Mike Gatto

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Mike Gatto
CA Assemblyman Mike Gatto.jpg
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 43rd district
In office
June 10, 2010 – November 30, 2016
Preceded byPaul Krekorian
Succeeded byLaura Friedman
Personal details
Born (1974-10-19) October 19, 1974 (age 48)
Los Angeles, California
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseDanielle Gatto
Residence(s)Los Angeles, California[1]
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles (B.A.)
Loyola Law School (J.D.)

Michael Anthony Gatto, OSSML (born October 19, 1974)[2] is an American public official. After being elected to the California State Assembly in a special election, he served as Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Chairman of the Consumer Protection & Privacy Committee, and Chairman of the Utilities & Commerce Committee, and was the author of several pieces of notable legislation. He served four terms, representing Los Angeles, Glendale, and Burbank.

Data analyses of the voting records conducted by the Sacramento Bee newspaper concluded that Gatto was one of the most independent lawmakers.[3][4]

Gatto is known for authoring and passing the first California Rainy Day Fund, a constitutional amendment to force the state to put away money during good times—a measure that California Governor Jerry Brown subsequently adopted as his own. In October 2019, Gatto authored a statewide ballot initiative to comprehensively address the state's homelessness crisis.[5] In March 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom adopted the same principles in Gatto's proposal.[6]

Early life, education, and previous career[edit]

Gatto grew up in the Franklin Hills and Silver Lake neighborhoods of Los Angeles.[7] His grandfather was an immigrant coal miner.[7] Gatto was raised, and is a practicing Roman Catholic.[8]

Gatto earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996[2][9] and a J.D. from Loyola Law School's night school, magna cum laude, in 2004.[2][9]

He worked as an aide to Congressman Brad Sherman[2][9] for five years,[10] 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.[citation needed] Gatto also served in the administrations of three different mayors of Los Angeles as President of the El Pueblo (Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority) Commission.[7]

Elections to the Assembly[edit]

Gatto won three elections in seven weeks in 2010, and was sworn into the Assembly in mid-June.[10] 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."[11]

Gatto's 43rd Assembly District included 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.

2014 California State Assembly[edit]

California's 43rd State Assembly district election, 2014
Primary election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mike Gatto (incumbent) 28,354 67.0
Republican Todd Royal 13,985 33.0
Total votes 42,339 100.0
General election
Democratic Mike Gatto (incumbent) 51,971 66.5
Republican Todd Royal 26,192 33.5
Total votes 78,163 100.0
Democratic hold

Legislative career[edit]

In 2010, Gatto introduced legislation to reduce municipal pension costs. His bill sought to cap the exposure of well-managed cities when less frugal (or corrupt) municipalities offered top officials large salaries.[12]

In October 2010, Gatto authored ACA 4, the Rainy Day Fund (or "savings account") for the State of California. The constitutional amendment mandated that the legislature, during years of strong revenues, follow a strict program limiting expenditures. First, the state would have to fulfill all obligations to education, then deposit up to 10% of general fund revenues into a savings account, to be used during years of weak revenue. After that, the state would be mandated to pay down bond debt. Gatto's Rainy Day Fund legislation passed both houses of the legislature and was approved by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[13]

In the 2011-2012 session, Gatto served as Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California Assembly.[14][15]

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.[16]

Gatto also authored AB 1900 and 2196, which created the modern renewable fuels industry in California. Those pieces of legislation allowed, and set the framework for, farmers to turn cow dung and landfills to turn decomposing yard clippings into an ultra-clean transportation fuel, thereby creating a major renewable-energy market in California.[17][18] [19]

Gatto authored the California Homemade Food Act to allow small startup businesses to produce certain food products without the regulations for large commercial operators applying to them.[20] The Act was noted by KCRA as being beneficial to small businesspeople in the food-production sector.[21]Forbes Magazine stated the measure "created over a thousand local businesses."[22]

In August 2012, Gatto was appointed chair of the assembly's Appropriations Committee.[15]

In September 2012, Gatto introduced a bill requiring the California DMV to establish the California Legacy License Plate Program, bringing back exact replicas of black license plates issued in California in the 1960s.[23][24]

Gatto's 2013 legislation included a bill to forbid cities from writing tickets to motorists who park at broken parking meters that a city has failed to repair.[25] He also authored legislation which would give small businesses a safe harbor for correcting deficiencies in Proposition 65 warnings without being subject to financial penalties and lawsuits, the first substantive Prop. 65 reform ever.[26] Gatto also authored legislation to make better use of carpool lanes during off-peak hours.[27]

In mid-2013, Gatto pushed for an audit of the Child Protective Services departments in the state of California, based on the concern that they were not spotting child abuse fast enough.[28]

In 2014, Gatto introduced legislation to force Congress to address campaign-finance reform.[29] He introduced a number of measures to address hit-and-run crashes.[30] Gatto also introduced measures to curb child abuse at elementary schools,[31] and to address the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses.[32]

In 2014, Gatto also authored and got signed into law significant legislation to keep film and television production jobs in California.[33]

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.[34] 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.[35]

Gatto was the lead Los Angeles negotiator for the California Water Bond of 2014, securing just under a billion dollars for the Los Angeles region to clean up polluted groundwater reservoirs, which were still full despite the California drought, so that the region did not need to import so much water from elsewhere.[36]

In 2015, Gatto introduced legislation to restrict the ability of government to store indefinitely the blood and DNA of newborn children and to crack down on government selling the blood to for-profit researchers for experimentation without the knowledge of parents.[37] He teamed up with Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey Kasem, to author a bill allowing adult children of seniors to obtain visitation rights for their loved ones.[38]

Also in 2015, Gatto authored a major probate reform bill that allows homeowners to pass their property to loved ones without hiring a lawyer, paying to create a trust, or facing the cost and bureaucracy of probate. Of this bill, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said, "Other than Proposition 13, there is no greater bill that we support for this year."[39]

In December 2015, Gatto was named Chairman of the Utilities and Commerce Committee, and immediately announced an investigation into the Aliso Canyon gas leak.[40] After a number of scandals rocked the California Public Utilities Commission, Gatto introduced a constitutional amendment to break up the agency.[41]

After his tenure concluded, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon appointed Gatto to the Delta Stewardship Council, an entity that handles water-supply and environmental issues pertaining to rivers.[42]

Analyses and awards[edit]

Gatto had the best attendance record in the legislature, and one of the longest streaks of not missing a vote for any legislator nationwide.[4][43] For example, 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.[44]

In 2013, Mike Gatto earned the Robert F. Kennedy Leadership Award from the San Fernando Valley Young Democrats.[45]

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.[3] Subsequent analyses by the same newspaper have confirmed the same.[4]

Gatto has been published in several publications on the topic of monetary and fiscal policy, and their effect on income inequality and wealth disparity.[46][47][48] He is a frequent guest on news, talk, and analysis shows.

Personal life[edit]

Gatto is married to Danielle Gatto.[2][9] They have two young daughters and a son.[49][50] He is a cousin to astronaut Mario Runco Jr.[51] Gatto was raised and is a practicing Roman Catholic.[8]

On November 12, 2013, Gatto's father, Joseph Gatto was murdered in a home-invasion robbery at his home in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California, at the age of 78.[52][53] The crime is unsolved.


  1. ^ "Assemblyman Gatto, About". Facebook. November 17, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e California State University-Fullerton Government Relations Department web page Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "See most, least independent state legislators". Archived from the original on August 5, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Final tally of lawmakers' votes: ayes, nays and taking a pass in 2015".
  5. ^ "Mike Gatto Introduces Ballot Initiative on Homelessness". October 10, 2019.
  6. ^ "Politico: Newsom's New Plan for Easing Street Suffering". Politico. March 4, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "About Mike". mikegatto.com.
  8. ^ a b "Family, friends remember Joseph Gatto, assemblyman's father, at los Feliz memorial". Los Angeles Daily News. November 25, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d "Assembly Member Mike Gatto Biography - Project Vote Smart". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Kevin Modesti (April 14, 2010). "Attorney Mike Gatto wins Democratic bid for vacant Assembly seat". Los Angeles Daily News.
  11. ^ Kevin Modesti (May 21, 2010). "Vote for Gatto: Fiscally minded and intelligent, he's the kind of legislator California needs". Los Angeles Daily News.
  12. ^ Bill Kisliuk (August 19, 2010). "Gatto introduces bill to ease pension burden following Bell scandal". Glendale News-Press. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  13. ^ "Political Landscape: Gatto's measure would help Rainy Day Fund". October 14, 2010.
  14. ^ "Political Landscape: Gatto garners post and speaker positions". Glendale News-Press. December 15, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  15. ^ a b Mark Kellam (August 11, 2012). "Gatto to Chair Appropriations Committee". Glendale News-Press. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  16. ^ Ovidiu Sandru (February 11, 2011). "New Bill Could Allow California to Harness Power Otherwise Lost as Cars Travel Over Pavement". The Green Optimistic. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  17. ^ "Gatto Receives Legislator of the Year Award". December 11, 2012.
  18. ^ "Gatto's Green Fuels Bill Signed into Law". September 30, 2012.
  19. ^ http://www.vannuysnewspress.com/2012/05/31/assemblyman-mike-gatto%E2%80%99s-green-fuels-bill-passes-assembly-moves-to-senate/. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ Short, April M. (April 3, 2012). "Homemade in California". Santa Cruz Good Times. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  21. ^ "Cottage Law: Helps California Entrepreneurs". KCRA. May 21, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  22. ^ Sibilla, Nick. "California Legalized Selling Food Made At Home And Created Over A Thousand Local Businesses". Forbes.
  23. ^ "Bill Text - AB-1658 Vehicles: specialized license plates". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.
  24. ^ "Special Interest License Plates".
  25. ^ "Not So Eager Meters". Los Angeles Downtown News - The Voice of Downtown Los Angeles.
  26. ^ "Editorial in Favor of Mike Gatto's AB 227".
  27. ^ "Issues". mikegatto.com.
  28. ^ "Sammy Nikolayev CPS case triggers statewide audit". Archived from the original on August 13, 2013.
  29. ^ "Can California ignite a prairie fire?".
  30. ^ "Gatto Legislation Would Create Alert System For Hit-and-Run Crashes". June 13, 2014.
  31. ^ "New law will finally require training teachers to report child abuse".
  32. ^ "New California Bill Would Change Rules for Reporting Rapes on College Campuses". Newsweek. January 6, 2014.
  33. ^ "To not nix pix, California must use tax trix". Los Angeles Times. April 21, 2014.
  34. ^ "State Assemblyman Mike Gatto Uses Wiki to Draft Laws". Los Angeles Daily News. March 13, 2014.
  35. ^ "Gatto: "X-Prize" Promotes Government Efficiency". Archived from the original on December 15, 2021 – via www.youtube.com.
  36. ^ "Update on the Water Bond". Los Angeles Times. June 26, 2014.
  37. ^ "Protect DNA Privacy". February 12, 2015.
  38. ^ "Casey Kasem's ordeal inspires law to curb elder abuse". July 15, 2015.
  39. ^ "Die In California, Save $10,000".
  40. ^ "Assemblyman Mike Gatto Makes Porter Ranch Gas Leak a Priority". December 30, 2015.
  41. ^ "Bill to overhaul CPUC passes Assembly". June 4, 2016.
  42. ^ "Delta Stewardship Council February 23-24, 2017 Meeting Cover Memo". deltacouncil.ca.gov. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017.
  43. ^ Phillip Reese (April 26, 2011). "During last session, legislators missed 48,600 votes". The Sacramento Bee "The Public Eye" blog. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  44. ^ "Sacramento Update".
  45. ^ "10th Annual RFK Awards". San Fernando Valley Young Democrats web page. Retrieved June 19, 2013
  46. ^ "Fed Monetary Police Feeds Political Controversies, by Mike Gatto". Los Angeles Daily News. August 21, 2014.
  47. ^ "The Hill: Electing The Next President Is Electing The Head of The Federal Reserve, by Mike Gatto". February 5, 2016.
  48. ^ "Feds Monetary Policies Stoke Income Inequality, by Mike Gatto". Los Angeles Daily News. June 4, 2015.
  49. ^ "CV Weekly: New Daughter for Mike Gatto". Crescent Valley Weekly. October 8, 2012.
  50. ^ "Young Families Join Legislators at Swearing In Day at the Capitol". Sacramento Bee. December 3, 2012. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013.
  51. ^ "Illustrious Laghitans from Around the World". Laghitani nel Mondo.
  52. ^ Bloomekatz, Ari (November 14, 2013). "Assemblyman Mike Gatto's father shot and killed in Silver Lake home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
  53. ^ "Assemblyman Mike Gatto's Father Found Shot". November 14, 2013.

External links[edit]