Marco A. Gonzalez


[email protected]

Practice Areas

  • Action Sports
  • Business/Corporate
  • Election Law
  • Environment/Land Use
  • Government/Elections
  • Open Government
  • Real Estate
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

About Marco

Marco Gonzalez is a cofounder and Managing Partner of Coast Law Group LLP, where he oversees the firm’s Environment & Land Use, Government Relations, and Election Law practice area groups. Marco also regularly assists with matters under the Real Estate, Action Sports, Business, and Litigation practice groups.

In addition to recognition as a “San Diego Super Lawyer” in 2008 and 2009, Marco was one of ten attorneys awarded the San Diego Daily Transcript’s “Top Attorney” designation in its multi-disciplinary Transcript 10 category for 2011.

Widely regarded for his leadership in the environmental arena, Marco has successfully negotiated and litigated complex disputes on behalf of numerous non-profit environmental organizations and community groups throughout California.

As the founder and executive director of the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF), Marco is at the core of activist attorneys taking on high-profile and publicly controversial matters related to climate change adaptation, water supply and desalination, fireworks over water, public transit and biking infrastructure, and the provision of affordable housing in coastal communities. In political matters, Marco advises progressive candidates and elected officials on environmental and campaign issues at the local, regional, and state levels.

While best known for his environmental protection practice, Marco also has extensive experience representing responsible developers and small businesses in land use entitlement/permitting matters. With more than 20 years spent fighting development projects, clients are sometimes surprised to find out that during that time, Marco has successfully entitled major hotel developments, marina expansions, residential subdivisions, and industrial/commercial facilities. With this experience, Marco is one of very few San Diego attorneys respected by community, business, labor, and governmental stakeholders to drive collaborative land use and development processes to regulatory approval. Examples of successful efforts on large scale multi-party projects include the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan and City of San Diego Pure Water project.

Throughout the County, Marco also represents restaurants, bars, and nightclubs seeking permits and permit modifications from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and local jurisdictions.

In addition to his efforts in these areas, Marco provides business consulting, transactional, and litigation support to established corporations, start-up companies, film makers, and professional athletes involved in the surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and cycling industries.

Prior to founding CLG, Marco was the Senior Attorney with San Diego Baykeeper (now “Coastkeeper”), an environmental organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of coastal resources throughout San Diego County. He was also the founder and director of the San Diego Baykeeper Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and Chairman/Legal Counsel for the Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter.

Marco has lectured extensively at universities and conferences on a diverse array of environmental issues such as Clean Water Act citizen suit enforcement, desalination policy, land use and planning/smart growth, transit and transportation, coastal armoring and seawall policy, and Mexico-U.S. border water quality. Marco also regularly makes time to speak with law students and new lawyers interested in pursuing careers in environmental law.

Marco’s focus on environmental issues began with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in biology and environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz (1992). After pursuing graduate studies in conservation biology at San Francisco State University (1993), Marco achieved his Juris Doctor from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon (1997). He was shortly thereafter admitted to the California Bar.

When not working on cases and managing CLG, Marco can often be found surfing alternative board designs at Cardiff Reef, chasing Tuna offshore of San Diego, or mountain biking local trails around North SD County. Marco currently resides in Encinitas with his wife and two young children.

Extremely active in the legal, political, and environmental communities, Marco’s professional associations include:

• California State Bar, Environmental/Land Use Section, 1997 –
• San Diego County Bar Association, Environmental/Land Use Section, 1997-
• Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter

  • Vice-Chairman, 1998, 2003
  • Chairman, 1999-2002
  • Advisory Board Founder, Chairman & Legal Coordinator, 2004-2007

• State of California, AB 982 Public Advisory Group (TMDL Policy)
• State of California, Desalination Task Force

  • Environmental Community/Surfrider Foundation Representative

• San Diego Bay Council, Co-founder and Legal Advisor
• San Diego Baykeeper Environmental Law and Policy Clinic

  • Co-founder and Director, 2000-2004
  • Senior Attorney and Advisor, 2004-2010

• California Western School of Law, Pro Bono Honors Program Mentor
• California State Bar, Environmental Negotiations Competition Mentor
• Progressive San Diego, Founding Trustee
• Past and present environmental clients include:

  • Surfrider Foundation
  • San Diego Coastkeeper
  • San Diego League of Conservation Voters
  • Vote the Coast
  • Save Our Forest and Ranchlands
  • Cleveland National Forest Foundation
  • Heal the Ocean
  • Heal the Bay
  • Environmental Health Coalition
  • Keep the North Shore Country
  • Santa Monica Bay Restoration Foundation
  • Citizens for Responsible Equitable Environmental Development
  • Planning and Conservation League
  • Sierra Club
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • San Diegans for Open Government
  • San Diego Affordable Housing Coalition

• Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation

  • Founder and Legal Director, 2008 –


In The Media

• The Coast News – July 31, 2014 Residents sue over housing project
• CBS 8 – June 17, 2014 La Jolla will have fireworks on the 4th after all
• La Jolla Patch – June 17, 2014 City Settles Legal Dispute over La Jolla July 4th Fireworks Show
• – June 16, 2014 Carlsbad $1 billion desalination plant is a “test case”
• The Eco – June 2, 2014 The Western Hemisphere’s Largest Seawater Desalination Plant
• La Jolla Blue Book – April 29, 2014 La Jolla Cove 4th of July Fireworks
• East County Magazine – March 28, 2014 Attorney Sends Public Records Request to Descanso Community Water District
• Fox 5 San Diego – January 14, 2014 Escondido says no to 99-cent store
• San Diego Magazine – January 2014 50 People to Watch Follow-Up: Donna Frye
• – December 10, 2013 San Diego Seeks A Swifter Current For Water Recycling
• Seaside – December 6, 2013 Trouble brewing between bar owners and residents in downtown Encinitas
• – November 12, 2013 Vote scheduled Wednesday for controversial Huntington Beach desalination plant
• – September 23, 2013 Trio Says Making Public Harassment Allegations Against Filner Was Wrenching
• ABC 10 – September 21, 2013 Filner whistleblowers speak out after resignation
• San Diego CityBeat – September 17, 2013 How Donna Frye, Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs ended Bob Filner’s political career
• Associated Press – August 31, 2013 San Diego mayor leaving today
• CTV News – August 30, 2013 San Diego mayor keeps low profile on last day, resigning amid harassment allegations
• Yahoo News – August 30, 2013 San Diego mayor’s indiscretions went unnoticed
• Huffington Post – August 29, 2013 San Diego Special Election To Replace Bob Filner Set For November 19
• CNN – July 31, 2013 Secrets that women of San Diego no longer keep about its mayor
• Hispanic – July 28, 2013 Intern: San Diego Mayor ‘Berated, Belittled Women’
• – July 26, 2013 Intern witnessed Filner headlocking women!
• San Diego CityBeat – July 17, 2013 Bob Filner must resign
• NPR – July 16, 2013 San Diego Mayor Accused Of Sexually Harassing Women
• U-T San Diego – July 16, 2013 Excerpts: Frye, Gonzalez Speak Out
• – July 16, 2013 Filner Defiant As Details Of Alleged Sexual Harassment Emerge
• KOGO – July 16, 2013 Filner Says He Won’t Resign; Frye Says Mayor’s Behavior Not Normal
• LA Times – July 15, 2013 Details of San Diego Mayor Filner’s alleged sexual harassment released
• U-T San Diego – July 15, 2013 Attorney preparing claim against San Diego mayor
• Talking Points Memo – July 15, 2013 SD Mayor Reverses Course: Says He Isn’t Guilty Of Sexual Harassment, Won’t Resign
• Fox 5 San Diego – July 15, 2013 Filner accusers turn up heat
• LA Times – July 15, 2013 San Diego Mayor Bob Filner accused of forcibly kissing, groping women
• La Jolla Patch – July 15, 2013 Former Filner Supporters Provide Details of Sexual Harassment Allegations, But Not Identities of Women
• ABC 10 News – July 15, 2013 ‘Mayor Bob Filner tragically unsafe for any woman to approach,’ says former supporter
• ABC 10 News – July 14, 2013 3 former supporters of Mayor Bob Filner to hold news conference
• International Business Times – July 13, 2013 San Diego Mayor Bob Filner Releases Apology Video Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations: ‘I Need Help’
• LA Times – July 12, 2013 San Diego mayor promises to change after sex harassment complaints
• KPBS – July 12, 2013 Filner: ‘A Fair, Independent Investigation Will Support My Innocence’
• ABC 10 News – July 12, 2013 Former Filner allies continue to demand his resignation despite apology video
• CBS 8 – July 12, 2013 EXCLUSIVE: News 8 cameras catch up with Mayor Filner
• U-T San Diego – July 12, 2013 Filner’s support evaporates; top aide quits
• KPBS – July 12, 2013 Stormy Weather For San Diego Mayor
• La Jolla Patch – July 12, 2013 Mayor Says He’s Innocent as More Leaders Call for Resignation
• ABC 10 – July 12, 2013 Calif. Assemblywomen Toni Atkins, Lorena Gonzalez ask Mayor Bob Filner to resign
• NY Mag – July 11, 2013 San Diego Mayor Accused of Sexual Harassment, Not Staying Classy
• KUSI News – July 11, 2013 Three Filner supporters demand he resign amid sexual harassment allegations
• NBC San Diego – July 11, 2013 “Numerous” Women Harassed by San Diego Mayor Filner: Former Friends, Allies
• LA Times – July 11, 2013 Ex-supporters to explain why they want San Diego mayor to resign
• NBC 7 San Diego – July 11, 2013 Mayor’s Alleged Victims Did Not Report Behavior
• San Diego Free – July 11, 2013 More Questions than Answers Remain in Filner Harassment Allegations
• Voice of San – July 11, 2013 One of These Mayoral Agitators Is Not Like the Others
• East County Magazine – July 11, 2013 Supporters Call on Mayor Filner to Resign Over Alleged Sexual Harassment, but Decline to Disclose Details
• – July 11, 2013 San Diego mayor apologizes for behavior, says ‘I need help’
• CBS 8 – July 10, 2013 Mayor accused of sexual harassment, asked to step down
• Voice of San – July 10, 2013 6 Lingering Questions About the Filner Debacle
• Voice of San – July 10, 2013 Et Tu, Progressives? Filner Faces Brutal Foe
• – May 31, 2013 How Bacteria Could Clean La Jolla Cove
• – April 3, 2013 Avoiding Gridlock Up The San Diego Coastline
• U-T San Diego – February 21, 2013 SANDAG prepping $40M PR push



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(760) 942-8505
[email protected]

1140 South Coast Highway 101 Encinitas, CA 92024

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