Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Page 5


Conference of Delegates Backs ‘Relaxing’ Restrictions on Providing Katrina Relief


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations has voted to call on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Legislature to consider “relaxing” legal strictures that would make efforts to relieve victims of Hurricane Katrina more difficult.

The emergency resolution passed over only scattered opposition on Sunday, the final day of the conference’s three-day business session at the San Diego Convention Center. Los Angeles attorney Ronald St. John of Barton Klugman & Oetting, a member of the CDCBA board, was the only delegate to voice opposition to the Katrina resolution, which suggested that the governor and Legislature “consider relaxing, though the end of the 2006 year, the enforcement of those statutory and contractual restrictions that would unnecessarily impede proving aid” to Hurricane victims.

St. John objected that the language was vague, and could be used to circumvent environmental or other legal protections.

“What on earth are we asking” the CDCBA’s staff to lobby for, St. John queried.

He also asserted that “relaxing” contractual obligations would be unconstitutional.

But attorney J. Anthony Vittal, a member of the Beverly Hill Bar Association delegation, criticized St. John’s argument as obstructionist.

“His position is everything that makes the public hate us, because we are all about law and nothing about justice,” Vittal declared.

Proponents of the resolution cited as an example of restrictions that could be relaxed apartment leases limiting the right to residents to have guests for extended periods.

 Also on Sunday the conference voted down, 58-72, a resolution calling for a split tax roll.

 under which commercial property valued at more than $2 million would be taxed at a higher rate, partially rolling back the reforms of Proposition 13. A similar resolution was narrowly defeated last year, proponents pointed out, arguing that the current version should pass because it phased in the change over a decade or more.

     But opponents contended that the resolution was still flawed, noting that a $2 million property can be a family’s retirement investment.

     -Voted in favor of changing the definition of a “writing” in the Evidence Code and Public Records Act to include material published on the Internet.


Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company