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James Hill

Attorney James Hill promises increased attention to residents' needs if elected to council.

February 11, 2011|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

For James Hill, good city government has a secret ingredient: “representation.” After recently serving four years on the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission, he concluded that City Council members could learn a thing or two about the word.

Hill, 60, has made a career of representation. As deputy county counsel, he speaks for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services in juvenile dependency court.

“As a lawyer I know how to represent a client. As a City Council member I’d be representing a constituent, which is a little bit different, but representation is representation,” Hill said, “and we need more of it.”

Hill first moved to La Cañada Flintridge in 1973, and for 28 years volunteered as a reserve deputy for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department — “until I became too old and fat to chase bad guys around,” he joked.

Though not actively seeking endorsements or campaign contributions, Hill was one of three candidates to get a thumbs-up from the La Cañada Flintridge Republican Committee.

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Making a point of publishing his home phone number in the city’s sample election ballot, Hill touts openness to communication with residents and experience in both county and city governments as strengths that will help him deliver a more user-friendly City Hall.

Valley Sun: Briefly explain why you want to be on the council and your top priority if elected.

James Hill: While I was on the Planning Commission I saw that the City Council isn’t doing what they should be doing, which is representing the people. There is a lot of split-the-baby [a compromise reached in lieu of a decision for the convenience of the decision-maker, he later explained]. Agreement is wonderful, but if it doesn’t happen then the council has to make a decision. Representation is one thing we haven’t seen a lot of, and that’s what I really want to change.

What would you describe as the city’s most important accomplishment over the past several years?

The city has maintained its character as a wonderful place to live. We’ve seen a lot of problems in other cities that we just don’t see here.

What would you identify as a missed opportunity?

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