Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, October 20, 2016


Page 3


Staenberg, Skobin, Chiang Are MetNews ‘Persons of the Year’


By a MetNews Staff Writer



Beverly Hills Bar Association Chief Executive Officer


Attorney/Civic Leader


State Treasurer


Beverly Hills Bar Association Chief Executive Officer Marc R. Staenberg, attorney/civic leader Alan Skobin and state Treasurer John Chiang have been chosen as the Metropolitan News-Enterprise 2016 “persons of the year.”

Biographies of them and tributes to them will appear in a special issue of the MetNews, to be published in early January, and they will be honored at a black-tie dinner on Jan. 27, the newspaper’s co-publisher, Jo-Ann W. Grace, said yesterday.

“We will be honoring three respected and accomplished attorneys, in quite diverse fields,” she remarked.

The dinner, to be held at a private club in downtown Los Angeles—the rules of which preclude mention of it other than in invitations—will mark the 29th annual holding of the event. (The location will be disclosed to persons when making reservations, or looking at the invitation on the MetNews website).

Former Los Angeles County District Attorney Robert H. Philibosian will serve as emcee, for the 21st time. There have been 54 honorees, the first five recognized only in print, and the remaining 49 also being feted at a dinner.

Practiced Law

Staenberg gained his post with the Beverly Hills Bar Association in 2004, having previously been in practice as an entertainment lawyer.

He served for four years as chair of the Beverly Hills Bar Association’s Entertainment Law Section from 1989-92, was on the group’s Board of Governors from 1993-97, and received the BHBA’s “Governor’s Award” In 1997.

Staenberg earned his law degree from Rutgers in 1973. While studying there, he served as a research assistant to then-Professor (now U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The young lawyer went on to obtain an LLM from Georgetown in 1977.

He served in the District of Columbia as an attorney-advisor in the Department of Defense’s Office of General Counsel from 1973-75 and as a senior attorney in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Office of Legal Director from 1975-80.

Staenberg left for Los Angeles in 1980, and was admitted to the State Bar of California the following year.

He is a founder of the Los Angeles Music Center and serves on its Legal Committee.

Community Service

Skobin, vice president and general manager of Galpin Motors, was a member of the Los Angeles City Police Commission from 2002-2012 and was on the city’s Fire Commission from 2012-2013. His public service also included a stint as president of the state’s New Motor Vehicle Board and membership on the city Board of Transportation Commissioners and the county’s Institutional Inspections Commission.

He is a founding director and member of the Sheriff’s Youth Foundation of Los Angeles County and is a member of its executive committee. He has been in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reserves since 1980, and is presently reserve chief.

The California Peace Officers Association in 2002 honored him for dedication to public safety and the law enforcement profession,

Skobin is on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Business Council and chairs its Website and Technology Committee.

A cancer and brain tumor survivor, Skobin and his family are active with Padres Contra El Cancer, a nonprofit organization assisting children with cancer and their families.

His employment by Galpin Motors goes back to February, 1977. Skobin went to law school—the University of LaVerne College of Law—while working, and was admitted to law practice in 1988.

Career Politician

Chiang has been treasurer since Jan. 5, 2015. He was state controller from 2007-15 and was on the Board of Equalization from 1997-2007.

He is a candidate for governor in the 2018 race.

His law degree is from Georgetown University. Chiang has worked as an attorney for Internal Revenue Service and for then-State Controller (later Gov.) Gray Davis.

Chiang has been in the news recently in connection with his suspension of Wells Fargo’s “most highly profitable business relationships” with the state based on the bank’s “venal abuse of its customers.” On Sept. 8, it agreed to pay $185 million based on its creation of about two million unauthorized bank and credit card accounts.

Upon the resignation of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf, Chang said in a statement:

“Wells Fargo has a storied history as old and golden as California. The two grew up together during the pioneering Gold Rush era. But recently, the wheels have fallen off the bank’s trademark stagecoach. Under Stumpf’s watch, a culture emerged allowing greed to consume integrity. Wells Fargo came to serve itself rather than its customers.”

Former Honorees

The first “person of the year,” in 1983, was Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Mildred L. Lillie, since deceased. She and the next four persons so denominated—California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk, Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Lester Wm. Roth, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kathleen Parker (all deceased) and then-Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Billy G. Mills (now retired)—received tributes only in a special section of the newspaper.

The annual dinners began in 1988. Then-Los Angeles Superior Court Executive Officer Frank Zolin (now deceased) was the honoree, and former Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge Joseph Wapner, then star of television’s “People’s Court,” was the emcee.

 “Persons of the year” in the years to follow have included California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and then-Chief Justice Ronald George; former Gov. George Deukmejian; then-Attorney General Dan Lungren; then-State Bar Presidents Charles Vogel, Karen Nobumoto, John Van de Kamp and Patrick M. Kelly; present or former Los Angeles County Bar Association Presidents (in addition to Vogel and Kelly) John J. Collins (now deceased), Gretchen Nelson, and David Pasternak; and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, then-District Attorney Steve Cooley, and former District Attorney Philibosian.

Also among those honored were persons who were then-presiding justices of the Court of Appeal, or jurists who were later to be elevated to that post. They were (in addition to Lillie and Roth) Vaino Spencer, Joan Dempsey Klein, Robert Mallano (all now retired), Norman Epstein, Paul A. Turner, and Lee Edmon.

Los Angeles Superior Court presiding judges and assistant presiding judges who were feted (in addition to Mallano and Edmon) were Victor Chavez, William MacLaughlin, J. Stephen Czuleger, Charles W. McCoy, and David Wesley.


Copyright 2016, Metropolitan News Company