Doug Otto is an attorney, community leader, former law professor, and lifelong resident of Long Beach. He has a distinguished track record of personal and professional accomplishments and community service.
Doug grew up in Long Beach, where he excelled in school. After a year at Long Beach City College, he earned a full scholarship to Stanford University, where he graduated with a B.A. degree in Human Communications. After college, Doug studied at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University in New York City, where he jointly earned a Master’s Degree in Religion. He then worked and studied as a New York Urban Fellow in the John Lindsey Administration, where he learned up close how cities function and local governments work. Afterwards, he attended the University of Chicago, where he earned a law degree.
When Doug returned to Long Beach he made a commitment to himself to do everything he could to make this city a livable, thriving community.
Doug was elected to the LBCC Board of Trustees for Area 4 in 2004 and was re-elected to his fourth term as a trustee in April of 2016. Since then, he has focused his volunteer work on higher education which he calls the “civil rights issue f the 21st century.” He has served three terms as President of the LBCC Board of Trustees. He was elected to the statewide California Community College Trustees (CCCT) Board of Directors where he led an effort to champion student success as a statewide goal. He now serves as vice president and is in line to assume the presidency. He has also served two terms on the Community College League of California (CCLC) which represents both California trustees and community college presidents and CEOs. In May of 2016, Doug was elected unanimously to the presidency of the CCLC – a one year term. In 2010 he co-chaired the statewide Commission on the Future of Community Colleges which was the genesis of the state legislature’s Student Success Task Force.
Doug has been active locally since returning to Long Beach from attending college. Doug helped found the City’s historic preservation organizations. He then chaired the City’s Blue Ribbon Citizen’s Transportation Task Force, and served as Chair of the Long Beach City Planning Commission for two terms. He also chaired the City Manager’s Downtown Business and Development Advisory Committee for six years and the Long Beach Strategic Plan 2010, which was fully adopted by the City and for which he was presented the David Landry Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service for his efforts. Most recently, Doug served on the City’s Ethics Task Force and is currently serving his third term as an elected trustee of Long Beach City College. He has served for four years as an elected member of the Community College League of California Trustees Association, where he was selected to co-chair the League’s Commission on the Future of Community Colleges. He is most proud of his work in making community college students successful in order to make the local economy more robust. This work has raised the profile of LBCC throughout the nation.
In addition to his public service, Doug is active in several non-profits and community organizations, including Long Beach Heritage. In 1990, he was named Preservationist of the Year by that organization. He is also a charter member of the Board of Directors of the Aquarium of the Pacific, where he chairs the Long-Range Planning Committee, and is the architect of the Aquarium’s Campus Master Plan, which recently won the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.
Professionally, Doug is a successful trial lawyer and was a full adjunct professor of law at Southwestern University School of Law for 16 years. He has tried over 120 jury trials to verdict. He is a former President of the Long Beach Bar Association (2002) and Long Beach’s Attorney of the Year (2005). He was named Small Firm Lawyer of the Year by the California State Bar Association (2011). He is a former member of the Los Angeles County Bar Board of Trustees, the California State Bar’s Access to Justice Commission, and Co-Chair of the American Bar Association, Crime Victims Committee. Visit the website for Doug’s law firm at this link: DougOttoLaw.com
During his years of service, Doug built a track record of getting things done, keeping the door open for everyone, and bringing people together to develop great ideas for our community. Doug is married to Dr. Freda Hinsche Otto, a former Assistant Vice Chancellor of the California State University System. He and his wife have five grown children, five grandchildren, and a cocker spaniel named Dewey. He is a voracious reader and has hiked the John Muir Trail from Yosemite to Mount Whitney and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru.