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As a trusted advisor to municipalities, special districts, and joint powers agencies throughout California, Alexandra M. Barnhill brings extensive expertise in land use, public revenue, and municipal law matters.
Currently serving as General Counsel for the Livermore-Amador Valley Water Management Agency, California CLASS, and the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District, Alexandra has experience across multiple sectors within municipal law. She previously served as the Assistant City Attorney in Rohnert Park and Carpinteria. Additionally, Alexandra acts as Special Counsel for multiple municipalities, further expanding her legal reach.
With a Certificate of Specialization in Environmental Law, Alexandra possesses a detailed understanding of environmental compliance, land use planning, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Drawing upon this knowledge, she guides her clients through the complex process of permitting and development entitlement. Alexandra has an extensive track record of meticulously reviewing applications for discretionary land use permits and assisting her clients in making informed findings and satisfying public hearing requirements. She advises lead agencies on the appropriate environmental documentation necessary for approvals and reviews environmental
impact reports (EIRs), mitigated negative declarations (MNDs), negative declarations (NDs), and exemptions, ensuring their legal adequacy.
Local government clients frequently seek out Alexandra for advice on generating municipal revenue in full compliance with applicable regulations, including the Mitigation Fee Act, Propositions 13, 218, and 26. She has successfully assisted numerous local agencies in establishing and adjusting rates for essential services such as water, sewer, and solid waste management. She has also skillfully negotiated franchise fee agreements when private companies use public agency resources. Furthermore, Alexandra offers counsel to clients on the nuances of imposing general or special taxes, ensuring compliance with all applicable restrictions on ballot measure advocacy.
Alexandra’s expertise also extends to more traditional areas of public law. She possesses an in-depth understanding of the Public Records Act and the Ralph M. Brown Act, guiding her clients on their transparency obligations. Alexandra is considered an authority on conflicts of interest and related laws, including the Political Reform Act. She provides comprehensive advice and delivers lectures on
achieving compliance with these governmental ethics laws.
With a passion for sharing knowledge, Alexandra actively engages as a public speaker and writer, contributing to the legal community through insightful discussions and publications.
As a Senior Partner at our Oakland-based law firm, Alexandra M. Barnhill is committed to providing exceptional legal representation, strategic counsel, and expert guidance to clients in the realm of municipal law. Her extensive experience, specialized knowledge, and unwavering dedication make her a valuable asset to clients navigating the complexities of local government and environmental legal matters.
- “Complying with the Brown Act During a Pandemic”
- “Transparency Laws Orientation for New Public Officials”
- “Special Tax Approval at 50%? The Tug of War over Local Government Revenues”
- “Development Impact Fees: When Does ‘Fair Share’ Go Too Far?”
- “Getting to Yes! Strategies to Protect or Generate Local Funding”
- “A.B. 1234 Ethics Training: Keeping your Hands Clean and Your Decisions Transparent”
- “Ethics Essentials for Public Agencies: AB 1234 Training”
- “Governance Foundations: The Building Blocks for Effective Board, Staff and Public Relations”
- “Everything You Wanted to Know about the Brown Act (But Were Afraid to Ask)”
- “The Brown Act: Are You Doing it Right?”
- “Advanced Training in the California Public Records Act”
- “Legal Limbo: When Initiatives and CEQA Collide”
- “Best Practices for Making Informed Land Use Decisions”
- “Special District Fees, Assessments and Taxes in a Prop. 218 World”
- “LAFCOs and Levies: What Staff Should Know about Props 218 and 26”
- “California Public Records Act Compliance Manual for Special Districts,” contributing author, California Special District Association (CSDA) 2015.
- “Ask the Expert Column,” CSDA Magazine, June 2013.
- “Legislative Year in Review for Land Use Planners,” The Northern News, 2012 and 2013.
- “When CEQA and Initiatives Collide, Planners Need to be Prepared,” NorCalAPA, June 2013.
- “The Legal Framework for Land Use Decisions,” NorCalAPA, April 2012.
- “R.I.P. RDAs,” The Northern News, March 2012.
- “The New Universe of Land Use Initiatives: Project Permitting through the Ballot Box,” League of California Cities, City Attorney’s Spring Conference, May 2011.
- “California’s Prop 26: Levies, Taxes and Fees, Oh My!” The Open Space, January 2011.
- “Entrenching the Status Quo: Ninth Circuit Interprets Preemption Doctrines to Allow Local Regulation of Environmental Problems If It Meets the Lowest Common Denominator,” 2004 Ecology L. Q., Vol 31, Issue 3
Alexandra received her law degree from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2005.