Obituary written by Nikki Lovell Dana
We are sad to announce the passing of John Lovell, John was born on December 8th, 1944, in Madison, Wisconsin. He was a renowned lawyer and lobbyist of Sacramento, California, who died on March 30, 2023, at the age of 78. In his profession, Mr. Lovell was passionate about serving the community for nearly 50 years.
In 1966, he earned his bachelor's degree in government from Cornell Universirty and later went on in 1969 to finish in the top 10% of his class at UCLA School of law. John served as Chief Counsel for 2 years for the Los Angles City Attorney, and the Legislative Counsel for the Los Angeles District Attorney for 8 years. John also served as a co-chair for the 1984 Olympic Games Government Relations Committee.
Upon relocating to Sacramento in 1992, Mr. Lovell opened his own law offices with the focus on Legislative Advocacy that centered around California State Government. He continued his practice for more than 30 years.
Mr. Lovell is survived by his wife, Mariaelena Lovell and his sister, Marion "Nikki" Lovell Dana (Cecil Dana) and his nephews Joseph Hakim Dana and Colin Lovell Dana.
John left us far too soon and he will be truly missed.
Obituary by close friend Paul Curry
Typically, at this time, John Lovell, my long-time friend, and lobby partner, would be crafting the legislative update for CCSO and his other clients. Unfortunately, I am saddened to report that John passed away on March 30, 2023, at the age of 78.
were of different political views, we were always able to discuss issues and positions without becoming disagreeable with each other. John taught me the importance of finding a middle ground with my opponents, which usually reduces or removes their opposition to any legislation you're promoting. At presidential election times, we had a standing joke that the winner would always be there to talk the loser off the edge of the building.
John started his lobbying career after obtaining his bachelor's degree from Cornell University on an academic scholarship where he participated on the football and boxing teams. He received his law degree from UCLA School of Law, graduating in the top 10% of the class. He was a member of the California State Bar for over 50 years. John began his career representing major corporations like Earnest Gallo, DuPont Company, and Donald Trump before moving to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Finding a match representing law enforcement, John spent the remainder of his long and storied career on the front lines defending and advocating for public safety issues. Representing the California Peace Officers Association, one of the oldest organizations in the state, he was instrumental in starting the Law Enforcement Legislative Summit. This summit brings together all the law enforcement associations and their advocates for a day of information sharing and collaboration. John went on to represent the California Police Chief's Association, California Narcotic Officers Association, California Code Enforcement Officers, California College and University Police Chiefs, Los Angeles County Police Chiefs Association, Los Angeles Professional Peace Officers, and the California Correctional Supervisors Organization.
John and I began representing CCSO in 2005 with the goal of raising CCSO's profile in the legislature and in the law enforcement advocacy ecosystem. Over the last 18 years, we have seen our president honored for the organization's legislative successes, which have benefited the entire law enforcement community. In addition, CCSO has seen several of our legislative proposals signed into law. As a result, CCSO now has a permanent seat at the legislative table, with legislators seeking our opinions on proposed legislation.
John gave a talk at one of the annual conferences where he explained how all legislation is local and that the folks who engage their legislators at their district offices (local} can enormously affect how the legislator views an issue. During that talk, John encouraged each member to reach out to their elected representative. As he said, "If you are not at the table, you are on the menu".
John was very passionate about representing his clients and could always be counted on to do the necessary work to get the job done. He felt that having his clients' members become active in local politics would help their association achieve success in the Capitol, even if they had limited resources. Training these grassroots lobbyists helped John stop legislation harmful to public safety backed by sizeable political action committees and wealthy donors.
Throughout his career, his legislative track record is unmatched, with over ninety-nine percent (99%) of the bills he has lobbied for being enacted. The Los Angeles Daily Journal once did a series on lawyers/lobbyists in Sacramento and stated, "John Lovell is one of the most respected lobbyists at the Capitol."
John has been given many awards, including the California Police Chiefs Association's Distinguished Service Medal (2014}, The California Narcotic Officers Association Captain John F. Kerrigan Award (2003), and the California Peace Officers Association Bud Hawkins Award (2021).
John was known for his ability to communicate his clients' positions effectively. He sometimes used polite but colorful language, drawing on absurd or comical references. Many in the capital will never forget his characterization of a bill returning after being defeated the previous year as "a dog returning to his own vomit." There was also the time he opposed a group providing training and equated that to "Ted Kennedy teaching a water safety class."
A funny story he liked to tell people when we were together was about a time when we were walking down the street in front of the Capitol and passed a homeless person begging. John stopped to check his wallet to give the man some money. Realizing that he had no cash, he started walking and asked me if I could loan him $5.00. Thinking he would use the money for lunch, I gave him a five-dollar bill, and he turned and walked back to the man and gave it to him.
I told John that was a typical Democrat move, take from someone else to give to the poor. John was always a generous giver both on the street and at his church.
The Capitol lobby corps will miss John as a resource on legislative history in the public safety arena. He worked on several statewide initiatives dealing with everything from animal cruelty, illegal narcotics trafficking, anc! retail theft. His grassroots approach was able to mobilize vast numbers of voters to support the positions that he was advocating. Over the years, the attacks on public safety made advocating for law enforcement much more difficult, but John took it in stride and worked harder. Working up to his last day on behalf of his clients, he fulfilled his desire to work until he died.
I will miss the counsel and advice of our friend John Lovell but know that he is with his Lord and Savior in a much better place.
John is survived by his loving wife, Mariaelena Lovell, his sister Marion "Nikki" Lovell Dana, and his nephews, Joseph Hakim Dana and Colin Lovell Dana.