Dan Wall, a fixture in and around the Capitol for four decades, mostly as an advocate for local government, died Thursday night of pancreatic cancer. He was 68.
Wall was known for his affability and his intimate knowledge of local government finances, which became more intertwined with those of the state after the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978.
“He was a strong and knowledgeable defender and advocate for local government. But he also knew about taxes, and he was very much involved in the issue of taxes,” Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, said in a tribute to him on Monday.
Wall, a native of Texas who grew up in San Francisco and earned degrees from St. Mary’s College and San Francisco State University, began his Sacramento career in the state Department of Social Services. He later moved to the Employment Development Department before becoming a senior consultant for the Senate Finance Committee, the precursor to the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee.
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Wall spent 13 years on the staff of the California State Association of Counties, dealing with taxation and revenue issues, before becoming the chief lobbyist for Los Angeles County. He took a timeout from lobbying to spend two years as a top aide to then-Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson, but he rejoined the Los Angeles County office as chief lobbyist in 2003.
Wall retired in 2010, but he remained on call as a part-time consultant to the county until 2012.
In Monday’s tribute on the Senate floor, several senators recalled Wall’s musical talent. He played the guitar and trombone, and he loved to dance, said Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley.
“He was such a great friend to everybody, all the time,” Hancock said. “He loved life; he enjoyed it to the fullest.”
Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, said Wall especially loved blues music.
“I often remember Dan singing and playing the blues,” Beall said. “We’ll miss him greatly.”
Wall’s survivors include Janet Wall, his wife of 42 years, and five children. A memorial service will be held in the spring, his family said, requesting that memorial contributions be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.