Don Knabe

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Don Knabe
Don Knabe.jpg
Member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
from District 4
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 1, 1997
Preceded by Deane Dana
Personal details
Born Donald R. Knabe
October 15, 1943 (1943-10-15) (age 70)
Illinois
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Julie Gillbreath
Children Curt Knabe
Matt Knabe
Residence Cerritos, California
Religion Reformed Church
Website knabe.com

Donald R. Knabe (born October 15, 1943, in Illinois) is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, serving the Fourth District. The long east—west district runs from Marina del Rey and LAX through the South Bay, Los Angeles Harbor Region, and the Gateway Cities, to the southwestern San Gabriel Valley.[1]

Education and early political career[edit]

Knabe attended Graceland University and graduated with a degree in business administration. After enlisting in the U.S. Navy, Knabe settled in Cerritos. The Knabes owned a small business, and Knabe entered politics in 1978 as one of several candidates for the GOP nomination to replace Del M. Clawson as Congressman from the 33rd District (Downey-Norwalk-Whittier). Knabe lost to La Mirada Mayor Wayne R. Grisham, but carried his home area. In 1980, he was elected to the Cerritos City Council on the basis of growth issues. Knabe took a job with Supervisor Deane Dana's office in 1982, soon advancing to Chief of Staff.

In 1987, Knabe considered running as a Republican for the state Senate in a special election. However, he backed down in favor of Grisham, whose Congressional seat had been redistricted and was now a state Assemblyman. Grisham lost the special election to Democratic Norwalk City Councilman Cecil Green by a larger-than expected margin, and Republicans immediately concluded that the younger, more energetic Knabe should have been the nominee. Knabe retired from the City Council in 1988 to run for the state Senate. After a hard-fought and expensive campaign, Green defeated Knabe by 51% to 49%.

Fourth District Supervisor, Los Angeles County[edit]

In 1996, Deane Dana, the former Supervisor of the 4th District, announced that he would retire in December of that year, after serving 16 years in office.[2] Don Knabe, who had served as Dana's chief deputy since 1982, ran to fill the vacated seat.[3] During the campaign, he raised more than $2.6 million, with Dana's campaign committee spending more than $152,000 on Knabe's behalf.[3][4] The majority of the campaign contributions came from special interest groups.[5] In the non-partisan primary, he finished first with 40% of the vote.[6] In the general election, he defeated former Rolling Hills Mayor Gordana Swanson, who had given Dana a tough race in 1992.

A moderate Republican, Knabe instituted a safe-haven law or baby hatch in 2002, where mothers can leave their baby at a fire station, lifeguard headquarters, or hospital within 72 hours of their birth. The program was instituted after several publicized cases of child abandonment and infanticide. The program was quickly adopted statewide. As of August 31, 2011, 87 babies, in Los Angeles County alone, have been safely surrendered.

Knabe was the Chairman for the 2010 session. He was reelected on the June 3, 2008 election.

Controversies[edit]

Knabe's son, Matt Knabe, is a partner at a major Los Angeles lobbying firm, Englander, Knabe & Allen and is a registered County lobbyist.[7][8] Despite the family ties, Knabe routinely votes on board matters involving clients that his son and son's firm represents (including the award of government contracts), instead of recusing himself.[9] Because of the father-son relationship, local media, in particular, Los Angeles Times, have regularly raised ethical concerns over perceived or real conflicts of interest.[10][11][12]

Board matters that Knabe has not recused himself from voting include contract awards that circumvented standard government procurement processes and other actions that had a financial impact on Matt Knabe's firm:

  • March 2005: A $7.4 million contract award with Global 360 BGS Inc. that Knabe voted to approve.[13] The said company paid $72,000 to Matt Knabe's firm.[13] Later that year, J.D. Knabe & Associates, the firm owned by Knabe's wife, Julie, arranged an event for Global 360.[13]
  • June 2006: Knabe voted to approve the expansion of a controversial air park in Agua Dulce, California. The firm paid Matt Knabe's firm $32,800.[14]
  • June 2006: Knabe voted to approve a permit for Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI), a landfill operator in Sunshine Canyon. BFI had paid Matt Knabe's firm more than $83,000.[11][14]
  • February 2011: Knabe voted to award a $1.5 million contract to TRC Solutions, a client of Matt Knabe's firm.[15][16]
  • December 2011, May 2012: Knabe voted twice to award American Golf Corporation lease extensions to run the County's golf courses.[17][18] American Golf Corporation is a client of Matt Knabe's lobbying firm.[16] From July 2012 through January 2013, AGC paid Matt Knabe's firm a total of $67,500.[19] The company also sponsors the Knabe Cup, an annual golf tournament for high schoolers held by Knabe.[8][20]
  • March 2012: Knabe voted to award a $1.75 million no-bid contract award with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, a client of Matt Knabe's lobbying firm.[21] Following a SoCal Connected broadcast on the nature of the contract award, Supervisor Antonovich held a motion to investigate the contract award.[22] In January 2013, the Department of the Auditor-Controller published its findings to a limited investigation regarding the Enterprise Rent-a-Car no-bid contract award, concluding that the solicitation had been conducted improperly.[23][24][25] From July 2012 to January 2013, Enterprise Rent-a-Car paid Matt Knabe's firm $97,500.[19]
  • July 2012: Knabe voted to award a $22,305,549 contract with Maximus Inc., a client of Matt Knabe's firm.[26] From July 2012 to January 2013, Maximus reported paying Matt Knabe's firm a total of $48,000.[19]
  • January 2013: On a motion initiated by Knabe, Knabe voted to waive the 15% gross receipts fee (typically applied for use of County facilities), for Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association (a client of Matt Knabe's firm), which sponsors United States Lifesaving Association National Lifeguard and Junior Lifeguard Championships, for the company's use of the Manhattan Beach Pier.[27][28] From July 2012 to January 2013, the said company had paid Matt Knabe's firm a total of $45,000.[19]

Knabe has been criticized for his use of taxpayer-funded discretionary funds (each supervisor is allocated a $3.4 million spending account), including the employment of an armed driver earning an annual salary of US$90,000.[29][30]

Personal life[edit]

Knabe is married to Julie Knabe née Gillbreath. Julie operates J.D. Knabe & Associates, a customer relations firm.[31] The Knabes have two sons, Curt and Matt, both graduates of Pepperdine University.[32] Knabe's son Matt is a partner at a major Los Angeles lobbying firm, Englander, Knabe & Allen.[7] Knabe is a member of New Life Community Church in Artesia, California.[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Fourth District of Los Angeles County is a crescent-shaped district that covers such important places as much of Los Angeles County's coastline, LAX, the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, Catalina Island, the entire South Bay, portions of the City of Los Angeles, some of Marina del Rey, and portions of the first suburban Chinatown in America (Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, La Habra Heights, Diamond Bar).
  2. ^ Rabin, Jeffrey L. (1 March 1996). "Insider Heads the Pack in the Race to Succeed Dana". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Rabin, Jeffrey L. (12 February 1996). "Dana's Heir Apparent Joins Titans of Fund Raising". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Rabin, Jeffrey L. (13 October 1996). "Funds Flow for Knabe, Trickle In for Swanson". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Rabin, Jeffrey L.; Josh Meyer (7 November 1996). "Knabe Takes Measured Approach to Job That Awaits Him". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  6. ^ "Official Election Returns - March 26, 1996 Primary Election". Department of Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. County of Los Angeles. 15 August 1996. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Matt Knabe". Englander Knabe & Allen. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Gonzales, Vince (28 November 2012). "Family Ties May Mean Favors for L.A. County Supervisor's Son". Socal Connected (KCET). Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  9. ^ "The ethical choice? Pak should step down". Los Angeles Times. 12 December 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Newton, Jim (4 January 2011). "Family ties". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  11. ^ a b "Break up the family". Los Angeles Times. 5 February 2007. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  12. ^ "Conflict of interest in Los Angeles government". Los Angeles Times. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c Leonard, Jack (13 February 2006). "Pact Profits Family of Supervisor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Levey, Noam N. (28 June 2006). "Knabe Again Votes for a Client of Lobbyist Son". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "Statement Of Proceedings". Board of Supervisors. County of Los Angeles. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  16. ^ a b "Lobbying Firms and Their Clients". Executive Office, Board of Supervisors. County of Los Angeles. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Statement Of Proceedings". Board of Supervisors. County of Los Angeles. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  18. ^ "Statement Of Proceedings". Board of Supervisors. County of Los Angeles. 29 May 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Lobbyist Employers and Their Payments to Firms". Executive Office, Board of Supervisors. County of Los Angeles. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "Local High Schools to Compete in 16th Annual ‘Knabe Cup’". Don Knabe. Fourth District. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "Contract with Enterprise Fleet Management to Provide Leased Vehicles with a Full Maintenance Service Program". Community Development Commission. County of Los Angeles. 6 March 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  22. ^ "Update: Another Suspicious Deal in Knabe Family Ties to L.A. County". SoCal Connected (KCET). 5 December 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  23. ^ "Review of Community Development Commission's Fleet Services Solicitation". Department of Auditor-Controller. County of Los Angeles. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  24. ^ "L.A. County agency's contract probe leads to reforms, discipline". Los Angeles Times. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  25. ^ Gonzales, Vince (22 January 2013). "Update: County Employees Violated Policies, Faked Documents In Knabe Inquiry". SoCal Connected. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  26. ^ "Statement Of Proceedings". Board of Supervisors. County of Los Angeles. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  27. ^ "Statement Of Proceedings". Board of Supervisors. County of Los Angeles. 15 January 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  28. ^ "MOTION BY SUPERVISOR DON KNABE". Board of Supervisors. County of Los Angeles. 15 January 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  29. ^ Therolf, Garrett (22 August 2012). "County supervisors criticized for use of chauffeurs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  30. ^ Therolf, Garrett (10 March 2010). "L.A. County supervisors spend millions on pet projects". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 September 2013. 
  31. ^ "Meet Don". Supervisor Don Knabe. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  32. ^ a b "SUPERVISOR DON KNABE". Board of Supervisors. County of Los Angeles. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Deane Dana
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
4th District

1997—
Succeeded by
Incumbent