the City Attorneys’ Department of the League of California Cities in 2003–04 and appointed the Department’s first Ethics Committee.
Michael was appointed by the Rules Committee of the California State Assembly to the Commission on Local Governance in the 21st Century. The Commission was formed in 1998 to study the Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act and the bulk of its recommendations became law in 2000.
He serves on the Legal Advisory Team of Change Lab solutions, a public health non-profit which produced a model ordinance regulating outdoor tobacco advertising. He co-authored the First Amendment chapter of the accompanying guidebook and played a substantial role in drafting that ordinance and a range of other model tobacco control ordinances.
Michael graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University (BA 1983) and received his law degree from University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law (JD 1988), graduating first in his class. While in law school, he was an Articles Editor of the California Law Review and made a member of the Order of the Coif upon graduation. Michael was law clerk to the Honorable James R. Browning, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in 1988–89.
He taught Administrative Law as an adjunct Professor of Law at the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley in 1995 and is a frequent speaker and trainer on a wide range of public law topics.
Michael comments on local government and municipal finance topics on Twitter ( @MColantuono ) and LinkedIn ( Michael Colantuono ).
● Practice Areas:
● Appellate Litigation
● Conflicts of Interest
● Constitutional Law
● Election Law
● Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) Law
● Land Use, Planning and CEQA
● Municipal Litigation
● Public Law
● Municipal Revenues (Taxes, Assessments, Fees and Charges)
● Public Utilities