Friday, April 11, 2003
Breakfast Club Endorses Sheldon Sloan for District 7 Board of Governors Seat
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Breakfast Club yesterday endorsed former Los Angeles County Bar Association President Sheldon Sloan for the District 7 seat on the State Bar Board of Governors.
“He’s an outstanding candidate,” club President Jo-Ann W. Grace said. “There’s no reason he shouldn’t win.”
Members of the club, which has been endorsing Board of Governors candidates in District 7—which includes all of Los Angeles County—for three decades, voted in person or by e-mail following a meeting at which six of the eight candidates for the seat sought the group’s endorsement.
The six included Sloan, Scott W. Davenport, Marguerite D. Downing, Phillip Feldman, Joseph Lewis, and James A. Otto.
Also seeking the seat are Frank M. Tavelman and Curtis L. Harrington Jr. Tavelman had said he would appear if his schedule allowed, and Harrington sent notice Wednesday evening that his schedule would not permit his attendance, Grace—who is also co-publisher of the MetNews—said.
This year marked the first time in memory that the club waited until after the candidate filing deadline to make its endorsement.
Historically, Grace explained, the activists who make up the Breakfast Club were aware of who the major candidates were and felt comfortable making their choices before the list of candidates was complete and official.
But with the number of lawyers in the county having grown, she said, there is less awareness and the club made the “affirmative decision to give an opportunity to speak to all of the candidates.”
With Sloan—who in addition to heading the County Bar has been a Los Angeles Municipal Court judge. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission president, and Judicial Council member—the club has backed the type of high-profile, well-known lawyer who may be able to reverse its losing streak and redeem its reputation after three consecutive defeats.
Sloan said as much yesterday.
“I think it’s important that recognized leaders of the bar offer themselves as candidates,” he said. “I am going to contact all of the lawyers I know...and that’s a fairly good number.”
He sought the Breakfast Club’s backing, he said, out of a belief “that the good the Breakfast Club has done over the decades it has been in existence was worth preserving” and that “unless you’re going to go out and elect people the endorsement does not mean much.”
The last club-endorsed candidate to win a seat was John Van de Kamp in 2001. The former district attorney and state attorney general ran unopposed, while the other club-endorsed candidate that year, Patricia Lobello, lost to self-described “outsider” Matthew Cavanaugh.
That was the first time in 20 years that a club-endorsed candidate had lost, but the trend continued last year when Cavanaugh-backed candidates David M. Marcus and Steven J. Ipsen defeated club choices and longtime bar activists Matthew St. George and Michelle Katz in close races.
This year, Cavanaugh—who was not available for comment yesterday—is backing Harrington, who is a tax and intellectual property lawyer in Long Beach.
Of the other candidates, Davenport is a downtown lawyer who does civil writs and appellate work; Downing is a deputy public defender, assigned to Inglewood, and a former president of Black Women Lawyers; Feldman is a Sherman Oaks practitioner who has long been involved with the bar disciplinary system; Lewis, who is 93 years old, has been a Los Angeles attorney since 1933; Tavelman is a deputy district attorney; and Otto is a Northridge practitioner.
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company