Jeffrey S. Ballinger


Tel: (619) 525-1343


At a Glance

Jeff’s practice focuses on all aspects of local government law.
He is city attorney for the cities of Palm Springs, San Juan Capistrano and Indian Wells.
Jeff represents cities and special districts in court, at public meetings and in complex land use transactions.

Jeffrey S. Ballinger is a partner with Best Best & Krieger LLP and a member of the firm's Executive Committee. His practice emphasizes all aspects of governmental law, including the Brown Act, Public Records Act, and the Political Reform Act, planning/zoning and environmental/natural resources law. Jeff also has experience representing cities and special districts on issues involving the California Coastal Act of 1976.

Municipal Law
Jeff serves as city attorney for the cities of Palm Springs, San Juan Capistrano and Indian Wells, and is the former city attorney for the cities of Fontana and San Jacinto. In addition to his city attorney work, Jeff also serves as general counsel to the Chino Valley Independent Fire Protection District, the June Lake Public Utilities District, as well as the Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District. Jeff frequently advises cities and other local governmental agencies on the Brown Act, the Political Reform Act and the Public Records Act. He works hard to ensure that the governing boards and councils he advises operate legally and smoothly to best serve their constituents. In often politically charged atmospheres, Jeff’s calm influence helps keep intra-council relations positive as he helps them find common ground. 
Jeff is a chapter chair for the League of California Cities Municipal Law Handbook 2019 edition. He previously served on the League of California Cities Legal Advocacy Committee, including as chair. Jeff has also served on the League of California Cities Environmental Policy Committee. Jeff also serves on the Board of Advisors to the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, Executive Education Forum.

Recent projects include:

  • Assisted the City of San Juan Capistrano with the development of a hotel-incentive program, which resulted in the development of a five-star resort hotel project.
  • Helped the City of Big Bear Lake form a tourism improvement business district, which serves as a funding mechanism to collect assessments from the lodging businesses and two large ski resorts in the City. The revenues raised help market the City as a destination resort to boost tourism during the off-season.
  • Jeff was on the legal team that helped the City of San Jacinto overcome challenges to bringing a Wal-Mart into the City. He is putting that experience to use again in assisting the City of Fontana do the same. It is typically controversial when Wal-Mart wants to open a new location, and challenges often lead to litigation.
  • As local governments and other public agencies struggle to convert from paper to digital, Jeff is assisting the City of Fontana in its effort to create a paperless city hall. He is overseeing the drafting of ordinances, contracts and resolutions so that the City can format and store documents electronically in a way that is legal, yet promotes transparency.
  • Over the past decade, Jeff has assisted the City of Ontario with the design, funding and build-out of the New Model Colony, consisting of 13 acres, 7,396 single family dwelling units, nearly 1.4 million square feet of commercial/industrial development, and $150 million of public improvement financing. This build-out has included negotiating and drafting of a design and construction financing agreement as well as dozens of statutory development agreements, subdivision improvements agreements and development impact fee credit agreements with the developers of this land.

Jeff is putting his municipal law experience and knowledge on such issues as the Political Reform Act and the Public Records Act to use while providing as special counsel to LA28. The nonprofit, which he has served since 2015, was formed to bring the Olympics to Los Angeles in 2028.

Land Use, Planning & Zoning
Jeff represents both cities and special districts in court, at public meetings and in the course of complex land use transactions. He advises both public and private clients on matters including the Planning and Zoning law, the Subdivision Map Act and the California Environmental Quality Act. In addition, he has successfully defended land use and CEQA challenges both at the trial and appellate levels. Jeff’s experience includes serving as legal counsel to the planning commissions of five cities, one of whom – Fontana – was listed as one of the top three fastest growing cities in California. He has also assisted private parties in obtaining development approvals before cities and counties throughout California.

Originally, Jeff aimed to become a prosecutor, as he wanted to serve the community by keeping it safe. Prior to joining BB&K, Jeff worked at the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, as well as the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office in the Writs and Appeals Department. He also worked at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, gaining daily courtroom experience. He is glad that the work he does serving public agencies has a positive impact on the community.

While attending law school, Jeff served as a judicial intern for Judge Mitchell Goldberg in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. He was also editor of the USC Law Review. Jeff taught courses at his alma mater, the University of California, Riverside. He enjoys sailing, snowboarding and participating in physical endurance competitions to benefit charitable causes, including the AIDS LifeCycle and Tough Mudder. He also collects Swatch watches. Jeff and his husband live in San Diego. 


  • University of Southern California School of Law, J.D.
  • University of California, Riverside, B.S., sociology/law & society


  • California


  • League of California Cities, City Attorney's Department, Municipal Law Handbook Committee, 2019-2020


  • Order of the Coif
  • Trial Advocacy Awards for Best Opening Argument and Best Cross Examination
  • American Jurisprudence Award for Torts
Legal Alerts Jan 09, 2019

New Year, New Laws Impacting Public Agencies in California – Part I

2019 Brings Changes to Election, Revenue, Conflict of Interest, Property and Public Safety Laws… and More

Authored Articles & Publications Mar 01, 2018

New Laws Part II: 2018 Ushers in Changes to Land-Use, Development Laws


Authored Articles & Publications Feb 28, 2018

New Laws Part I: 2018 Brings Campaign, Election and Records Reforms


Legal Alerts Jan 11, 2018

2018 California Public Agency Laws – Part III

Cannabis, LAFCO Law and a Round Up of Other New Laws Impacting Public Agencies

Legal Alerts Jan 10, 2018

2018 California Public Agency Laws – Part II

Housing and Land Use, Environment, Public Property/Public Works and Economic Development

Legal Alerts Jan 09, 2018

2018 California Public Agency Laws – Part I

Elections, Public Records Act, Revenue and Conflicts of Interest

Legal Alerts Dec 21, 2017

New California Coastal Laws for 2018

Development, Accommodations, Sea Rise and Public Access

Authored Articles & Publications Aug 30, 2017

California Supreme Court Strengthens Development Permit Protections

By Jeffrey S. Ballinger

Legal Alerts Aug 17, 2017

Property Owner to Maintain Public Beach Access Over Coastal Property

California Court of Appeal Weighs in on California Coastal Act

Legal Alerts Jul 10, 2017

Property Owner Forfeited Right to Challenge Coastal Commission Permit by Constructing Seawall

California Supreme Court Decision Applies to Other Development Permits

Authored Articles & Publications Jan 06, 2017

Understanding the Basics of Public Service Ethics Laws

BB&K Attorneys Contributed to Update of ILG’s Flagship Ethics Resource

Legal Alerts Dec 22, 2016

Looking Forward: New California Laws for Public Agencies

Laws Passed in 2016 That Will Impact Public Agency Work

Legal Alerts Dec 14, 2016

BB&K Advocacy Brief: Proposition 54 and Local Governments

Is Transparency Law a Game Changer?

Legal Alerts Nov 17, 2016

Marijuana Legalization Creates New Challenges and Choices for Local Governments in California

Regulators Should Act to Ensure Communities are Prepared for Recreational Uses

  • “New California Laws Require New Ways of Operating Your Agency,” BBKnowledge, Jan. 26, 2017
  • Are You Complying? New 2015 Laws Affecting Public AgenciesPublicCEO, Jan. 14, 2015 (via BBKnowledge)
  • “When Attorneys Serve As Local Politicians,” Los Angeles Lawyer magazine
  • “Group Homes In The Neighborhood,” Western City magazine, September 2006

Contact Jeffrey S. Ballinger

Cookie Consent

By clicking “Agree,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance website navigation, analyze website usage and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Cookie Notice here.