Friday. March 22, 2002
Breakfast Club Backs Katz, St. George for Board of Governors
By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer
The influential Breakfast Club yesterday endorsed Deputy City Attorney Matthew St. George and Century City sole practitioner Michelle Katz in this year’s race for two Los Angeles open seats on the State Bar Board of Governors.
The voice vote followed presentations by both candidates but came as no surprise, since both are club members and announced their intention to run last December.
The club, an association of Los Angeles area attorneys, has for more than three decades selected candidates for the State Bar’s governing board and rallied support for them among the county’s lawyers.
A club candidate was defeated for the first time in last year’s election, as a majority of Los Angeles lawyers who voted opted instead for Long Beach attorney-accountant Matthew Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh campaigned on a platform of taking the board out of the hands of “bar junkies.”
Cavanaugh was joined on the board several weeks ago by what he termed as an “outsider” candidate from the Bay Area, Carl Lindstrom, elected over a local bar association-endorsed candidate, Tamara Lopez.
Several Breakfast Club members at yesterday’s meeting vowed to make sure that their selections do not again suffer defeat.
In submitting the nomination of St. George, former State Bar President Tom Stolpman told members that “this is a critical year for us after the election last year.”
Without mentioning Cavanaugh by name, Stolpman said that a “person known more for negativity than anything else [got] elected because nobody bothered to vote.”
State Bar President Karen Nobumoto, who said she was speaking with her “Breakfast Club hat,” agreed that the race was “extremely important for us.”
“Those that believe they are outsiders perceive that they have a majority of State Bar members on their side,” Nobumoto said. “This is very critical because what happens with the board is [outsider candidates] come in with that particular viewpoint.”
“I think that it’s very important that we win and win big, and send the message that last year was an anomaly.”
Cavanaugh, who did not attend the meeting, told the MetNews that he hoped more “outsiders” would run.
“Now that the monopoly has been broken, I hope that some qualified candidates who think the bar should help its members instead of engaging in political crusades will step forward and oppose the Breakfast Club candidates,” he said.
He also expressed dismay at what he called Nobumoto’s support for Breakfast Club candidates, saying Nobumoto has told him on more than one occasion that members of the Board of Governors may not endorse candidates.
Several other candidates were reportedly seeking the two open posts but dropped out.
Long Beach attorney Phillip Madden said he thought pursuing the election was futile without a Breakfast Club endorsement.
“I didn’t think I could win at the Breakfast Club and they had two good candidates, and it’s a long way to go from Long beach to downtown to lose an election,” Madden said. “So I didn’t think there was much purpose in doing it.”
“I’m not going to run outside the Breakfast Club.”
Breakfast Club President Jo-Ann Grace said two other attorneys, Daniel Lowenthal and Andrew Rudnicki, also expressed an interest in running but dropped out. Grace said the club did not try to dissuade either of them from running, but contacted them only to invite them to address the club.
Katz told club members that she hopes to expand the notion of diversity on the board by representing arbitrators and mediators.
Of herself, she told members:
“I guess you can call me a bar junkie.”
St. George, a past president of the Conference of Delegates, said he had seen the State Bar at its best and its worst.
“I care about the Bar, but I am also a Bar skeptic,” he said.
Nominations close April 2. Ballots are mailed to every State Bar member with an in-state office address on April 30, and voting continues through July 1.
The Breakfast Club promotes candidates for District Seven, which covers Los Angeles County.
Lawyers in other counties will be electing three representatives—in District 6 (the Central Coast), District 4 (San Francisco), and District 8 (Orange County).
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company