Friday, September 14, 2001
Courts, Government Offices Open Today, While Encouraging Employees to Join in ‘Prayer and Remembrance’
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court officials are encouraging their employees today to utilize their lunch hour to participate in the “national day of prayer and remembrance” as proclaimed by President Bush.
“I encourage employers to permit their workers time off during the lunch hour to attend the noontime services to pray for our land,” Bush wrote in his proclamation. “I invite the people of the world who share our grief to join us in these solemn observances.”
In a memo to all court employees, Superior Court Executive Officer John Clarke shared those sentiments and urged participation in noontime services if employees wish to do so.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to each of you who may have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by these horrific events, and to the friends and families of all the victims,” Clarke wrote.
Chief Justice Ronald M. George and courts director William Vickrey sent an e-mail to all court administrators and presiding judges yesterday afternoon, saying “we hope that you and your staffs are able to participate in this national observance,” courts spokeswoman Lynn Holton said.
The president’s proclamation was reminiscent of the three “national days of prayer and thanksgiving” proclaimed by his father, President George Bush, in April 1991 following the Gulf War. That led to litigation by state employee unions claiming that the proclamation triggered a little-known series of state statutes entitling employees to paid holidays.
The state Supreme Court eventually ruled, in a 5-2 decision in 1994, that an executive order, rather than a mere proclamation, was needed to trigger the statutes. George, then an associate justice, was in the majority, with since-retired Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas writing the opinion.
All city, county, and state buildings will remain open today without interruption to normal business hours, officials said.
The county Board of Supervisors issued a memo to all county employees endorsing the president’s call and encouraging departments to allow employers to release employees during lunch to participate.
A candlelight vigil will be held at City Hall Sunday at 7 p.m. and the Los Angeles County Fair is accepting donations of $1 or more in lieu of admission fees today, with the proceeds going to the victims of Tuesday’s attacks and their families.
City Councilman Dennis Zine also called on Los Angeles citizens to pull together and demonstrate unity.
“As a sign of solidarity and sympathy, I would like to request that all citizens turn on their headlights while driving in the City of Los Angeles,” Zine said in a statement. “Also, please fly the American flag, our symbol of freedom and hope outside your home, in the car, and at the office.”
The Sheriff’s Department is also sponsoring a noontime memorial service at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, county spokeswoman Judy Hammand said.
The supervisors are expected to participate, she said, but further details were unavailable at press time.
The county is also coordinating a number of events to allow employees to show their support:
•Donations to the “LA County Sept. 11 Victims Fund”—Employees are being encouraged to donate $5 or more to the fund which will be directed to the New York United Way. All of the collected money will be used towards local health and human care service agencies. Employees may also direct their contributions to the Washington D.C. area.
•Flag Buttons and County Fair Tickets—Employees may purchase County Fair Tickets for $9 and donate $1 to the Sept. 11th Victims Fund. Flag Buttons, available after Sept. 19, can be purchased for $5, with a $4 donation to the Fund.
•September 26th County Mall Charity Bazaar—Music, booths, food and campaign partner booths will be spotlighted at the bazaar, sponsored by the Civic Center Charitable Giving coordinators.
•Blood Donations—There will be a Civic Center Blood Drive on Oct. 3. For more information contact Cathy Garcia at (213) 974-1764.
The county is also encouraging individual department to hold events to benefit the September 11th Victims Fund.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company