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2 L.A. Political Veterans Picked to Advise Davis

Government: Former city attorney will screen judicial nominees; member of city Fire Commission will become governor's special assistant.


SACRAMENTO — Gov.-elect Gray Davis on Friday chose a pair of Los Angeles political veterans--Burt Pines and Michael R. Yamaki--as key advisors for his upcoming administration.

Yamaki, currently the president of the Los Angeles Fire Commission, was named special assistant to the governor.

Pines, a former Los Angeles city attorney, will be Davis' judicial appointments secretary.

In his influential new role, Pines will be responsible for screening and recommending the candidates Davis will consider for vacancies among the 1,580 posts in California's judiciary.

"I have known Burt for almost 30 years and I have a great regard for his legal abilities, judgment and integrity," said Davis, who will be sworn into office Jan. 4.

Davis' association with Pines dates back to the early 1970s, when Pines was first elected city attorney and Davis, fresh from military service in South Vietnam, was starting his political career in Tom Bradley's mayoral campaign.

Pines, currently a senior partner in the Century City law firm of Alschuler, Grossman & Pines, served as city attorney for eight years, ending in 1981. Previously, he worked as a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.

Pines, 59, graduated from USC and received his law degree from New York University.

A statement from the Davis transition office credited Pines with a reputation for "attracting highly qualified people to the city attorney's office and for opening its ranks to women and minorities."

Davis said that Yamaki will assist Pines in selecting appointments for the California bench.

The governor-elect said Yamaki will also advise Appointments Secretary Dario Frommer on candidates for nonjudicial posts in the government.

Before his appointment by Mayor Richard Riordan to the Los Angeles Fire Commission, Yamaki served on the Los Angeles Police Commission from 1991 to 1993. He is a graduate of UCLA.

With less than a month remaining until he takes office, Davis has named nearly a dozen members of his administration.

So far, the appointments have been limited to advisors who will form the governor's inner circle. Davis is expected to begin naming the members of his Cabinet next week.

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