Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Page 11



Big Band Barristers to Perform in Beverly Hills Park



Attorney Gary S. Greene and his Big Band of Barristers will perform Thursday night in Beverly Hills, kicking off a summer series of city-sponsored “Concerts on Canon.”

The “gig” will take place at Beverly Cañon Gardens, 241 N. Cañon Drive (between Montage Hotel and the restaurant Bouchon). There will be two shows: from 6-6:45 p.m. and 7:15-8 p.m.

An announcement on the City of Beverly Hills website says:

“Enjoy this magical California venue!  Seating is available on a first-come basis. Bring a meal to enjoy. Plentiful seating provided on a first-come basis with open grass area for picnic blankets, tables and chairs.

“Validation for free parking will be provided at the Concert Information table.”

The Big Band of Barristers will be performing in Chicago during the American Bar Association’s annual convention, having come in second among three finalists in the Battle of the Lawyer Bands contest.

The ABA’s website says:

“Each of the three finalists will play during the President’s Reception at the Art Institute of Chicago on Saturday, August 4th from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  The final results of the contest will be determined by on-site voting tabulation and announced at the conclusion of the President’s Reception. Prizes will be awarded to each band as follows: First Place - $5000, Second Place - $2500, Third Place - $1000.”

William J. Becker Jr., a West Los Angeles attorney, plans to appear tonight before the Santa Monica City Council to urge that a plan be scrapped to bar the annual nativity scene in Palisades Park.

A press release yesterday said:

Attorneys for organizers of the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes will ask the city council on Tuesday to reject a staff proposal banning the nearly 60-year-old Christmas tradition and all other displays from Palisades Park. The council will hear public comments and act on the matter at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

Last year, the city instituted a controversial lottery system. That system led to disputes over the fairness of the new rules when lottery-winning atheist groups displayed signs and banners attacking Christian beliefs and left a full block within the park empty.

On Wednesday, attorneys for the Nativity Scenes group sent a letter to the city council urging it to delay action on the proposal.

“We strongly believe that banning all unattended displays in the park—and thereby ending a tradition of allowing private groups to display the Nativity scene—is unwarranted. The committee will be carefully reviewing how this change impacts their constitutionally protected rights,” said William J. Becker Jr., a First Amendment attorney and lead counsel for the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee.

“It is not the government’s function to avoid controversy at the cost of fundamental rights. Indeed, the Supreme Court has firmly rejected this rationale for interfering with speech,” Becker wrote in the letter.

Becker explained that citizens’ free speech, including religious speech like Nativity scenes, has special protection in public parks under the Constitution, and the city cannot issue a flat ban.

The Nativity Scenes group has been fighting the city’s attempts to change its policy of allowing the annual Christmas displays in Palisades Park. The hiring of legal counsel represents a new direction for the group.


Copyright 2012, Metropolitan News Company