Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Friday, March 12, 2010

 

Page 3

 

State Bar Sets Date for 2011 Annual Meeting in Long Beach

 

By a MetNews Staff Writer

 

The State Bar of California has reported that its 84th Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 15-18 of next year in Long Beach.

Although the event was originally scheduled to be held at the 1,625-room waterfront Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego where the convention was held in 2009, a spokesperson for the State Bar said last December that the hotel did not have facilities available for the convention to return as planned.

Several individual attorneys and legal organizations had objected to holding the 2009 meeting at the Hyatt, which is owned by the Manchester Financial Group LLC, whose chairman contributed $125,000 towards overturning the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

The venue was the target of a boycott organized by Californians Against Hate, a nonprofit organization devoted to drawing attention to the major donors to the Yes on 8 campaign, and UNITE HERE, the hotel workersí union.

About 30 protesters with signs chanted slogans and circled the drive of the hotel the first night of last Septemberís event, and that protest was followed by a larger event involving the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers of Los Angeles, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Bar Association of San Francisco, Barristers Club, California Employment Lawyers Association, National Lawyers Guild and Santa Clara County Bar Association

The Los Angeles County Bar Association also declined to host an exhibit at the hotel or participate in any activity at the Hyatt, instead setting up a booth at the nearby Hilton San Diego Bayfront where the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations convened.

The conference has traditionally been held in conjunction with the State Bar Annual Meeting but opted to meet at the Hilton in the face of strong opposition from some of its delegates to convening at the Hyatt.

Lilys D. McCoy, chair of the organization, announced plans at the 2009 meeting for the conference to begin holding wholly independent annual meetings starting in 2011. However, dialogue has been taking place between the State Bar and the conference in the interim, and† it is presently uncertain whether meetings in 2011 will be held separately or in tandem.

She said at that time the conference still planned to meet during the State Barís convention this year in Monterey.

A spokesperson from the State Bar previously said that the organization was renegotiating its contract with the Hyatt to return to the hotel in 2014 and insisted that the 2011 move had nothing to do with the controversy.

The organization had contracted with the Hyatt to host the 2009 and 2011 conferences before the divisive Proposition 8 campaign began and acknowledged strong opposition to the venue from members of the legal community but took the position that it could not breach its contractual commitments because the cost of doing so, if borne by the members, could violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits public entities from using mandatory dues money for political actions.

This yearís conference is scheduled to take place Sept. 23-26 in Monterey.

 

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