Skip to main content

Veteran Attorney, 2-Time Presidential Appointee Named to SF’s Board of Appeals

Mayor London Breed appointed a veteran attorney, two-time presidential appointee and nonprofit leader to San Francisco’s Board of Appeals.

The Board of Supervisors on Wednesday confirmed John Trasviña to the quasi-judicial body that weighs decisions on permits, licenses, variances, zoning and other entitlements issued by City Hall. 

A San Francisco native and graduate of Lowell High School and then Harvard and Stanford universities, Trasviña worked for decades in academia before venturing into the nonprofit sector. 

He served as dean of the University of San Francisco School of Law and taught at Stanford.

He began his law career in 1983 as a San Francisco deputy city attorney before becoming a Judiciary Committee staff director and general counsel to U.S. Sen. Paul Simon. 

Most of his career was spent in Washington D.C., where he was hired as counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, appointed to the Justice Department by President Bill Clinton and became assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama. 

Most recently, Trasviña worked as California executive director of Generation Citizen, a nonprofit that aims to educate young people about civics. 

Alongside his career in civic service and education, Trasviña served as president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, vice president of the Hispanic National Bar Association and chair of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda. 

Trasviña called it an honor to be nominated to the city appeals board. 

“The Board of Appeals’ decisions affect many aspects of the lives of San Franciscans—from their homes and neighborhoods to their livelihoods,” he said in an announcement shared by the mayor’s office. “While I have held many public service positions nationally, there is no greater satisfaction than to serve the people of my hometown.”

Stay on top of what’s happening in your city

SF’s most important stories, delivered straight to your inbox

By clicking Subscribe you confirm you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy