Ron Deaton, highly effective advisor to L.A. Metropolis Council, dies


He was the consummate behind the scenes participant, advising and influencing the Los Angeles Metropolis Council on its most pressing points whereas staying out of the general public eye.

Ronald F. Deaton, the town’s chief legislative analyst from 1993 to 2004, supplied his experience because the council responded to the 1994 Northridge earthquake, handled the aftermath of main civil unrest and battled a years-long marketing campaign to break up the city.

When the mayor and council have been at odds, or council members weren’t talking to one another, Deaton served as a invaluable go-between, mentioned Zev Yaroslavsky, who served on the council and later the county Board of Supervisors.

“Folks trusted him, as a result of on the finish of the day, he beloved the town. He beloved governance,” mentioned Yaroslavsky, a longtime buddy who’s now director of the Los Angeles Initiative on the UCLA Luskin College of Public Affairs. “For those who wished to get one thing completed, you went to him.”

Deaton died Tuesday after a chronic sickness at his house in Ensenada, Mexico, mentioned his son David Deaton. He was 77.

A lifelong Republican working in a politically liberal metropolis, Deaton logged greater than 40 years inside L.A authorities. He spent three years operating the Division of Water and Energy, the company the place he began and completed his profession.

Nonetheless, he wielded the best affect within the chief legislative analyst’s workplace, the place he suggested the 15-member council on poll measures, public works initiatives and the protracted battle over whether or not the San Fernando Valley ought to secede from Los Angeles and change into its personal metropolis.

Ron Deaton, right, chief legislative analyst, with former Councilman Hal Bernson.

Former Chief Legislative Analyst Ron Deaton, proper, with former Councilman Hal Bernson.

(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Instances)

Typically known as the “16th council member,” Deaton negotiated the phrases of federal oversight of the Los Angeles Police Division. He helped craft the deal points for financing Staples Heart, the sector that opened close to the town’s Conference Heart in 1999. And he suggested council members as they sparred with secessionists over the language of a Valley breakaway poll measure, which voters defeated in 2002.

Deaton additionally pushed for the $300-million seismic retrofit and restoration of Metropolis Corridor, regardless of objections that the venture was too costly, mentioned former Metropolis Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, who served on the council from 1997 to 2005.

“There have been loads of forces who mentioned ‘Tear it down. It’s not economical. And we are able to achieve this way more with the land,’” Miscikowski informed The Instances in 2017. “Positively, Metropolis Corridor nonetheless stands due to Ron Deaton.”

Deaton was born in Lengthy Seashore on Jan. 12, 1943, to Nellie and Olon Deaton, who moved to Southern California from Arkansas throughout the Mud Bowl. After attending school, he took a job with the DWP in 1965.

He began within the utility’s gross sales division, selling all-electric Gold Medallion houses, and rapidly met Ellery Boyle, a typist and receptionist who labored on the identical flooring. The 2 started carpooling and have been married in 1966.

Deaton finally transferred out of the DWP and by 1976 was working within the chief legislative analyst’s workplace. He landed the division’s high job 17 years later.

City Attorney James Hahn listens to Ron Deaton, L.A.'s Chief Legislative Analyst.

Metropolis Lawyer James Hahn listens to Ron Deaton, L.A.’s chief legislative analyst, in Might 2000.

(Rick Meyer/Los Angeles Instances )

Whereas in that publish, Deaton confirmed newly elected council members how the town labored and the way they may very well be simpler, mentioned Councilman Mike Hernandez, who represented neighborhoods similar to Westlake, Chinatown and Lincoln Heights.

“Principally, he helped me change into a greater coverage maker,” mentioned Hernandez, who stepped down in 2001.

Deaton dealt with a protracted listing of poll measures that generated funds for brand new parks, libraries, animal shelters, police stations and zoo services. He additionally labored to make sure the town preserved a few of its most vital landmarks, together with Griffith Observatory, Van Nuys Metropolis Corridor and Point Fermin Lighthouse in San Pedro.

Mayor Eric Garcetti, whereas serving on the council, labored with Deaton on a 2004 clean water bond measure, which supplied funding to revive Echo Park Lake and different park land.

“The whole writing of it was one thing he taught me tips on how to do,” Garcetti mentioned. “He was a fabulous instructor. He knew when to present you a lecture, when to again off … and he wasn’t too proud to be taught new methods.”

Deaton’s affect started to wane within the wake of time period limits, with a brand new crop of metropolis lawmakers taking workplace in 2001. Some felt Deaton was making an attempt to dictate the end result of key council choices.

In 2004, he took the highest job on the DWP. Deaton retired three years later, after struggling a cardiac arrhythmia throughout a visit to Costa Rica. Though he by no means sought or publicly confirmed any curiosity in operating for workplace, his spouse received a seat on the Seal Seashore Metropolis Council in 2010.

Deaton is survived by his spouse; his brother, Gary Deaton, and his spouse Pleasure; his youngsters David Deaton, Daniel Deaton, Deidre Davis and Dara Loftis, in addition to their spouses, and 12 grandchildren.