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City of TustinCandidate for City Council

Photo of Lee Fink

Lee Fink

Businessman/Consumer Advocate
11,577 votes (15.1%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Keeping Tustin Health and Safe
  • Rebuilding Our Local Economy
  • Helping Tustin’s Families and Kids



Profession:Consumer Advocate/Businessman
Senior Litigation Attorney, Brower Law Group (2020–current)
Counsel, Greenberg Gross LLP (2018–2020)
Deputy General Counsel, Orange County Employees Retirement System — Appointed position (2017–2018)
Principal Deputy General Counsel, United States Department of Agriculture — Appointed position (2013–2017)
Director, Outreach and Intergovernmental Affairs, National Aeronautics and Space Administraiton — Elected position (2009–2012)
Counsel, O'Melveny & Myers, LLP (2002–2008)
Judicial Law Clerk, United States District Court, Central District of California — Appointed position (2001–2000)


New York University, School of Law JD, Law (2001)
University of California, Berkeley BA, Political Science (1998)
Foothill High School High School Diploma (1994)


About Lee

Lee Fink is a Tustin native who has gone from stepping off the Tustin Tiller Days Parade as  drum major of the Foothill Marching Band to serving in the highest levels of the federal government to representing Fortune 500 Companies in multi-million dollar litigation.  As a community volunteer, he has organized food drives, connected clients to free and low-cost legal services, and served on local government commissions.


Now, Lee is running for Tustin City Council because he wants Tustin to be a leader in keeping our citizens safe and healthy while working to restore our economy and building a bright future that honors our community's legacy.



Growing Up in Tustin

Lee grew up in Tustin, where he attended Loma Vista Elementary, Hewes Middle School, and Foothill High School.  When his parents divorced, Lee split his time between his parents’ homes in North Tustin just off Prospect, and in South Tustin down the street from St. Cecilia’s Church.


Lee’s community involvement dates back to adolescence. At Hewes, Lee’s classmates elected him eighth grade Vice President. At FHS, he not only led the band to multiple first place trophies, but also ushered Bandos to participate in community events for neighborhoods, preschools, and for senior citizens. He served on the ASB Cabinet as the Inter-Club Council President and as student representative on the Foothill Site Council which helped plan developments for the school. Lee also tutored students at Heideman Elementary School, and was humbled to be chosen by the Tustin Kiwanis Club as Young Man of the Month.


 College Years

Lee attended college at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1998.  He was elected Student Body Vice President, played tuba in the Cal Band, and worked as a director of a student-run program to identify internships in Washington DC for other Cal students.


After college, Lee attended NYU Law School where he worked in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office helping to convict child predators.  He also served as the Editor-in-Chief of a law journal and was inducted into the Order of the Barrister upon graduation in 2001.  Lee also led the unique High School Law Institute, which taught introductory law courses to inner-city students in New York public schools.


 Experienced Businessman and Lawyer

In 2002, Lee joined O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, the largest and oldest law firm in Southern California.  There, he represented some of the biggest companies in the country including Sony, The Walt Disney Company, FedEx, and TimeWarner.  After a long stretch in public service, Lee re-turned to the private sector in 2018, where he has represented large companies, small businesses, and consumers in complex litigation and employment disputes.


Public Service

Lee has spent half of his career in public service. Directly from law school, he returned to Tustin and was honored to work a one-year clerkship for Federal District Judge David O. Carter.


In 2009, Lee re-entered public service as a senior official in the federal government.  In Washing-ton DC, he worked at NASA as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, where he was instrumental in getting the 2010 NASA Authorization Act passed by Congress, which ultimately led to the triumphant launch of US astronauts on commercial rockets this year.


At the US Department of Agriculture, Lee was the Principal Deputy General Counsel where he helped implement new regulations allowing faith-based organizations to participate in government-sponsored services to the needy and ensured that more kids throughout the country had access to school lunches and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs.


In 2017, Lee came home to Tustin as Deputy General Counsel for the Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) where he helped protect pensions of Orange County sheriffs, fire-fighters, and other public servants.


Community Volunteer

Lee volunteers as a co-Chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the Orange County Bar where he helps coordinate free and reduced-priced legal services.  A proud 2017 graduate of the Tustin Citizens Police Academy, he is an active member of the Tustin Chamber of Commerce, and opened his home to the public for the 2019 Old Town Home Tour.  Lee is a supporter of the Tustin Historical Preservation Commission, the Tustin Historical Society, and the Anti-Defamation League.  Lee has served on local commissions, including a local planning commission and a local budget and finance commission.


Lee lives in Old Town Tustin, about two miles from each of his childhood homes. His house, built in 1925, is part of the Mills Act program for historic preservation.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Orange County Professional Firefighters Association (IAFF Local 3631)
  • Tustin Educators Association
  • Tustin Grocery Store Workers (UFCW Local 324)

Organizations (4)

  • The Democratic Party
  • Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council
  • Orange County Young Democrats
  • Orange County Labor Federation

Elected Officials (5)

  • Katie Porter, Member of Congress
  • Eleni Kounalakis, Lt. Governor
  • Loretta Sanchez, Member of Congress (Retired)
  • Ted Lieu, Member of Congress
  • T.J. Prendergast III, President, South Orange County Community College District

Individuals (1)

  • George Waibel, Retired Teacher and Band Director, Foothill High School

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Keeping Tustin Healthy and Safe

Lee Fink’s commitment to public health and safety is why he is endorsed by healthcare workers.  Lee’s plan includes:


• Free COVID-19 testing and coordinating with neighboring cities on best public health practices


• Implementing a community health and wellness element into the general plan to

ensure planning for health care access, public health, and mental health needs.

• Expanding local services, including food banks, and providing rent relief for low-income


Tustin should be a leader in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, now and into 2021 and beyond. Costa Mesa led the way in requiring face masks and extending loans to small businesses; Santa Ana led the way in rental relief; Irvine offers free test to residents; Orange turned the Plaza into a pedestrian corridor.

Tustin has been behind. We should be working with our neighboring cities to provide testing, sourcing plastic separators for public spaces, and coordinating with local businesses to produce PPE. Tustin should also be working to increase access to food banks to take pressure off folks who have lost their jobs. The City should coordinate with local charities and the County to hire local restaurants to provide meals to families who are out of work.  This will generate revenue for businesses, providing meals for families, and free up money to ensure that local landlords get paid. These efforts will not only keep Tustin healthy and safe now, but will also accelerate the pace at which our businesses can return to normal.


As we move forward, not only will public health be critical, but our public safety programs will be tested like never before.  City revenue shortfalls will put huge pressures on our municipal budget.  Bolstering our economy while providing for our people is the way to ensure our police and fire services remain top-notch to serve our community.  


Rebuilding Our Local Economy

Tustin’s small businesses are hurting, and many local residents have lost jobs.  On the City Council, Lee Fink will work to:


• Help Tustin businesses acquire low-cost loans to cover recovery costs.

• Provide “white glove” service by hiring a Business and Community Ombudsperson to expedite city approvals for Tustin businesses undergoing renovation or relocation.

• Create a plan for our historic blimp hangars to make them a vital economic hub in the center of the county.

For too long, the City has been too slow to respond to opportunities for economic growth.  We cannot afford that now.  Our historic hangars remain surrounded by weeds, when they could be a thriving hub at the center of the County.  With restaurants like Roma d’Italia, Black Marlin, and Cream Pan Bakery, Old Town should be a bustling pedestrian corridor, not just a “hidden gem.”  And the anchor store in Larwin Square should not still be empty four years after Vons closed.  We need an economic development mindset that will grow our business community.  It’s no longer good enough to just live and shop in Tustin—it’s time to make it a great place to work, too.


We should encourage businesses to create jobs for residents, and reinforce incentives with innovative ideas and actions for workforce housing. Revenues from local businesses will pour right back into our city's economy when citizens spend it on housing and goods in Tustin.  New businesses we attract to Tustin should have a commitment to job growth for recent college grads, young professionals, and skilled tradespeople. This will require creative models to increase the housing supply for both renters and homeowners, all while ensuring thoughtful planning to address traffic, parking and pollution for our growing population. It's also critical we protect and enhance green space areas for recreation and exercise. All of these things will ensure and expand the quality of life for all of Tustin's residents.


Helping Tustin’s Families and Kids

Lee Fink’s commitment to our families and kids is why he is endorsed by Tustin’s teachers. To make sure our city is supporting kids and families, Lee will

• Champion investments in preschool programs, quality childcare, and early literacy.

• Open more childcare centers and work with our school district to open afterschool programs on campuses.

• Provide better broadband access at school and childcare locations to help close the digital divide.

With more people working from home, we have realized how critical it is to support parents and kids in Tustin.  We need to be taking steps to make sure that kids are taken care of while parents get back to work.  That means we need expanded childcare and after-school programs.  The City has kicked that off, but we need to expand those offerings and work with state and federal representatives to get more funding.  Students with positive after-school activities do better in the classroom and stay away from crime, drugs and alcohol.  Tustin should invest in a broad range of after-school recreational and enrichment programs to benefit schools and students.  As a kid, I attended the Boys and Girls Club of Tustin and I credit my time there with many of the habits that have bolstered my success. Every child in Tustin deserves the same opportunities.

One of the most effective ways we can improve academic success is preparing children to learn before they enter school.  We should work to encourage the opening of more quality childcare centers in Tustin and should work with the Tustin Library to train childcare providers about reading development and the importance of early literacy.

Ensuring Safe Neighborhoods

Lee Fink grew up in Tustin, and Tustin’s firefighters have endorsed him because he understands that a Councilmember’s most important job is to ensure the health and safety of our residents. On the City Council, we can count on Lee to:

• Prioritize funding to maintain fast emergency response times and safe neighborhoods.

• Work with neighborhood groups to enhance crime reports and coordinate responses to habitual crimes.

• Ensure Tustin is represented on the OC Street Racing Task Force and use technology to crack down on street takeovers.


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