Steinberg pondering run for Sacto DA

April 22, 2013

By Katy Grimes


The current buzz around the Capitol City is Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, will run for Sacramento District Attorney in 2014.

Steinberg, 53, has worked as an Employee Rights Attorney for the California State Employees Association prior to running for public office in 1992. Since then, he’s spent all but two years holding political office: Sacramento city council member, 1992-98; state assemblyman 1998-2004, then the state Senate from 2006 until now. He’s term-limited out of office in 2014. It’s the common musical-chairs routine, staying in office but switching seats because of term limits.

The CSEA, a public employee labor union, is affiliated with the SEIU, and represents more than 141,000 state employees.

His biography says, “Prior to state public service Steinberg worked for ten years at the California State Employees Association as an employee rights attorney, and as an Administrative Law Judge and mediator.” But the dates are not listed.

His bio on the Sacramento Bar Association reads differently: “For the six years prior to his election to the Assembly in 1998, Darrell Steinberg balanced his duties on the Sacramento City Council against the demands of his legal career, first as an employment lawyer and later as an administrative law judge and as a private arbitrator and mediator.”

“When Steinberg was elected to the City Council in 1992, he cut his time at CSEA to half-time in order to meet the demands of public service,” the Bar Association bio says. “In 1994, he left CSEA to become an administrative law judge for the State Personnel Board. Two years later, Steinberg joined Mackenroth, Ryan & Fong, a Sacramento law firm in which one of his law school friends, Rob Fong is a partner. While on the City Council, Steinberg maintained a private arbitration and mediation practice at the firm. Since being elected to the Legislature, Steinberg has remained of counsel there.”

Steinberg’s professional history has little of the relevant experience usually expected of a District Attorney.


Sacramento’s current District Attorney, Jan Scully, “worked as a deputy district attorney in the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. “Five years later, Jan became a supervising attorney, supervising various prosecution teams including Adult Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse, Felony Trials, and Research and Training,” her bio says. Scully was and is the real deal.

With the significant rise in crime across the state thanks to Gov. Jerry Brown’s prison realignment law (AB 109), Sacramento needs a tough-on-crime DA, and not a political office placeholder, waiting for higher office.

It is important to note Steinberg also has taken out a committee to run for Lieutenant Governor. It is obvious that he is not going back to the private sector, either way, despite his affiliation with Mackenroth, Ryan & Fong.

The music is playing and we’ll soon see where he tries to sit down.

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