skip to content

Harriet Steiner


500 Capitol Mall
Suite 1700
(916) 551-2821

Harriet Steiner is a partner in the Municipal Law practice group of Best Best & Krieger LLP. Prior to joining the firm in 2010, she was a shareholder with McDonough Holland & Allen in Sacramento.

Ms. Steiner’s practice focuses on public law, representing cities, special districts and joint powers agencies as city attorney, general counsel and special counsel. Her areas of specialty include land use, environmental law, telecommunications law and cable television franchising, wastewater and municipal water, and public financing. Ms. Steiner has worked on air quality and transportation matters, including the Clean Air Act and federal transportation requirements and funding, agreements between local governments and Indian tribes, and agricultural and habitat conservation easements.

In addition, Ms. Steiner 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 has represented public agencies in CEQA and land use litigation, election challenges, public financing and development impact fee challenges, and Proposition 218 litigation.

Ms. Steiner has served as city attorney for the City of Davis since 1986. She has assisted the City in the development of its agricultural mitigation ordinance for farmland and habitat preservation, its Affordable Housing Ordinance and its Middle Income/Work Force Housing Inclusionary Housing Ordinance.

Ms. Steiner serves as general counsel to the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Commission, which holds the cable television franchise for the county and the cities within the county. She also represents the City of Modesto on cable and telecommunications matters, as well as other local franchising entities. She has negotiated cable franchise renewals and transfers, franchises with cable overbuilders, and represented franchising entities in cable and wireless cellular tower litigation. She is currently representing municipal clients related to distributed antenna system (DAS) disputes.

Ms. Steiner has been liaison to the League of California Cities’ Committee on Revenue & Taxation. She is a member of the Southern California and Nevada chapters of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors and a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association Public Law Section. Ms. Steiner is a member of the State Bar of California and the League of California Cities. She is a past member of the Legal Advocacy Committee, the City Attorneys’ Legislative Committee and the Bond Financing Ad Hoc Committee related to legal counsel opinion letters, and past co-chair of PG&E’s Re-Franchising Committee.

Ms. Steiner is listed as one of The Best Lawyers in America® 2009-2015 in the municipal law category. She has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer for state, local and municipal law for the last seven years.


  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D. (1983)
  • State University of New York (SUNY), M.A. (1973)
  • State University of New York (SUNY), Harpur College, B.A. (1972)

Bar Admissions

  • California (1983)

Court Admissions

  • All state and federal courts in California
  • United States Supreme Court


  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Municipal Law & Municipal Litigation (2009-2017)
  • Sacramento Magazine Top Lawyers, State, Local & Municipal (2015-2016)
  • Sacramento Business Journal Best of the Bar (2015)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, State, Local & Municipal Law (2009-2015)
  • Super Lawyers Top Women Attorneys in Northern California (2014)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers - State, Local & Municipal Law (2010-2014)

Speaking Engagements

  • “Who Pays and How?”, Groundwater Law Conference, April 26, 2016
Harriet Steiner
  • Knox v. Orland (1992) 4 Cal.4th 132 – Represented the City of Orland before the California Supreme Court. This case upheld the use of park maintenance assessments under the Landscaping and Lighting Act against challenges that the assessment violated Proposition 13 special assessment law requirements. Many of the holdings in this case were the subject of Proposition 218 passed by the California voters in 1996.
  • Friends of Davis v. City of Davis (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 1004 – CEQA and land use case, upholding a design review approval for a new shopping area.
  • Oates v. City of Lincoln (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 25 – Successfully defended the City of Lincoln, upholding an assessment district bond refunding.
  • Christensen v. Yolo County (1993) 955 F.2d 161 – Defended the City of Davis, successfully upholding summary judgment in a taking case on the basis of ripeness.
  • Diamond Creek v. City of Lincoln (2003) (3rd Dist. Court of Appeal, Case No. C041050) – Represented the City of Lincoln and successfully defended the City against an award of attorneys’ fees at the conclusion of a CEQA case related to providing sewer service to an Indian Casino.
  • City of Sacramento v. Barden (2003) 537 U.S. 1231 – Filed amicus curiae brief on behalf of the National Association of Counties, California State Association of Counties, and individual counties in support of the City of Sacramento’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act in the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • City of Marina and Fort Ord Reuse Authority v. Board of Trustees of the California State University (2006) 29 Cal.4th 341) – Filed amicus curiae brief on behalf of the City of Davis in support of Fort Ord Reuse Authority’s argument that California State University had a duty to mitigate off-site impacts under CEQA.
  • Assessment District and Wastewater Treatment Plant Approvals and Financing – Represented a Community Services District on matters related to the financing of a wastewater treatment plant. Litigation included assessment district establishment and Proposition 218 compliance; Environmental Justice and Civil Rights claims, propriety of adoption of fees and approvals of state loans; challenges to the Regional Water Quality Control Board approval of waste discharge requirements and an initiative challenge to the plant approval.
Harriet Steiner
  • Co-author, "Appeals Court Holds Aesthetics is Legitimate Consideration in Siting Wireless Telecommunications Facilities," McDonough Public Law Legal Bulletin October 2009
  • Co-author, “OPR Submits Proposals for Analyzing Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Proposed Changes to CEQA Guidelines Recommend Consideration of Qualitative and Quantitative Factors in Determining Significance of Project Impacts," McDonough Public Law Legal Bulletin, April 2009
  • Co-author, "Supreme Court Invalidates Development Agreement Conditioned Upon CEQA Compliance – Save Tara v. City of West Hollywood," McDonough Public Law Legal Bulletin, November 2008
  • Co-author, “State Enacts Landmark “Anti-Sprawl” Legislation,” McDonough Public Law Legal Bulletin, October 2008
  • Co-author, “Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Open Space Assessment,” McDonough Public Law Legal Bulletin, August 2008
  • Co-Author, California Municipal Treasurer’s Handbook (CMTA - 1983, and updates)
  • Author, Public Needs, Private Dollars – chapter on financing, ongoing maintenance and operations of public facilities in New development (published by Solano Press, 1999, updated annually)

Send this page