Harriet A. Steiner



Tel: (916) 551-2821


At a Glance

Harriet represents cities, special districts and joint powers agencies as city attorney, general counsel and special counsel.
She has appeared on The Best Lawyers in America® list for Municipal Law & Municipal Litigation every year since 2009.
Harriet advises on all aspects of land use approvals, CEQA compliance, public financing and Proposition 218.

Harriet Steiner’s practice focuses on public law, representing cities, special districts and joint powers agencies as city attorney, general counsel and special counsel. A partner in Best Best & Krieger LLP’s Municipal Law practice group, her background includes:

  • Land use
  • Environmental law
  • Telecommunications law and cable television franchising
  • Wastewater and municipal water
  • Public financing 

Land Use and Environmental Utility Rate Setting 
Harriet advises public agencies on land use approvals, including negotiation of development agreements, compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, public financing and Proposition 218 compliance. She represented public agencies in CEQA and land use litigation, election challenges, public financing and development impact fee challenges, and Proposition 218 litigation.
Harriet represented the City of Davis in the restructuring of its water fees to facilitate a new surface water project; challenges to the fees included initiative measures, election issues and a Proposition 218 challenge in which the City prevailed in the trial court and then successfully settled the case, allowing the project and amended water fees to move forward.

Litigation matters she has handled include:

  • Knox v. Orland, 4 Cal.4th 132, upholding Landscaping and Lighting District, 1992
  • Friends of Davis v. City of Davis, 83 Cal.App.4th 1004 CEQA; design review approval challenge 2000
  • Oates v. City of Lincoln, 93 Cal.App.4th 25, defense of refinancing of Marks Roos bonds, 2001
  • LandValue 77, LLC v. Board of Trustees Kashian, Fifth District Court, 193 Cal.App.4th 673 Government Code section 1090, CEQA Challenge; Attorneys’ fees, 2011
  • City of Hayward v. CSU, First District Court, 242 Cal.App.4th 833, 2015 Cal. Lexis 1371, petition for review denied - returned to trial court - CEQA challenge, 2015
  • Yolo Ratepayers for Affordable Public Utility Services v. City of Davis, Yolo County Superior Court, Case No. CV 13-187, settled after mediation and dismissed, 2015
  • Supporters of Responsible Planning in Davis v. City of Davis, Yolo County Superior Court, Case No. PT15-1442, pending trial court CEQA challenge, 2015

City Attorney
As city attorney for the City of Davis from 1986 until 2019, Harriet assisted the City on, among other matters, the development and implementation of its agricultural mitigation ordinance for farmland and habitat preservation; its Affordable Housing Ordinance; the creation of a joint powers agency with the County for Community Choice Electricity; and creation and implementation of water and sewer rates, associated with new water and sewer projects, including litigation challenging these rates under Proposition 218.

Harriet serves as general counsel to the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Television Commission, which holds the cable television franchise for the county and the cities within the county and now implements the DIVCA franchises in the County. She assisted the Commission in the development of a robust fiber institutional network for the schools in Sacramento known as BestNet. She also represents the cities of Davis, Piedmont, Oakland, Paso Robles, and others in telecommunications matters. She has drafted telecommunications ordinances, negotiated cable franchises and franchises with cable over-builders, negotiated and drafted fiber network agreements, cellular tower and DAS lease agreements, and represented local entities on telecommunications siting applications and permitting, in cable and wireless cellular tower litigation.

Prior to joining BB&K, she was a shareholder with McDonough Holland & Allen in Sacramento. She is admitted to practice in all federal courts located in California and the California Supreme Court.


  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D.
  • State University of New York, M.A.
  • State University of New York, Harpur College, B.A.


  • California


  • Attorney Development and Succession for the City Attorneys’ Department of the League of California Cities, 2019-2020
  • League of California Cities’ Committee on Revenue & Taxation, liaison
  • Southern California and Nevada chapters of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors
  • Sacramento County Bar Association Public Law Section, past president
  • League of California Cities

Contact Harriet A. Steiner

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