From her first days in office, Mara W. Elliott has transformed the Office of the City Attorney with her passion for protecting San Diego families. Mara Elliott is recognized as a national leader in preventing gun violence, a fierce champion for consumers and the environment, and a staunch protector of victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking.
As the first woman, the first Latina, and the first mother elected to her position, Mara has been fearless in standing up to special interests, safeguarding taxpayer dollars, and advancing programs that keep our most vulnerable citizens safe, particularly elders who face abuse and exploitation.
On taking office, Mara launched San Diego’s pioneering Gun Violence Restraining Order program to stop shootings by keeping dangerous people from having guns. Through Mara’s leadership, courts have removed more than 500 firearms, including 40 assault weapons, from people who posed a threat to themselves and others, including stalkers, disgruntled employees, and potential school shooters. San Diego is credited for spurring much of the statewide growth in the use of Gun Violence Restraining Orders (GVROs) according to a June 2020 study of California’s “red flag” law published by the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.
Mara also spearheaded San Diego’s Safe Storage of Firearms Ordinance which requires responsible storage of weapons in the home to prevent child access to guns and crack down on stolen guns. Mara’s innovative gun safety agenda has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post.
As City Attorney, Mara relaunched the San Diego Family Justice Center to bolster support for victims of domestic violence and expand its services to victims of sex trafficking. Every year, the Family Justice Center offers hundreds of San Diego families free legal, medical, counseling, and other support services in a safe and private setting. Mara also hired more domestic violence prosecutors to hold abusers accountable, achieving a 95% conviction rate.
Mara prioritized consumer and environmental protection and created the Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) Unit that takes on major corporate offenders: Experian for violating San Diegans’ privacy, Purdue Pharma for knowingly addicting vulnerable San Diegans to opioids, and Instacart for exploiting workers. Mara has prosecuted poachers and polluters who flout California’s environmental laws, and protected endangered elephants by prosecuting traffickers in the biggest ivory bust in California history.
In July of 2020, Mara Elliott was the first San Diego City Attorney to be named California's Public Lawyer of the Year. This annual award, given by the Public Law Section of the California Lawyers Association, goes to a public sector attorney who provides outstanding service to the public, possesses an exemplary reputation in the legal community, and demonstrates the highest ethical standards.
The daughter of a longshoreman father and immigrant mother, Mara was the first in her family to graduate college, attending University of California-Santa Barbara and McGeorge School of Law. Always dedicated to public service, Mara served as legal counsel to public schools, the transit district, and the County of San Diego. Mara served as a Chief Deputy City Attorney before winning election in 2016.
Mara is past president of the City Attorneys Association of San Diego County and currently serves as board president of the San Diego Law Library, an organization focused on ensuring access to justice. Mara and her husband, Greg, live in the Scripps Ranch community of San Diego with their two children.