Letters to the Editor

Los Angeles mayor lauds new executive director

As a longtime member of the State Bar, I would like to congratulate the board of governors on having selected Steve Nissen as the organizationsís new chief executive officer. My only grievance is that Steve is moving to the bar headquarters, meaning he will be sorely missed here in Los Angeles.

News accounts of Steveís appointments have centered on his achievements at Public Counsel Law Center, but those who have not yet had the pleasure of knowing or working with Steve may not be aware of the depth and breadth of his legal experience. Over the years, Steve has been a law professor, a prosecutor and a partner in a large private firm, in addition to presiding over Public Counselís maturation into the nationís largest pro bono law office.

The growth of Public Counsel over the last decade-plus would not have been possible without Steveís leadership, which enabled the organization to defy the traditional stereotypes which saddle many legal service providers. Steve saw the value of taking disputes out of the courtroom and focusing legal resources in the neighborhoods. His stewardship has meant that microbusinesses have greater opportunities to create jobs in economically distressed neighborhoods, consumers have learned how to protect themselves from scam operators, and children have found families to adopt them out of foster care.

Again, congratulations. I know the bar is heading toward an exciting future with Steve Nissen at the helm.

Richard J. Riordan
Mayor, City of Los Angeles

Refreshing view on affirmative action

Generally I only read the discipline section and scan the remainder of the Bar Journal. Much to my surprise and pleasure, I came upon an opinion piece in the October issue by Steven Ray Garcia entitled "Good Riddance to Affirmative Action."

Mr. Garciaís point of view regarding Proposition 209 is refreshing. Thank you for sharing his opinion with all of us. I hope that those members of the State Bar who voted against Proposition 209 read his piece and gained some enlightenment from doing so.

Thank you, Mr. Garcia, for working so hard, as all of us have, to become attorneys. I certainly do not want to cheapen my accomplishments of becoming an attorney by the existence of an affirmative action program.

Elliot K. Sevier

Insurance programs meet membersí general needs

This letter is in response to a letter from Mr. Richard E. King Jr. (October Bar Journal) regarding the State Bar Approved Health Care Plan. As the current chair of the State Barís Committee on Group Insurance Programs, I would like to address the concerns of Mr. King with respect to the health care plan.

The premiums, in this and all other medical plans, are primarily based on the utilization in the program.

Medical costs have increased, and premiums therefore are impacted. In recent years, the program has experienced increased utilization; claims payments have exceeded premium income.

Mr. Kingís reference to the plan providing the "worst coverage" is just not true. Changes that have occurred to all health care plans available in the marketplace reflect continued reduction in benefits and increases in co-payments. My law firm and family are also members of this plan.

Although the volunteer members of the State Barís Committe on Group Insurance Programs feel that the various insurance programs still accommodate the general needs of the State Bar membership, we certainly encourage members to acquire other insurance that may better accommodate their individual needs.

It is a very limited marketplace. Therefore, be sure you know what you are buying before you leave your existing plan.

Robert K. Scott
Chair, State Bar Committee on Group Insurance Programs

Letters to the Editor

California Bar Journal invites its readers to send letters on any topic. All letters must be signed with a daytime telephone number and complete address (only the city or town will be used in print). All letters are subject to editing, and no anonymous letters will be printed. Send letters to Editor, California Bar Journal, 555 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA 94102-4498; fax to 415/561-8247; or e-mail: calbarj@ix.netcom.com.