|Member of the California State Assembly
from the 43rd district
June 10, 2010
|Preceded by||Paul Krekorian|
October 19, 1974 |
Los Angeles, California
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles (B.A.)
Loyola Law School (J.D.)
Michael Anthony "Mike" Gatto (born October 19, 1974) is an American elected official. In June 2010, after a series of three elections in eight weeks, the voters of California's 43rd State Assembly district elected him to the California State Assembly.
A data analysis of the voting records of California legislators conducted by the Sacramento Bee newspaper in 2012 concluded that Mike Gatto was the second-most independent Democratic Assembly member, voting against his party on just under 10% of contested votes.
He worked as an aide to Congressman Brad Sherman for five years, during and after law school. As an attorney, he worked first at O'Melveny & Myers and later at Mayer Brown; his practice focused on representing small- and medium-sized businesses to resolve issues with the government. Gatto also served in the administrations of three different mayors of Los Angeles and as President of the El Pueblo (Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority) Commission.
In January 2010, after Assemblyman Paul Krekorian resigned his position to take a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger scheduled a special election for April 13, 2010. Gatto defeated two Democrats in the open primary with 32.3% of the vote and advanced to a June runoff election to determine who would fill out the remainder of Krekorian's term. During the election, Gatto secured the endorsement of the Los Angeles Daily News, which wrote that Gatto was "fiscally minded and intelligent... the kind of legislator California needs."
On June 8, 2010, Gatto won both the runoff against a Republican for Krekorian's unexpired term, and a primary against Democrats, to run for a full term on the November 2010 ballot. In November 2010, Gatto won election to the full term, with 65.9% of the vote.
The 43rd Assembly District includes Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta, La Canada Flintridge, and the Los Angeles communities of Atwater Village, Franklin Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, the Hollywood Hills, and half of Hollywood.
In 2010, Gatto introduced legislation to reduce municipal pension costs. His bill sought to cap the exposure of conservatively managed cities when less frugal (or corrupt) municipalities offered top officials large salaries. Gatto was moved to introduce this legislation by the 2010 City of Bell salary controversy, where cities like Glendale had to underwrite approximately $411,000 in annual pension costs for Bell's former police chief.
In an October 2010 special session of the state assembly, Gatto authored ACA 4, an enhanced version of a Rainy Day Fund (or "savings account") for the State of California. The proposed constitutional amendment required the legislature, during years of strong revenues, to follow a strict program limiting expenditures. First, the state would have to fulfill all obligations to education. Then it would be required to deposit up to 10% of general fund revenues into a savings account, to be used during years where revenue weakened. After that, the state would be mandated to pay down bond debt, easing the burden on future years. Gatto's Rainy Day Fund legislation passed both houses of the legislature and was approved by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In the 2011-2012 session, Gatto served as Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California Assembly. In 2011, Gatto expressed concern about California Proposition 25's effect on legislators' pay. He said the bill would create a financial hardship for his family.
One of Gatto's bills in 2011 would have required the state to study embedding piezoelectric sensors in state highways, which produce electrical energy by the vibrations vehicles make as they traverse the pavement.
Gatto authored the California Homemade Food Act to allow small businesses to produce certain food products without falling afoul of county regulations meant for commercial restaurants and bakeries. The Act was noted by KCRA as being beneficial to small businesspeople in the food-production sector.
In August 2012, Gatto was appointed chair of the assembly's Appropriations Committee. He served until December 2014.
Gatto's 2013 legislation has included a bill to forbid cities from writing tickets to motorists who park at malfunctioning parking meters that the city has failed to repair. He also authored legislation which would give businesses an opportunity to correct deficiencies in Proposition 65 warnings for common substances before being subject to financial penalties and lawsuits. Gatto also authored legislation to help catch and punish hit-and-run drivers, and to make better use of carpool lanes during off-peak hours.
In 2014, Gatto introduced legislation to force Congress to address campaign-finance reform. He introduced a number of measures to address hit-and-run crashes. Gatto also introduced measures to curb child abuse at elementary schools, and to address the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses. And Gatto was the author of significant legislation to keep production jobs in California.
Two measures of Gatto's in 2014 were novel for government. One was a "Wiki-bill", using a Wikipedia-like platform to allow the public to draft legislation in the open. The other was a "Government X-Prize, whereby members of the public could win awards for providing the government with intellectual property (patents or plans) to make government processes more efficient.
Gatto had one of the best attendance records in the legislature in 2011 In the 2013-2014 session, Gatto had the only perfect attendance record in the California legislature, not missing one of the Assembly's 5,897 votes.
In 2012, a data analysis conducted by the Sacramento Bee newspaper on voting records concluded that Mike Gatto was the second-most independent democratic legislator in the California State Assembly.