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Name: Isenberg, Phil
Current Position: Chairman

A former mayor of Sacramento, Phillip L. Isenberg was appointed to the Delta Stewardship Council in 2010 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and elected chairman by his colleagues that year.

The Gary, Indiana, native received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social science and government from California State University, Sacramento and a doctor of jurisprudence from the University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law in 1967.

Upon graduation, Isenberg went to work in the San Francisco law office of Democrat Willie Brown, future speaker of the Assembly and mayor of San Francisco. Two years later, Isenberg returned to Sacramento and opened his own law office.

Isenberg, a Democrat, was elected to the Sacramento City Council in 1971 and served until being elected mayor in 1975. He held that post until 1982, when he was elected to the state Assembly. His legislative district included the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and during his tenure in the Assembly, which lasted until 1996, he focused on land use planning, water and resource issues, state budget and fiscal matters, redevelopment reform and healthcare. Isenberg was assistant speaker pro tempore from 1986-1988 and chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee from 1989-1996. 

Governor Gray Davis tapped him to help prepare his 1999-2000 budget, and he performed the same function the following two years. He served as chairman of the Marine Life Protection Blue Ribbon Task Force from 2004-2006 and chaired the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force from 2007-2008. Recommendations from that task force served as a basis for the structure of delta reform adopted by the state Legislature and signed into law in 2009.

From 1977-2004, Isenberg maintained a private law practice as counsel for Miller, Owens and Trost, Attorneys at Law. He also served as president of  the lobbying firm Isenberg-O’Haren Government Relations from 2004-2010. The firm received $323,735 in years 2007-2010 from the Irvine Ranch Water District in Southern California, a major supporter of the controversial peripheral canal proposal (opposed by delta environmentalists) that would facilitate increased shipping of water south.


Council Members (DSC website)

Phillip Isenberg (Wikipedia)

Phil Isenberg (California Water Law Symposium)

Achieving the Delta Plan’s Co-equal Goals (San Francisco Estuary Partnership) (pdf)

Phil Isenberg's Business Ties to the Irvine Ranch Water District (by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta)

O’Haren Government Relations Lobbying Activity, 2007-08 (Secretary of State’s office)

O’Haren Government Relations Lobbying Activity, 2009-10 (Secretary of State’s office)

In History's Spotlight: Phil Isenberg (Sacramento Bee)


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