Frank Gruber

Urbanist Writer

Frank Gruber is an entertainment lawyer who produced an art film based on Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground, who as a resident of Santa Monica, Calif., became a public activist involved in land use issues there, who then became a Planning Commissioner but who was dropped from the Planning Commission when political opponents won election to the City Council, and who wrote for more than a decade a weekly column about life and politics in the highly politicized beach front city for The Santa Monica Lookout News, one of the first local news websites when it was established in 1999.

Originally from Philadelphia (Gruber is a rabid fan of the Philadelphia Phillies), Gruber went to college at the University of Chicago and received his law degree from Harvard. After graduating, he moved to California in 1978 to pursue a career in entertainment law.

In 2000 he began writing his weekly “What I Say” columns for the Lookout. In June 2009 his first collection of columns, all from the 2000 to 2004, was published as a book — Urban Worrier: Making Politics Personal. Ben Joravsky, the Chicago Reader columnist who wrote Hoop Dreams, wrote this about the book: “A delightful read, and not just because I agree with much of what Frank Gruber has to say. This book gets to the heart of how local governments work.”

Based on interests developed while he was on the Santa Monica Planning Commission, Gruber has also written about urbanism and city planning.

In January 2012 Gruber announced that he was terminating "What I Say" so that he could run for the Santa Monica City Council in the November election.

Gruber resides in the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica with his wife, a professor at USC.