About the City Attorneys
Gregory Diaz became Ventura's City Attorney in September 2014. Prior to moving to Ventura, he served as the City Attorney for the City of Merced from 2001 to August 2014. He began his legal career as an associate attorney at a large municipal law firm becoming the first associate in the firm in a branch office to make partner. During this time, Gregory served as the contract City Attorney for the Cities of Lake Forest, Stanton, and Lomita. He was admitted to the California State Bar in 1991 and is admitted to practice before the Central, Eastern, and Northern Districts of the Federal District Courts in California; the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals; and before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Gregory received his B.A. in Public Administration/Political Science from California State University, Long Beach, his Master's Degree in Public Administration from the Consortium of the California State University, and his J.D. from Western State University, College of Law.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Gregory spent three years as the Assistant to the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District in Watsonville, CA. He began his professional career as a Congressional Aide for a U.S. Congressman from Orange County, California.
Andy H. Viets
Andy H. Viets, a thirty-year resident of Ventura County, is the City’s Senior Assistant City Attorney. He graduated from Hofstra University in New York with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1982 and from the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law in 1985. He started practicing law in Ventura in January, 1987, first as a workers’ compensation defense attorney and soon thereafter in the field of civil litigation, which included defending various public entities in civil lawsuits.
After many years practicing with a firm in Ventura, Mr. Viets opened his own office in 2006, specializing in civil litigation, which included representing public entities. He joined Norman Dowler, LLP, in Ventura in April, 2007, where his practice continued to focus on civil litigation and he served as the head of the firm’s litigation department. Mr. Viets began working for the City in 2008. His primary areas of concentration are civil litigation, public records requests, and employment law.
Mr. Viets serves as Fee Dispute Arbitrator for the Ventura County Bar Association. He has made presentations to local legal organizations on various topics involving public entities. He is a member of the Ventura County Trial Lawyers Association, the Tri-Counties Local Government Attorneys’ Association, and the American Board of Trial Advocates.
M. Rebeca Mendoza
M. Rebeca Mendoza is an Assistant City Attorney II who joined the City in May, 2006. She has advised every department in the City of San Buenaventura, drafting and reviewing agreements, including licenses, leases, MOU’s, loans, easements, general and professional service contracts, construction contracts, resolutions, ordinances, administrative policies and procedures, staff reports, and more. She has also provided direction to the City Manager’s office on miscellaneous issues, including Thomas-Fire related matters, social media, and cable issues. Her current areas include Cannabis law, telecommunication and Information Technology matters, utility franchises, Code Enforcement, the Ventura Botanical Gardens, and Special Projects.
Rebeca arrived in Ventura with 30 years of diverse litigation experience. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law, she previously served as Deputy Attorney General for the State of California’s Department of Justice handling employment and discrimination litigation cases. She also worked as Assistant General Counsel for the San Francisco Housing Authority, and for almost nine years as Deputy City Attorney in Oakland, where she litigated matters for both the City of Oakland and Oakland Housing Authority. As a Deputy Public Defender for Alameda County, Rebeca gained valuable criminal trial experience. Rebeca and her husband, Roberto Vargas, have two grown daughters, Andrea Vargas-Mendoza (an artist living in Santa Fe, New Mexico) and Ixchel Vargas-Mendoza (Office Administrator, CAPCA, Sacramento).
Jennifer Lee, an Assistant City Attorney II, joined the City Attorney’s Office in 2008. She works in the office's transactional division and advises the Finance and Public Works Departments and the Economic Development Division. Jennifer earned bachelors degrees in French and Physiological Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and received her law degree from Chapman University. In her free time, she enjoys running and traveling.
Dirk DeGenna, Assistant City Attorney II, joined the City Attorney's office in September 2015. He graduated from UCLA in 1991 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and received his Juris Doctorate from Pepperdine University in 1996. Dirk works to defend the City in civil litigation matters in both state and federal courts, in the prosecution of misdemeanor cases and code enforcement matters. Prior to working for the City, he worked for a private law office representing multiple public entities in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties
Miles Hogan, Assistant City Attorney II, joined the City Attorney's office in March 2016. He specializes in water, wastewater and environmental law, including water rights, water quality, groundwater management, rates, environmental review and regulatory compliance. Miles most recently worked for a private law firm representing cities and other public agencies.
Miles received his B.S. in Marine Biology from University of California, Los Angeles, and his J.D. from University of California, Davis School of Law, graduating with the school's Environmental Law Certificate and Public Interest Law Certificate. He was the inaugural fellow for the California Environmental Law & Policy Center and now serves on its Advisory Board of Directors. Prior to law school, Miles participated in an AmeriCorps Program called City Year, and he highly recommends young adults consider a year of service with AmeriCorps. Miles lives in Ventura and enjoys hiking, running, going to the beach and eating at local restaurants.
Susan Marquez began working for the City Attorney's office in 1999. During her tenure with the City, she has been in charge of administration and management. Susan has 32 years of experience in civil litigation, working for various private law practices in Ventura and Los Angeles counties. She was an active member of the Ventura County Legal Secretaries Association and held various posts within that organization. Susan attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and received her Paralegal Certificate. She and her husband have two grown children and enjoy family time and traveling.
Denise Barrett joined the City Attorney's office in July of 2015, having previously worked in various departments within the City for many years. She has 40 years of experience working in the public sector, having also worked previously for the County of Ventura and for a special district. A native of Michigan, Denise received her Associate Business Degree from Northern Michigan University. She and her husband have one grown son who works for the City of Carpinteria.
Johanna Johnsen, Legal Litigation Secretary, joined the City Attorney's office in October 2015. She was born and raised in Oxnard and received an Associate's Degree in Administration of Justice from Ventura College. Prior to joining the City, she lived in Texas where she worked in private law practices specializing in civil litigation. While in Texas, she received designation as a Certified Legal Assistant through the National Association of Legal Assistants. In April 2017, she became a Notary Public for the State of California. She has two daughters who are college students (at UCLA and the University of Texas, Austin) and is absolutely thrilled to be back in beautiful Ventura, spending her free time riding her bike near the ocean and practicing yoga.