James currently represents the 7th Council District of Long Beach—the most diverse district of America’s most diverse city. He was elected to the City Council on June 8, 2010. In addition to serving on the City Council, James teaches law at CSULB as an adjunct faculty member.
James has spent much of his professional life serving our community. Prior to being elected to City Council, he served Long Beach in an executive capacity as Assistant City Auditor. His focus at the City Auditor’s Office was to make our City as efficient and effective as possible in the services it provides to the community. He is proud of the successes that the Office had in protecting City assets, suggesting ways to save taxpayer dollars, and fighting fraud.
Prior to working for the City Auditor, James was hired to advise the City on reforming its charter, its foundational legal document. Working with the City Council and the community, he helped bring about the first structural charter reform in over twenty years. He also worked on several cost-saving initiatives, such as revising outdated municipal code requirements to reduce election costs.
Previously, James practiced law at California's largest law firm, where he focused on complex and commercial litigation. He also maintained a significant pro bono practice and helped obtain a settlement in a major international slavery and trafficking case. Before attending law school, James served on the campaign for then-Assemblymember Alan Lowenthal and in the policy division of the California Governor’s Office.
James has served on several boards to improve the community, including the Fairfield YMCA, For the Child (an anti-child abuse organization), and the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Bar Association. He served for several years on the scholarship committee of the Long Beach Bar Association, the same group that helped him go to college many years ago.
James has a bachelor’s degree with honors in Economics from Harvard University and a law degree from U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif (denoting the top 10% of the class). He is a graduate of Leadership Long Beach and an Eagle Scout from Long Beach Troop 120. James has called Long Beach home his entire life and is a product of our local schools, including Long Beach Poly High School. James is married to his high school sweetheart, Nicole Altamirano, who teaches Spanish at Claremont McKenna College and he is the blessed father of twins, Maria Elena and Theodore.