Jonathan Lowell takes oath of office as Pleasanton's new City Attorney

Former San Luis Obispo city attorney succeeds retiring Michael Roush

Former San Luis Obispo City Attorney Jonathan Lowell was sworn in Monday night as Pleasanton's new city attorney at a special meeting of the City Council.

In a brief ceremony, Lowell raised his right hand to repeat the oath of office administered by City Clerk Karen Diaz, officially filling the office long held by now-former City Attorney Michael Roush, who is retiring.

Roush will continue handling legal affairs for the city until Monday, Jan. 4, when Lowell takes over.

Addessing the council, Lowell said that in researching the city of Pleasanton and the position of city attorney, "I realized what a fantastic professional city that you have and I am thrilled to be able to work with all of you."

He especially praised outgoing City Attorney Roush, a city attorney he has long admired and respected.

"I am honored to be able to step in and continue his good work on behalf of the city of Pleasanton," Lowell said.

Lowell, who is also the incoming vice president of the League of California Cities City Attorney Department—and will become its president in 2011--has been city attorney in San Luis Obispo, a city with a population of 43,000, since 2003.

At one time he was also the assistant city attorney in both Livermore and Hayward and the city attorney for San Bruno. He was in private practice with the San Francisco law firm of Curiale, Dellaverson, Hirschfield, Kraemer & Sloan.

He received his law degree from UC Hastings College of Law and holds a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley.

His employment contract, which the council unanimously approved last night, gives Lowell an annual starting salary of $195,000, a yearly performance bonus not to exceed 5 percent of his annual salary, and the same medical, retirement medical insurance, dental insurance and other benefits also provided to other management employees working for the city of Pleasanton.

He will also be eligible for accrued vacation at the rate of 25 days annually and a credit of 10 days of administrative leave annually. He will receive a $400 monthly car allowance with a cell phone that includes payment of all charges related to city business.

In his role as Pleasanton's City Attorney, Lowell will provide advice and counsel to the City Council, City Manager Nelson Fialho and city staff. He will manage a legal department that handles the city's contractual, regulatory, and litigation matters that typically include open meeting and public records laws; conflicts of interest; land use and environmental laws; claims and litigation; municipal elections; employment and labor relations; code enforcement, and other legal matters.

Both the city manager's and city attorney's positions report directly to the City Council.

Joining Lowell for last night's ceremony and a reception that followed were his parents Marie and Harry Lowell of Walnut Creek, his partner Peter DeMarais, and his mother-in-law Mary DeMarais.

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Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 11:00 am

I can see that Pleasanton Weekly is making a huge effort to keep this thread free of any semblance of controversy. Let's see how long it is before the thread is locked, restricted to members only or erased completely and reloaded.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 17, 2009 at 11:18 am

It is old news that the PW staff deletes and edits as they see fit. It is, after all, their forum. For all of you who think being gay is a crime, get over it.
My issues with the new guy are simply whether or not he will earn his money. I think not, as the last one certainly did not. Roush's big send-off is the horror he caused over the McMansions to be built or not on the Lin's property. Bad advice from a person who was paid far too much and achieved far too little. Blame Hosterman and company for that, oversight of the city attorney is their job. Then she spiked his pay so that his lieftime retirement benefits will be higher.
Every city employee needs to take a pay cut, revenue is down and they should not be exempt from taking cuts. Yet they are. That is the crime here.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 17, 2009 at 11:33 am

Time will tell whether or not City Attorney Lowell will earn his salary. I choose the HIGH ROAD, unless there's a reason not to trust Mr. Connell. If you can't trust anybody, then that is a problem isn't it?

For all of you with LGBT children, he's a wonderful spirit for your kids to look up to. Yup...they will be watching...knowing that they to can become an attorney if that is what they choose to be. That if they want to have a partner, they can have a partner and create their very own special FAMILY! FAMILY is the correct word.'s a FAMILY!

I really enjoyed reading the story and appreciate the photos! The family photos are cute and I and all my family wish them a HAPPY NEW YEAR! VIVA LA FAMILIA! VIVA!

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 17, 2009 at 11:48 am

Stacey is a registered user.

If the PW really wanted to keep any semblance of controversy from here, then they shouldn't have reported who attended.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 17, 2009 at 12:20 pm

I'm glad that they did report who attended because Mr. DeMarais is mentioned as "his partner".

It's socially appropriate to acknowledge Mr. DeMarais. People sometimes need practice opening their eyes. If you look closely, you will see that Mr. DeMarais has on a "ring". Hmmmmmmmmmmmm...if that's not cool I don't know what is?'s cool! The parents looks so sweet and the couple look very kind.

When diversity is acknowledged and appreciated, the world becomes a better place!


Like this comment
Posted by PToWN94566
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm

PToWN94566 is a registered user.

I agree with Stacy 100%. Two of my posts referring to me being happy that we have a gay man working in our community was removed. Now I agree with the polite email I received from the PW- if this was a heterosexual man there never would have been any discussion. But since this is a gay man in our small community, I'm all for a discussion on it. And as Stacey said, if people didn't want to worry about creating a dialogue or any type of discussion, they shouldn't have reported on it.

His career has nothing to do with him being gay but since he is gay, I think it's more than acceptable to openly discuss it. Gay people have careers as well- why not talk about it? If we are going to have our responses removed all the PW is doing is silencing the gay community. Furthermore, if our new city attorney was worried about the fact of having a partner, I'm sure he wouldn't have invited him to the ceremony. From the looks of it, Mr. Lowell does not live in the closet.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:37 pm

About 240 million of my posts have been deleted and I'm still hanging around.

The new City Attorney was chosen based upon his professional qualifications. Because of his education and work experience, he is highly qualified to attend to the legal matters of the city.

That he has a loving family is PLUS! HOORAY!

What more is there to say?

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Dec 17, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

It wasn't my intent to sound like the PW did it on purpose. I believe there is room for them to step up their game, so to speak.

Like this comment
Posted by LiveStrong
a resident of Avila
on Dec 17, 2009 at 7:52 pm

I get so confused by it all, how does being gay affect someone job as a city attorney? Why is it even a topic? I think too often people get far too wrapped up in the things that don't matter because they are afraid to have an opinion on things that do matter.

Like this comment
Posted by Atrontanodo
a resident of Ridgeview Commons
on Dec 22, 2009 at 2:42 am

I think you are right. But you should cover more on this topic.

Like this comment
Posted by Jeb Bing
editor of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:32 am

Jeb Bing is a registered user.

These comments have run their course. Thanks for posting.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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