City Appoints Best Best & Krieger Partner as Interim City Attorney

John C. Cotti

Malibu City Council has appointed attorney John C. Cotti to fill departing city attorney Christi Hogin’s role. Hogin’s last day with the city is Monday, Dec. 14, the same day three incoming council members will be sworn in.

Cotti is a partner at Best Best & Krieger, the firm where Hogin also worked and which remains contracted with the City of Malibu to provide attorney services. 

Hogin announced in November that she would be retiring to spend more time with her grandson. She served the City of Malibu beginning before its incorporation in 1990, advising on issues ranging from the drafting of an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals to fighting against the implementation of a new sewer system. Hogin was also the city attorney for the cities of Lomita, Artesia and Palos Verdes estates; she will be stepping down from those positions, as well.  

Hogin’s departure coincides with the elections of three city council members, meaning the majority of the five-member city council will be new. 

Because of this reason, Mayor Mikke Pierson said at the special Dec. 10 city council meeting, the current council unanimously appointed Cotti to serve in the interim period while the city council begins its term. Cotti’s appointment means the three new city council members will be able to have a say when the time comes to appoint a new permanent city attorney. 

The role of the city attorney was a topic of debate throughout this fall’s city council campaign, with at least one candidate, Bruce Silverstein, pledging to work to remove Hogin as city attorney if elected. 

“It’s time, I hope, to turn down the heat of the campaign and shift into governing mode,” Pierson said during the Thursday meeting. “By appointing an interim city attorney to meet the immediate needs of the city, we are hoping to create space for this new council to work together. John Cotti is a seasoned, knowledgeable city attorney. I’m confident that he will be able to assist the council during this transition.”

Pierson further described Cotti at the meeting as someone who “has assisted Malibu matters over the years and has worked in coastal cities” and who “knows the Coastal Act,” which Pierson said was very important to the council. 

Cotti also serves as the city attorney for Santa Paula in Ventura County. According to the Best Best & Krieger website, Cotti “regularly defends [Santa Paula] clients from First Amendment, environmental, land use, election and mobile home regulation challenges,” and “negotiated the sale of [Santa Paula’s] former wastewater treatment facility and the purchase of its new wastewater recycling facility.”

Cotti did not attend the virtual meeting, but Hogin, city manager Reva Feldman and assistant city attorney Trevor Rusin were present.