David N. Commons; Writer, Lobbyist


David Norman Commons, a former Hollywood screenwriter and aide to lawmakers in Sacramento, died of leukemia Dec. 2 at the Norris Cancer Center in Los Angeles. He was 86.

Born in Newark, N.J., Commons worked as a screenwriter in the 1930s. He was appointed in 1975 by Gov. Jerry Brown to the South Coast Regional Coastline Commission, worked as a lobbyist for oil companies, served many years on the staff of Democratic state senators and more recently advised the California National Guard.

Former Senate President Pro Tem David Roberti, a Los Angeles Democrat, remembered Commons Thursday as a seasoned, practical, sometimes abrasive advisor.


“He had a background far different from what you usually get in political consultants,” he said, “and therefore always gave me a perspective that was fresh and different.”

Roberti said Commons once got a permit to carry a concealed gun at the same time he was carrying legislation to ban assault weapons.

“Was I happy about that? No,” said Roberti. “I chewed him out. He thought he needed a gun.”

Commons is survived by two sons, Geoffrey David Commons of Pasadena and Michael Lamport Commons of Cambridge, Mass., and four grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for Sunday at 1 p.m. at California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey.