All of huntington Beach

City Attorney

MissionTo provide the best representation to the City in all legal matters and before administrative bodies, and to provide excellent, effective legal counsel and services to the City Council and to all officers of the City, and provide superior representation for the City in court litigation and prosecutions on behalf of the people, violations of the City Charter and Municipal Code.


The Office of the City Attorney represents and advises the City Council and all City officials in matters of law pertaining to the business of the City of Huntington Beach. Among other things, the City Attorney prepares and/or reviews all City ordinances, resolutions, contracts and other legal documents; attends City Council, Planning Commission, City Staff and other meetings.  The City Attorney also prosecutes on behalf of the people criminal cases arising from violation of the provisions of the City Charter or Huntington Beach Municipal Code, and such state misdemeanors as the City has the power to prosecute.  

This office also administers the Administrative Citation Program, see Frequently Asked Questions.

BiographyCity Attorney, Michael E. Gates
gates-smMichael was elected as Huntington Beach City Attorney on November 4, 2014. Prior to his election, Michael was a partner at a successful law firm in Orange County, serving as a trial attorney and had defended numerous clients in a wide range of legal areas such as: Federal Civil Rights (Excessive Force), Public Entity Law, Government Tort Liability, General Liability, Truck/Automobile Liability, Premises Liability, Products Liability, Professional Liability, Medical Malpractice, and Employment Law. He has represented clients such as the County of Orange, Orange County Sheriff's Department, Orange County District Attorney, Catholic schools and parishes, various large scale trucking companies, and various physicians, surgeons, and other medical professionals and hospitals in the Orange County and Los Angeles areas.

Through his law partnership and his extensive experience as a business owner in Huntington Beach, Michael has demonstrated strong management and leadership skills - leading teams to produce the highest quality work product and services.

Michael's legal experience began in 2006 when he had the privilege of working as a clerk for the United States Department of Justice engaged in the prosecuting fraud cases on behalf of the U.S. Government. He also clerked two terms with the Orange County District Attorney's Office in both the Felony and Major Frauds units, and worked for a federal bankruptcy judge for the Central District of California. Michael also worked as a Certified Law Clerk representing minors before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he undertook significant law and motion to protect the due process rights of unrepresented minors in the immigration court system.

Michael earned his Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law. Prior to his legal education, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management, magna cum laude, from Pepperdine University, and has been a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society for almost ten years.

Michael earned the "Commitment to Service Award" for completing over 50 hours of pro bono work, volunteered his time performing legal research and writing defending a Title VII, religious discrimination case for the Pacific Justice Institute and worked over 30 hours of directed research for the Anaheim Family Justice Center.

Michael and his wife, Kelly, are life-long residents of Huntington Beach. Michael and Kelly met in Huntington Beach shortly after graduating from Marina and Huntington Beach high schools, respectively. They were married in 1997 and now have five beautiful children: Michael, Madeleine, John, Gregory and Catherine. As an active member of the Huntington Beach community, Michael taught for two years (year round) at Golden West College in the Computer Science Department and served for 10 years at Ocean View Little League as a volunteer baseball manager/coach. Michael's family has also been actively involved in other youth sports in Huntington Beach such as AYSO, S.C.A.T.S., and Friday Night Lights, among others.
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Notable Links15 documents

  • Review of Steele RWG Legal
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  • Sixth Cycle Regional House Needs Assessment (RNHA) Appeal
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  • Tabares v. City of Huntington Beach - FINAL DECISION
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  • Kennedy Commission v. City of Huntington Beach Court of Appeal Final Decision COA2
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  • AmeriCare vs. CHB 9th Cir FINAL DECISION
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  • Friedman v. City - City's Opposition
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  • City v. State re SB54 Final Motion for Writ Petition
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  • Hernandez v. City of Huntington Beach Final Ruling
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  • Shenkma v. City of Huntington Beach City Letter Response to Violation of CVRA
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  • Kennedy Commission v. City of Huntington Beach Court of Appeal Final Decision
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  • City's Letter to SCAG re RHNA
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  • City of Huntington Beach v. The State of California ref SB54
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  • Briscoe v. City of HB Court of Appeal City's Petition for Extraordinary Writ of Mandamus
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  • Kennedy Commission CA Supreme Court City's Response Kennedy's Petition for Review
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  • The Kennedy Commission V. City of Huntington Beach
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